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Showing posts from April, 2007

Leeds Metropolitan University: Two Substantial Initiatives

No rest for the wicked so they say. One hour after I had shambled back from Sierra Leone I had to dash off to Leeds for a meeting at Leeds Metropolitan University. While I grumbled about it at the time, I am very glad that I made the effort because what I was shown was impressive. The former Friends' Meeting House at Woodhouse Lane has been transformed into The Institute for Enterprise which will be made available to the general public as well as to staff and students of the University.

The Institute has all sorts of magnificent facilities:
a meeting space in the vestibuleconventional class and seminar roomsa soundproof room for confidential discussion a cafe at the entrance.Every room and space has internet access and a screen for presentations. The reason for the invitation was that the University had offered to host the April Leeds Inventors' Club meeting at the Institute. We had a really entertaining talk by Tony Bryant, the University's Professor of Informatics, entitle…

Sierra Leone

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I have just returned from 2 weeks in Sierra Leone. I had intended to visit the Administrator and Registrar-General's Department which appears to be the local intellectual property authority but the main town, Freetown, is not the easiest city to get around and I was supposed to be on holiday. Instead, I did the next best thing which was to talk to local practising and academic lawyers about intellectual property protection in their country.

On paper Sierra Leone ticks most of the right boxes. It has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 23 July 1995 which is almost as long as us. Consequently, it must have been one of the first countries in the world to ratify TRIPs. It is party to the Paris Convention, the PCT, the Madrid Agreement and Protocol and the WIPO Convention but not, apparently, Berne or the UCC. According to the WIPO, the country's domestic intellectual property legislation is archaic:- patents are granted under the Patents Act of 1924,
- trade marks u…

Community Patents: Regulation comes into force at midnight

One item of business transacted at the special Council meeting in Berlin to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome that appears to have been overlooked in the furore over the revival of the constitutional treaty and the arrest of one of our naval units by Iranian forces is the adoption of the Community patent regulation.

This regulation, which comes into force at midnight, will empower the European Patent Office to grant a Community wide European patent in addition to the nationally designated patents that it grants at present. "This is a day I never thought I would ever see", said Ron Marchant. "It's a bit like Gerry Adams sitting down with Ian Paisley. But that happened last Monday and so has this momentous decision to adopt the regulation. There have been so many false dawns starting with the Community Patent Convention which was unfortunately never ratified and it is good to see something come of it at last. It will of course mean a lot less wor…