Friday fantasies

There must be a word for it.  Frank Hafner (European Patent Office, EPO) has reminded the Kats that it's time to tell their readers all about the EPO's Search Matters conference.  This is not just another EPO event, a small sample of the almost 100 which the office organises each year. Rather, says Frank,
"Search Matters is one of our key events, addressing patent search professionals from business, academia and IP firms. It provides a unique opportunity to meet more than 40 examiners along with some patent information experts from the EPO [what an awesome prospect, murmurs Merpel, who wonders if the English language, with all its stolen wealth of words, has a special collective term for patent examiners]. Participants can also put questions – including queries about searches in specific technical areas – direct to individual examiners, one on one". 
Date: 3 and 4 April. Venue: The Hague. For more information, to view the programme and the workshop abstracts, just click here.

Is this the symbol
of European copyright?
European copyright: brittle or bendy?  "Copyright in the EU: In Search of (In)Flexibilities" is the title of a piece which, when duly topped and tailed, will grace the pages of the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (JIPLP). The author is fellow Kat Eleonora, who asks two big questions: "Are Member States entitled to alter, ie broaden or restrict, the scope of the exclusive rights harmonised by the InfoSoc Directive? May Member States decide (as the UK did) not to transpose the full language of exceptions and limitations once they chose to implement a certain exception or limitation from Article 5 catalogue into their national laws? No in both cases, says Eleonora but, if you want to know why, you'll have to read her analysis. It's a powerfully reasoned piece which this Kat can confidently recommend. Conveniently, Eleonora has parked it on SSRN, just here.

Altus: soon to be
a thing of the past ...
Around the weblogs 1.  On Afro-IP, Caroline Ncube relates the tale of a South African wine brand dispute (Alto v Altus) which ended with Altus preferring a name change (to Fenix) to the prospect of defending a trade mark infringement claim. Elsewhere on the same blog, Afro Leo posts a note on the plain packaging issue -- this time in South Africa, where the incomparable Louis Harms has raised the spectre of "unintended consequences".  Class 46's latest blogposts feature an OHIM Board of Appeal decision on whether PAOLA for rum might be confused with VILLA PAOLA for wines, noted by Pedro Malaquias, a General Court ruling on whether GOLDSTEIG and a figurative mark containing "Goldstuck" might be confused for a variety of edibles in Class 29, potted by Laetitia Lagarde, and this piece by Tomaz Rychlicki on the legal interest of foreign companies (in this case Aldi, from Germany) in Polish opposition proceedings, when genuine use must be proved.

Around the weblogs 2.There's another characteristically colourful CopyKat post from Ben Challis on the 1709 Blog, which reflects both his enthusiasm and his breadth of coverage of copyright. Still on the issue of copyright, but mainly a pleasantly pastel yellowy-green, is Copyright See-Saw, the brainchild of veteran copyright guru Mihaly Ficsor Sr. From its name comes a clue to the blog's leitmotiv -- the balancing of competing interests (a topic that is continuing to exercise the brains and the imaginations of copyright's finest policy-makers). A Katpat for Peter Munkacsi for tipping us off.

Kenyan patents now at your fingertips. From Katfriend and Afro-IP blogger Isaac Rutenberg comes news that Kenya's Center for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT), at the Strathmore University Law School, Nairobi, has launched a full-text searchable database of Kenyan issued patents. Isaac's Afro-IP blog announcement is here, and the link to the actual database is here. The same website also has searchable Kenyan Intellectual Property Tribunal cases that, like the patents, are currently not otherwise available online. Well done, says the IPKat: it's good to see an academic institution doing things that palpably benefit not just students and researchers but the entire business and technology community.
Friday fantasies Friday fantasies Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, January 31, 2014 Rating: 5


  1. Collective noun for examiners? I'd suggest a confusion of examiners, except in the case of the USPTO where it would be a contusion of examiners.

  2. My vote would be for a diligence of examiners!

  3. @ Anonymous & Merpel: almost ironically (or maybe appropriately, after all) the title of one of the sessions is: "Do you speak English?- The challenges of the English language for searchers". Food for thoughts...

  4. to Anon Friday, 31 January 2014 20:54:00 GMT

    The title seems to be at least irrelevant to the purpose of the meeting. More "close to life" titles would be:
    "Do you understand what an application is about"
    "Do you understand the "language" of the application"

    Have a good weekend.


  5. to Anon at Friday, 31 January 2014 20:54:00 GMT

    It would be also interesting to start the session with a statistic what is a % of applications filed in English as filing language and drafted by natives, among all searched applications. Per field statistic will be even more interesting.


  6. The percentage of applications filed in English and drafted by a native speaker is probably as low as the percentage of prior art documents written in English by a native speaker.

  7. to Anonymous on Saturday, 1 February 2014 19:06:00 GMT:



  8. I've no idea what might be the collective noun for patent examiners, and professional courtesy prevents me from offering any suggestions. However, I'm pretty sure that the collective noun for those on our side of the fence is "a disagreement of patent attorneys".

  9. Collective noun (phrase):

    At least one of X and/or Y, wherein X comprises at least one patent attorney and Y comprises at least one patent agent.

  10. At least one of X and/or Y, wherein X comprises at least one patent attorney and Y comprises at least one patent agent.

    Wish-claims, i.e., defined by the result to be achieved, are not allowable according to the EPC.

  11. I am sure there are thousands and thousands of examples of technical expressions that make apparent sense, but which are nonsense. My latest find from a PCT document is "During a mains power failure, the electrical energy required for the voltage supply (2) of the inverter (1) is taken from an output-side throttle (7) of the inverter (1) by means of an auxiliary winding (13)."
    The skilled person will obviously be able to read the original technical German -- you cannot be in technology without reading German, full stop! Here we have the completely sensible expression 'Drossel', which has the perfectly sensible translation 'choke'. It is such a pity that we have to go to IC engines to find a 'throttle'.
    By the way, the same component is a 'self' in French, and that essentially goes to its properties, rather than its use, which are the bases for the German and English skilled-person terms.
    Brush up on your European official language skills!

    Kind regards,

    George Brock-Nannestad

  12. Anonymous @ 17:43.

    I think you are posting on the wrong thread - there is nothing "wish" to the proposed collective noun phrase at 15:40.

  13. Anonymous at 19:33:

    This is the right thread - just a famous difference in opinions.

  14. Anonymous @ 20:35,

    That does not make any sense - as opinion (different or otherwise) is not germane to the initial post status as a "wish" claim.

    Claims are not under discussion.

  15. My favourite example of a literal translation of an untranslatable technical term was a German-originating UK application that addressed the problem of "Pilgrim step-like backwards reproduction" in video disc playback.

    Another was to be found in the EPO guidelines relating to acceptable use of relative terms, where "high frequency amplifier" was given as an example of acceptable usage of a relative term because the expression had a well -understood technical meaning. The only problem is that this must have arisen from a German original text, where the "relative" term was "Hochfrequenzvestaerker". The literal translation, "High Frequency amplifier" was good idiomatic English until the 1930's when it was replaced by "Radio frequency amplifier".

    Thus the correct rendition of the technical term (Radio Frequency amplifier) is not a relative expression in English, whereas the literal translation (High Frequency amplifier) is a relative expression, but one that does not have a generally-accepted technical meaning in English.


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