Wednesday whimsies

EPO and a Kat's reproach. A little over 24 hours ago, the IPKat's faithful friend and colleague Merpel posted the news that the UK's Intellectual  Property Office (IPO) had issued a statement concerning the current situation in the European Patent Office. The IPO indicated its interest and gave contact details for anyone who wanted to ask it any questions.  Since then nearly 15,000 readers have received that blogpost by email or visited it directly, and getting on for 50 readers' comments have been posted -- many of them highly critical of the IPO or just plain rude.  To date, however, only three people (bless them) have taken the trouble to contact the IPO, two of these being from outside the UK.  This Kat finds the level of response highly disappointing, also noting that no comment suggests that any other national offices have publicly indicated that they are taking any interest and that they are willing to speak to stakeholders.  He suggests that a better and more constructive approach to take is to engage with national offices on a mature level and to encourage them to understand the current menu of problems as well as you, our readers, do.  This may not bring immediate benefits; indeed it may not bring any benefits at all -- but it is surely more likely to do so than to expect governments and their representatives to discern the truth by piecing together lengthy strings of blog comments.  Bottom line: if your national IPO listens, speak to it. If it doesn't, try to find out why. And thanks once again, UKIPO, for at least making the effort to say something [and can we please hear a bit more, adds Merpel, preferably from a Minister].

Patents and statistics: a guide.  This Kat has just got the link to The Patent Guide A handbook for analysing and interpreting patent data, an e-pamphlet from the UK Intellectual Property Office's Informatics team [Merpel explains: "Informatics" is a hybrid word formed from "Information", because it's useful, and "Rheumatics", because it can be a real pain].  According to the team:
The study of patents has been approached with increased enthusiasm in recent times. At present there are clear differences in perspective between professional patent experts, researchers undertaking patent analysis and the audience for this research, which includes governments, the press, businesses and individuals. Such differences increase the possibility for incorrect analysis or inappropriate interpretation of analysis. Decisions based upon this could be incorrect and potentially harmful.

This handbook has been created to improve shared understanding between patent experts and those undertaking or using patent research.
Ostensibly 28 sides long, its operative part is a good deal shorter, so check which pages you really want before you print it out.  Future editions are already being planned, which propose to embrace analysis and interpretation of statistics on other intellectual property rights (IPRs). If you want to discuss the content of this handbook or suggest future content, this is your big chance: you can email the Informatics team at

Around the weblogs. There's plenty going on in the Benelux region these days. Apart from the decision of the Gerechtshof den Haag in the now notorious matter of the European Patent Office and human rights [Merpel's wondering if any other IP blogs are regularly covering these developments; her favourite ones aren't], the MARQUES blogs Class 46 and Class 99 have been picking up on some hot stuff. On Class 46 veteran Katfriend Gino van Roeyen comments on a Benelux office trade mark ruling in an opposition involving traditional Zeeland dress and Denise Verdoold explains why IUS is no use as a trade mark for legal services in Belgium, while Class 99's Hidde Koenraad reports on incremental developments over earlier designs as viewed by The Hague's interim relief court.  Mark Anderson, on IP Draughts, speculates as to what will happen to the market for reproduction 'designer' chairs once the UK has brought them all back into copyright protection.  Finally, IP Finance's Rob Harrison updates us on the battle over Nespresso's coffee capsules in Germany -- this Kat had no idea that the market for these things was so large, or of the possibility that as many as 1,700 patents might govern them.

Scents and sensibilities II.  Following this morning's post ("Scents and sensibilities: how far can copyright stretch?", here) on the BLACA-IPKat Sensory Copyright event, this Kat has now received the PowerPoint presentations both from Eleonora (here) and from Tobias (here).  On the right you can see Eleonora and Tobias holding samples of HEKSENKAAS, the product on which the Dutch judiciary will soon have to pronounce as to the copyright-protectability of its taste.  The product is reported to be a combination of cream cheese, mayonaise, leek and garlic, so you might want to experiment with it in the privacy of your own kitchens. Meanwhile, if you want to get a taste of Dutch jurisprudence on the subject of taste protection, here's a link to an English translation of the decision in Kecofa v Lancôme.

Wednesday whimsies Wednesday whimsies Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 Rating: 5


  1. A reason for lack of reactions might be that examiners are just forbidden to talk to national government bodies.

    Providing objective information from a first source is very important.

    I would suggest national responsible bodies to run an enquête between EPO employees, independently from the EPO administration. This is the only way to find out what the situation is.

  2. Anon 1742,
    Totally agree. I would happily speak in person to them but to give your contact details is just begging for action from Pres BB. His warning could not have been clearer and his actions speak louder than those words.
    Thank you to Merpel for having created an opening but what was the contact point doing if nobody had any idea of his existence? I'm not doubting his or anyone else at the IPO's integrity, but nobody at the EPO would raise his head against Battistelli no matter how mad his rule.

  3. Dear Merpel,

    thank you for the kind reminder to keep a respectful tone. Certainly, some of the comments are (not only) a bit aggressive towards the IPO.

    A reason may be, that many readers assume that it is part of the the job description of the IPO to exercise oversight over of the EPO and its president. This would require to get informed about the reform proposals of the president before supporting and voting for them in the AC.

    I am sure, SUEPO would be open and happy to share her point of view with the IPO and the other national patent offices - actually, I remember to have read already quite a few letters by SUEPO about possible legal problems of the reforms, sent before the relevant AC meetings to the delegations to the AC.

    I welcome the initiative of the IPO, and hope that other national offices will follow this initiative.

  4. I am one of the three, and so consider myself in a select band.
    It is true that the UK's communique appears to have been the first made by a national office on social media asking for input on this issue, but so what. The communique appears to have been a response to a somewhat hectoring, bordering on the personal, (tirade?) strongly worded criticism against the Minister and the UK representatives on the AC.
    It may be true to suggest that no other national offices have made such an offer of consultation with stakeholders, but it is not credible that consultation is not taking place.

    It is certainly not true to suggest that politicians are not concerned. There have been parliamentary questions and ministerial answers in a number of countries, for example in France this question made the suggestion:

    “Il est temps de remettre un peu de contrôle politique dans tout cela” .

    and the answer to be found here replied:
    Je terminerai en évoquant l’Office européen des brevets. La situation que vous avez décrite, monsieur Leconte, est connue. Elle ne concerne pas que la France, même si le directeur général de cette organisation est un Français. Nous sommes vigilants sur cette question et partageons votre préoccupation. Notre ambassadeur aux Pays-Bas a récemment reçu les représentants du personnel. Nous vous informerons naturellement des suites qui seront données à cette affaire.

    It appears to me that many want an answer and those on social media want it now.

    The answer given without thought is frequently the wrong answer. Time for deliberation is necessary and appropriate.

    It will be interesting to see whether the proposals to be put to the March Administrative Council meeting are made available to the public at large with a view for increased transparency: and it will be more interesting still to see whether the proposals quench or fan the flames.

    IPKat should I suggest avoid the temptation to don the mantle of Trollope’s “Jupiter”.

  5. > It will be interesting to see whether the proposals to be put to the March Administrative Council meeting are made available to the public at large with a view for increased transparency

    March is in 3 days from today.

    Another question is how much time Administrative Council has to consider the proposals.

  6. SUEPO (EPO trade union) just published on their internet site the outcome of the judgment of the Dutch Court of Appeal.
    This document explains very well the legal aspect and the consequences.
    Document : (
    SUEPO site :(

  7. Hi IPKat
    UK based attorney here.

    We have been writing to the Minister directly for sometime now to voice concerns.

    We are contemplating writing to the IPO.

    I think your rebuke is a little hasty as you made the announcement just a couple of days ago.

    Furthermore it is appropriate to deliberate the effectiveness and risks of an approach.

    Nevertheless, we welcome the UK IPO's offer of a contact.

    I suspect we may decide to write to the IPO along the lines of CIPAs excellent letter by Jim Boff asking that those proposals be taken with all seriousness.

    We are very concerned by events at EPO, but as one commentator above said, deliberation is required not a quick fix, and that applies to each step in the journey as well as the proposed solution.

    It is very sad but we don't expect any decisive UK action until after the General Election in May.

  8. I have more faith in the Albanian delegation than the British.Last year I had some work done by some Kosovo Albanians,who of course thanked me for Norman Wisdom and to my astonishment for Tony Blair!!


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