For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Friday fantasies

The IPkat is sad to report the death of Niel Ackermann, a prominent Cambridge-based IP lawyer, who sadly passed away last week after a 14 month battle with cancer. Niel, who hailed from South Africa, originally trained as a journalist, before coming to the UK when he saw the light and converted to law in 1981. He worked with a number of firms including Bird & Bird, Pettman Smith and Dorsey & Whitney in London, before spending the past seven years in a second stint at Hewitsons LLP in Cambridge.

Apart from being an enthusiastic IP lawyer and a contributor of numerous posts on this weblog, Niel had a longstanding interest in information technology and was a strong advocate for the incorporation of technology as a means of streamlining legal working practices. He was also frequently to be found at IP conferences, where he had a propensity for lobbing some delightfully dangerous questions at unsuspecting speakers. Niel leaves his wife Elizabeth and four grown-up children; will be greatly missed by them as well as by his partners and colleagues at Hewitsons and the IP community at large [The IPKat thanks Niel's colleague Mark Elmslie for helping him prepare this note].


Having a seizure? A press release from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have announced that their "vigorous, ongoing efforts" to protect America from the trade in counterfeit and pirated goods during fiscal year 2011 resulted in 24,792 seizures -- a 24% increase over 2010.  For health and safety products the figure is even more impressive: an increase of 44%.  According to the report, China continues to be the number one source country for counterfeit and pirated goods seized, accounting for 62% of the total domestic value of seizures. Good news for Nike is that, for the first time since 2005, footwear was not the top commodity. That dubious honour went to consumer electronics, about one third of which were cellphones.  You can read the full report here [thanks, Chris Torrero, for the link]. The IPKat never knows what to make of seizure statistics: this is because the most important data -- the quantity of counterfeit and pirated goods that are not seized -- is unavailable. A 24% increase in the number of goods seized looks impressive, but it isn't so great if the overall increase in fakes is up by, say, 50%. Merpel wonders, what's the significance of 62% of fakes coming from China given that, when she last went shopping in the US, it seemed to her that about 90% in the shops came from China ...


America: the home of some
of the world's greatest
inventions ...
The IPKat's friends at IPSoc continue to organise all manner of fascinating events for the junior members of the IP profession. "Boy" George tells him that the organisation's next thriller is a talk, "America Invents – US Patent Reforms", delivered by Anthony C. Tridico (Finnegan), as soon as 24 January 2012.  Registration opens at 6pm, the talk runs from 6.30pm to 7.30 pm, being followed -- for those who thirst after knowledge -- by a Q & A session and drinks. The venue is the lovely office of Hogan Lovells, Atlantic House, 50 Holborn Viaduct, London. It doesn't matter how young or beautiful you are: you can only gain admission if you are an IPSoc member. If you're not, then Merpel suggests that you click here and regularise your status.

While publishers of IP books are not always known for their charity, they are occasionally very generous.  An act of conspicuous generosity on the part of one such publisher may be found on this very weblog with the announcement that the IPKat's friends at Edward Elgar Publishing are making a special offer to all of his readers. A new title, Intellectual Property and Emerging Technologies: the New Biology, has been edited by the excellent Matthew Rimmer and Alison McLennan, both of the Australian National University College of Law [Merpel notes the acronym, ANUCOL, which reminds her of a proprietary treatment for discmfort of the nether regions].  In theory this will cost you £120 -- but this is where the generosity comes in.  If you click here to buy the book, then enter the code ‘RIMMER35’ in the special discount code box after you have entered your delivery details, you get a whopping 35% discount.  The book, incidentally, features contributions from some eminent and highly capable authors about whom the Kat has lots of lovely things to say even if he isn't being paid to say them.  NB The Kat hopes to carry a review of this title in the fullness of time ...


Around the weblogs. Afro-IP calls all interested African IP lawyers who might be able to attend a social/serious meeting in London to get in touch.  The same blog urges the African trade mark fraternity to turn up in force for the Africa Session in this year's INTA Meeting, Washington DC.  Art & Artifice's Angela Saltarelli reports on the Battle of the Banana -- this being the iconic Andy Warhol/Velvet Underground banana so beloved of children of the '60s.  Rob Harrison, writing on IP Finance, has some good points to make on IP and stock market returns.

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