09 November 2007

Patents: New Announcement on EPO, Japan and USPTO Co-operation

Liza Porteus of Intellectual Property Watch has just published a very interesting article on the result of various discussions between EPO, Japan Patent Office and USPTO officials which have taken place in Washington over the last few days. Apparently, the three offices intend to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding between them on the alignment of the patent application system some time today. Also likely to be announced today, according to Liza, is a plan to pilot a three-way search service next year and the permanent adoption of the "Patent Prosecution Highway" (a reciprocal process by which the JPO and USPTO agree that if either of them decides that at least one claim of a patent application is patentable the other will accelerate the application process of the patent) and perhaps its extension to other patent offices such as ours.

I have to say that there is nothing about these momentous announcements on the trilateral (joint EPO, JPO and USPTO) website, but then there is never very much of interest on that site and it needs updating (says Mr Pot to Ms Kettle).

08 November 2007

China: IP China 2007 29-30 Nov 2007

I have just received an invitation to what appears to be a very interesting conference in Beijing at the end of this month. Not quite enough notice for me, I'm afraid, but here are the details it in case others closer to China can attend.

The programme includes discussion on:
  • dispute resolution led by the IP manager of Actions Semiconductor Co., Ltd. between 10:30 and 12:00 on 29 Nov
  • financing of intellectual property rights for enterprises: patent pledging; patent capitalization; patent securitization by someone from Liancheng Assets Appraisal Firm between 16:30 and 17:40 on the same day; and
  • speeches from various senior government and IP office officials the next morning.

Attendance is apparently limited to 300 and the vent will take place at the Beijing Xinyuan Hotel. The fee seems ridiculously cheap if I have cut and pasted the information correctly or the email is right - USD150.00 or less than £75 in real money - that's a fraction of what UK conference organizers like CLT charge to hear folk like me talk at their IT law conference in London on 4 Feb 2008. Anyone interested should email his name, email address, telephone number and name of chambers, firm or company to zhengwen_ipchina@126.com before they change their mind. If anyone turns up to this talk I should be interested in the review. The BSB might even give CPD points.

06 November 2007

Not even the Taliban stooped this low

This is an intellectual property blog not a political one. I do have religious and political views but I generally keep them out of here. However, photographs of armed thugs beating up lawyers (many of whom I am likely to know) and bundling them into paddy wagons is an outrage that demands a departure from political neutrality.

The failure of our government and that of the USA, France, Germany, Canada, Japan and just about every right thinking country immediately to sever diplomatic relations and impose economic sanctions at least as stringent as those contemplated for Iran against a pathetic litigant who attacks his judges in a case that is about to go against him is nothing short of scandalous.

If Jonathan Edwards really wants to know why so many of our young people are receptive to subversive propaganda, our tolerance and indeed support of oppressive regimes in the Islamic world like this one on the ground that it is an ally in the so called "war on terror" should give him a clue.

What is it about Women Inventors?


The speaker at yesterday's meeting of Sheffield Inventors' Club was Rowena Mead. Rowena is a 24 year old mother whose little girl, Saskia, seemed to accept anything in her mouth except the bristle end of a conventional tooth brush. The handle was fine. Saskia chewed that up good and proper - just like a puppy. Rowena produced one of Saskia's old tooth brushes as evidence. That sparked the idea in Rowena's mind of a colourful, bendy tooth brush that was all bristle. It is now the subject of a registered Community design (000710330-0001 ) together with its container and various patent applications.

In contrast to most of our speakers (and indeed members) who tend to be male and of a certain age, Rowena is a very personable young lady. She had appeared on the BBC TV Money Programme on Friday, 2 Nov 2007 so we had a better than average attendance yesterday. But what impressed everybody about Rowena was her get-up and go. She had taken her invention from idea to finished product in less than a year. While it is not yet in the shops it is well on the way to market.

Now Rowena is not alone in doing this. Other young women who have done the same sprang to mind yesterday. Jane Lawton of Manchester who invented the Grobox, Martine Pascal also of Manchester who has invented emergency footwear for girls with sore feet (GB2425454A), and, of course, Mandy Haberman. Tony Hanson, Gilholm Harrison's sales manager, hit the nail on the head when he said that most middle aged male inventors see only problems to developing and marketing their inventions. These young women find solutions!

Now of course they don't do it on their own. Rowena, Martine and many other inventors have had help from excellent advisors like product designer Richard Hall of Pd-m in Harrogate who seems to know everything about design, manufacturing and marketing and also to know every possible manufacturer from Shanghai to Brazil. Rowena also had a good patent agent, Steve Gilholm, who was in the audience. Richard, Steve and others, such as patent solicitor Kate Reid (whose offices are in the same building in Harrogate as Richard's), are part of a network of good local intellectual property specialists to whom I often refer enquirers from my inventors' clinics and advice sessions.

But I return to the original point. Most members of most of the inventors' clubs are middle aged men. A disproportionate number of the inventions that succeed are made by bright young women who just do it. What could these chaps learn. Well maybe you should click the link and read the article.