For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Friday fantasies

It's Friday again, time to check your diary -- and the IPKat's Forthcoming Events page -- and see how the latter can plug those dull and unexciting gaps in the former.  Meanwhile, here are a few events in the near future which might just take your fancy.
  • There's still time to book in to the joint "Questions for the Trade Mark Judges" event, a co-production by IBIL (who are providing the venue) and MARQUES, the European trade mark organisation. The fun and games are scheduled for next Wednesday, 16 November. Full details are available here.

  • The Competition Law Association is organising an evening meeting on "Where Next for European Trade Mark Law?" at 6pm on Tuesday 22 November at the offices of Latham and Watkins, 99 Bishopsgate, London. Both speakers are excellent – Professor Graeme Dinwoodie and Peter Lawrence (former Vice President of OHIM from 2005 to 2010 and former head of the Trade Marks registry in the UK) -- and should be able to provide some insight into the forthcoming changes to the trade marks directive and regulations which will be published in the first quarter of 2012. Further details are available here.
  • IP Finance has announced two events on Open Innovation, one on 24 November and the other on 29 November.  Both look rather good.  The first ("IP in Open Innovation: Barrier or Enabler?") is being held in Leuven, Belgium; the second, "Open Innovation: The Challenges and Solutions", in London. Details are here and here respectively.  The IPKat, who has just written an editorial for the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (JIPLP) on the topic, says "go to both!"

  • "Brands, Competition law and IP Law" is the theme of an event which the Institute of Brand and Innovation Law (IBIL) and some of its friends are putting on for Friday 2 December, from 2 to 7pm at University College London's Faculty of Laws' Bloomsbury Campus. Full details are available here.
And here's an event which is not coming up so soon, but the IPKat is mentioning it in the hope that it will remind lots of other folk to organise their own versions of it:
The haggis: not yet
protected by a GI?
 
The Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates are organising "World Intellectual Property Conference 2012", to be held just one day after World Intellectual Property Day on Friday 27 April 2012. The event will be hosted by Roisin Higgins, Advocate and IP specialist and Graeme McWilliams, Legal Adviser, Standard Life, and a friend of the IPKat. Best of all, this event is free! You can download the brochure and the registration form here.

The European Union's efforts at sorting out its patent system continue to give cause for concern but  things aren't so bad for other types of intellectual property, where all sorts of progress is being made, Thus the IPKat can share with his readers a little news (via Chris Torrero: thanks!), which might even be exciting for those with gardens, that the the European Commission has this week launched an online database of varieties of agricultural and vegetable crops. The database contains around 19,000 varieties of agricultural crops and around 17,000 varieties of vegetable crops, the seeds of which can be marketed throughout the European Union. Some of these will be covered by Protected Designations of Origin or Protected Geographical Indications, suspects Merpel.  Anyway, according to the Commission:
Now, is it Brussels Sprouts in
the plural and Brussel
Sprout in the singular...?
 
" ... this new web-based application will provide all potential users with a rapid and easy access to the up-to-date situation of the EU Common Catalogues of plant varieties, although the official versions will continue to be those published in the Official Journal [which is dull and boring and doesn't have useful hyperlinks to other official documents and publications]. 
Based on the EU legislation on the marketing of seed of agricultural and vegetable crops, EU Member States have to carry out tests on distinctness, uniformity and stability (DUS criteria). For the agricultural crops, the value for cultivation and use (VCU) is also tested. Successful varieties have then to be notified by the Member States to the Commission, which is responsible for their inclusion in the relevant Common Catalogue. 
The international community faces nowadays the dual challenge of feeding a growing world population at a time when the global climate changes, which will inevitably impact agriculture and livelihoods. Within this context, new and improved plant varieties are pivotal in ensuring better yields and adaptability to changing climatic and environmental conditions, thereby contributing to long-term food security. In addition, biological diversity is an essential source of material for breeding food and other crops. Efficient variety testing and registration procedures foster the investment environment in research and development of new and improved plant varieties to the benefit of farmers and society in general".
However, whatever you read on this site you'd better not place too much reliance on it:
"This database is made available solely for the purpose of information. It has no legal value. The Commission declines all responsibility or liability whatsoever for errors or deficiencies in this database. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission is responsible [well, we all knew that, mews Merpel] with regard to the improper use of the document and its contents ..."

The IP Hall of Fame exists to "honour those individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the creation of today's global IP system" (you can click here and see if you agree). Anyway, the organisers are currently seeking nominations from which the next batch of five inductees will be selected. If you would like to nominate anyone, you can do so here -- but you have to give reasons, so be prepared to think of some.  The IPKat understands that the closing date for nominations is 9 December and there is no provision for either late filing or for filing amendments.


While the IPKat patiently awaits harmonisation of copyright in Europe, national variations in protection continue to amaze and amuse him.  In this news item kindly submitted by the Kat's old friend Jim Davies (Elevation Legal), "Dutch illusionist fined for copyright infringement" we learn from CTV News that magician Hans Klok has been fined 12,205 euros by a Dutch court for putting a rival's trick up his sleeve and trying to pass it off as his own.  Merpel thinks this is a lot of money and doubts whether, in England and Wales, Mr Klok would have got much more than a ticking off ...

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