Monday miscellany

Forthcoming events.  The contents of the IPKat's Forthcoming Events page have changed considerably in the past week as a swathe of now-past conferences has been excised from it, only to be replaced with a bunch of new events.  Among these events is the Life Sciences IP Summit, organised by C5 and set to take place in the lovely city of Biology and Bicycles (Amsterdam), in just five weeks time. Like many of the events listed, this one offers all sorts of discounts and registration packages, depending on who or what you are. This Kat has already written a few choice words about this event, so do check it out here.

IP Publishers and Editors Lunch,  Another event that is close to this Kat's stomach heart is the annual IP Publishers and Editors Lunch, which the Kats organise for the IP media.  It's not just traditional publishers who attend: online publishers and disseminators of IP information gather around, as well as some of those whose job it is to provide swift and reliable information to the IP community.  The date is Tuesday 25 November; the venue is the London office of Bircham Dyson Bell and the event is free to attend.  We now have an excellent and often controversial keynote speaker in barrister Ashley Roughton (one of the General Editors of the LexisNexis Modern Law of Patents) and a commendable 37 people have already signed up to attend -- but there's still room for more. Details can be found at the top of the sidebar on the IPKat's home page. Do come!

Deep thoughts: but are they good enough
to present at the INTA Scholarship Symposium?
Calling all trade mark scholars. The Sixth Annual INTA Trademark Scholarship Symposium, hosted by the International Trademark Association (INTA) during its Annual Meeting, takes place on Monday 4 May next year in the sunny city of San Diego, California. The Symposium part of INTA’s Academic Day, gives trade mark scholars from around the world (including part-time and full-time professors, graduate and post-graduate students) to participate in small group discussions of scholarly works-in-progress. Selected scholars present their projects in a workshop setting, receive comments, and engage in a dialogue with other academic scholars and accomplished trade mark practitioners.

If you are thinking of having a go, send an abstract (approximately 300 words) describing a current trade mark or unfair competition scholarship project to project co-chairs Julie Cromer Young at and Jim Faier at by 1 November. The project team will then select a maximum of eight projects to be presented at the Symposium, ideally grouped into related topics or themes. Selections will be announced by 1 February 2015. For each selected project, a working draft of the paper (10-20 pages) must be submitted by 15 March 2015. There is no publication obligation.

According to information received from INTA:
"Participants will receive complimentary registration to the Academic Day program, including an all-professor panel exploring boundaries of trademark law, a trademark professor luncheon, a reception and other networking opportunities. Additional expenses are the speaker’s responsibility". 
Not all scholars are poor:
this ancient Roman one had\
his own laptop, it seems ...
Says the IPKat: this event is a wonderful, stimulating and exhilarating one: it's well attended and the discussion, with some top academics and practitioners participating, is as good as you will find anywhere on the planet.  However, complimentary registration and the prospect of "networking opportunities" (really!!) is useless for scholars who have no law firm or business to pay their fares and expenses -- and it's a long an expensive trip for people who don't live in the US.  While he understands that participating by video link is being considered [which rather limits the lure of the lunch, the reception, and the networking opportunities], there is no excuse for the INTA not to dip into its bulging pockets and offer some financial assistance to distant scholars -- as has done on at least one occasion in the past. Come on, INTA, don't be influenced by Scrooge ...

This blogger has just received an epistle from his Katfriends at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to flag a forthcoming event in Geneva which they are truly excited about.  Titled "Systems, Challenges, Solutions: Trade, IP, Courts, and Governance", it is being organised by the Federal Circuit Bar Association in cooperation with WIPO, the World Trade Organization and the European Patent Office which means that, even if only the organisers turn up, the venue should be comfortably full. This event stretches across 20 and 21 October, which means that there will be plenty to cover over a short time. You can check out the programme here.  Alas, this Kat can't attend, but he hopes to get to hear all about it from any of his friends who do.

Banksy: attacking immigrants -- or those
who campaign to keep them out?
Around the weblogs.  This Kat, writing on the SOLO IP weblog, expresses some concern about how the new .LAW gTLD will affect patent and trade mark practitioners. The jiplp weblog offers two more batches of IP books for review (here and here) by suitably qualified reviewers.  Art & Artifice observes that even a radical artist like Banksy can fall foul of political correctness, when one of his most pointed satires is misunderstood and subsequently destroyed by a dutiful local authority. Do also take a look at Mark Anderson's lament on IP Draughts about the problems faced when practising law while possessing a common surname. Finally, PatLit's David Berry reports that there may be good times ahead for those folk whose deep depression is the result of the monstrously overgenerous and unrealistic damages awards that appear to us non-Americans to characterise US patent law.

Trade mark squatters: now for an algorithm.  "Trademark Squatters: Theory and Evidence from Chile" by Carsten Fink, Christian Helmers and Carlos Ponce, is an absorbing piece of research, published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on 26 September.  It's pretty substantial, weighing in at 55 pages. You can read the fancy version here, and the plain version here. According to the abstract:
It's easier to be over- or under-protected
than to get the scope of protection just right
"This paper explores the phenomenon of “trademark squatting” – a situation in which someone other than the original brand owner obtains a trademark on a brand. We develop a model that shows how squatting results from market uncertainty that leads brand owners to rationally forgo registering trademarks, creating opportunities for squatting. We create an algorithm to identify squatters in the Chilean trademark register and show empirically that squatting is a persistent and systematic phenomenon. [Well, says Merpel, we all knew that anyway -- but here's the good bit:] Using data on trademark oppositions, we show that squatting leads brand owners that have been exposed to squatting to ‘over-protect’ their brands by registering disproportionately many trademarks and covering classes other than those directly related to their products and services. Trademark squatting, therefore, creates a strategic, albeit excessive, response by brand owners which inflates trademark filings".
This is handy to know, but this Kat observes that the phenomenon of over-protection is quite common outside the world of IP. When he shelters under his umbrella, he notes that it stops the rain falling not only on him but on the ground immediately around him. He hopes this isn't excessive.  Merpel agrees: trade mark registrations would not be so wide if registrants knew in advance (i) where their business would be heading during the currency of their initial registration and (ii) where and how the trade mark squatters would be seeking to do their dastardly deeds.
Monday miscellany Monday miscellany Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, October 06, 2014 Rating: 5

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