Costs for Trademark Opposition

July 14, 2014

visco gel 1visco gel 2

Aminach LTD filed Israel trademark application No. 233949 Visco-gel for Mattresses, beds, sofa beds, armchairs and furniture for bedrooms; all included in Class 20.

The Health Center D. A. LTD. opposed the mark. On 12 January 2014, the opposition was refused and the trademark was registered.

Aminach now filed a costs request for 81,391 Shekels. This included 78,739,45 shekels  for 52.7 hours work of lead counsel, 3.6 hours work of a junior lawyer, and 1.93 hours work of a trainee.  The difference of 2652 Shekels covered courier expenses, printing costs, fax costs and recording the hearing.

The Health Center D. A. LTD. considered the costs charged as exorbitant and referred to the minimum recommended fee established by the Israel Bar for oppositions, which, in 2014 stood at 1859 Shekels, which is rather less.

The Health Center D. A. LTD. also noted that there was no contract provided that set out a fee scale or tax invoices showing that the fees were indeed paid. Finally, the respondent also noted that costs were awarded in the original decision and there was no justification to charge this twice.

THE RULING

The Commissioner reiterated that an applicant who overcomes an opposition is entitled to payment of legal costs. He did not consider that the amount of time spent was unreasonable for the amount of work done, nor did he consider that there was a difference between pro forma invoices and actual tax invoices.

The Commissioner did not find the minimum charges established by the Israel Bar were binding on attorneys, nor on the Patent Office when deciding fair costs.

Since costs of 7000 Shekels were awarded for a specific action in the original decision, the costs of 13,480 Shekels that were calculated for the same action at this stage was considered as double billing.  Furthermore, costs of 1440 Shekels for postponing the hearing were considered unnecessary since the opposer didn’t have a problem with this, so this fee was canceled.

The Commissioner ruled that the remainder of 66, 400 Shekels (nearly $20,000) should be settled within 30 days, or the sum would be index linked and would accumulate interest.

COMMENT

The term visco-gel relates to material properties and is descriptive. I don’t believe that mark should have been allowed. The costs are high, but not unreasonably so.


Sahara

July 10, 2014

sahara

Tambour and Nirlit are both Israeli paint manufacturers.

Tambour filed a trademark for Sahara as a shade of paint. They filed for accelerated examination, and three weeks later the mark issued for opposition purposes.

The opposition period is three months, and on the final day, an examiner published a decision to allow the mark.

Nirlit submitted a mark for Sahara themselves on the final day of the opposition period and then requested that Tambour’s notice of allowance be cancelled, and the marks be considered as competing marks. The Examiner cancelled the mark and both sides have been fighting as to whether the cancellation was correct, whether it should be considered as void, and whether the court of the Israel Trademark Office is the correct jurisdiction or whether Tambour should have to appeal to the District Court to have the allowance reinstated.

The wording of the ordinance refers to “a competing mark being filed before a pending mark is allowed”. The legal issues boil down to whether decisions can be cancelled and what the word before means.

Other issues raised included whether Nirlit should have informed Tambour of their filing and of the cancellation of the Notice of Allowance. Did Tambour have rights to request amendments to Nirlit’s application?

THE RULING

The Adjudicator of Patents and Trademarks, Ms Yaara Shoshani Caspi did a fine piece of analysis and more or less sorted out the mess.

According to the ruling, trademark decisions are administrative decisions that can be withdrawn. The term “earlier” should be interpreted as meaning up until midnight of the previous day.

According to the ruling, the Examiner was not incorrect to allow Tambour’s mark, but was wrong to cancel the decision to allow it once it had issued. This decision is an administrative decision that can be withdrawn.

Once the marks are not co-pending, there is no competing marks scenario. All interim rulings are ex-parte. There is no obligation to inform the other party who has absolutely no standing.

The mark is retro-actively considered as published and Nirlit had two days left to file an opposition.

No costs were awarded to either side.

COMMENT

I think this ruling is the best of a bad job.  I don’t think we need to interpret earlier as the previous day. the notice of allowance for Tambour’s had issued before Nirlit’s was entered into the system. One hand does not need to now what the other is doing. All Examiners need to check what has been done.

Since there  was no pending mark for Nirlit at the time that Tambour’s mark was allowed, the notice of allowance was correct. It can happen that one department is more efficient than an other.

Retroactive publication for opposition purposes is problematic since in addition to Nirlit, it is not inconceivable that a third party may have a problem with the name.

Western Sahara is a disputed territory and most of the players involved do not recognize Israel. I am not sure that that will necessarily stop them from complaining about the place name being used to denote a shade of paint.


Deadline for Opposition Passes, but Trademark Opposition Accepted as a Cancellation

July 10, 2014

It is well established that opposers have three months to file trademark oppositions. Once this deadline has passed, the correct procedure is to file a cancellation request. There are not many differences between the two proceedings, but the onus changes to an assumption of validity.

Marco Pietroni filed a Madrid Protocol trademark application that specified Israel as one of the countries covered. The mark, 251203 is for the word “Stoneglass” and was filed in classes 19 and 21 for Glass element for building, glass slabs for use in building, plate glass for building, sheet glass for use in building, glass panels, glass tiles (not for roofing), glass for building, and in class 21 for sheet glass (except glass used in building), sheet glazing materials (other than for use in building), glass panels (semi-finished article).

The mark was allowed on 7 November 2014, and a notice was sent to the WIPO that unless an opposition was filed by 28 February 2014, the mark would issue.

An opposition was filed on 2 March 2014 under Section 56 of the trademark ordinance, and a copy, in Hebrew was sent to the International Registry that day.

Since no response was received, the mark was considered cancelled.

I examined the register.

The record is as follows:

Changes
יומן שינויים
תאריך הפרסום
תאור (לועזית)
תאור (עברית)
מהות הארוע (לועזית)
מהות הארוע (עברית)
תאריך הארוע
Publication date
Description (English)
Description (Hebrew)
Nature of event (English)
Nature of event (Hebrew)
Date of event
28/11/2013
Accepted
קובל
07/11/2013
Commencement of opposition procedure
פתיחת הליך מסוג התנגדות
02/03/2014
Cancellation of opposition procedure
סגירת הליך מסוג התנגדות
24/06/2014
Cancellation – abandoned
נמחק – הוזנח
24/06/2014

Under regulation 37 of the trademark regulations, since more than two months had passed and the trademark owner had not responded to the opposition, the mark was considered abandoned.

In other words,  an opposition procedure was initiated despite three months having passed, and on applicant failing to respond, the cancellation procedure was canceled and the mark was registered as abandoned.

COMMENT

In my opinion, this is a miscarriage of justice. For whatever reason, the opposition was filed too late. It should have been ignored. Since it was too late, there is no reason why the applicant (who does not have local representation) should have responded.

Regulation 37 follows regulation 35. The requirement to respond to an opposition presupposes that the opposition was timely filed.

In the Suprene case, the Deputy Commissioner Ms Jacqueline Bracha ruled that she does not have authority to extend the three month drop deadline for filing oppositions and that if the deadline is missed, a cancellation proceeding is in order.

One wonders why the Adjudicator Ms Shoshani Caspi considers that she does have this authority?

We cannot even tell if the International register informed the applicant of the late filed opposition. Generally late submitted documents are not considered.


When a mark under Opposition is assigned to a third party

July 10, 2014

puss in boots

Israel Trademark Number 244831 is for the word mark “PAMA” and covers Clothing and shoes for women, grils and grown up grils only; all included in class 25. The mark is owned by Abedel Razzak Ebido, a resident of Hebron.

We assume that grils are girls, and grown up grils are maidens or young ladies.

PUMA SE applied to have the mark canceled. Abedel Razzak Ebido meanwhile assigned the mark to another family member and forgot to inform the opposers of this. Attempts to argue that he forgot, and that the assignment was in the family so didn’t matter were rejected. PUMA were awarded 1500 Shekels in legal costs.

COMMENT

Since the District Court has argued that Palestinian youth are entitled to their rip-off brands, allowing four stripe Adidas trainers, it is important that brand owners fight mark like this.


Click Switch Refresh – what are considered reasonable costs?

July 7, 2014

Up_in_Smoke

British American Tobacco (Brands) LTD. or BAT, filed Israel trademark application no. 232537 for the slogan “Click, Switch, Refresh”. The trademark was opposed by Phillip Morris Products, and on allowance, costs of 98,966 Shekels were awarded against Phillip Morris who challenged the costs as exorbitant.

The applicant considered the costs as actually incurred, real lawyer’s fees, as evidenced by invoices from David Colb., and also argued that since the opposer had acted in poor faith and was an international player, there were grounds to award costs as an example and warning.

Phillip Morris considered that the costs were out of all proportion to the amount of work done, the nature of the case and when the opposition was withdrawn. Furthermore, the opposer argued that some of the costs were not sufficiently detailed and should therefore be refused.

 

RULING

The Commissioner is authorized to claim costs under Section 69 of the Tradaemrk Ordinance. As per Supreme Court Ruling 891/05 Bagatz Tnuva, the winning party is entitled to actual costs provided these are reasonable, taking into account the nature of the case, the amount of work, the stage reached, equitable behaviour of the parties and the like.

In this case, there is no difference between pro forma invoices and tax receipts where the pro forma invoices are expected to be settled. The attorney is entitled to set his fees. The opposer failed to point out specific reasons why costs were considered exorbitant, merely complaining about the overall charges.

On the other hand, an extension fee taken was allowed at the official patent office rate of the patent office, and not at $150 as charged. What appeared to be two charges for the same train journey between Rechovot and the patent office was allowed only once. The witness’ expenses of $400 for flight, $71.53 for food and drink and 2655 Shekels for two nights at the Tel Aviv Hilton were not allowed as no evidence was given, beyond general travel agent fees.

 

COMMENTS

Reading between the lines, it appears that the attorneys-of-record, who are known for their hospitality, put up their client and witness at the Colb Farm in Rehovot, and charged the witness’ train ticket and a typical two night hotel package in Tel Aviv to the losing side.

Adv. Kling correctly refused the hotel fee as not a reasonable incidental expense. It seems that the correct procedure is that Colb should either accommodate their witness in a bona fide hotel and keep the receipts, or, could perhaps apply for recognition of their hostelry services as a Ben & Breakfast or boutique hotel, and issue invoices. If my understanding is correct, the Commissioner is correct not to allow them to claim Tel Aviv hotel expenses when putting up witnesses themselves.


Nu?

June 29, 2014

Vifor Pharam

Galenica AG applied for Israel trademark No. 233011. Vifor Pharma Inc. opposed the request. After both sides stated their cases, they requested extensions to allow negotiations towards a mutually accepted solution.

Eventually, after nine requests for extensions, the Commissioner ordered that further requests be substantiated. Both sides continued to request further extensions based on the ongoing nogotiations. The Commissioner refused to grant additional extensions, and on being requested to reconsider, affirmed this decision.

COMMENT

The mark in question is “vifor pharma” as shown above. One can understand why a company called Vifor Pharma might have a problem with a different company having thier name as a registered trademark. However, an opposed trademark is not registered but is in suspense. I fail to see why the Israel Patent and Trademark Office should have a problem with accepting extension fees indefinately, other than how it affects the statistics in the annual report. If this is the issue, why not simply add a graph to show that delays are with the parties and not the patent office?


Are Lovol and Volvo Confusingly Similar?

June 16, 2014

     lovol

Hebei Aulion Heavy Industries LTD filed trademark applications for LOVOL, including stylized word marks 210591 and 210633 and a logo 210639 and 210640. The marks cover harvesters, agricultural machinery, road rollers, diggers, chargers, concrete mixers, bailers, threshers, rice separators, motors that are not for vehicles, agricultural transporters, motorbikes, cranes, horizontal trains, bicycles, electrical vehicles, vehicle engines, lorries with elevators, concrete mixers, tractors and lorries, all in class 12, and were filed in April 2008.

volvo

In July 2009, Volvo Trademark holdings AB filed an opposition to the marks.

Statements of case, responses, summations, evidence and hearings were held, and in May 2013, after receiving permission to do so, applicant submitted rulings in other jurisdictions that had allowed the mark to register.

VOLVO’s CLAIMS

 Volvo Trademark Holdings AB has a large number of marks including the word mark 14521 for VOLVO, and 14522 for their logo. These marks were filed back in 1955 and cover vehicles with engines in classes 7 and 12. Volvo Holdings was established in 1927 and provides industrial and domestic vehicles, and via a local distributor, has provided hundreds of thousands of vehicles in Israel. Volvo Holdings advertises widely in Israel and abroad, in both conventional and digital media.

The name VOLVO is prominently displayed in the advertisements. VOLVO invests heavily in R&D and safety and, in their words, “the name Volvo has become synonymous with uncompromising quality, prestige, safety and concern for the environment.” Being a well known mark, Volvo claimed that it was entitled to block the similar LOVOL mark under Section 11(14) of the Trademark Ordinance, as being confusingly similar.

VOLVO also claimed that the goods and distribution channels were identical and were thus not registerable under section 8(a), and that the marks were confusingly similar and thus non-registerable under Section 11(9). Finally, claiming inequitable behavior, VOLVO opposed the mark under section 11(6).

HEBEI AULION HEAVY INDUSTRIES LTD COUNTER-CLAIMS

Hebei Aulion Heavy Industries LTD is a Chinese company with sales of hundreds of millions of dollars, 10,000 workers and tens more engaged in R&D. The marks have been successfully registered in the US, Thailand, EU, China, Australia and Canada. Hebei claims that he marks look different and sound different. Since VOLVO only sells via their own dedicated distribution channel, there is no likelihood of confusion. Finally, the products are expensive and so it is unlikely that anyone would mistakenly purchase the wrong vehicle. As to the charge of inequitable behavior, Hebei claimed to have developed their own machines and that the name was chosen for its Chinese meaning.

EVIDENCE

The evidence submitted included affidavits of interested parties and of independent experts and market researchers. Interestingly, VOLVO submitted an expert opinion of a Dr Ping Zhaung (Finjan?), who is a researcher in the Dept. of East Asia Studies at Tel Aviv University to explain the name LOVOL in Mandarin Chinese.

In a survey conducted on behalf of Volvo, 56% of 500 Israeli adults identified the LOVOL logo with VOLVO, and 70% identified the LOVOL word mark with VOLVO more than with any other manufacturer.

An expert in visual representation from the Bezalel School of Design who was appointed by VOLVO argued that visually, the words were confusingly similar, as were the two logos. I am unclear as to his alleged competence for so-doing, but the same expert also explained why the marks sound the same.

Ms Cui Wei (Kiwi?), director of Hebei explained how the name was chosen and that it has been used for 12 years. Apparently the name LOVOL is a transliteration of LEIWO using the Pinyin transliteration system and means “Spring Rains that Wet the Ground”, indicating to their customers that the using their equipment would change the world.

Now, for those of you still following, you are, like me, no-doubt wondering how LEIWO becomes LOVOL? Well, according to Ms Cui Wei, hieroglyphically, the first L is that of Lei and the two Os are reminiscent of wheels. The V symbolizes the vehicle chassis and the L is a handle indicating agriculture (maybe it is a scythe or sickle?). The name was also chosen to provide a logical (sic) symmetry.

Having selected this poetic, pleasingly symmetrical Chinese transliteration, it was registered in China in 2004, and subsequently it was successfully registered in other countries, including US, Thailand, EU, China, Australia, Canada, Panama, Equador, Oman, Singapore and the Philippines, where similar objections were overcome.

Dr Ping Zhaung argued that the name was actually Vo-Ren and was a sort of portmanteau word meaning VOLVO and RENAULT, implying a joint venture of the two European manufacturers. He also provided additional evidence that this was the case.

According to Dr Ping Zhaung, would be transliterated through Pinyin into LEIWO. He argued that Latin characters do not have hieroglyphical meanings to Chinese and anyway, the name was directed to foreign purchasers.  According to Dr Ping Zhaung LOVOL is not Pinyin at all, but rather Sha Zhai – Chinese copying flattery, implying a Chinese Volvo-Renault.

THE RULING

Having established that the word LOVOL is meaningless in Hebrew, Commissioner Kling ruled that the word could be registered unless it was found to be confusingly similar to Volvo, or bad faith was proven. Commissioner Assa Kling ignored the market survey and the Chinese experts, the creative derivatives and simply analyzed the likelihood of confusion using the good old five pronged triple test. As to appearance, Commissioner Kling rejected the analytical approach of the Bezalel expert and, following Gronis’ approach in the 6658/09 Multilock vs Rav Bareakh appeal, looked at the marks in their entirety.

VOLVO’s logo is round whereas LOVOL’s is square. In LOVOL, the words are emphasized far more. Thus the logos were not deemed confusingly similar. Despite the VOL being common to both marks, the words Volvo and Lovol when considered in their entirety are somewhat similar, but not confusingly so. Unlike the Tal Eden, Tal Emek cheese case, where the word Tal is dominant, in this case, no syllable is dominant and the position of the Vol is at the beginning of one mark and the end of the other.

Noting Judge Ginat’s reversal on appeal of the Killah – Killy decision and the qualitative rather than quantitative similarity of Eve and Eva in the Appeal of the cigarette decision, the Commissioner found the qualitative likelihood of confusion low. (I don’t understand the quantitative, qualitative bit at all). As to the customers and distribution channels, since heavy machinery is bought by professionals, even where someone to arrive at the wrong showroom, he would be considered unlikely to purchase the wrong vehicle.

The Commissioner acknowledged that foreign tribunals might come to different results due to local linguistic and cultural differences and referred to Seligsohn’s opus. Nevertheless, I suspect that he was comforted by the fact that other trademark offices had come to the same conclusion.

In summary, since the marks look and sound different, Volvo vehicles are sold through authorized dealers and since people are careful when purchasing vehicles, and that the registration of the mark would not affect Israeli sales of Volvo vehicles, Commissioner Kling dismissed the case, ruling that the marks were not confusingly similar.

COMMENTS

  1. Following recent court appeals, Commissioner Kling’s ruling seems reasonable.
  2. If, in their words, “the name Volvo has become synonymous with uncompromising quality, prestige, safety and concern for the environment.” then presumably it is a laudatory and generic term that anyone can use for uncompromising quality, prestige, safety and concern for the environment – which is what many leading companies would claim!
  3. Does LOVOL imply LOVOL Spring Rains that Wet the Ground, wheels, a vehicle chassis and a sickle to the average Israeli? I’d love to prepare a questionnaire for 500 Israeli adults to answer to clarify this issue.
  4. I am not sure about VOLVO, but I accept that LOVOL is confusingly similar to Renault when transliterated into Mandarin Chinese by the Pinyin system.
  5. It is interesting to compare this with the Dewilux paint decision.

IP Blogging With a Political Agenda

May 14, 2014

red skin

I’ve come back from the INTA Meet the Bloggers meeting at the Hong Kong Yachting Club, which was kindly sponsored by Marks & Clark.

Marty Schwimmer (the Trademark Blog) spoke. He decided not to list the various IP blogs represented. Not least because we’d lose interest long before coming to the end of Professor Phillips’ blogging interests. Instead, he decided to request that we link to his blog and report on his campaign to have the Washington Redskins change their name. Marty is of the opinion that the term is demeaning to native American Indians and we should have a social conscience. Marty’s blog post is here. Jeremy’s preliminary rebuttal on the IPKAT is here.

I tried to speak to him afterwards. I pointed out that the State of Bavaria is interested in extending the copyright of Mein Kamf to keep Hitler’s magnum opus out of the public domain. Whilst not being a great fan of that work of literature for which Hitler was nominated for a Noble Prize in literature, I think that attempts to sensor it are futile, and if it is decided to do so, it should be done under race literature laws not by abusing copyright law. Marty Schwimmer’s response was that the Redskin issue wasn’t a legal issue, but an ethical one.

The Redskin issue has had its day in court. See Native Americans Activists Lose Annulment Procedure Against Redskins Trademark see also Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Chicago Redskins Complaint. See Quinn Emanuel, Leading US Litigation Firm Hosts Seminar in Tel Aviv,  Offensive Trademarks and Statute Of Limitations and Supreme Court Asked to WeighRedskins Case. Frankly, I’ve given more than a little coverage to this issue on a blog that is primarily devoted to Israeli decisions, cases on Jewish themes, those involving Israeli companies and other things of  interest to Israeli practitioners. I don’t know that the issue is really of interest to Native Americans. It is unlikely to be of interest to Israelis.

I don’t know anything about American football and little about native American sensitivities.

If Marty and I concur that the issue is not a legal one but a moral one, then maybe an IP blog is not the correct forum to discuss it?  I first met Marty at a Meet the Bloggers two years ago in Washington, or maybe the year before in San Francisco. He noted my Kippa (skull cap, yarmulka, cuppel) and beard, and decided that I was a right-wing Israeli who was racist. He didn’t ask me my views but made his very clear. I’ve meanwhile, enjoyed excellent relationships with IP professionals in Jordan, Egypt, Gaza, West Bank, Qatar, UAE, Iran, Morocco and Iraq. we shake hands and promise to send each other IP work insh’Allah when the situation improves. One Saudi Arabian refused to shake my hands. One Israeli practitioner also made a point of ignoring me. So what?

I have a social conscience. I am a political activist. However, I have different politics than Marty and different social values. I am not sure that INTA is the place to discuss these views and am not sure that IP blogs should cover non-legal social issues beyond those affecting the profession. I have successfully influenced corrupt patent practitioner practices in Israel, undemocratic practices of the representative organization for patent attorneys in Israel, Kosher food and the lack of it at INTA and AIPPI, non-licensed practitioners and silly practices of the patent office that lead to files becoming abandoned by mistake. I critique decisions by IP examiners, commissioners and judges on this blog, and know for a fact that several of them follow the blog, so it is likely that the feedback has some effect. I also demonstrate and write letters on other issues of concern, but don’t publish on this blog as it is not the correct forum.

I make no secret about living in a West Bank settlement. This does not mean that I am comfortable about the current state of affairs re Arabs on West Bank. It doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize the rights of Arabs to live in their ancestral homeland. Only that I believe in my right to live in my ancestral homeland, where history, literature, all monotheistic religions and achaeology show that I have deep ties to the area. I am happy to host Marty (or other practitioners) for a Shabbat in Ofra, and to discuss the peace process and political situation at length. I suspect that his understanding is no deeper than mine is of the Crimean issue, Morocco, Kurdistan or Armenia, and probably less than my understanding of Northern Ireland or Scotland. Marty may be well meaning, but he is a bigot who does not bother to engage in calm discussion, certainly not with me.

I sat with a couple of Ukrainian patent attorneys and one from Nigeria today. The position of native Americans is perhaps better than that of Crimeans and Nigerian teenagers. An ex-Israel Prime Minister was sentenced to 6 years for corruption. My Arab colleagues report that the situation in Syria and Egypt has been better. Is the Redskin issue the most burning social concern?

I have a great deal of respect for attorneys who refuse clients on political principle. I am an Intellectual Prostitute, i.e. I am in the field to earn a living but I don’t take on all cases. I can and do work pro bono for what I consider to be worthwhile causes. I also give plenty of free consultancies to wannabee entrepreneurs and usually try to persuade them to think carefully before investing in pipe dreams.

I also remember the “Dykes on Bikes” fiasco where a well meaning male trademark practitioner tried to prevent a women’s motorcyling club from using a mark that he found offensive. That case was also thrown out.  See Dykes on Bikes® – US Supreme Court Allows Trademark and “Dykes on Bikes” Trademark Upheld in US.

I think that Marty may simply make his blog less relevant by becoming less legal and more political. I assume that if enough fans stop buying Redskins merchantise. the club will change its name. Maybe I am less than sensitive to this issue. Maybe it is a non-issue. Maybe Marty is simply a well-meaning bleading-heart lefty. What is clear is that he doesn’t have time to discuss or debate. He knows it all.


More from INTA

May 14, 2014

sauna Hot and Humid is the best description of INTA Hong Kong. I found myself wilting. The Exhibition had the usual range of software and renewal providers, search engines and publishers, but also some stalls for IP firms from various countries, including China, Korea and Japan, the US and many smaller jurisdictions such as Cyprus, Philippines, etc. Luzzatto et Luzzatto was the only Israeli firm exhibiting. In a clever move, their team was bolstered by the eminently presentable face of Michal Luzzatto, the fifth generation of this four generation patent attorney firm. The quality of the nibbles was better than usual, with a lot of stalls from places like Equador offering high quality dark chocolate. Envoy had chocolate padlocks, instead of the sunflowers from previous years. Brandshield had Israeli chocolate. Michael Chessal had his chocolate business cards made apparently by his wife, who is a chocolatier. Golden Gate were giving out tea caddies, and I distributed some PCT bags to friends. Israeli TM protection firm Brandshield had some fun down-to-earth ribbons for things like “my ribbon is better than your ribbon”, “been there, done that” and the like, that I availed myself of. A pleasant change from the “Professor”, “Speaker”, “Table topic chairperson” and so forth. Patrawin and E.M. Whang had wet-wipes that were useful. Novagraff gave out Babushka key-rings and CPA Global had panda teddies that my daughter will like. Lots of pens, some tape measures, and other junk for the kids. Lehmann had some nice pencil cases. I am using one for holding business cards, which will eventually be given to one of the kids in lieu of a real present. Oxford University Press and Kuwler each kindly gave me a book to review. I will try to read them over the coming weeks.

The conference bag was simply an advert for INTA and for the sponsor Patrix. It was fabricated from foam rubber and is too small and has short straps. Completely useless. I was too tired to attend many receptions. On Monday I attended a Meet-the-Bloggers booze up kindly sponsored by Marks and Clerk. It was held at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club on a concrete platform covered with a tarpaulin that was called “the lawn”. Hot and humid, the word quickly went around that the bathrooms had air-conditioning, and people went to relieve themselves from the heat, if not to relieve their bladders to make room for more beer.

Marty Schwimmer announced a campaign he was launching to change the racist name of the Washington Redskins that he was launching on the trademark blog. He asked fellow bloggers to link to it. My response has been penned, but unlike the IPKAT, I will wait for him to post before I blog on the subject. On Tuesday I attended a very classy affair sponsored by Sugrhue where the food looked delicious, and where there was some raw vegetables and fresh fruit for Kosher consumers such as myself. I met some colleagues who’d come from Sandy’s reception the “Bar-Mitzva” and said it was phenomenal with his trademark mounds of chopped liver. I also met one or two who had unfortunately been unable to get in without identity cards with pictures, since it was in the JCC. It is a terrible shame and a pity that his guests weren’t warned to bring passports and an even bigger shame that the Hong Kong Jewish Community Center considers the armed guards necessary. I met some old friends and plenty of new ones. The finale is at Disney. I suspect I will feel a little old, but it may be fun.


INTA – Washout

May 11, 2014

PHILIPS

I flew into Hong Kong for INTA 2014 on the Thursday night direct ElAl flight from Tel Aviv. It seems like I was not the only Israeli IP Professional to take advantage of this convenient transport that enabled conventioneers to leave Tel Aviv after the end of the Israeli working week, and arrived Friday Afternoon, three or four hours before Shabbat. There must have been 50-60 colleagues on the plane. It occurred to me that I could have held a reception in the Airport lounge. If I had thought of it earlier, we could have perhaps organized a charter plane. The last hour or so of the flight was uncomfortable, with the plane being buffeted around. On landing, my luggage was almost the first one on the carousel, but it didn’t really help as I had to wait for my brother to come through customs and predictably, his was the last off. We took a train to Kowloon and a courtesy bus to the hotel.

Last time I was Shabbat in Hong Kong, I stayed at the Bishop Lei hotel and prayed and ate at the Jewish Community Center on Robinson’s Road. This trip my brother fancied something different, so we checked into a Kowloon Hotel and went to the Sephardic Synagogue. Sheldon Klein and Elbasz from Holland were at the Synagogue. I understand that there were a few other patent and trademark attorneys in Chabad and others in the Jewish Community Center and Sassoon Synagogue. Unfortunately we got totally soaked trying to get to the Synagogue from the hotel. The rain was so heavy that one literally couldn’t see where one was going. As we didn’t know the way, it hardly mattered.

The prayers at the Sefardaic Synagogue Hechal Ezra – were very pleasant. The food Friday night was excellent. There were a range of salads and fish dishes, including Japanese style raw fish, Morrocan style spicy fish (Chreime), East European style gefilte fish, and English style cod. The main course included a choice of chicken drumsticks, stuffed breast of chicken, roast beef and stuffed mushrooms. Coffee was served with cake and tropical fruit.The Shabbat morning service started at a civilized and very English 9 am. The preliminary hymns took almost an hour. After the rabbi spoke on the importance of Charity, the Aliyot were auctioned to rai se funds towards purchasing a new building. The additional Shabbat service, musaf, was rushed to finish by 12 PM. Lunch was less spectacular than the Friday night fare. There was a range of starters, including some excellent chopped liver and more gefilte fish, which was surprising for a Sephardic Synagogue. There was also a sort of chamin – cholent type dish, but no other hot meat, which was somewhat odd, as generally sefardaic communities are lenient with reheating solid food, and there was definitely beef left over from the previous evening.In addition to locals, there were businessmen from Panama, the US, Latin America, Israel and Europe. There were a couple of other patent attorneys. The service, the food and the atmosphere was distinctly cosmopolitan.

On the Sunday, we went to the conference center which seems to have 4 or 5 floors and confusingly, registration, once we found it, was only for those who hadn’t pre-paid – which was clearly a minority. Once I found the registration desk, I was redirected to Check-in, which is apparently where those who have checked in have to collect their name tags. From Check-In, on a different floor, in a different part of the convention center, there were some more up-escalators, 500 yard hikes and down-escalators to where one can collect the conference bags, and a few floor changes and more walking to find the exhibition area. The hospitality area was so large, with so many entrances and gates to the exhibition hall that I don’t think it was possible to actually rendez-vous with a colleague for a pre-arranged meeting, and certainly not with someone who one didn’t actually know by face. It was probably good that I had no interest in attending lectures, since it would have been next to impossible to find a lecture hall and then find one’s way back through the maze of the conference center.

I don’t know how Jeremy did it, but there was a building just behind the Conference Center with a big PHILIPS sign on the roof. Unfortunately, it was spelled the Dutch electrical way with one L, but it was, nevertheless, a fitting tribute to one of the most eminent trademark experts and bloggers.

There seemed to be the regular crowd of Europeans, but more Asians and less Americans than usual. As India is a relatively close 4 or 5 hours flight from Hong Kong, the Indian sub-continent was well-represented, and during a speed-networking session, I found myself opposite several Indian and Pakistani practitioners. Having been accosted by various tailors in Kowloon offering suits and shirts, and suffering jet-lag, it was difficult to focus on the fact that I was being offered IP services and not simply been asked my inside-leg measurements.

I was actually bespoken for, wearing a blazer, shirt, silk tie and high quality wool trousers made-to-measure on a previous trip to Hong Kong. I can certainly recommend that those who’ve never tried it, invest in the suit-in-two-days option. Hong Kong tailoring is not cheap, but the quality of the workmanship and the fabrics is first class.

The exhibition hall featured a lot of practitioners, particularly, but by no means exclusively from Asia. There was, however, a dearth of swag. I suspect I will have to go to shopping for the kids before flying home.

There seem to be fewer receptions than usual, and fewer taxis to transport one through the rain. That and the rain seemed to result in more attorneys being at the Opening Reception than usual. For some reason, there was no Kosher food at the opening event. INTA is normally considerate and organized. Usually there is a Kosher table. The regular minyan of Observant practitioners were rather annoyed; particularly those who’d bought accompanying adults and had paid for additional tickets for them. The catering manager was a Ms Hilary Cohen, who was sympathetic, but unable to solve the problem.

It was an ideal opportunity to network with Iranians, Egyptian, Lebanese, Quatar and Jordanian colleagues. Not likely to bring in lots of work, but nevertheless, valuable third-level diplomacy.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 270 other followers