Monday miscellany

Two heads can be more effective than one,
at least if they can think independently ...
"Who are the addressees of the InfoSoc three-step test?" Readers of the 1709 Blog may have noticed fellow Kat Eleonora's excited post this morning which poses this question -- and in which she also announces the forthcoming publication in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (JIPLP) of an article with a title suggesting a possible answer: "Are national courts the addressees of the InfoSoc three-step test?", co-authored with leading British intellectual property judge and scholar Mr Justice Arnold.  You can read the abstract on the 1709 Blog.  This Kat, who has to declare an interest as JIPLP's editor, just wants to add one thing: while (i) co-authored articles are always popular since they spread the strain of writing and reduce the incidence of errors, and while (ii) anyone can read a statute, directive, treaty, regulation or legal judgment and draw their own conclusions, an article in which the co-authors do not share the same immediate background or standpoint is always likely to have more to commend it since it is better able to take a more rounded view of its subject-matter. Whether it is a judge writing together with an academic, a private practitioner together with a client, or any other combination of experiences and skill sets, the result is generally far more interesting and enjoyable from the editor's point of view -- and, this editor hopes, from the reader's perspective too. 

Reminding patent in-housers. This Kat's friends at Managing Intellectual Property magazine are running a survey on the current attitude of in-house patent attorneys to the emerging regime for unitary patents and a unified patent court for the European Union. You can find details of this initiative, and the reasons for it, from the PatLit weblog here. If, as a respondent, (i) you don't already have an iPad mini 3 and (ii) you actually want one, you can opt to enter your name in a draw for one. 

News from Eponia. This Kat learns from his ever-vigilant friend Merpel that the Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office (EPI) is getting aspirant patent attorneys involved in European Patent Office (EPO) governance issues at an early stage.  Apparently, in an email offering an online training course for candidates taking the pre-examination of the European Qualifying Examination in 2016, there were accidentally included three attachments setting out the EPI’s view of the proposed reforms of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO, and the response to the ongoing consultation on the matter [here and here].

UPDATE 7/7/15 In response to popular demand (See comments), the three documents are: 1) 6 February Letter to the Administrative Council concerning the Organisation of the Boards of Appeal; 2) 25 June EPI Position Paper on CA/16/15; and 3)  25 June EPI response to User Consultation on Reform of the Boards of Appeal

Conscientious objectors, take note. "L'Oréal Lawyer Claims Company Fired Him When He Wouldn’t Pursue Problematic Patents" was a headline that this Kat deemed too good to hide away in the "Around the weblogs" feature below. It's a blogpost from Suits by Suits ("A legal blog about disputes between companies and their executives", by US law firm Zuckerman Spaeder LLP), about an action brought by patent attorney Steven Trzaska under New Jersey's Conscientious Employee Protection Act. The allegation is that the company set its New Jersey a quota of 40 patents to file in 2014 but that some of them were of "low or poor quality" in that they were, er, cosmetic ... The Kats hope to hear more about the progress of this case, and wonder whether, on a broad construction of its provisions, the Act would also cover conscientious objections by lawyers to instituting patent infringement proceedings or demanding royalties where they have reason to believe that their employer is indulging in a spot of trolling.

Casting nasturtiums on Nagoya? The Royal Horticultural Society, gaining its first ever mention on this weblog, is running its very own Nagoya Protocol event [if you're not sure what this is about, click here for background and here for Darren's earlier Katpost on a failed legal challenge to it by a consortium of German and Dutch plant growers]

It is key that the response to the Nagoya Protocol is from across the horticulture sector and in collaboration with Defra and NMRO. The RHS, will therefore, over the next few months be engaging with key stakeholders from horticulture, Defra and National Measurement and Regulation Office (NMRO) to raise awareness on the Nagoya Protocol, to formulate a shared response and to work towards informing the process of ‘best practices’. This will include holding a meeting for those with concerns about or an interest in the Protocol and the legislation to share their views with Defra and the NMRO, and this will form the basis of how UK horticulture can respond constructively to the legislation.

This meeting will be held at RHS Garden Wisley on 27 July with representatives of Defra and NMRO being present. Those interested in attending this meeting please contact Laura Robins on with your name and email address.

The 'bad old days' of clean car technology ...
Around the weblogs. "What will happen to the Unified Patent Court (UPC) if the UK leaves the EU?" This question, together with some further questions posed on the same topic, is discussed on the PatLit weblog here. On the 1709 Blog, former guest Kat Marie-Andrée Weiss also poses a question: "Did you RT a © today? Photographer Sues Infringers and Retweeters" -- though her supplementary question about the possibility of small claims copyright courts in the US is the bit this Kat liked the best. Elsewhere a somewhat enigmatic blogpost title comes from SOLO IP's Barbara Cookson: "CIPA as an Entity of Intellectual Property Influence", a post that touches on some sensitive issues for UK patent attorneys. The Washington Post's Innovation blog writes up the virtues of patent portfolios predicated on the notion of open licensing in "Why it’s time to open up our patent system" -- particularly in the automotive industry where "clean car" technology is all the rage (Katpat to Chris Torrero for the link). Finally, the jiplp weblog announces the contents of JIPLP's August 2015 issue, together with the full text of Molly Stech's guest editorial on moral mights and the attribution of artists in the United States. 
Monday miscellany Monday miscellany Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, July 06, 2015 Rating: 5


  1. The allegation is that the company set its New Jersey a quota of 40 patents to file in 2014 but that some of them were of "low or poor quality" in that they were, er, cosmetic ...

    What is the world coming to?

    Super-Benoît should lend Mamie Zinzin a few of his goons to "control risks" at L'Oréal.

  2. Don't be coy. Where can we find the 'accidentally' leaked EPI documents?!

  3. I assume that these three "accidentally leaked" documents about the Boards of Appeal consultation were the same three documents that I received on 26 June in an email from the epi Secretariat?

    Addressed to "Dear epi members", it seemed to have been sent to all members for information. It also encouraged members to file their own responses to the consultation, and to send comments back to epi.

    To be fair, Merpel doesn't suggest that the documents were "leaked". Might it also be possible that neither was their further distribution to pre-exam candidates entirely "accidental"?

  4. Anonymous of 18:57 here. For those of us who are not yet epi members (I was a candidate for the main EQE this time round and to my knowledge did not get the email which circulated among pre-exam candidates), can someone make these mysterious documents available?

  5. The third anonymous above is quite correct that the documents were not “leaked” as they had been widely circulated already, and included the response to a rather public consultation that the EPO is running. The point was that they were not intended for the recipients of the email. Merpel fails to see how this was not entirely accidental, as suggested by the fourth Anon, since the attachments had nothing to do with the content of the email, and if further proof were needed, apparently a later email requested the recipients to disregard the attachments. In response the multiple requests, links to the documents have now been added to the post.

  6. Is epi trying to shed the impression of supineness it it cast in the past, in particular during the Alison Brimelow's so-called "raise the bar" EPC rule modifications? Half a decade later these are all but gone, in particular Rule 36, yet I don't remember epi protesting them before their initial adoption.

    The tone of the documents is much too diplomatic to my taste. Reasoned and constructive suggestions on a narrow topic do not bring anything, the issue is really the future of the European patent system. Who controls the EPOrg, and for whose benefit? Is it the public? The president and his clique? The member states? Corporate interests? Small applicants?


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