IP and Retail Conference: the competition winner

Readers may recall that, following a good deal of nagging from the IPKat, CLT Conferences, which organises next week's IP and Retail conference, agreed to offer a free place as a prize for a competition relating to the event's subject matter. The rules of the competition were simple: entrants were asked to complete a limerick on the theme of intellectual property in the retail sector. It must with the line
"Merpel once entered a store ..."
35 entrants competed, submitting between them around 50 entries, of which the IPKat and Merpel have chosen some of the better ones for your delectation.  As a general comment, some entrants were a bit too free and easy with the metrical format of the limerick, so the Kats had to reject them despite their frequently enjoyable and otherwise meritorious nature.

Food was a common source of inspiration for our budding limericists. Thus Bob Sacoff (Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson LLP, Chicago), who nobly refused to rhyme "store" with "whore", writes:
Merpel once entered a store
But forgot what she'd gone in there for.
She scanned all the brands,
Caught mem'ry by strands,
Bought tuna ! She'd gone out for more !
One particular food source appealed to several entrants, for obvious reasons.  Thus from Jo Alderson (Pinsent Masons LLP):
Merpel once entered a store
And despite knowledge of passing off law
She bought Whiskas (canned)
Which were in fact own brand.
8/10 Kats were confused when they saw!
and occasional guest writer Désirée Fields (McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP) gives us this:
Merpel once entered a store
Because she found cat food a bore.
Whiskas too purple,
With the ® in a circle -
A break with a Kit-Kat she'd adore.
Kit-Kat -- as in "Have a break -- have a Kit-Kat" -- is not to be confused with KittyKat, adds Merpel.

Other entrants were more concerned with fakes and counterfeits.  From lawyer and novelist ('Pistols for Two, Breakfast for One') Matthew Dick (Bristows) comes this:
Merpel once entered a store
To peruse the infringements at law
Designs, passing off, 
Incurred her real wrath;
Knock-off brands piled from ceiling to floor.
to which another occasional contributor to this weblog, Sean Gilday (Page Hargrave, Bristol), adds
Merpel once entered a store,
Found bargains too cheap to ignore,
But she learned, with a scowl,
That the goods all fell foul,
Of Directive 2004.
The Directive in question is Directive 2004/48, the IP Enforcement Directive, which people might love a bit more if they remembered that it existed.  Another Directive which is often ignored, when it isn't being misunderstood, is Directive 98/71 on the legal protection of designs. This might have been the inspiration for the following limerick from Jennifer Munn (SNR Denton):
Merpel once entered a store,
Looked at its wares and said "cor...
I could copy these frocks
And buy lots of rocks
If design right I just plain ignored."
Some of our budding laureates were quite taken with specific brands.  Second time round, Sean Gilday offered this nod to not one but two brands.  Merpel hopes that the footwear alluded to in his verse fits a bit better than the last line, which was a tight squeeze:
Merpel once entered a store,
Bought some pumps branded Christian Dior.
But despite the red soles,
The Appeals Court upholds,
 Monochrome shoes comply with the law!
Louboutin was in the mind of Caroline von Nussbaum (SJ Berwin, Munich) too:
Merpel once entered a store
And exclaimed “These shoes I adore!
They have red soles-- egad --
And they do fit a cat
I will walk on my bare paws no more
Not everyone obsesses over red soles though.  Chris Morgan (Rickerbys LLP, Cheltenham) prefers the electronic sector:
Merpel once entered a store
Lured in by a sign on the door
That said: "Bargain prices"
Inside were devices
By "Soony" and "Samzung" and more! 
Retail brands got a mention too, as Sarah Byrt (Mayer Brown International LLP) shows:
Merpel once entered a store
As she found online shopping a bore
She free-rode to M&S
And bought a “trade dress”
With goodwill for the high street of yore.
Ben Prangell (Shipley IP) placed Merpel a little more downmarket. Alluding to a post last year on this weblog concerning a fake Primark store, he writes:
Merpel once entered a store,
On her mind, Dubai TM Law,
It looked like Primark,
Displaying its trade mark,
But all she found was a counterfeit store.
Christopher Morcom QC (Hogarth) does not specify the retail outlet:
Merpel once entered a store
And got her rear shut in the door.
She said, with a wail,
“What I need’s a ‘re-tail’.
If your brand does the trick, I’m for more!
There were some legal in-jokes too. An anonymous entrant offered a limerick with the title "Communication 2/12", after Communication No 2/12 of the President of the Office concerning the use of class headings in lists of goods and services for Community trade mark applications and registrations:
Merpel once entered a store,
which said “three classes for one” on the door.
She bought some class headings,
 registered “Weddings and Beddings”,
alas retail is covered no more.
Another limerick of that ilk comes from Peter Smith (Serjeants), who alludes to a legal construct, the "moron in a hurry", who achieved a moment of relevance and a lifetime of celebrity following his appearance in the High Court for England and Wales back in 1978:
Both words rhyme
with 'store'
Merpel once entered a store
Where en route to peruse the Dior
She snagged her hind claw on
A hurrying moron,
Confusing the man even more!
A further limerick from the same source turns on section 10(4) of the UK's Trade Marks Act 1994, a provision familiar to IP lawyers across the EU (being the equivalent of Article 5(3) of the Trade Mark Directive) and which provides some accurate but ultimately unhelpful guidance as to what constitutes the use of a trade mark:
Merpel once entered a store
With a puzzling sign on the door,
Which said, “Use of this sign
Should be perfectly fine
In accordance with section 10(4).”
Finally, Mary Smillie (Rouse) demonstrates the apparently unbreakable affection which many female readers of this weblog have for chocolate, alluding to a confectionery rabbit which has made more court appearances than most litigation lawyers:
Merpel once entered a store
 In search of food- nothing more
She thought it was funny
To buy a Lindt bunny
With ‘distinctive’ foil, bell, red ribbon – that’s all.
Which one is the winner? This is the tough bit.  After a lot of agonising, Merpel has decided on Désirée Fields' entry.  Well done, Désirée! We do look forward to seeing you at the conference on Tuesday Wednesday!
IP and Retail Conference: the competition winner IP and Retail Conference: the competition winner Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, February 07, 2013 Rating: 5


  1. I'll try my hand at doggerel (or is it katterel?). Here's my late entry:

    Merpel once entered a store
    Something our cat finds quite a chore
    y'see, in originals she is an expert
    and therefore must forever keep alert
    lest copycats win the war.

    Consider it accompanied by a late processing fee. ;-)

    I'm a bit bothered by the somewhat martial ending dictated by the rhyme. Maybe replace "originals" by "'marks"? I hope you're not too demanding on the metric.

  2. Come on, Roufousse, you can do better than that!

    Thanks, by the way, for all the entertaining and often quite provocative comments which you have shared with us. We do enjoy them, an believe that our readers do too.

  3. All great entries and deserved mentions - it may well go down in history as the most expensive hourly rate Limerick competition of all time !


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