1 Dealing with fakes, French-style
The Daily Telegraph reports this morning on the activities of the French customs authorities, who are pulling motorists in as they cross the border from Italy and fining them on the spot if they do not immediately yield the counterfeit products they've bought in the popular street market in Ventimiglia. The article specifically cites seizure of HERMES and LOUIS VUITTON fakes. It quotes Christine Laï, the director-general of the manufacturers' association Unifab:
"The genuine item would have cost 100 times as much. Not many people go to the Ventimiglia market intending to bring back fine Italian charcuterie. They know what they're doing. The problem of counterfeit goods is enormous. Every other French business is a victim, whatever they make, from designer clothes to Champagne, and globally we are talking about $400-500 billion a year".Indeed, French customs chiefs are reported as saying that the number of articles seized rocketed from under two million in 2003 to nearly 3,500,000 in 2004. China - including Hong Kong - South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam account for 72 per cent of those confiscated in France.
The IPKat would love to know what criteria the customs officers employ for determining whether goods are genuine or fake, knowing how difficult he sometimes finds it to tell them apart. Is is it just obviously unused goods with labels showing knockdown prices? Or failure to display a receipt from a recognised retailer? Or what? Merpel admires the French for their strong support of IP owners but wonders: is it just French brands that are protected, or does the benefit of this procedure apply to English, German, Dutch, American and other brands?
Left: more French steps to repel unwanted fakes
2 Latest IPQ
Issue 3 of Sweet & Maxwell's Intellectual Property Quarterly for 2005 is now out. As ever, it contains plenty to think about. In this issue there's
* "Music and Creativity as Perceived by Copyright Law", by Andreas Rahmatian. Beware: this man has a first degree in Musicology and History from the University of Vienna, so you'd better brush up your Beethoven before attempting this one;
* The published version of a conference paper given in January 2004 by the IPKat's co-blogmeisters on "Going Down in History: Does History Have Anything to Offer Today's Intellectual Property Lawyer?";
* " 'Policy Style' Reasoning at the Indian Patent Office" by Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre-based Shamnad Basheer, looking at the point at which law and politics meet in the wake of India's recent major legislative amendments of the patent system.
3 The glittering prizes
The Australian Copyright Council has announced the GC O'Donnell essay prize of $3,500 (that's Australian dollars) for the author of an essay displaying