Wednesday whimsies

Merck-y marks. To recap, the IPKat was concerned that there were two pharma companies, both trading under the name Merck, and who were in the midst of trade mark litigation (see Katpost "Preliminary hearing to rule on Merck-y past", here). A subsequent blogpost explained why the two companies had the same name: the US version of Merck resulted from the appropriation by the US of German assets during the First World War. Accordingly the IPKat and his friends wondered whether, rather than sue each other for trade mark infringement and for breaches of coexistence agreements, there might be other and perhaps better solutions. Accordingly they set up the sidebar poll, which closed last week.  The poll attracted a good deal of interest from readers, receiving exactly 500 responses (yes, 500 does sound like a bit of a round number, but it's a genuine one -- and even round numbers like 500 do come up from time to time, neither more nor less often than any other number).

What then were the results of this poll?

  • The Americans should return the name to its original owner; after all, the First World War is long over 300 (60%)
  • Both companies should be left to keep their MERCK marks, since they've had them for long enough 91 (18%)
  • It really doesn't matter at all, since most people don't even know that there are two Mercks 66 (13%)
  • Both companies should change their names to something a bit sexier:it would do them good 43 (8%)
Admittedly, this poll isn't binding -- but the message of our readers is clear. There is no advantage to having two different companies in the same line of business and which are using the same trade mark, and there is little sentiment to suggest that the Americans should continue to use the mark. 

A popular flagship program,
but not quite what the WTO
and WIPO have in mind ...
"Please excuse a barefaced bid for attention from a longstanding Kat fan" says Tony Taubman, of whom this Kat coincidentally is a longstanding fan. Tony is in fact trying to draw attention within the IP community to one of the World Trade Organization (WTO) flagship programmes, a two week colloquium for teachers and researchers in the field IP, jointly convened by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the WTO from 16 to 27 June.  Numbers are limited, but travel and accommodation costs are covered for selected participants from the developing world and transition economies, and there is no charge for developed country participants.   Details of how to apply are provided here and papers from the colloquium are now published in a path-breaking new scholarly publication, the Colloquium Papers

For those who like some
t with their mediation
More on mediation.  There's a presentation of UKIPO and OHIM mediation services coming up on Monday 31 March 2014, 12:30 - 14:30 pm at the CIPA Hall & Library, 95 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1DT. Presenting at the event are Théophile Margellos (President of the Boards of Appeal and Head of the OHIM Mediation Service), Alexander Crawcour and Gordon Humphreys (OHIM mediators and Boards of Appeal folk), Nicki Curtis and Edward Smith (IPO Mediators). Further information? Email

Around the weblogs.  The jiplp weblog carries two items of interest: a list of a further five books awaiting the attentions of a reviewer (don't forget -- the reviewer gets to keep the book) and a neat note by Michele Giannino on the position of unincorporated associations as trade mark owners in Italy. The 1709 Blog contains Ben's comments on the IFPI Digital Music Report 2014. On the IP Finance blog, Anne Fairpo gives a swift round-up of the IP-related provisions of the UK's budget earlier today -- a theme which Elizabeth Emerson's note on Art & Artifice touches on when she looks at the tax position relating to cultural gifts and national heritage property.
Wednesday whimsies Wednesday whimsies Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 Rating: 5


  1. The war started 100 years ago, so in what sense is that 'long ago'? The second war ended 69 years ago. Is that long? If it is then why do we still have all those sentimental memorials? Should all those old people now keep their war stories to themselves? Should history be forgotten? If it happened yesterday should it be forgotten? The people who voted for repatriation of the trademark should explain themselves.

  2. I wonder if all the folks who want US Merck to change its trademark are willing to foot the bill?

  3. I doubt it. The Germans are worried enough about their energy prices rising if their country acts in international interest over Ukraine, rather than its own. Is there a first time for everything? I doubt it.


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