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.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Monday miscellany

If this Kat were not busying himself tomorrow (Tuesday, that is) in chairing the IP Finance seminar on FRAND licensing, he would be beetling over to the very comfy London office of Allen & Overy, in Bishops Square, to enjoy a rapid response seminar on the UK Supreme Court's extremely recent ruling in Human Genome Sciences v Eli Lilly (noted by the IPKat here).  This event is organised by the AIPPI UK and kicks off at 5:30 for 6pm. Keynote speaker is Ursula Kinkeldey (former chair of the relevant EPO Technical Board (3.3.04) and member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal), supported by Nina White (Boult Wade Tennant) and Robert Burrows (Bristows).  Given the event's importance, a Kat will be present; indeed, it will be the AmeriKat herself, which means that there's a sporting chance that some of the juiciest bits of the meeting might just find their way on to this weblog. Full details and registration here. The event is free to members, cheap to non-members. Merpel thinks this event could actually be quite handy for IP students. She adds, "There isn't actually an advertised student concession but, if I was a student and not just a fictional cat and I wanted to attend for free, I'd email the organiser ..."


Help urgently needed. Earlier this year the IPKat was duly impressed by the Pink Ribbon decision of the Hague District Court (or is that the The Hague District Court?) in which a the court issued what is apparently the first ever anti-filing injunction, to order a pestiferous litigant NOT to make further applications to register trade marks to which he had no entitlement (you can read all about it here; the full judgment, translated into English, has been reported in Sweet & Maxwell's European Trade Mark Reports, which this Kat fortuitously edits).  Now, as it just so happens, news has reached the IPKat of a serial pest who has made the lives of a number of IP owners hell through his activities in infringing the rights of others, in seeking to prevent them obtaining protection of their own rights and in generally harassing them.  He litigates in person and has run up vast costs for the other side. While he has been unsuccessful at trial and has had substantial costs awards against him, it is apparent that he is quite undaunted and continues to harass IP owners.  The Kat wants to know if there is anyone out there in private practice who thinks that they might be able to persuade a British court to order a party not to apply for other people's trade marks and/or not to assert other people's trade marks, or any similar relief, can he or she please email the IPKat here. There is a small catch: the chances are that you'll be doing this pro bono, since your client has been bled dry by successful litigation -- but there's the prospect of plenty of good publicity, both from this weblog and elsewhere.


An offer that surely can't be refused.  The IPKat has learned that the UK's IP Crime Group has updated its Supply Chain Toolkit. The 2011 version, which you can download here, is designed to help businesses to raise their awareness of counterfeit goods in the supply chain. Its 30 or so pages are supposed to contain a good deal of useful information and suggestions, but in truth it doesn't seem to have taken much notice of the helpful comments made by the IPKat and his readers when an earlier edition was constructively criticised in January 2009. This Kat remains as bewildered as ever at the thought that anyone lacking awareness of legal issues relating to counterfeits in the supply chain should need to know that
"The UK is also a member of the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC), which is administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)", 
any more than they should need to know the boiling point of a blogger's temperature.  And now for the offer: if the IP Crime Group is willing, the IPKat will put together a small team of people to compose the next Suuply Chain Toolkit.  It will be exactly the same length as the current one and will cost not a penny, since the authors will donate their time to the public good. The only difference is that it will be relevant. If anyone from the IP Crime Group would like to take the IPKat and his friends up on this offer, would they please email the Kat here.


If you thought that things had suddenly gone quiet regarding Europe's Unified Patent Court, they haven't.  It has been pointed out to the IPKat that the most recent [thanks to Steve Peers] draft agreement on the court requires the deposits of nine instruments of ratification. Now, how long did it take to get nine deposits for the arguably far less controversial London Agreement on reducing translation costs? Eight years. Regarding the Unified Patent Court, the ratification requirement might just be a clever way to leave the door open to bringing Spain and Italy on board -- or possibly to coerce them into apparent support. Once Spain and Italy figure out that it costs nothing except apparent consent for them to sign the agreement and then not ratify it, they will have worked out that they can stay out while still leaving the door open to them to come on board later -- which will leave it open to their lawyers to appear in the new courts.If they don't sign, however, they can only come on board in the future if there is a diplomatic conference which leads to a new Agreement, in which case their lawyers will be precluded from appearing in the court (not being lawyers of a contracting member state) until that state of affairs is rectified.  Merpel, meanwhile, is dreaming of the next round of fun and games over whether the Court might actually be. Her reading of the draft suggests to her that there is no reason why the Court should all be in one place: perhaps the Court of First Instance can be in one city while the Appeal Court is located elsewhere -- and what about a mobile court that floats up and down the Danube, which, if she's not mistaken, passes through no fewer than six European Union member states, but not Italy or Spain ...


Around the blogs.  Kingsley Egbuonu's long and arduous alphabetical trek through Africa's nations in search of decent intellectual property office websites on behalf of Afro-IP takes him this week to Guinea where, sad to say, you'd probably do a lot better with an envelope and a stamp than with anything that runs on electricity. PatLit's in the news this week for two things: the first is the thoroughly entertaining post by Michael Thesen on FRAND-Land and some hitherto little-known strains on Dutch-German relations. The second is the appointment of a brand new team member, to cover developments in the United States -- the highly respected (despite the fact that he's a friend of the IPKat) Professor David C. Berry. David's presence should help give PatLit the sort of credibility as a patent litigation weblog which requires a first-hand, first-rate American to be in the team.


Around the links.  There's a new LinkedIn Group called Automotives+IP, lovingly crafted by the IPKat's friend and long-time reader Lee Curtis (Harrison Goddard Foote) and based on the highly-successful (and decently moderated) Fashion+IP LinkedIn Group masterminded by his colleague Rebecca Tilbury. Membership is open to anyone interested in IP in the automotives sector and anyone can post discussions to the group. Merpel is considering offering prizes for the next in the family of '+IP' LinkedIn Group to come from HGF ...

2 comments:

Steve Peers said...

On the patent court agreement, one might think that the perceived political urgency of doing a deal on that treaty, and the associated EU legislation, will translate into a swift ratification by a sufficient number of parties. Arguably such a sense of urgency was lacking when the London Agreement was ratified; and perhaps with the ratification of that agreement out of the way in many Member States, the next step (the patent court treaty) might conceivably seem as controversial. We shall see - if a final deal is actually done.

From the other perspective, at least a requirement for nine ratifications is a more flexible rule than a requirement for ratification of all of the participating States. This was the rock on which the previous two EC/EU patent treaties eventually foundered.

It should perhaps be pointed out that, as it currently stands, the treaty cannot enter into force until the UK, Germany and France have each ratified it. Also, as I have pointed out before, it is at least legally possible that the court could begin business located in a state which has not yet ratified the treaty which creates it.

Finally, as regards Spain and Italy, I can't see how the timing of their signature on the treaty affects anything legally - there is no time limit to sign it. If they ratify the treaty it will only apply to them as far as European patents are concerned - since the EU's unitary patent will not be applicable to those countries unless they decide to opt in to that legislation.

And on that point, now that Silvio Berlusconi has departed the stage (at least for now) to spend more time with his lawyers, has anyone heard whether the new Italian government might be willing to opt in? (The discussion on the patlit blog indicated that there was seemingly no prospect of the new Spanish government doing so).

Andrea Rush said...

Canadians familiar with court orders characterizing "vexatious litigants", may be pondering who (Trade-marks Opposition Board/ Court?) would have jurisdiction to sanction a "vexatious applicant".

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