- Israel Independence Day on Tuesday, May 2, 2017
- Shavuot (Pentecost – the Feast of Weeks) – Tuesday, May 30, 2017 and Wednesday, May 31, 2017.
At the INTA Conference every year, the Kashrut observing practitioners try to get together for dinner one evening in a local Kosher restaurant. It is really a way to compare pita and humus followed by entrecote & chips at Chabad houses and Kosher restaurants around the world.
This year, INTA is in Barcelona, from 20th to 24th May.
So far, via the KIPA google group, we have 10 people who have expressed an interest in attending dinner, of which 4 can meet for supper on Sunday, 8 are available on Monday and 2 can meet on Tuesday. (I am not voting).
We usually get about 25-30 participants. Next year the conference is over Shavuot, so it this will be the last INTA KIPA dinner until 2019!
Although for obvious reasons, this event seems to attract Jewish practitioners, particularly those more committed to the dietary laws, the event is open to everyone. Occasionally someone sponsors, but generally we go Dutch. It makes a change from nibbling on raw vegetables and eating peanuts at the larger receptions.
Anyway, assuming that most IP professionals that would be interested in this dinner follow this blog, I invite you to email me to register. I will put you in touch with the group, and by the middle of next week, we will select the day.
However, unless there is a surge of interest for Sunday or Tuesday, it does rather look as though we’ll be meeting Monday evening.
India has the world’s second largest population, its third largest economy and is the second largest producer of food after China.
India is a ‘global hotspot’ for food manufacturers, food producers, and food ingredient professionals. The country is now becoming an integral part of the global food ingredient network and supply chain. Given this trend, India has become one of the most important destinations for food investment, with the food industry growing at an annual rate of 17%. As food exports continue to increase in India, many Indian food manufacturers are required to certify that their products and ingredients are kosher.
In April 2016, Indian trademark Application Number 3243779 was filed by Mrs. Suchi Agarwal trading as AMRIT EXCLUSIF. The mark covers beverages including wine, spirits, liquors, whisky, brandy, rum, vodka, gin and Scotch all included in class 33. Ms Agarwal already has the word mark for leather goods.
Veteran Israel Trademark Attorney Neil Wilkof brought this application to my attention.
Wine is a key element in the rituals that mark the onset and end of the Jewish Sabbath and festivals, and features in life cycle events such as circumcision and wedding ceremonies. Perhaps due to its centrality, over the millenia, very stringent manufacturing and storage requirements have been developed that must be met for wine and brandy to be considered Kosher.
Neil’s problem is that the 3243779 mark is misleading in that if applied to the beverages listed, consumers would assume that the beverages are Kosher. On the other hand, no one organization should be able to prevent other manufacturers from using the work Kosher on wines that are manufactured in accordance with Jewish Law, and under bona fide Rabbinical supervision. There are a number of Indian trademarks for Halal marks including 1131733 (wordmark) and 1131732 and 1493214 which are each slightly stylized. A Moslem purchasing meat labeled as Halal would expect it to be from a clean animal that is slaughtered with a knife in accordance with Moslem practice and beverages labeled as Halal to be free from Alcohol. Similarly Jews should be able to expect wine or meat labeled as Kosher to be manufactured and stored in accordance with Jewish Law.
Neil and I have discussed the case with retired trademark expert Professor Jeremy Phillips as well as with the local Indian trademark counsel who brought the application to Neil’s attention. We all believe that there are grounds to oppose this registration under the Indian Trademark Law. The deadline for filing an Opposition is in mid-February 2017. We are happy to donate are time to this cause and I’ve reached out to the officer who handles fraud in matters of Kosher food for the Israel government.
None of us knows any Jewish licensed trademark Attorneys in India, and whilst we believe that Buddhists and Moslems will be sympathetic to the cause, we cannot expect a non-Jewish practitioner to work Pro Bono on this matter. Neil has consulted with the firm in India and it is estimated that the cost of fighting this opposition could amount to $2000 – $3000. Neil and I are willing to assist the firm pro bono as needed. If we can now find 20-30 practitioners who will each put $100 in the pot, we will have a budget for fighting this. Neil and I have agreed to put in the first couple of hundred. Please contact either of us if you’d be prepared to help.
The afternoon session was titled “Ethics and Human Genome Patenting” and were Chaired Professor Robert K. Vischer, Dean and Mengler Chair in Law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minnesota. Lectures included:
- Public trust doctrine applied to gene patents – Professor Brian Scarnecchia, Ave Maria School of Law, Franciscan University of Steubenville
- The theological case against privatising the human genome – Professor David Albert Jones, Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford
- Human genome and copyright: an ethical alternative to patents? – Mark Engelman, Barrister and Head of IP at Hardwicke Chambers, Lincoln’s Inn; Master of the Bench, Gray’s Inn; Von Hügel Institute Research Associate and a former Hasmo boy, came up with the thought provoking and brilliant suggestion that rather than considering them an invention and awarding patents for gene sequences, the correct tool for protecting them, either as a creation or, like database contents or telephone directories, reflecting the effort, is as copyright.
After yet more tea and coffee, there was a roundtable called the future of life form patenting which was Chaired by a presbytarian, Dr Calum MacKellar, Director of Research at the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics.
- Professor Geoff Hunt, Director, Centre for Bioethics and Emerging Technologies, St Mary’s University, Twickenham (reflecting on the ethics of nano bio-medicine patenting)
- Martin Gouldstone, Head of Lifesciences Advisory, BDO (reflecting on industry concerns over gene patenting) and
- Dr Thana Campos, Von Hügel Institute Research Associate (speaking on ‘the idea of patents vs. the idea of the university’).
Dr Campos’ claimed that patenting interfered with academic publishing and cost the university money rather than raised funds. Unfortunately, she did not substantiate her statements with any statistics or hard evidence. I found it contrary to what I knew to be the case with the Israel university tech transfer companies and suspect that if there are problems, it is due to poor management rather than intrinsic to the system. Sure, the tech transfer model can be criticized as leading to applied rather than basic research, but as not infrequently I turn academic papers into provisional patent applications whilst the paper is at the galley proof stage, I do not believe that patenting restricts or delays publication.
There was another little drinks session to finish off the conference. I reflected that what passed as orange juice in the UK seemed to be the second washings after pasteurization and would probably not be considered drinkable in Israel.
Walking back from synagogue earlier that day, I passed the Chabad House of Cambridge. Chabad is a kind of salvation Army type of Jewish missionary cult aimed at disenfranchised Jews. The Chabad House was less than five minutes walk from Murray Edwards and after the conference, I popped over there until nightfall where I prayed and studied a little. It turned out that the Rabbi’s wife was the daughter of a former geography teacher at Hasmonean, the London high school I’d attended. I see Shabbat as a family time, and it was nice watching her kids playing together. She and the Rabbi had recently reproduced again, and I very much enjoyed holding and playing with her four month baby.
I took a national express coach from Cambridge to Luton Airport. Luton is like Lublijani Airport in Slovenia. It is tiny. Nevertheless, in one of the restaurants, there were Kosher sandwiches and salads from DDs.
Things are ever stricter regarding security. Now, apparently, one is not allowed to have 100 ml of fluid in one’s bladder. The woman in front of me had on an underwired brassiere which triggered the metal detector. The ELAL breakfast consisted of a rubbery omelet and yoghurt. Nevermind, I was Homeward Bound.
The Cambridge synagogue was familiar to me from my student days, where, although I studied at Imperial, I did have friends in Cambridge and spent a few Shabbatot (Sabbaths) there. The synagogue in Thompson Lane is non-affiliated Orthodox. There is gender separation, but the symbolic divide runs front to back, so women and men sit in a segregated but egalitarian arrangement. The dividing screens are also solid to waste height and above that, are merely a framework. In a pleasant break with tradition, the 1-12 year old girls opened the holy Ark. Apparently, in the college holidays, it’s usually the kids that open the ark, and the boys were outside playing something. Anyone can open the Ark and the honour is frequently given to non-Jewish visiting dignitaries. Nevertheless, it seemed to me to be sensible and refreshing to give the ladies something to do.
An Israeli mathematician, Dr Yoav Gitt, read the weekly Torah portion. When I’d last visited, as a student in the early nineties, Yoav, then a student, was the regular reader, and it seems that he’s been in demand ever since.
Israel Patent Attorney, Standford T Colb donated a Sefer Torah to the Cambridge Synagogue in Honour of his father. Apparently both he and his son had spent happy semesters there.
Due to the Synagogue visit, I missed the session on Patents and life forms that was chaired by Professor Simon Lee, Fellow of St Edmund’s College, Cambridge and executive director of the Cambridge Theological Federation and which included the following lectures:
- Patenting on life forms/judgments of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office – Christopher Rennie-Smith, Former Chair of the Biotech Board of Appeal and former Member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal at the European Patent Office
- Legal and ethical aspects of the patenting of human body materials – Dr Julian Cockbain, European Patent Lawyer, author, consultant and bioethics expert
- Patents and the moral limits of markets: The case of germ line interventions – Dr Katerina Sideri, Intellectual Property advisor, Agricultural University of Athens; and Member of the International Scholars Network of Intellectual Property in the Biosciences
I also missed most of the second session, titled Patents, human rights and politics
Chair: Professor Elizabeth Schiltz, Professor of Law, Thomas J. Abood Research Scholar and Co-Director of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute at the University of St Thomas in Minnesota
- Patent governance, ethics, and democracy – Professor Ingrid Schneider, Department of Political Sciences, University of Hamburg, Research Centre for Biotechnology, Society and the Environment
- Human Rights and Life Patents: Lessons from the Church’s Social Teaching and Engagement – Dr Stephen Colecchi, Director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Patents on Embryonic Stem Cells: On Moral Intrigue at the European Patent Office – Dr Justin Turner QC, Barrister at Three New Square chambers, Lincoln’s Inn; Director of UKAD
For lunch I had fried fish, mashed potato and spinach again. After my parents retired, they immigrated to Netanya, which is a Mediterranean Bournemouth on Sea. They’ve found a Synagogue called Young Israel, with an average age of congregant being about 70, and where most members are British retirees. Nothing Young and nothing Israel about it. They’ve got used to the local diet and one can find things like Marmite, English teabags, etc. if one is willing to pay a premium. What one cannot get in Israel is fresh North sea fish suitable for frying. I had fish & chips at a Hendon restaurant on the Wednesday, and two Hermolis meals in Cambridge on Shabbat. That’s three lots of haddock. It’s true, there is nothing like British fried fish. Funnily enough, Mrs Beaton describes it as fish in the Jewish tradition, and apparently it arrived with Portuguese Jewish immigrants in Cromwell’s time.