Friday fantasies

Forthcoming events. The past week has seen a couple of fresh events added to the IPKat's list of forthcoming attractions. Do remember to check out this page and see if there's anything there that you fancy attending.  One event that has gained some traction in the past few days is the JIPLP-GRUR seminar on the impact of the Europan Union's IP Enforcement Directive (details here), a lovely and decidedly free event on Tuesday 8 September which now has over 70 good souls signed up -- but there's still room for more.

Another event Brick in the Wall. On the subject of events, Katfriend Enrico Bonadio is organising a seminar on the topic "The Lego Brick and the International Intellectual Property System, 1955-2015" by Professor Dan Hunter at the City University, London, on 7 September 2015. Enrico has a suspicion that this event, which is free to attend, might just appeal to some of our readers who like playing with building toys take an active interest in the protection of some of the world's most truly famous IP rights.  Click here for details, but don't press too hard ...

Another Brick in the Wall Paywall. Hidden behind a paywall but nonetheless patronised by the intelligentsia of the United Kingdom lies a Sunday Times feature, "Twitter gags copycats who filch comedians’ lines", by James Gillespie, Stephen Armstrong and John Harlow. This Kat is pleased to see that this article was enriched by an interview with our very own Eleonora Rosati, whose Katpost on that topic here has sparked off so much interest in this topic in the national media and beyond.

Accidents will happen. This Kat has often deprecated the heavy-handed way in which copyright owners wield their legal rights. Here's an example in  "Dallas Buyers Club: Court rules in favour of film's illegal downloaders", a classic in the theme of how poor judgment and not a little rapacity in copyright enforcement combine to give copyright a bad name; it involves the practice of "speculative invoicing" of which the British and now the Australians have had first-hand experience. Take a look also at "Pixels Accidentally Files Copyright Claim Against Its Own Trailer, Forcing Its Removal", in which Brendan McKnight chronicles the brief and embarrassing history of a Digital Millennium Copyright Act take-down application that Columbia Pictures, owners of the rights in the Pixels movie, successfully made against Vimeo (Katpats to John R. Walker for the first link, and to Chris Torrero for the second).

Around the weblogs 1.  Glastonbury guru Ben Challis's CopyKat post on the copyright-flavoured 1709 Blog takes stock of what he calls a 'brief week', a week in which he also notes that leading collective management organisation PRS for Music has told its members that it's temporarily increasing its administration fees in order to cover the cost of defending its copyright licence royalty rates against a legal challenge from television broadcasting company ITV. Still on the 1709 Blog, Andy Johnstone updates an earlier post with news that big-cat loving Shakira [you have to be really famous not to have a surname, purrs Merpel who is still trying to lose hers] is not after all a plagiarist. On IP Finance, Anne Fairpo reports on the proposed US "innovation box", bound -- like every thing else American -- to be bigger and better than the mortally wounded UK "patent box" while Kristin L. Murphy guests a piece in PatLit on a couple of US Patent Trial and Appeal Board decisions on estoppel in America Invents Act (AIA) post-grant patent challenges [Merpel explains: the AIA is a sexy subject, but even sexy subjects have their non-sexy bits: that's where estoppel comes in].

Around the weblogs 2.  Making a rare appearance on the IPKat's weblog is the US Library of Congress blog, which has picked up some news that many Brits have missed. In short, there is a large scale microfilm conversion process underway in connection with the records of the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords (that's the bit which has now been given a facelift and rebranded as the UK's Supreme Court). Some exhibits (e.g. the original fabric from the leading non-identical artistic work infringement decision in Designers Guild v Russell Williams, which this Kat has still never seen) are going to be kept but others -- including the photos of the jif lemon and Borden ReaLemon in Reckitt & Colman v Borden) are going to be ditched, if they haven't already. Fellow IP blogger Rosie Burbidge was wondering whether someone might fancy setting up a retirement home for elderly pieces of iconic evidence in IP trials. Volunteers, anyone?  Meanwhile, making its debut on this blog is the University of Tasmania's Centre for Law and Genetics blog, which marked 11 August as "BRCA Expiration Day" with the following message:
Hearing the words "Darcy" and "gift to
 women", Merpel mistakenly thought this
was all about Pride & Prejudice ...
It is a rare day that intellectual property aficionados celebrate the end of a patent. But today, 11 August 2015, is an auspicious day, as it marks the end of many of the infamous BRCA patents. These patents have been the subject of much controversy worldwide, with Court challenges in the US, Europe and Australia. The patents that are due to expire include Australian patent AU686004, the subject of D'Arcy v Myriad Genetics Inc & Another, as well as a number of the European BRCA patents (EP0699754, EP0705902 and EP0705903). In some ways this expiry will have little effect in the Australian context; as we explain in our Occasional Paper at 115, the BRCA patents have been gifted 'to the women in Australia and New Zealand’ by Genetic Technologies Ltd, the exclusive licensee of the patents in Australia and New Zealand.  
However, the Australian High Court case challenges a broader principle. The question posed there is whether isolated genes that resemble those in nature are manners of manufacture for the purposes of s 18(1)(a) of the Patents Act 1990.  
Another BRCA in the wall ...
Whilst we eagerly await the decision of that court, Europeans and Australians need harbour no more concern that these particular patents will stifle innovation or reduce access to diagnostic tests. Beyond this, the question of what should constitute patentable subject matter will continue to be debated. Hopefully, we can learn lessons for the BRCA saga that will continue to guide patent policy in the future. 
This Kat wonders what might have happened if either no patents had been sought or if they were sought but could not be obtained? How could the saga of the BRCA patents have been better handled? What counterfactual scenarios spring to mind? Do let us know what you think!

Friday fantasies Friday fantasies Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, August 14, 2015 Rating: 5


  1. Is the link missing to the US Library of Congress blog on the House of Lords archival, or am I just being thick?

  2. Anonymous @10:11 asks is there a missing link or is he/she just being thick. In honesty, the one proposition does not exclude the other -- but the link in question decided to take a few days off. The link has now been restored to its proper place. Thanks for pointing it out!


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