The IPKat's day began at the Boston office of Fish & Richardson, where a veritable army of concerned practitioners gathered for breakfast and, more importantly, a chance to discuss latest developments regarding the Madrid Protocol -- the sophisticated and civilised alternative to filing a separate application in each country for which a trade mark registration is required, but a poor alternative to the ideal system which the Madrid Protocol LinkedIn group's coordinator Alfred Strahlberg has in mind.
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Right: there were lots of stress-reliever fish on the table for this meeting, but no stress-relieving richardsons ...
The session focused mainly on two things: the progress (or lack of it) in various countries which have Protocol accession in their sites, and the failure of the system to operate in the way it should. This system failure can be attributed to several factors, including administrative failures by national trade mark authorities and WIPO, the absence of adequate rules relating to time limits, anomalies and illogicalities in the system itself and a sentimental attachment to communication by fax in an era in which instant and accurate electronic communication is quicker, cheaper and more reliable. The Kat thinks this is a great group and -- though its ranks are now burgeoning -- he can't understand why it doesn't have far more members. If you want to know more about this group, email Alfred here and tell him the IPKat sent you.
Following this meeting the Kat took a brisk stroll down to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC), which would also have been a fairly short stroll but for the fact that the BCEC is not intended to be approached on foot. It was with four sore paws and some guidance from fellow academic Professor David Berry that he finally reached his destination and the innocent pleasures of the air-conditioning. Once cooled down, the Kat spent some hours engaged in networking of the non-electronic variety, reviving old acquaintanceships and making new ones. Chatting to some of his German colleagues, he was again impressed by the wonderful way in which the German language creates long and compound nouns such as Freihaltebedurfnis, which roll so majestically off the tongue and make their speaker sound so knowledgeable. He also idly wondered if the Germans had a word for that feeling of anxiety experienced by non-US users of US hotel lavatory cubicles on seeing that the gap between the door and its frame is wide enough to see through.
On the subject of the Germans, the Kat was delighted to encounter his friend, scholar and lawyer Paul Lange (Siebeke Lange Wilbert), general editor of the Internationales Handbuch des Marken- und Kennseichenrechts (here). Paul was excitedly waving, hot off the press, a copy of the newly-published English version, International Trade Mark and Signs Protection: a Handbook, a venture in which Paul had toiled for several years. The IPKat was delighted to share Paul's excitement since he too had contributed a paw or two, and indeed some weeks of his life. Details of this book, published in Germany by C. H. Beck and in the UK by Hart Publishing, can be found here [nb This work will be reviewed on this weblog in greater detail by an impartial non-Kat; it will also be the prize for a forthcoming competition].
Following a further bout of networking, the IPKat came to the conclusion that INTA should set up a mutual support group for people who are currently writing doctoral theses or masters dissertations on aspects of the protection of well-known and famous trade marks (he has encountered several in the past couple of days, and knows of more). This would be a great forum for the numerous INTA participants who suffer from this condition -- which is serious if untreated but not apparently fatal -- to discuss their various experiences and compare cures.