Monday miscellany

The same (apart from the differences)
A San Franciscan noodle war. The city of San Francisco has explored the extremes of human character during its history. It is famous for the ‘Gold Rush’ of 1849, which brought a lot of lawlessness, but also for being a centre for liberal activism. Now the techdirt blog reports that it is home to a trade mark dispute over the names of noodle restaurants. There are presently two ‘Chubby Noodle’ restaurants in the city. When the owners of them heard of plans for a restaurant called ‘Fat Noodle’ to be opened they sued for trade mark infringement, alleging that ‘Fat Noodle’ was ‘confusingly similar’ to its trademarked ‘Chubby Noodle’. The suit noted ‘Fat’ and ‘Chubby’ are synonyms, and also pointed out the similarities in the logos of the two restaurants (see picture). This Kat, knowing little about US trade mark matters, humourously wonders whether the ‘synonym’ test is the correct one, and to what extent it would give the owners of ‘Chubby Noodle’ the right to stop other noodle restaurants using any of the following terms: plump, tubby, roly-poly, rotund, portly, stout, dumpy, chunky, broad in the beam, well upholstered, well covered, well padded, of ample proportions, ample, well rounded, overweight, fleshy, paunchy, pot-bellied, bulky, buxom, pursy and abdominous. A katpat to Chris Torrero for providing this story.

How to have fun in February. Becoming a sole practitioner changes one's perspectives on IP events. They become a valued opportunity to meet people who use the same terminology and who view life through the perspective of monopolies. I was therefore heartened to see that the Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property's list of ‘IP Events’, maintained by Pedro Malaquias, shows a very long and diverse list of IP events in February. Something of interest for everyone.

An appeal on Global Flood Defence Systems & Another v Van den Noort Innovations BV & Others [2015] EWHC 153 (IPEC). The IPKat recently reported on this case (see here), which was about an application for summary judgment on unwarranted threats to sue for patent infringement based only on a patent application. Nicholas Briggs of Shakespeares has now contacted us about the Katpost saying:
‘We are acting for GFDS in this matter. You may wish to add to the post that Judge Hacon has given our client leave to appeal his construction of section 70(2A) of the Patents Act in the circumstances. He has also granted our clients an interim injunction restraining the defendants from threatening any person with proceedings for patent infringement where the claimants are aggrieved by such threats pending trial.’

When it comes to patent law,
not all fairs are fun ...
Around the weblogs. Congratulations to the MARQUES Class 99 design law weblog for reaching the 1,500 email subscriber landmark. Can zebra stripes and polka dots be protected by US copyright? Former guest Kat Marie-Andrée Weiss (discusses this topic on the 1709 Blog. What does Bitcoin mean to IP practitioners? Barbara Cookson reports on SOLO IP. Over on IP Finance, fellow Kat Neil has posted a perspicacious piece on the perils of being a mid-market brand, while Mike Mireles has delivered a trilogy of posts here, here and here on a recent symposium on trolls as they appear in different areas of IP. Finally, on PatLit, Michael Thesen picks up a recent German decision on the display of an invention in a trade fair.

Conference clarification. In his post last week, "The patent profession: visions for the future, problems for the present", the IPKat reviewed Managing Intellectual Property magazine's forthcoming International Patent Forum 2015 on 10 and 11 March. In his excitement to mention that there was a welcome £300 registration for readers of this weblog, he initially forgot to add the in-house corporate and patent counsel, academics and R&D professionals can get in free. The original blog has since been amended, but it seems a good idea to draw this to the attention of readers and to add, to the disappointment of one email correspondent, that if you are entitled to get in free and to enjoy a £300 discount, that doesn't mean that you will be given £300 to attend. Programme and registration details can be accessed via the Katpost here.

A conference on IP and the public domain. Bayreuth Graduiertenkolleg (Graduate School or Research Training Group) is hosting a conference, "Intellectual Property and the Public Domain", funded exclusively by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). This is a two-day conference (6 and 7 February 2015) based on the research program of the Graduate School and work done in cooperation with the IPR University Center, University of Helsinki, Finland. The conference is mainly targeted to European scholars and practitioners in the field of IP law and is aimed at stimulating transatlantic debate and comparative discussions. The conference will be divided into six sessions each featuring a keynote speaker (approx. 20-30 min), one or two respondents (ca. 15-20 min) and hosted by an expert in the area:
1. Reinvigorating the Public Domain (Ansgar Ohly/Alexander Peukert) 
2. “Westwards the gaze wanders” - Or Should It Not? - Comparative Narratives in IP Law (Not) To Be Followed (Jerome Reichmann/Nari Lee/Franz Hofmann) 
3. Intellectual Property and Economics - Can You Have One Without the Other? (Thomas Cotter/Herbert Zech) 
4. Knowledge Commons Governance (Katherine Strandburg/Ioannis Lianos) 
5. Constitutional Foundations and Constitutionalization of IP Law - A Tale of Different Stories (Jens Schovsbo/Andreas Paulus/Michael Goldhammer) 
6. Innovation and Competition - The New Paradigm in IP Law? (Reto Hilty/Lionel Bently)
Attendance is free of charge! More information is available here.

Google’s panel soon to advise on the EU right ‘to be forgotten’.

Trying to be forgotten
Google has created a panel of experts to advise on how it should deal with the CJEU’s ruling that individuals have the right to removal of certain links to personal data, so that it can no longer be found in search. Bloomberg now reports that the panel is preparing an advisory report tackling the key issues. One of the most controversial issues is the extent to which Google is required to block obtaining of information in searches performed outside of the EU. Regulators have the opinion that information blocked on EU websites shouldn’t be easily accessible by visiting Google in other countries which can be done by changing a few characters on the browser address line. Previous Katposts on this issue can be found here (about the Court of Justice of the European Union decision) and here (how this relates to parodies).

Monday miscellany Monday miscellany Reviewed by Suleman Ali on Monday, February 02, 2015 Rating: 5


  1. Re: Fat Noodle

    "Fat" is also the English transliteration of the Chinese word for "get wealthy". Possible they will try to argue on this ground too!

  2. Thanks Derek. I didn't analyse the merits of the case, but yes there was a Chinese language angle where one could ask whether the 'confusingly similar' analysis should be performed both in English and Chinese. That would depend on who the customers were. San Francisco does have a large Chinese population.


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