Friday fantasies

It's the BBG again!  Only hours after updating the IPKat on the current state of its work with the UK's Intellectual Property Office on lookalike packaging, the British Brands Group, in the person of John Noble, has jogged this Kat's memory an prompted him to tell readers all about the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which has been busying itself by publishing its own important study on brands and their role in the marketplace. The study can be found here.  Key points, John tells us, are these:
  • Companies around the world spend nearly $466 billion annually on branding, more than on R&D and design --  around 25% of company investments in intangible assets in some countries;
  • Economies such as China and India are investing more in branding than did high-income economies at a comparable stage of their development. 
  • The total value of the top 100 global brands grew by between 19 and 24% between 2008 and 2013, despite the global economic downturn.

IPReg checks would-be patent attorneys
unwelcome signs of independent thought
IPReg, the curiously-named and non-too-popular body for regulating the professions of patent attorney and trade mark attorney in the United Kingdom, has apparently found yet another way of losing friends: it has just launched a consultation on simplifying and modernising the examination system that will enable aspiring patent attorneys to fulfill at least some of their dreams (click here for details).  SOLO IP has already commented here and here, bu what is needed is some serious responses, on or before the deadline of 5 pm on 17 March 2014 [Merpel, who numbers many practising patent attorneys among her friends, is certain that most of them will respond at around 4.59 pm on 17 March, while a small number will apply for an extension of time].

The organisers of the "From IP to NP" International Conference, held in Tel-Aviv earlier this month and extensively covered on this weblog, have informed the IPKat that the speakers' presentations are now available online at, as well as some of the many pictures taken during the event -- an AIPPI conference hosted by the organisation's Israel group.

Bye-bye Trevor!  The farewells to Bird & Bird's (soon to be WilmerHale's) Trevor Cook just keep rolling in and, before the UK IP community's greatest national treasure follows in the footsteps of David Frost and Susan Boyle to "break" America, he has been engaged to enthrall the guests at the Union Dinner Christmas Special on 3 December 2013. If you are interested in attending please contact Steven Wake at

Monkey Business.  From Katfriend Nadia Zegze (Davenport Lyons) comes the following tale:
"In the run-up to Christmas, all eyes will be on the retail world, and this week is no exception. This festive season, retail giants Next have taken a turn in the spotlight after losing a legal battle with extreme sports photographer Allan Potts, it being found that Next unlawfully used one of his photographs by printing it on a children’s T-shirt without his consent. The photograph in question featured the motocross rider Arran Powley, which Potts had shot at the annual Shropshire County Show in 2010. The image was taken from the internet and modified by replacing the rider’s head with that of a chimpanzee. 
Next were not just ‘monkeying’ around, since there was a commercial dimension to this curious head transplant: the retailer reproduced the image on children’s T-shirts, selling them both online and in stores throughout the country. Potts complained, producing a photograph which was time- and date-stamped as evidence that he owned the copyright in the image. This, coupled with the fact that the image had been taken off the internet, was sufficient to persuade Next to accept Potts’ claim and to pay him an undisclosed sum in damages. Next say that the remaining T-shirts will be donated to Oxfam for their charity work abroad.
As time goes on, there seem to be an increasing number of cases involving big retail chains and their apparent abuse of third party IPR, as people are becoming more aware of the rights they hold in their creations. Similarities can be drawn with the recent case of Fenty v Arcadia Group Brands Ltd (t/a Topshop) [discussed by the IPKat here] in which the pop star Rihanna succeeded in her claim for passing off against the retail moguls Topshop, who used her image on a T-shirt without her permission (although Topshop thought they were on solid ground by getting a licence from the photographer to use the picture). These cases should act as a warning to those in the retail industry that ‘slowly slowly catchee monkey’ is the approach to take when wanting to use else’s images on their products and that obtaining images from third party sources like the internet simply won’t do". 
Source: Mail Online, here, via a prod from Chris Torrero (katpat!)

JIPLP: now there's a LinkedIn Group too.  The Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (JIPLP) has gone one step further in its commitment to growing as a traditional law journal while embracing the possibilities offered by the social media.  Already operating its own jiplp weblog and a Twitter account @JIPLP, this Oxford University Press publication now has a LinkedIn Group in which contributors -- and potential contributors -- of articles and case notes can exchange ideas and opinions with readers.  If you'd like to be part of this community, please feel free to apply to join it.  You don't need to be a subscriber, but you do need to care a great deal about what IP journals are about and as to how better they can serve the interests of readers and authors alike.

Around the weblogs.  The IPFinance weblog carries a short note on the launch of the WIPO GREEN database in which the author writes: "This blogger wonders how long it will be before the issues faced by the ICT sector with regard to standard-setting and FRAND licences are endemic in the green technology sector too.  A big difference there is that the perceived public interest in getting businesses to use green technologies may have an impact on both the rate of royalties that a court regards as reasonable and the exercise of discretion in granting injunctive relief".  This theme may be taken further if enough reader interest is manifested. Elsewhere, on PatLit Stefano Barazza explains the position taken by US professors with regard to patent trolls, and on the MARQUES Class 99 design law blog we learn who might be the informed user of a corkscrew. IP Tango reports that unregistered marks are getting a bit of respect in the Argentine courts, at appellate level at any rate, in a battle for SAN GENARO pasta. Finally, Asim Singh updates us on the latest French site-blocking litigation on the 1709 Blog.

The thoughtful and creative John Walker, a regular correspondent on the 1709 Blog on matters of interest to artists, not least of which is the rights and wrongs of resale royalty rights, has (as he modestly states) written something on "fair use" re scanning library books on Club Troppo ("the suppository of all centrist wisdom since 2002", with the lovely armadillo logo on the right).  You can check it out here. For the record, when it comes to fair use, John's in favour.
Friday fantasies Friday fantasies Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, November 29, 2013 Rating: 5


  1. The reporting of the Next case was perhaps a little overegged...

    As is clear from reading the article in more detail, there was no "legal battle" - it seems it was settled by way of correspondence.

    It's also nothing like the Rihanna case as this was copyright infringement pure and simple. I am pretty sure this was just a supplier who made a mistake and will probably be hit with the costs incurred by Next by virtue of the IP clause/indemnity in the supply contract. All VERY, VERY, VERY standard.

  2. John Noble has been the measured and respected champion of British brands for many years. However, it has always surprised me that, to date, policy makers have failed to fully recognize that a brand is among the most valuable intangible assets a company can own. Copying has many facets and copying of brands in the guise of similar packaging continues to dupe the consumer into thinking they are buying one product when, in fact, often they are buying a lookalike without knowing. This has been a joint concern of ACID (Anti Copying in Design) and the British Brands Group for well over a dozen years. Now, however, WIPO’s excellent report provides irrefutable evidence which we hope will make Ministers and officials act decisively, in the interests of consumers, if no-one else.


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