Thursday, 30 October 2014
perindopril erbumine, for which it held a European patent. Apotex imported perindopril erbumine which it made in its Canadian plant. In an action for patent infringement, Servier secured an interim injunction against Apotex and gave a cross-undertaking in damages, in the event that its action should fail and Apotex would suffer lost sales. At trial the Patents Court (Pumfrey J at  EWHC 1538 (Pat) held that Apotex's activities fell within the scope of patent infringement but that the patent itself was invalid both for lack of novelty and obviousness. In parallel Canadian proceedings, Apotex was held to have infringed Servier's Canadian patent. An interlocutory injunction was refused and damages in the Canadian proceedings remained to be assessed.
[ EWHC 730 (pat), noted by Matt the Kat here] found that the ex turpi causa principle applied and that Apotex's claim -- being based on its unlawful manufacture in Canada -- had to fail as being contrary to public policy. The Court of Appeal reversed this decision [ ECWA Civ 593, noted by guest Kat Norman Siebrasse on the IPKat here], with Apotex conceding that credit was to be given for any damages payable in the Canadian proceedings for the infringements committed there.
Servier then appealed against the decision that the infringement of its Canadian patent by Apotex was not a relevant illegality for the purposes of the ex turpi causa defence.
Yesterday the Supreme Court (Lords Neuberger, Mance, Clarke, Sumption and Toulson) dismissed the appeal. In its view:
* The defence of illegality is a rule of law and not a mere discretionary power. What's more, it is based on public policy not on the merits of the respective claims of parties to a dispute.
* Both Arnold J and the Court of Appeal rejected the illegality defence, but both relied on largely subjective judgments about how badly Apotex had behaved, and how much it mattered. This approach was discretionary and thus contrary to established legal principle [Lord Toulson took a rather different view of the Court of Appeal's approach which, he felt, was supported by Hounga v Allen  UKSC 47]. What the court should to is to determine what acts constitute "turpitude" for the purpose of the defence, "turpitude" for this purpose meaning criminal and quasi-criminal acts because those acts alone engage the public interest. Other wrongs -- torts other than those of which dishonesty was an essential element, breaches of contract, and statutory civil wrongs -- offended against private, rather than public interests and there was no reason to depart from ordinary remedies of corrective justice when taking account of them.
It is difficult to fault the Supreme Court's reasoning, says this Kat, and this decision appears to be well founded on the case law cited. A bigger question is whether the decision is a good one in terms of getting the right balance between the sector of the pharma industry that invests in new products and the sector that focuses on the manufacture of generic products. Servier must be feeling more than a bit miffed by the outcome -- but is that sufficient reason for indulging in a little law reform? Readers' thoughts are, as ever, appreciated.
"My first time at Aldi... Should we all be shopping there?" is an article by Felicity Hannah, posted on Yahoo!'s UK & Ireland Finance page with the byline "Our money saving columnist takes her first trip to a discounter to see what all the fuss is about". The text in red, in the extract below, is enough to make any independent brand owner see red. Felicity writes:
According to the author, Aldi’s profits rose by more than 65% in 2013. There is no doubt that the store, with its "pile-it-high, sell-it-cheap" ethos, has been a huge financial success and that the momentum it enjoyed at the beginning of the recent years of recession has been maintained even once the UK economy has picked itself up. With over 9,000 stores spread across 18 countries, Aldi is likely to exert an increasing influence on consumers' behaviour.
Yet profits at Tesco have fallen by 92% while Aldi’s profits rose by more than 65% in 2013. There’s got to be a reason for that. A new Aldi has opened just a five-minute drive from my house, so I went to check it out...
I was surprised to see so many brands I regularly buy, such as Kellogg’s. But even more surprising were the many, many lookalike brands. There were crisps in tubes, all in the same colours as Pringles so that you knew exactly what flavour you were buying. There were packets of dishwasher tablets and washing machine powder all with almost identical branding to the big names, just with different names.
The prices seemed impressive, even though I didn’t have any comparisons to hand, so I stocked up and hoped the quality was as good as my friends had promised. ..."
Aldi's origins are German, but its business practices are at odds with that country's position on lookalikes and unfair competition. This Kat thinks that it is doubtful whether any country in the European Union is more critical of lookalikes than Germany [though opinions to the contrary are invited].
|Smart clothes, but not much in the way of crisps ...|
- Aldi renames its cut-price "Beluga" caviare following complaints that it isn't Beluga, here
- Saucy Fish Co. gets consent injunction against Aldi here
- Aldi ruthlessly apes the appearance of top brands here
- Moroccanoil fails in passing-off action against Aldi, but trade mark proceedings are pending here
- German Law on Unfair Competition (English translation) here
A Katpat to Mrs Kat for drawing this item to our attention
Wednesday, 29 October 2014
When it comes to media releases this Kat is a sitting target, which may account for the reason why he received the following missive not once but four times over:
UK OPENS ACCESS TO 91 MILLION ORPHAN WORKS
A new licensing scheme launched today could give wider access to at least 91 million culturally valuable creative works - including diaries, photographs, oral history recordings and documentary films [The figure of 91 million sounds huge, but this Kat is certain that it's a serious underestimate. Merpel thinks it doesn't matter whether the number of orphan works is nine, 91 or 91 million: the important thing is whether the licensing scheme offers appropriate respect for the interests of authors, owners, prospective licensees and the public at large ...].
The IPO, based in Wales, estimates the number
of orphan works in the UK at 91 million. Gareth
Bale, most expensive footballer in the world,
cost 91m euro. Bale plays for ... Wales
These works are covered by copyright, but rights holders cannot be found by those who need to seek permission to reproduce them. Under the new scheme, a licence can be granted by the Intellectual Property Office [IPO] so that these works can be reproduced on websites, in books and on TV without breaking the law, while protecting the rights of owners so they can be remunerated if they come forward [so effectively it's a state-administered compulsory licence scheme, the royalty being fixed by the IPO: there's already such a scheme for patents under the UK's Patents Act 1977 s 48 et seq, though it's manifestly different in that (i) patents aren't orphan works, (ii) the grounds on which they may be granted are circumscribed by public interest criteria and (iii ) provision for such compulsory licences is made under two international treaties: the Paris Convention Art.5A and TRIPS Art.31].
The scheme also aims to reunite copyright holders with their works ["You thought you'd never see those old holiday photos again ...!"] and ensure they are paid for their creations, by requiring the applicant to conduct a diligent search [click here for all manner of IPO guidance on diligent research] and allowing the right holder to search the register of granted licences.
Two fees are payable: one is the licence fee, as assessed by the IPO, and the other is an administrative fee [about which no information is currently available]. Visiting the relevant web page, this Kat clicked here and applied for a licence to use a work described as "Photograph of a cat, 1951" for non-profit purposes. The resulting licence, for
This ground-breaking scheme builds on UK and international best practice [Wow! But can any reader point to international best practice?] and is the first to use an electronic application system and searchable register of the licences granted [We hope it's not the last. Electronic applications and searchable licences should be mandatory for all IP rights, says Merpel, especially the registered ones]. It is being implemented alongside the EU Orphan Works Directive [which coincidentally roars into life today] that enables cultural institutions to digitise certain orphan works in their collection and display them on their websites. Together these two schemes will help to display more of the UK’s cultural work at home and across Europe.
The UK scheme will be administered by the UK Intellectual Property Office and is part of the wider programme of work to modernise the UK’s copyright system following the Hargreaves Review. Users will pay a fee to obtain a licence to use the work, which will be kept for the copyright owner should they come forward.
cost a very reasonable 10 pence, plus VAT. Reappearing orphans click here to claim their booty. The link to guidance concerning EU Directive eligibility is here and you can search the register here ["Your search for 'cat' did not show any matches"].
- Free hand outs for live event, exhibition or similar
- Use in a live event, exhibition or similar
- In newsletter, bulletin, e-newsletter or e-bulletin
- In non-commercial promotional material – print and digital
- Digitise and make available on-line, including on social media
- Preservation purposes
- Use on stage or in performance
- Educational purposes – use in learning/ training materials, including e-learning
- Use in thesis/dissertation
- Personal use [it would have been comforting to see the word "blog" explicitly stated in this list, but it's clear that use on blogs is covered]
This Kat thinks this is all quite fun and will make it easier for businesses to use those awkward works with a good conscience. Merpel however thinks most people won't bother with it, since it costs nothing to help yourself and the basic rule is "once an orphan, always an orphan -- they don't return".
[this is a little odd, in that settlements so often appear to be made at the door of the court immediately before the hearing ...].
So far the IPO has done 12 mediations, of which six settled on the day, three are "don't knows" (the parties have got together and then gone away, and legal proceedings have been withdrawn, but the precise outcome is made known). They are far cheaper than litigation and generally far speedier. What's more, the breadth of solutions provided by mediation is far greater than that available in the courts, and people involved in the process are spared the trauma of being cross-examined by hostile counsel.
here), in which the judge held that the outer shape of the claimant's Aspen glass, with its narrow shape and curved waist, was not merely commonplace and that this shape therefore enjoyed unregistered UK design right. The judge in this case had to do a good deal of comparison between the Aspen glass and its nearest market competitors and to determine whether it conveyed an overall similar impression or not on the part of the informed user of beer glasses. Design freedom was also an important factor here: where there is only limited design freedom, even small changes are likely to produce a different overall impression. The judge's basic position was that the test was what the judge could see with his own eyes, rather than focusing on a close verbal analysis of the glasses' respective features.
The next case under analysis was the CJEU ruling in Karen Millen v Dunnes Stores [noted by the IPKat here]. This ruling buried the notion that a design could be deemed unoriginal by 'mosaicing' a corpus of different earlier designs. Prior designs can however be little-known and foreign, in an appropriate case, as the CJEU indicated in Gautzsch [noted by Darren for the IPKat here].
[again noted for the IPKat by Darren here], a decision in which the Court of Appeal for England and Wales overturned what this blogger persists in regarding as a perfectly good trial decision and ruled that the designs of the respective children's cases conveyed an overall different impression. This decision, which is particularly harsh on design owners, is the subject of a petition to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Intellectual Property Act 2014, which could land an appropriately villainous infringer in prison. The right to continue prior use of a design that someone else later registers is now protected, and ownership provisions have been tweaked to provide greater protection for the non-employed but nonetheless commissioned designer.
|IPEC: a rebranded PCC?|
The IPEC has sped up IP litigation considerably, a typical action taking around seven months from issuing the claims form to receiving judgment. Interim applications are heard on paper, disclosure is severely limited by virtue of the fact that there is no standard disclosure. Arguments and facts on which a party intends to rely are "front-loaded", which is certainly not the case with large-scale litigation before the High Court. There's also a £500,000 cap on IPEC proceedings -- but what exactly does the cap apply to (particularly if there is more than one claim or proceedings are brought against more than one party)? In Abbott Judge Hacon clarified that the £500,000 cap is pretty well set to cover everything, unless the parties agree to lift it.
Lying: those of us who do not lie have nothing to prepare for, and those who do have much to remember". This should be borne in mind when filling in Precedent H in drawing up a likely costs budget and in preparing for a costs management conference -- though litigants in person don't have to go through all of this.
The structure of a database is protected by copyright, where the author's original creativity has gone into it. This is a criterion which considerably limits the applicability of copyright. The copyright in databases created in the course of an author's employment lies with the employer, he added.
Christopher then ran through the basics of infringement and enforcement, mentioning the recent jurisdictional problems that have cropped up where the re-utilisation of a database occurs in a country other than that in which the database is accessed. He then offered some thoughts on what constitutes the taking of a "substantial part" of a database, which may be a small part of the data by volume but a large part by value. Turning to defences, the most reliable and best defence is that the alleged infringer is a lawful licensee; the making of irregular, insubstantial use of another's database is unlikely to be applicable very often. In terms of remedies, infringement of database rights offers all the usual relief -- but do check out the IP Enforcement Directive, which applies to database rights as well as to better known IP rights.
Has the sui generis database right really added anything? Objections have been raised that it comes perilously close to protecting information per se, but this is a right that has been well drafted and makes sense, which is both why it works well and why we hear so little about it.
As for the Copyright Hub itself, much of it, as the website makes plain, is work in progress. The educational side of its operations are those that have advanced the furthest. An alpha test of the Hub's free-to-use image licensing software takes place on 5 November, with a beta test scheduled for March. The Hub is working with Australia, Singapore and other countries in order to offer seamless and efficient licensing of copyright-protected materials. Community radio ("Radio in a box") licences are among the more promising focal points for frictionless easyclick licences for use that is governed by time, space and subject matter.
Moving on to domain names, James noted that, while there is plenty of action before Nominet at registry level, they have generated relatively little reported litigation. James reminded us of Toth v Emirates  EWHC 517 (Ch), which limited the scope for taking Nominet decisions before the courts for a judicial review [on which see brief Katnote here].
Advocaat, Jif Lemon, Henry vacuum cleaner, Moroccanoil, Swiss chocolate, the FAGE/Chobani Greek yoghurt and Vodkat decisions were also subjected to James' analysis. As for survey evidence, it has become very difficult to get the courts to accept it, which is a shame because it's the best way of demonstrating that one product's get-up is confusingly similar to another. Limerick winner John Boumphrey added, from the floor. that survey evidence is a bit like a lamp-post: it's there more for support rather than for illumination. James, who represented Chobani, had some critical comments regarding the court's approach towards the protection of ill-defined product categories (what precisely is "Greek yoghurt" and do consumers really care where it's potted or how it's made?) and the fact that terms of this nature, which fail to qualify for geographical indication protection under EU law, are protected far more widely in the UK than in the rest of Europe.
Rebecca O'Kelly-Gillard (Bird & Bird), who summarised the mountain of recent Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and domestic cases as "Browse on, internet users, but watch out online retailers and ISPs"; there was also a sub-theme of the CJEU imposing limitations on national legislation in order to encourage European harmonisation. Rebecca had an awesome challenge before her in leading us through the cases, leading with Svennson, Meltwater, Pinckney and Hi Hotel. The fact that injunctive relief can be secured on a pan-European basis but infringement damages have to be collected on a country-by-country basis was mentioned. James added here that there some wheezes that might help, such as getting freezing orders against infringers' banks -- but even once this is done, the damages still have to be collected.
OSA confirmed that users of spas were a new "public" to which broadcast works were being made available (hospitals and prisons are much the same from this point of view). Showing football matches in pubs was also touched upon, in the form of FAPL v Luxton (use of Danish domestic satellite card for commercial rather than domestic purposes) and QC Leisure.
The use of copyright material for personal purposes was reviewed in the form of the CJEU ruling in ACI Adam, plus a review of the new UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 section 28B exceptions. Finally Rebecca turned to the CJEU's ruling on parody in Deckmyn, with which readers of this weblog will be familiar, and to the limited right of digitisation of library books in order for users to access them on their premises in Darmstadt.
Tuesday, 28 October 2014
|Patiently Waiting to Exercise the Use It or Leave It Provision|
Anyway, this is what Valentina writes:
Last week the General Court gave judgment in a keenly-awaited decision, Case T-453/11 LAGUIOLE, in which it again discussed the intriguing relationship between Community trade marks (CTMs) and other distinctive signs in the light of the protection afforded by national laws.
Earlier this year, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) had to determine the scope of protection under Article 8(4) of the Community Trade Mark Regulation (CTMR) in CTM invalidity proceedings under Article 53(2)(c) CTMR. In its controversial ruling in Case C-530/12, OHIM v National Lottery Commission [extensively reported by the IPKat here], the focus was on the probative value of national law: does it need to be considered by OHIM and by the General Court as a matter of fact or as a matter of law? The CJEU preferred the latter solution, the parties to the proceedings being asked to provide the Office with the particulars of the national law and case-law for the sake of its decisions.
In LAGUIOLE the General Court had the chance to clarify two important issues in relation to the enforcement of national distinctive signs in OHIM invalidity proceedings: (i) how to interpret the four requirements provided in Article 8(4) CTMR according to both the Community and the national law, in order for an earlier distinctive sign to prevail over a CTM [these four requirements are listed and discussed below], and (ii) the applicability of the principle of specialty (here, where the French business name “Forge de Laguiole” was involved, could the French law on business names be invoked to invalidate a potentially conflicting CTM registration?)
Mr Gilbert Szajner – the applicant before the General Court – filed CTM 2468379 for the word LAGUIOLE back in November 2001. In January 2005 the mark was registered for various goods and services in Classes 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 34 and 38. In July 2005 the French company Forge de Laguiole SARL (the intervener in the General Court proceedings) applied for partial invalidity of the LAGUIOLE mark under Article 53(1)(c) in combination with Article 8(4) CTMR, on the basis of its previous business name, used for activities such as “manufacture and sale of all cutlery, cisellerie, gift items and souvenirs — all items related to the art of the table”. Invalidation was sought for a substantial number of goods and services in Classes 8, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 28, 34 and 38.
The French Intellectual Property Code (IPC) provides that a trade mark registration will be refused if it undermines an earlier right, including business names, if there is a likelihood of confusion of the relevant public.
Consequently, the holder of an earlier right may apply to invalidate a trade mark, unless the latter was filed in good faith or was used as a trade mark for more than five years (Articles L. 711-1 - L. 711-4 IPC) — these being the national provisions relied upon in this case.
The Cancellation Division dismissed the application for invalidity. This decision was however reversed by the Board of Appeal which declared the LAGUIOLE mark null and void in respect to all the products listed above (though still valid for services in Class 38).
The Board of Appeal decision [R 181/2007-1]
First the Board considered that, according to French case-law, a company's business name is in principle protected in relation to all the activities included in its subject matter. Such protection is limited to actual activities as materially undertaken only when the company's subject matter is too vague or it does not encompass those activities. As to the Forge de Laguiole business name, the Board found that the company's subject matter was enough defined for “manufacture and sale of all cutlery, cisellerie”. Regarding the remaining activities (“gift items and souvenirs - all items related to the art of the table”), while the subject matter was considered imprecise, due protection must be afforded to the French company's business name for those activities effectively undertaken. Indeed, The Board observed that, solely for luxury and travel goods, no real activity was apparent and that, for some of the services in Class 38, all the products covered by the LAGUIOLE CTM fell under the scope of protection of the French company's business name.
Secondly, the Board found there might be a likelihood of confusion among French consumers if the LAGUIOLE CTM was used in relation to similar or identical goods to “cutlery, cisellerie, gift items and souvenirs - all items related to the art of the table”, sold to the same Forge de Laguiole consumers through the same distribution channels.
Finally, in the light of the French company's repute, the Board considered that its business name had a strong distinctive character so as to enjoy broader protection in respect to activity sectors other than those covered by the company's subject matter.
Preliminary matter before the General Court
Szajner appealed to the General Court, which initially had to solve a preliminary matter relating to the admissibility of the French Supreme Court judgment of 10 July 2012 (Coeur de princess/Mattel France no. 8-2012.010), delivered after the Board of Appeal's invalidity decision and cited by Szajner for the first time before the General Court. Although OHIM contrasted the applicability of this French judgment in the present case by means of the well-known CJEU case-law in Case C-263/09 P Edwin/OHIM [noted on this weblog here], this did not stop the General Court taking into account a probative element introduced by a party to the proceeding, namely the French Supreme Court's judgment, in order to demonstrate that the Board of Appeal erred in applying national law. Indeed, Szajner had complied with the CTM Implementing Regulation by providing the particulars of the relevant national case-law, as Edwin suggests. Accordingly the court applied that French judgment in the light of the principle of retroactivity of case-law interpretation.
Substance of the case before the General Court
Szajner’s application rested on a sole plea in law, misapplication of Article 53(1)(c) CTMR in conjunction with Article 8(4) CTMR. These combined provisions allow the holder of an earlier sign to apply to invalidate a CTM, provided that the four cumulative requirements pointed out in Article 8(4) are met:
- The sign is used in the course of trade;
- The sign is of more than mere local significance;
- The rights to that sign were acquired prior to the date of application for registration of the Community trade mark or the date of the priority claimed for the application for registration of the Community trade mark;
Citing Joined Cases T‑318/06 to T‑321/06 GENERAL OPTICA, the first two requirements — use of a sign in the course of trade, this being of more than mere local significance —must be interpreted under the Community law while, as regards the remaining two, Article 8(4) allows invocation of the national law, ie French law in the present case.
- The sign confers on its proprietor the right to prohibit the use of a subsequent trade mark.
The parties agreed that the Forge de Laguiole complied with the first three requirements as set out above, but disagreed as to whether it could prohibit the use of the later LAGUIOLE mark and as to whether business names are subject to trade mark principle of speciality under the relevant French law.
Applicability of the principle of speciality to business names
Like the Board of Appeal, the General Court analysed the activities included in the Forge de Laguiole’s subject matter and in particular the clarity of its wording. Companies’ subject matter result from their statues, as provided at the time of their incorporation and, in the specific case of French companies, from their Kbis extracts. Moreover, under French practice, companies’ activities are classified in compliance with the administrative classification of Companies’ Main Activities (Activités Principales des Enterprises, “APE”) which is arranged in accordance with the Classification by Activity Families (Nomenclature des Activités par Famille “NAF”).
In this case, on the basis of its Kbis extract Forge de Laguiole was engaged in the activities of “manufacture and sale of all cutlery, cisellerie, gift items and souvenirs - all items related to the art of the table”. Indeed, the French company claimed to extend the protection of its business name to other activities sectors, such as “household arts”, "world of wine", “items for smokers”, “items for golfers”, “items for hunters”, “leisure or accessories, such as gift boxes, cases, boxes”. In practice, Forge de Laguiole is a French company that can boast an old tradition in the manufacture and sale of knives and among them of the special Laguiole knife type.
However, until the French Supreme Court’s judgment of 10 July 2012 was released, French case-law regarding the applicability of the principle of speciality to business names was controversial. That judgment clarified that, yes, the scope pf protection of business names was limited to the activities effectively carried out by companies, irrespective of the administrative classifications. This being so, the General Court found that the Forge de Laguiole business name could entitle its holder to prohibit the use of the LAGUIOLE mark only in respect of the activities effectively undertaken by the French company.
Turning to the evidence provided by the intervener that it developed a diversification of its activities, other than just the “manufacture and sale of all cutlery, cisellerie, gift items and souvenirs - all items related to the art of the table”, before the filing of the contested LAGUIOLE mark, the Court held that Forge de Laguiole could furnish such proof only for “knives”, “cutlery” and their related “gift items and souvenirs”. On this basis the Court set aside the Board’s invalidity decision with reference to all the other products falling within other sectors of activity.
Assessment of the likelihood of confusion
Was there a likelihood of confusion between the business name Forge de Laguiole and the LAGUIOLE CTM in the mind of the average French consumers, taking into account only the activities proved to be carried out by the intervener?
Comparing the signs, the Court found an average visual and aural similarity while the conceptual similarity was high. In particular, no dominant element was found in the Forge de Laguiole denomination, as it comprised only descriptive and generic elements, so that the average consumer would create a link either with the village of Laguiole or with the French company’s activities in the knife and cutlery sector. Moreover, contrary to the Board of Appeal, the Court held that the intervener did not furnish proof of repute of its business name.
With reference to the identity or similarity between the activities effectively undertaken by Forge de Laguiole and the goods and services covered by the LAGUIOL mark, the Court pruned the number of conflicts found by the Board of Appeal. In particular, the Court argued that a likelihood of confusion was apparent only as follows:
* “tools and implements, hand-operated” and “spoons” in class 8 were identical to the intervener’s activities;
* “pliers, razors, razor blades; nail files, nail nippers, nail clippers” in class 8, “paper cutter” in class 16, “corkscrew and bottle openers” in class 21, “cigar cutters and pipe cleaners” in class 34 were highly similar to the intervener’s activities;
* “shaving cases and manicure sets” in class 8 and “shaving brushes and fitted vanity cases” in class 21 were averagely similar to the intervener’s activities.
Consequently, the General Court upheld the sole plea in law presented by the LAGUIOLE mark holder and annulled the decision of the Board of Appeal in so far it invalidated CTM for all goods other than those listed above.
That said, it would have been interesting if the General Court had accepted the argument of the reputation of the Forge de Laguiole business name, and the possible outcomes to which that factor would have led: we’ll have to wait for the next national judgment to raise the bar in this respect.
|Clad in nothing but her own hair,|
Godiva takes a trot through Coventry
|Rod the Mod|
|The MewView option|
this link to the welcome news that Patent & Trademark Agency LLC --a company that this Kat's friends at White Plains NY-based IP firm Leason Ellis LLP accused of perpetrating a trade mark registration services scam -- is to shut down, according to a proposed settlement filed last week in a New York federal court. As a condition of the settlement, this misleadingly named company and its operator, Armens Organesjans, agree to stop offering intellectual property services and will refund customers in exchange for Leason Ellis ending the suit it filed last year. Leason Ellis is home to veteran trade mark blogger and Washington Redskin brand-basher Marty Schwimmer: to read about Marty's earlier assault on scammers USA Trademark Enterprises, see earlier Katposts here and here.
PACER is the acronym for Public Access to Court Electronic Records, the United States online public access service that lets users get hold of case and docket information from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts -- a service that is obviously handy for the IP community, given the fact that so much intellectual property case law in the US is processed by the federal courts. This Kat's attention has been drawn to PacerMonitor, which describes itself as being "Simply the best way to search Federal Court cases". He has not tried it out himself, but notes that it comes at a price. Have any readers tried it? Let's hear from you if you have.
note on the jiplp weblog by Míchel Olmedo Cuevas that's worth a look. On SOLO IP, Barbara Cookson reviews the EPO's new case management system, while this blogger craves some good ideas for dealing with vast influxes of emails. "Who framed the CopyKat?", asks Ben Challis on the 1709 Blog, while there's also a reminder that being employed by someone else isn't a way of wriggling out of an injunction to prevent copyright infringement. Finally, on Class 46 Laetitia Lagarde pots the recent General Court ruling in the LAGUIOLE Community trade mark battle, on which this weblog hopes to carry a big feature in the near future.