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Utynam's Heirs


A monthly column devoted to IP curiosities and controversies, named in honour of John of Utynam - who received the world’s first recorded patent in 1449

diary@managingip.com

In the line of duty

Ever the intrepid explorer, when Utynam heard that Hong Kong Customs had opened a museum of IP rights enforcement he couldn't resist going for a visit.

While on the tour, visitors can test their ability to spot the fake from the real on a range of goods including food, daily necessities, software and, this being Hong Kong, luxury goods. Those wanting a more in-depth experience can then move on to see reconstructions of an optical disk manufacturing site, a domestic pirated Cd workshop, and even an office using infringing software.

The highlight for Utynam, however, was a replica of a karaoke lounge that uses songs without paying copyright owners. The Customs department explains that while investigating potentially illicit bars, its officers have been known to pose as singing customers. Utynam is impressed by the diligence and enthusiasm shown by the investigators but...


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