Marie-Louise's picks, February 2009
Here are my picks of the intellectual property news that broke in the blogosphere and internet over the past month and most captured my interest. I also give my pick of the upcoming IP events to pencil into your diary for the month ahead.
Happy birthday Wikipedia!
On 15 January 2009, Wikipedia turned 8, and my how it’s grown – currently existing in 265 languages and containing over 10 million articles! I believe the pursuit of knowledge is one of our highest aspirations, so few things warm my heart so much as the celebration of knowledge sharing. Happy birthday Wikipedia and many happy returns!
Innovation and personal incentives
According to the IFI Patent Intelligence report, US applicants obtained only 49% of US patents issued in 2008. Asian companies are obtaining a growing share of US patents. The Patent Prospector blog had an interesting post highlighting this trend and considering compensation of employee inventors in Japan as compared with the US. Japanese law mandates that employee inventors should be ‘reasonably’ compensated for their contribution, while there is no law obliging US companies to compensate employee inventors. Quite aside of legal requirements, ensuring employees receive reward and recognition for their creative and innovative efforts is simply good business sense as the cases of Canon, Toshiba and Sony – all top 10 US patenting companies – seem to suggest.
Isle of Man considers legalising P2P
In my blogosphere travels this month I have come across debate (at times rather fiery debate) over proposed or adopted ‘three strikes’ strategies for tackling P2P music/film piracy in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, and the United States.
Meanwhile in the peaceful tax haven of Isle of Man, the old notion of issuing a blanket licence for P2P is being considered instead. The Manx government wants to allow broadband subscribers to legally share music in return for a ‘nominal’ compulsory tax. The proposal has received mixed response from those in the music industry. I was just relieved to have an escape from news of the angry and seemingly endless debate over methods for waging war against the growing force of file-sharing. The Isle of Man’s plan certainly seems like the path of least resistance. If it goes ahead, I am sure interested parties (me included) will be watching from around the world to see how well it works for consumers, ISPs and the music industry.
Event – Trade marks and the downturn
On 17 February, in Central London, Hardwicke Building in conjunction with the IPKat blog will hold a seminar on ‘Trade marks and the downturn’. Speakers will include: Laurence Cohen speaking on valuing and the value of deals and litigation in turbulent times; Neil Wilkof on dangerous transactions and deceptive registrations; Stephen Reese on terminating trade mark contracts; and Mark Engelman on trade marks and insolvency. For further information, go to Hardwicke Building.