Blog Reviews

The IPKat: intellectual property news and fun for everyone must be my favorite blog as I not only get regular email updates by RSS feeds, but have it on my shortlist of favorites on the web-browser, and go in to see what’s happening over coffee.

Hot link to website The IPKAT is written by a team of leading IP Kats, all academic lecturers with an academic bend, including Birgit Clark, Matt Fisher, Jeremy Phillips, Mark Schweizer, Annsley Merelle Ward and Neil J. Wilkof aided and abetted by Tufty the Cat. Many articles feature catty asides by Merpel.

The postings are liberally illustrated with relevant photos and with illustrations of cats (photos, paintings, cartoons, etc) doing relevant and sometimes fairly irrelevant but typically cute things. The blog is updated several times a day and covers developments in all fields relating to patents, trademarks, copyright, designs and trade secrets. The team are mostly European based and the blog seems to be focused on Europe, mostly looking from Britain outwards.

To cover US developments, there is a letter from an Amerikat posted once a week. As a synopsis of the major developments over the pond it is not bad, but I suspect that anyone interested in what happens over the pond, receives and reviews the IP Watchdog, Patently-O or Greg Aaronian’s newsletters anyway.

Each contributor has a different writing style. If you will forgive me for being a little catty, I find the Amerikat twittering about grooming her fur, straightening her whiskers, dreaming of having kittens, etc. a little tiresome.

In contrast, a friend of mine, Israel based trademark practitioner and business school lecturer Neil Wilkof, who joined the IPKAT team about a year ago writes often thought-provoking and somewhat heavy postings that are neither focus on new development nor particularly catlike in any way.

The lynchpin of the team, the number of whose contributions appears to match those of the rest of the Kats put together, is Professor Jeremy Phillips, who, in addition to his undoubted depth of knowledge and acumen, also has a phenomenal sense of humour, which this British born and educated blog reviewer appreciates. In addition to reviewing Court decisions and other legal developments, the blog postings provide details of forthcoming IP conferences, seminars and lectures, bereavement notices and obituaries when friends of the Kat such as leading IP jurists academics and practitioners pass away, and book reviews of newly issued titles.

Many postings are somewhat irreverent. Book reviews are invariably assigned rupture values that in one case was about the weight of a small grandchild. There are occasional pollings of readers on developments under current debate. Details of forthcoming events often include competitions offering a free ticket to the best limerick, haiku, or anagram of some slogan.

It is the combination of breadth of coverage and sheer entertainment value that has resulted in this blog attracting nearly 5000 email subscribers and seven figure blog hits.

Tufty the Kat was listed amongst Managing Intellectual Property magazine’s Fifty Most Influential People of 2005, has filed amicus briefs and been cited by eminent IP judges. Not bad for a fictitious character.

Patently-O is focused on US patents matters. It is written by Professor Dennis Crouch, with Jason Rantanen serving as a contributing author and occasional guest postings from others. The email feeder maintains an uncluttered look by showing a short teaser on the latest post and the titles of other recent postings, so that the interested reader can click to read more. Court decisions are reviewed, as are statements and agendas from Capitol Hill and from the USPTO directors.

There are a couple of aspects that differentiate this blog from many others: Hot link to website Firstly, it has managed to develop into a forum where most topics generate a large number of responses from patent attorneys, examiners and others, sometimes anonymously.

This is largely due to the sometimes negative and sometimes offensive postings by a Malcolm Mooney. I have no idea who is behind the pseudonym, and once suspected that wrote these himself. That as may be, the end result is that there is real debate on topics under discussion, often at a fairly high level and people can post comments and see what the response is. Secondly, frequently tracks trends statistically, and posts bar charts and graphs of his findings. The type of thing analyzed includes pendency prior to examination over time and in different fields, the average number of claims over time, applications where the first author is not a US resident, the average word count, applications where at least one inventor is female, etc. I suspect that the author posts early findings and tracks feedback for future use in academic papers or for a future book. That as maybe, this type of empirical data regularly confirms suspicions but maybe surprising and is often thought-provoking, not least because it provides insight into what the fine mind of another patent expert is currently thinking about.

IP Watchdog Written by Gene Quinn, the IP Watchdog seems to be updated daily about whatever Gene decides to write about. The author is a practitioner, rather than an academic, and the blog is less formal than many, with Gene having a pleasant chatty style. The focus is on the US. There is a useful listing of topics for finding articles of interest. There is a good list of links to other contributors in the IP blogosphere. This is perhaps best describes as a one man magazine.

IP Think Tank Written by Duncan Bucknell, with contributors from other members of his Australian IP firm, this blog carries a weekly roundup of the major IP blogs from around the world. It is thus a good source of country specific secondhand information. There are original postings as well. It is the only truly international blog source of IP news. The Israel news gives this blog reviewer a strange feeling of déjà vue.

The trademark sentinal

This relatively new trademark blog discusses US trademark developments. It has well written, short postings.It does have a tendency to include long quotes, but these are in italics and easily skipped over. It will be interesting to see how this blog develops over time.

2 replies

  1. Michael, run a google search on the words: ehrlich paralegal romania

    You’re in for a surprise. And material for another blog post.

    • So Ehrlich is cutting costs by employing paralegals in Romania. And why not? For a long time the Israel Patent Office employed a large number of Romanian born examiners.
      One hopes that Ehrlich & Fenster will pass on the cost savings to their clients.

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