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5-a-day: PCT, WIPO on YouTube, Tetris and Facebook Like



James Nurton


Today’s round up of what’s happening in the world of IP

1. Towards a perfect PCT

EPO President Benoit Battistelli devoted his blog this week to the PCT – "the best [surely, only?] international platform for protecting patents". The EPO wants a PCT metrics framework and regular publication of quality reports by all international search authorities (ISAs). Battistelli says ISAs "have a particular duty to address quality at the highest level". Of course he’s right, as are all those inventors, lawyers and officials who stress the need for "quality patents". (Has anyone ever argued against quality patents?) But maybe we also need to take a step back and agree what is (or is not) meant by "quality" in the patent system.

2. WIPO on the web

Gurry grilledHe may not yet rival Korean sensation Psy, but WIPO Director General Francis Gurry has so far notched up 157 views for his 79-minute meeting with non-governmental organisations (including representatives of IP rights owners) on YouTube. If you’re interested in IP policy making, and have an hour free, it’s well worth watching. There are too many acronyms, abbreviations and phrases such as "multi-stakeholder process" but Gurry tackles a range of topics and doesn’t duck any questions – which is something you could not say about all of his predecessors. The DG has often talked about WIPO becoming more engaged and transparent – this well-produced video shows progress is being made

3. More than a game

Copyright gameOn the IP Watchdog blog, Adrienne Kendrick has been dissecting a recent copyright order in favour of Tetris. Competitor Mino argued that it had not copied protected or expressive elements of the famous Tetris brick game, but Judge Freda Wolfson in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey said that "if one has to squint to find distinctions only at a granular level, then the works are likely to be substantially similar". Game over for Mino.


4. Pharma fights

Here’s one for patent owners in Canada: Christopher C Van Barr and Michael Crichton of Gowlings have summarised the five key cases from 2012. Four of them involve biotech or pharmaceutical patents – including, inevitably, the Supreme Court decision on Viagra. As they say in (some parts of) the country: plus ça change ...

5. Unlikeable

Not likeAs sites including the BBC have picked up, Facebook is being sued for infringing two US patents owned by a patent holding company calling itself Rembrandt Social Media. Of course, it’s early days and the suit may or may not come to anything. Note though that Rembrandt is being represented by IP litigation leader Fish & Richardson (better known for acting for tech companies such as Apple and Google and famously Microsoft – themselves often the victims of patent trolls).

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