Wednesday Whimsies

IBIL:  striking a balance
Forthcoming IP events. Have you checked out the IPKat's forthcoming events page lately? If not, you may have missed the addition of UCL's annual Sir Hugh Laddie lecture. For fresh-faced IP enthusiasts who were not lucky enough to know Sir Hugh, here's an insight: a popular and effective judge, a reporter once said of him: "If Laddie had been around in Dickens' day, Jarndyce and Jarndyce would have been over by lunchtime and Bleak House would have been a novella." In 2005 Sir Hugh took the unusual step of resigning from his position as a High Court judge in the Chancery Division and Patents Court, on the grounds that it was 'unstimulating.' He went on to work for Willoughby and Partners (now Rouse) and was appointed Professor of intellectual property law at University College London, where he founded the Institute of Brand and Innovation Law. The 2016 Sir Hugh Laddie lecture, on the theme 'Patents and Populism', will be given by the Hon. Dr. Annabel Bennett AO SC, a former judge of the Federal Court of Australia. The event will be chaired by another erudite and entertaining member of the IP community, the Rt. Hon Professor Robin Jacob. The IPKat has learned through bitter experience that there's no such thing as a free lunch however, happily, there is such a thing as a FREE event featuring some of the world's foremost intellectual property brains. You can sign up here.

The IPKat getting ready for a glittering
IP evening for a good cause
Speaking of events, have you ever shared the IPKat's disappointment at the dearth of intellectual property themed parties? If so, the Intellectual Property Ball at London's Millennium Gloucester hotel is for you. All proceeds to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Info and tickets here.

Around the blogs. Congratulations to Afro IP for roaring past 1,000,000 page views! See here for their latest post on the "Please Call Me" Concourt judgment from South Africa. The decision handed down yesterday concludes Mr Makate's 15 year fight against Vodacom. Makate came up with a method "whereby one could send a cell phone message to someone asking them to “please call me” at little charge.  This was a useful invention in "the lucrative prepaid mobile phone market... when one ran out of airtime, which was often the case." Mr Makate relayed his idea to his manager, who agreed to give him a 15% cut of any profits resulting from the company's exploitation of his idea (which was conceived outside the course of employment). Makate's tenacious fight to be compensated for his intellectual creation looks set to pay off, as the invention is said to have earned Vodacom "billions."

You know you are onto a winner when people
claim you are infringing...
In the news. Five years after the Royal Wedding, the British tabloids have dug up yet another story about the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress (see here and here). This time it's about copyright infringement. UK fashion designer Christine Kendall is reportedly taking Alexander McQueen and McQueen designer, Sarah Burton,  to court over claims that they copied her designs. The articles suggest that Kendall showed her designs to someone at Alexander McQueen and the rest is apparently matrimonial history.  As followers of IP infringement cases in the fashion world will recognise, it's a long way from there to a finding of  infringement. Whether the case has any merit or not, if Merpel knows the British press, they won't miss this latest excuse to print a few more pictures of the Duchess in her wedding dress.

In the courts. An interesting trade mark infringement/fair use decision was delivered on 19 April from a Kentucky district court (Oaklawn Jockey Club, Inc. et al. v Kentucky Downs LLC & Encore Gaming) having to do, of course, with horse racing.  Gamblers at a racetrack owned by Kentucky Downs were able to bet on digital re-enactments of famous horse races. The gambler does not know what race they are going to see until the bet has been placed (otherwise those who are versed in their horse-racing history would know the outcome). The Plaintiffs - various horse racing tracks - objected to Encore identifying their race tracks by name. The court found that "presenting the name of Plaintiff's tracks in plain words as the location of a race does not constitute trade mark infringement." Even if there had been a likelihood of confusion finding, the Defendant would have had a fair use defence as the Defendant had used the names of the Plaintiff's race tracks in a good faith and in a geographically descriptive sense. For more information click here.
Wednesday Whimsies Wednesday Whimsies Reviewed by Nick Smallwood on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 Rating: 5

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