Friday Footlights

Friday is traditionally the day that the IPKat will remind readers of all the lovely events that grace the, aptly titled, forthcoming events page. For those in search of an IP conference or seminar fix over the coming months, or indeed just in search of a few quick CPD points, there is no better place! Recently added events include the UCL IBIL Masterclass on Employee Inventions on 2 November, however there are plenty of others to suit any tastes. Earlier in the week CoolBrands – which in its own words has "Since 2001 …been canvassing the opinions of experts and consumers to produce a barometer of Britain's coolest brands, people and places" – produced its latest list of the top 20 coolest brands in the UK. Judged by a combination of expert panel [Merpel wonders if "expert of cool" is something that can appear on one's CV] and public vote. What makes a brand cool, I hear you ask? Well, from a starting pool of 1500 brands, the final 20 were selected based on responses to their: style; innovation; originality; authenticity; desirability; and uniqueness [Aaah, the shifting sands of opinion-based research…]. The top 10, is as follows: 1. Aston Martin 2. Apple 3. Harley-Davidson 4. Rolex 5. Bang & Olufsen 6. BlackBerry 7. Google 8. Ferrari 9. Nike 10. YouTube Just over a year ago, the IPKat reported on the activities of a company called Righthaven LLC, which was being widely proclaimed as the first of a new species: the Copyright Troll. Righthaven's model of business was one of sub-contracted enforcement. Having no copyright of its own, the company extracted sums on behalf of clients that signed up to its services: rummaging through the cluttered contents of the web in search of potential infringers to bring to justice. Righthaven's infamy has even caused a wikipedia entry (which, as everyone knows, is the true measure of fame/infamy and success/abject failure) to spring into being. Whereas business was initially good, things soon started to unravel, and reports flooded onto the web earlier this month that Righthaven may be about to fall into bankruptcy following a costs order made against it. Adding to the company's woes, earlier this week a Colorado District Court threw out Righthaven's case against a Mr Leland Wolf, whom it had accused of infringing a Denver Post photograph by parodying it on his blog. [A copy of the Order is hosted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation here]. The Denver Post had provided Righthaven with a right to sue for infringement, but as Judge John L. Kane explained: "A third-party who has been assigned the bare right to sue for infringement has no interest in the legal dissemination of the copyrighted material. On the contrary, that party derives its sole economic benefit by instituting claims of infringement, a course of action which necessarily limits public access to the copyrighted work. This prioritizes economic benefit over public access, in direct contradiction to the constitutionally mandated equilibrium upon which copyright law is based." Accordingly, the Court threw out the case on the basis that Righthaven simply did not have the standing to bring an action. Potentially more importantly however, over 50 other that had been filed before the Court were stayed pending a motion to dismiss. Clearly more thought needs to go into some of the mechanics before Righthaven is able to franchise its model to the masses… An olive branch at last? What week would go by without more fun and frolics between those Behemoths of the electronics industy, Samsung and Apple? With legal proceedings flying left, right and centre, and claims and counterclaims bouncing off the walls of courts from the Netherlands to Australia, the IPKat was fearful that there would be no end to the litigation – a modern take on the story of Sisyphus, each company thinking that they have finally got the litigation stone to the top of the hill only to find it being pushed back down by the weight of another suit against it. This week's story is of a somewhat peculiar nature, as Bloomberg (amongst others) reports that "Samsung Electronics Co. made a proposal to Apple Inc. to resolve their patent dispute in Australia regarding touch-screen technology." No details have yet been given about what treasures Samsung might have offered to placate its fruity rival, but according to Engadget "Stephen Burley [Apple's lawyer], acknowledged that "[Samsung's] inconvenience would be diminished and we would be comforted" by an agreement." The saga continues…

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