It’s Movember folks! The time of year when gentlemen around the world cultivate facial topiary to raise money for excellent causes. And so that they can look dashing, of course.
IPCopy is celebrating Movember with a run-down of our favourite moustache-related patents. Why some of these products are no longer available for purchase in a gentleman’s fashion establishment near you is a total mystery…
As a lover of all things food-related, I was surprised this week to hear of a tasty baked good that hadn’t yet made it onto my radar – and a tasty baked good that has come to the world’s attention as the subject of an IP dispute, no less! What more could a girl ask for? Readers will probably already be aware of the ‘Duffin’ – the donut-muffin hybrid that has been made and gradually popularised by Bea’s of Bloomsbury since 2011, and that is now the subject of a trade mark registration by a company that supplies Starbucks (boo hiss taxes etc, etc).
Now, I’m no trade mark attorney – patents are more my bag – so if a contentious issue like this stumbled across my path, I’d be hailing down one of my esteemed trade mark colleagues to untangle it. But as it happens, I’ve spent most of this week committing as much trade mark law as possible to memory in preparation for professional exams, and this real-life example has served as excellent revision fodder.
A few basics of trademark law shed a lot of light onto this situation, and the real legal situation is rather different from the picture that might appear at first sight. Could big-bad Starbucks really stop Bea’s bakery, and others, from using the name Duffin? Well, purely as a self-training exercise, here’s my personal take on the situation.
Anyone who has passed through an airport recently will be familiar with the now infamous Trunki: the ingenious child’s ride-on suitcase that, I’m reliably informed, makes travelling
marginally less traumatic almost bearable fun for all the family. Trunkis, sold by Magmatic Ltd, first rose to fame on the UK TV show Dragons’ Den, when the Dragons foolishly let the chance for a slice of the Trunki pie slip through their fingers. Unhampered by this rejection, Trunkis have taken the world by storm, and Magmatic have, to put it bluntly, made a Trunki load of cash out of them.
PMS, a plastics manufacturing company, noticed the success of the Trunki and saw a gap in the market for a discount version. Their product, the “Kiddee Case” sought to fill this gap. Magmatic claimed for infringement of its Community Registered Design Right, its UK Unregistered Design Right, and its copyright in the trunki case and it accessories. The cases found themselves before the Hon. Mr Justice Arnold earlier this year, and the judgement includes some particularly interesting conclusions. [A side-by-side comparison of the CRD, Trunki and Kiddee case can be seen here]
The full Judgement can be found here, and is a relatively accessible read, but IPCopy is here to guide you through the important questions decided by the Hon. Mr Justice Arnold. So, keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times, hold on tightly to the curly antennae in front of you, and let us tug you along through the highlights of the case…
Last week, ipcopymark and ipcopyemily ventured out of the open plan, into the late summer sunshine, and headed towards Bristows’ offices for the ‘UPC Rules of Procedure Consultation Event for Stakeholders’, jointly hosted by Bristows LLP, the IPO, CIPA and the IP Federation. What unfolded was a thoroughly interesting two hours of discussion, explanation, comment and debate. The level of knowledge of the UPC among the audience was remarkably high, and it was clear that everyone in the auditorium was highly invested in the eventual content of the Rules of Procedure.
The event was chaired by Bobby Mukherjee from the IP Federation; Neil Feinson from the IPO, who is a member of the Preparatory Committee, also spoke, and the discussion panel consisted of Lord Justice Floyd, Kevin Mooney of Simmons and Simmons (both members of the Drafting Committee that has been preparing the draft of the Rules of Procedure), Alan Johnson of Bristows and Richard Vary of Nokia. A recording of the event can be found here.
Seven topics of particular interest were discussed, and below is a brief summary of the issues and commentary on each. But before we turn to these seven topics. IPCopy would like to offer some brief musings of its own on why all of this matters… (more…)
Around this time last year, decision G1/10 of the Enlarged Board of Appeal was published by the EPO, and over at IPCopy, we’re paying it a little re-visit. ‘Why ever is that?’ I hear you cry! Well, I’m so glad you asked. Separate opposition proceedings relating to the patent in question were in progress when G1/10 was issued; the oral proceedings were scheduled for this month, and an interesting decision was due to be made, so IPCopy took a little look at the EP patents register to see what happened. (more…)
Unified Patent Court News: European Commission Adopts Proposal for Amendment to Brussels I Regulation
Breaking news from IPCopy (with a shout-out to the eagle-eyed Giles Parsons of Browne Jacobson for the heads-up): The European Commission has adopted the Proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation No 1215/2012 (the ‘Brussels I’ regulation). This amendment has been eagerly anticipated by Unitary Patent spotters, and is necessary to bring the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court into effect.
You may not believe it, but in her spare time, this IPCopy writer does occasionally turn to pursuits other than combing through Unitary Patent legislation (no, really). Not so long ago, she was perusing the website of Gretsch® guitars, on the brink of doing some damage to her wallet, and stumbled across something that caught her eye*.
Gretsch® has been around since the 1880s, and started out making banjos and ukuleles, soon progressing to guitars. Today, they focus on vintage-style guitars, some being recreations of earlier instruments. Why on earth might you care about this? Well, recreating the appearance of a vintage instrument is relevant to the important subject of patent marking (no, really).
Administration Process at the EPO is not the sexiest of IP subjects, this IPCopy writer will admit. But when that process affects your wallet (or your client’s wallet), it becomes a bit more interesting.
The EPO is finally increasing the transparency of the process for the refund of Search and Examination fees, and IPCopy is pleased to have seen it! Here’s a quick look at what the problem has been until recently, and the ‘technical and administrative solution’ that the EPO has now implemented.
Are you writing about the right Intellectual Property Rights?
Experience suggests there’s a good chance you aren’t (see ipcopymark on this subject here). But don’t worry, IPcopy is here to help! Here’s a handy flow chart you can follow to make sure you don’t get your trade marks confused with your design rights, or your patents confused with your copyright. Run through it if you find yourself about to type a phrase like “Company X have patented the copyright in this technology” or “the manufacturing process infringes Company Y’s trade marks“. And if you’re still stuck, feel free to drop us a line to check!
The official (fifteenth) draft of the rules of procedure of the unified patent court has officially been unleashed on the world (take a look here), and the public consultation has now begun. You have until 1 October 2013 to submit your comments to the preparatory committee (details here), so get writing.
IPCopy has produced a tracked-changes version of the draft rules, comparing the newly-released official fifteenth draft, and the previous fourteenth draft, which you can find here. We’ve been combing through the new draft Rules to see what’s of interest.