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.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Wednesday whimsies

Unified Patent Court. At one minute past midnight tomorrow morning, the European Scrutiny Committee of the British House of Commons delivers its verdict on the proposed and highly controversial plans for a Unified Patent Court for the European Union. Watch this space for further news ...


Ideas Matter, really! On World Intellectual Property Day last week, a new grouping was formed -- Ideas Matter. It's a collection of "enterprises, SMEs and trade associations, dedicated to demonstrating the benefits of intellectual property (IP) for our work and daily lives". You can find out more by visiting the Ideas Matter website here, follow it on Twitter if you can find it there (this Kat tried, but couldn't ...) and visit its YouTube Channel here.


Flying feline.  In what has been described as a case of branding going mad, Taiwan-based Eva Air has plastered its aeroplanes with licensed Hello Kitty icons.  According to this piece in The Mail Online, kindly forwarded by the ever-vigilant Chris Torrero, the branding on the outside of the aircraft literally scratches the surface.  Once passengers board the flight,
"[f]ans will be able to enjoy more than 100 specially designed Hello Kitty items on the flight and can purchase limited edition duty-free products, such as Hello Kitty-shaped pasta, from flight attendants wearing Hello Kitty aprons".
The Kat can't help wondering whether this business deal is as advantageous for Hello Kitty's Japanese owners as it must be for the airline.  How does one quantify the kind of damage that might be done to the brand in the tragic event of an aviation accident?


You win some, you lose some.  The United States Trade Representative's office has recently published its annual 301 Report. You can muse over it at your leisure here.  One of the countries that is cited for its failure to provide a level of intellectual property that pleases the United States is Israel, which can however  take comfort from the fact that it comes top of the Consumers International IP Watchlist Report 2012 as having the IP laws and enforcement practices that are most consumer-friendly. You can muse over this report at your leisure here.  A double katpat goes to Michael D. Birnhack for this brace of links.


Experiment Eleven.  Ever heard of it? No, this Kat hadn't either, till he found himself on the receiving end of a new book, Experiment Eleven: Dark Secrets Behind the Discovery of a Wonder Drug, by Food, Inc author Peter Pringle. Trying to find its web-page, the Kat found what appears to be a different version of the same book, Experiment Eleven: Deceit and Betrayal in the Discovery of a Wonder Drug. Both titles appear to be published by Walker Books; information about the version illustrated on the right can be found here, while you can get some idea of the book on the left, below, by clicking here.  Patents get a mention or two, of course, though the author is more concerned with the inventor's moral right to be recognised as such:
"In 1943, Albert Schatz, a young Rutgers College Ph.D. student, worked on a wartime project in microbiology professor Selman Waksman's lab, searching for an antibiotic to fight infections on the front lines and at home. In his eleventh experiment on a common bacterium found in farmyard soil, Schatz discovered streptomycin, the first effective cure for tuberculosis, one of the world's deadliest diseases. 
As director of Schatz's research, Waksman took credit for the discovery, belittled Schatz's work, and secretly enriched himself with royalties from the streptomycin patent filed by the pharmaceutical company Merck. In an unprecedented lawsuit, young Schatz sued Waksman, and was awarded the title of "co-discoverer" and a share of the royalties. But two years later, Professor Waksman alone was awarded the Nobel Prize. Schatz disappeared into academic obscurity. 
For the first time, acclaimed author and journalist Peter Pringle unravels the intrigues behind one of the most important discoveries in the history of medicine. The story unfolds on a tiny college campus in New Jersey, but its repercussions spread worldwide. The streptomycin patent was a breakthrough for the drug companies, overturning patent limits on products of nature and paving the way for today's biotech world. As dozens more antibiotics were found, many from the same family as streptomycin, the drug companies created oligopolies and reaped big profits. Pringle uses firsthand accounts and archives in the United States and Europe to reveal the intensely human story behind the discovery that started a revolution in the treatment of infectious diseases and shaped the future of Big Pharma".
Readers may be thinking about Article 4 ter of the Paris Convention on the Protection of Industrial Property: "The inventor shall have the right to be mentioned as such in the patent" ...

1 comment:

Tim Roberts said...

Readers may be thinking about the recent Prometheus case in the US Supreme Court, which, in affirming the unpatentability of Laws of Nature, has at the same time cast doubt on the patenting of Products of Nature. Maybe nobody was entitled to a patent on this remarkable medical advance?

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