Big Deal

July 20, 2016

big deal

Israel trademark Application Number 131862 to H.A.B. Trading LTD is for the words “BIG DEAL” for Shop services for toys, kitchenware, disposable articles, houseware, clothing for children, and drawing books in class 25.

Yidiot Internet filed a request to have the mark canceled.

For those of you wondering what’s the big deal, the following images may help clarify:

H.A.B. Trading have stores of discounted goods and Yediot Internet (YNet) has an internet special offer website.

H.A.B. Trading LTD has now requested that Yidiot Internet’s counter-evidence be deleted from the file. Yidiot countered the request, but H.A.B. Trading did not respond before 15 June 2016 when Ms Yaara Shoshani-Caspi, Adjudicator at the Israel Patent Office gave the following decision.

The mark owner (H.A.B. Trading LTD) claimed that Yediot Internet were tardy and missed the deadline for filing their counter-evidence with the court and with the mark owner.Furthermore, the counter-evidence was unacceptable in that it was not provided as an affidavit, did not include a warning from the attorneys to tell the truth or suffer the consequences, and did not include the title “expert opinion”.

Yediot Internet responded H.A.B. Trading LTD’s request for cancellation was niggardly and superfluous. They consider that the counter-evidence was timely filed, were in the appropriate form, and if the court rules otherwise, they should have an opportunity to repackage the response in an appropriate manner.

RULING

The correct way to present evidence in a trademark proceeding are given in regulations 38 and 40 of the trademark regulations 1940.

Regulation 38 states:

The opposer has to submit all his evidence within two months of receiving the applicant’s response.

Regulation 40 relates to the response to the opposer’s response to the applicant’s evidence and states:

In response, the opposer may submit counter evidence within two months and deposit a copy with the applicant.

Ms Shoshani-Caspi concluded that the last date for the applicant for cancellation to file counter-evidence was 6 April 2016,. The evidence was filed on 7 April 2016 – i.e. a day late. The mark owner only received a copy by registered mail on the 17 April 2016 .

The language of Regulation 40 should be understood as instructions for one party to provide evidence to the other party simultaneously with submitting the evidence to the patent office and not afterwards. However, as a matter of principle, disputes should not be decided based on procedural issues only where there is no irreversible damage to the opposing party. See 189/66 Asiz Sasson vs. Kedma LTD  – Car and Equipment Factory P.D. 20(3) 466, 479. In this instance, the procedural irregularities do not cause irreversible harm to the mark owner since the next stage of the proceedings is to fix a date for a hearing. The tardiness does not justify cancelling the proceedings.

That said, the document titled “Response to Dr Sarid’s Opinion has a signed blank sheet attached that casts aspersions regarding whether the signature belongs with the response, as there is no reason for the last page not to be signed. The document does not include the name of the expert who wrote it and is undated. It is also not endorsed by a lawyer. So whilst cancelling the evidence and closing the case on procedural grounds is a drastic step, this does not mean that anything is acceptable.

Consequently, the applicant for cancellation has 14 days to resubmit the expert opinion as a proper signed and dated affidavit with appropriate lawyer’s warning within 14 days, and to ensure that the trademark owner’s counsel receives a copy in this period as well. Interim costs of 800 Shekels + VAT are awarded to the mark owner, to be paid within 14 days.

 


Swiss Military

July 15, 2016

278777

Israel Trademark Application Number 278777 is the national phase entry of International Trademark No. 1232972 filed under the Madrid Protocol. The mark is shown above.

The Application covers Watches of Swiss origin in class 14 and was submitted by Chron AG.

The Israel Trademark Department considered the mark non-registerable for two reasons. There is a registered Israel Trademark, No 88839 for “Swiss Army” for the same goods, and the mark is confusingly similar to pending Israel Trademark Application Numbers 260989 and 273129 “Swiss Military”to Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft v.d. Armasuisse Eidg. Departement für Verteidigung, Bevölkerungsschutz und Sport, for perfumes and other toiletries in class 3, but also for watches in class 14, and so the correct way to proceed is via a competing marks proceeding under Section 29. Chrono AG transferred the Application to Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (the Swiss Army) and the section 29 objection was rendered moot, however the similarity to 88839 remained and the Applicants failed to ovecome the objection under Section 11(9) that there was a likelihood of confusion.

During the Examination, the Applicant submitted evidence to support their claims, including a letter by Mr Peter Emch, the Chief Legal Counsel to the effect that the applicant is part of the Swiss Defense Department of the Swiss Government and is the body entitled to protect military trademarks, including Swiss Army, Swiss Military and Swiss Air Force.

 

Deputy Commissioner Ms Jacqueline Bracha noted that Applicant claimed that there is a difference between Swiss Army and Swiss Military, since the term military is broader than army. The two marks look and sound different and the only commonality is the word Swiss which is a geographical adjective.

During the hearing it transpired that the word ‘military’ means ‘of or relating to the army’ and both the owner of the mark and the applicant use their terms together with the cross that is the emblem of the Swiss Federation and which further increases the likelihood of confusion.

Martin Shneider, Legal Counsel to the swiss Army submitted an affidavit stating that it is the Swiss Army who are authorized by the Swiss Government to both the pending application and the issued mark to the third-party. The third party received a license from the Swiss government to register the term SWISS ARMY for watches and knives that are made in Switzerland and conform to quality standards.

In the circumstances, Ms Bracha did not think that the consumers would be confused regarding the source of goods carrying the requested mark or the issued mark as both are essentially owned and managed by the Swiss Army. Consequently the mark is registerable.

Ruling by Ms J Bracha concerning registerability of Israel Trademark Application Number 278777 “Swiss Military by Chrono”.

COMMENT

swiss-army-knife-funny

I think that in this case, the registered owner of the Swiss Army mark 88839 (Swiss Army Brand LTD, a Delaware Corporation), should have been contacted to confirm Mr Emch’s story, and that mark should be recorded as owned by Swiss Army and exclusively licensed to Swiss Army Brand LTD.

 

 


Ful – the Broad-bean Ruling

July 15, 2016

It is generally known that the Lilliput wars were fought over which side one should crack to access the contents of soft-boiled eggs.

Zeno Eitam owns registered Israel trademarks 262406 and 258737 reproduced above.  The words mean “House of Ful (broad-beans), Tasty and Healthful Since 1952.

Apart from Iraqi Jews who have G6PD, i.e. a recessive hereditary disease, causing a lack of the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase enzyme, Ful is a common food amongst oriental Jews. Ful has been tasty and healthful (at least for those not allergic) far longer than since 1952, but the legendary Ful outlet in Beer Sheva was apparently established back then.

The Ashkenazi clan (that’s their surname, not origin, and one assumes they are actually Mizrachi, probably Moroccan or Tunisian) filed to have the marks cancelled due to lack of use.

Yitzhak, Shalom, Yaakov, Moshe and Yoseph Ashkenazi were represented by Adv. Einat Noy Peri. On 10 May 2016 she submitted a hand-written note to the Trademark Office withdrawing her representation, however no explanation or justification was given. On 15 May 2016, the Trademark Office ruled that she could not simply withdraw, and remained the attorney-of-record until someone else is appointed, and gave her until the following day, 16 May 2016, to state whether her evidence was provided to the other side or not, but, to date, she has not complied.

On 22 May 2015, Yitzhak Ashkenazi filed to have the cancellation proceedings abandoned. As of 24 May 2016, Yitzhak Ashkenazi has been represented by Adv. Yoram Dadia.

On behalf of Mr Eitam, Adv. David Walberg (pronounced Deivid and not Dah-vid, so presumably both Ashkenazi by extraction if not in name, and probably an import from an English-speaking country) accepted the abandonment of the cancellation proceedings. He considers that Adv. Yoram Dadia should be considered as acting on behalf of all plaintiffs, and anyway, the cancellation proceedings should be thrown out since the plaintiffs requesting cancellation did not submit any evidence supporting their claims.

The Adjudicator of IP, Ms Yaara Shoshani Caspi ruled that she could not ignore the protocol of a discussion between Yitchak Ashkenazi and Ms Osnot Askenazi and Ms Bar Ashkenazi that took place on 17 April 2016 before the Been Sheva District Court Judge Ms Rachel Barkai (12737-10-15) that endorsed a compromise agreement between the parties under which the Ahkenazis would withdraw the cancellation requests in the current case.

The problem is that there is that the parties in the present case are not identical to those that were party to the case before  the District Court, and, apart from YItzhak Ashkenazi, the other parties to the trademark cancellation proceedings remains Adv. Einat Noy Peri until she manages to extricate herself from her obligations. The other plaintiffs have not agreed to have the cancellation proceedings closed, nor have they accepted Adv. Dadia as their representative. Therefore, the Court Protocol cannot be relied upon in this instance.

The question remains whether there are additional grounds for cancelling the proceedings? From reviewing the cancellation application it appears that the evidence for cancellation was submitted on a portable disk that cannot be reviewed. It is also not clear that these were provided to the mark holder. The Applicants for cancellation should be given an opportunity to provide the evidence to the court and to the mark owner in readable form.  That said, it seems pointless to order the submission of evidence in an acceptable form from plaintiffs that want to withdraw their case.

Ms Shoshani Caspi separately ordered all three lawyers, Ms Noy-Peri, Mr Dadia and Mr Walberg to inform all plaintiffs within seven days that they have 45 days to submit their evidence for cancellation in an acceptable, accessible form to the Trademark Office and to Mr Zeno Eitam or the case will be closed.

Interim ruling by Ms Yaara Shoshani-Caspi concerning cancellation proceedings against Israel trademarks 262406 and 25873 to Eitham, 6 June 2016.

 

 


Hark the Herald Angels

June 22, 2016

anastasia

I attend INTA to meet old friends and to make new ones. In a recent email exchange with UK trademark attorney and Cam-marks director, Dr Roman Cholij, I noted that I had missed him at INTA in Orlando.

He informed me that domestic issues had forced him to stay at home. It turned out that a daughet, Anastasia, was born on 25 December 2015. In the above picture one can see a blessing on her head, Mazal Tov, Mazal Tov.

Dr Cholij organized a conference in Cambridge last September under the auspices of st Edmund’s College, that was titled “Patents on Life: Through the Lenses of Law, Religious Faith and Social Justice – ‘defining the boundaries’” where I was honoured to speak. Previously, he spoke at a conference I organized with Machon Herzog on IP in Jewish Law where he spoke about IP in the Christian tradition.

I believe in ecumenical interfaith dialogue and in seeking knowledge wherever it may be found. I am also delighted to see the Cholij’s are being productive.

It turns out that Professor Jeremy Phillips was also born on Christmas day, but so long ago that he doesn’t remember it. There was apparently a Kat and at least one wise man present.


Israel Patent Office Report 2015

June 13, 2016

Doch 2015.png

PATENTS

The Israel Patent Office has just published its report of 2015. Following the origami theme, and in an escalation from paper darts through hot air balloons, this time the cover shows an origami rocket. However, instead of plumes of gases, the rocket leaves a wake of bubbles. Go figure.

In 2015, 6,904 new applications were filed with the Israel Patent Office. This is the highest number since 2010, but still significantly less than 2006-2008. Noticeable increases in filing have occurred in chemistry, life sciences and computing related inventions. This reflects worldwide trends, as discussed by the EPO in their 2015 report.

The number of priority applications first filed in Israel was 830, which is up from 835 in 2014. It is still lower than any other year in the past decade. The number of non-priority applications, including Paris and PCT national phase filings, was 6074. This follows the over all new filing trends, and is more than any other year from 2011 to 2015, but less than 2006 to 2010.

Only 9.2% of Applicants for patents in Israel were Israelis. Indeed, the percentage of Israeli applicants has been steadily declining over the past decade, from 14.5% in 2006. The reduced filing fees for first time filers, which is similar to the US provisional filing fees using an agent, seems to have done nothing to encourage Israelis to first file in Israel, although I think there are significant advantages in so-doing, compared to going the US provisional route. Oddly however, there has been a steady rise in the percentage of Israel originating applications that are being allowed, when looking at the over-all allowance rate. Indeed, some 17.4 % of all patents allowed were filed by Israeli applicants.  The logical conclusion is that Israeli Applicants have an easier examination than their foreign counterparts. I doubt that this is the case. What may be happening is that Israeli Applicants are having interviews with Examiners and negotiating something allowable.

Applications are examined between two and three years from filing date, on average 30.4 months from filing (for PCT applications, this is from the PCT filing date, not national phase entry date). On average, cases take a further 29 months to allowance.

Who is filing into Israel?

Of the PCT national phase entries, 2911 originated with the USPTO as receiving office, 1203 with the EPO as receiving office, 454 with the International Bureau, 414 were national phase entries of PCTs filed with the Israel Patent Office as the receiving office. 194 cases came from Japan, 612 from China and 38 from Korea. Without the country of origin of the cases filed with the International Bureau being known and with a massive 626 originated ‘elsewhere’, it is not clear what this data really means. I suspect that a significant number of cases have come from the Swiss, DE and UK patent offices, but could be wrong.

Israeli Universities

Surprisingly, Ben Gurion University with 23 applications filed in 2015, has overtaken Yeda (Weizmann), Technion and Yissum (Hebrew University) as the most prolific University Tech Transfer filing in Israel. All the universities are down in Israeli filings compared to 2014 figures, except for the Haifa Technion. However, when PCT applications are considered, the number of cases filed last year is much higher, and is led by Yissum, Yeda, Technion, Ben Gurion and Tel Aviv in that order. What we suspect is happening is that Ben Gurion is first filing in Israel, whereas the other universities are first filing US provisional applications.

The Israel Patent Office has offered a 40% discount to Israeli universities but this doesn’t seem to have impacted their filing strategy. We are not surprised by this since the savings are marginal when considering the cost of drafting.

Other large filers

Biosense Webster, Israel Aerospace, Iscar, Elbit, Smart Medical Systems, Verint Systems and Omrix Biopharmaceuticals are major filers in Israel, and Corning, Oridion and Tel HaShomer hospital are significant local PCT filers.

Facebook Inc. Is the largest foreign filer into Israel, with a massive 136 applications in 2015. The next 14 companies are mostly pharmaceutical developers.

Divisionals

Chemistry, Pharma and Biotech applications are most likely to spin off divisional applications. This is not surprising, since the Specifications tend to be longer and less focused than mechanical, physics, medical device and computer type applications.

Applications that don’t get allowed

A significant number of Applications filed in Israel simply lapse. In 2015, 3,730 cases lapsed, 24 were rejected and 130 were expressly abandoned by the Applicant.

Section 17c allowances dropping

Only 14.5% of patents that issued were allowed under Section 17c of the Law. The number of 17c based allowances has been dropping steadily since 2010. In my experience, the Israeli Examiners are more likely to reject 17c requests based on their understanding of the art.

Fast tracking

Usage of the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) has increased, with some 390 cases being fast-tracked under the PPH (up from 96 in 2014) and a further 160 cases being made special for other reasons (age of applicant, suspected or actual infringement, etc.). So far, neither route has resulted in a significant number of cases being allowed.

Since the Green channel was established in 2010 for nothing to declare environmentally friendly patent applications, 133 cases have been fast-tracked.  In 2015, some 13 cases qualified and a whopping 3 patents issued.

Going full term

Hardly surprising, Chemistry related patents are the most likely to be renewed full term.

PCT Applications

Israelis filed 1329 PCT Applications with the IPO as receiving office and a further 128 applications filed by Israelis directly with the International Bureau selected the IPO as the International Search Authority. Interestingly, some 195 Applications filed with the USPTO as receiving office specified the IPO as the International Search Authority. In total, the Israel Patent Office issued some 1085 International Search Reports.  Israelis can choose to elect the USPTO, the EPO or the IPO as the International Search Authority. 819 out of 1329 (61.6%) chose the IPO which is marginally cheaper than the USPTO which handled 193 cases for Israeli Applicants, but significantly cheaper than the EPO which handled 317 cases.  It seems that the EPO is still considered the ‘gold standard’. EPO examiners are fluent in three languages as a requirement for their job. (I suspect from their names, that there are a very large number of US examiners who also speak a foreign language, often Vietnamese or Korean, but USPTO searches are usually very US focused).

TRADEMARKS

trademarks

The number of trademarks filed into Israel has stayed more or less constant since 2011.There has, however, been a significant rise of 23% in the number of International Applications filed with the Israel Patent Office (Trademark Division).  The numbers are a little distorted since until 2010, only single class applications were accepted. Now multiple class applications are allowed. If one considers new applications multiplied by the number of classes, in 2015, some 20,525 new cases were filed which is almost double the number of cases in 2005.

Some 24% of trademark applications filed in Israel are filed by Israeli companies. An almost identical percentage (23.7% were filed by US corporations. 6.7% were from Germany, 6.1% from Switzerland, 5% from France, 4.3% from China, 3.9% from UK applicants, 3/5% from Italy, 2.2% from Japan and 1.7% from Turkey. The remaining 18.8% came from other places. Since 2010, the proportion of Applications filed in Israel by foreign entities has crept up from 70% to 76%.

On average, applications take nearly a year and a quarter for examination to commence, but then things move quickly and typically applications are then allowed within 3 1/2 months.  Unlike patent applications where acceleration is discretionary and requires due cause, trademark applications may be accelerated merely by paying a fee. 438 cases were fast tracked in this manner.

By the end of 2015, there were 144,490 registered trademarks in effect, or 184,840 cases if multiple class marks are considered as separate cases.

Under the Madrid Protocol, and lumping Europe together as marks designating the EUIPO, Israel is the 18th most popular destination trailing Vietnam and Kazakhstan but ahead of Belarus and the Philippines.

DESIGNS

During 2015, the Israel Patent Office Design Department underwent major efficiency improvements. The backlog from filing to examination was reduced to 5 1/2 months and during 2016, is expected to be reduced still further, to only three months. The Examiners have begun listing all required amendments in each office action, so there are typically fewer iterations and applications are typically allowed within a year of filing. This is considered highly desirable as designs typically have an ever shorter commercial life as product lifespans decreases. Published designs are now searchable on-line, making redundant trips to the Israel Patent Office merely to inspect the records.  The full design registrations may be downloaded at the press of a button. There is a brand new Design Law making its way through the Knesset, which should replace the current 1924 Design Ordinance. During 2016, on-line registration and prosecution should be possible.

in 2016, a total of 1532 design applications were filed. This is about average for the last decade with a high of 1775 applications filed in 2008 and a low of 1351 in 2013. A total of 1,744 applications were allowed, which is the highest number ever.

14.4% of design applications (221 in total) were for building elements in class 25. 11.7% (180) were for containers. 10.6% (163) were for clothing; 8/1% (125) were for furniture, and  6.8% (105) for other household goods. 72% of Applications were for Israeli designs; 9% for designs originating in the US, and 4.5% for designs from Brazil. This anomaly is due to Grendene – a shoe manufacturer, and Stern a jewelers. 3% of designs come from Switzerland and from Holland, and 2% each from Italy, Luxembourg, France and the UK.

The new and somewhat Draconian three-month to respond to an office action regulation coupled with the requirement for examination to be completed within 12 months, has resulted in 1,178 applications being rejected.

It seems that most designs are renewed for a second five-year period, but few are kept in force for the maximum 15 years.

The major applicants is Klil, a manufacturer of aluminium profiles for window frames and the like, with 81 applications This is followed by Naot, a shoemakers, with 64 applications. Monkey Business Design Israel LTD and Ototo Design LTD have 34 and 18 applications respectively. Other local users of the design registration system include another aluminium profile manufacturer, a further couple of design houses, another shoe manufacturer, Karshi, a manufacturer of mass-produced Judaica and Hassidic figurines, and Keter Plastics.

 

 

Overall, Israel ranks 15th for PCT applications and 30th for both trademarks and designs applications. Considering the relatively small population, this is quite significant.

 


Scratch Those Marks

June 13, 2016

240139

Back in February we reported on an Opposition to Israel trademark application 240319 and 253416 both filed by AL-SHURKAH ALWATANEYA LISENAET AL-ALAMENYOM WALPROFILAT (National Aluminum & Profile Co.).

The Opposition was filed by Exstal who succeeded in opposing the marks, claiming that they were the true owners, despite their allowing their registrations to lapse.

The marks are for a single 60 degree triangular protrusion or indentation along an aluminium profile, and both were rejected as confusingly similar to Exstal’s earlier registered marks.

The opposition is under Appeal.  Napco turned to the District Court for an extension to Oppose Exstal’s marks. This was not granted since the Court could not understand why an Opposer to a mark known to be published for opposition purposes in January, waited until April to request a time extension.  Substantively, the Opposer had 3 months to file an opposition and had a remaining two week window. The Courts considered that the Opposer should file their opposition and then would start the process giving them an opportunity to have their case heard. In addition, since the Commissioner would be a party to such an extension, various guarantees would be required.

The Commissioner accepted the Courts position.  NAPCO had a window of opportunity to oppose the marks and this does not create irreversible damage to them. During that window, they could make any claims they saw fit to submit.  If NAPCO felt that with a pending court case, the IPO should suspend the proceeding before it, the onus was on NAPCO to submit a appropriate request.

Central to this issue is the fact that NAPCO is petitioning to cancel a decision that followed the Commissioner accepting Exstal’s opposition, and no request was made or given to suspend implementation of that decision. The Commissioner did not consider that any mistakes were made in granting the marks, not under the Israel Trademark regulations 1967 and not under the Law of Interpretation 1981. Consequently the request is denied.

The marks published for opposition purposes on 31 January 2016 and the request to cancel the notice of allowance was made on 10 April 2016, three weeks before the deadline for filing oppositions. Exstal filed their response and Napco requested permission to answer and did so a day before the Pesach break when the Israel Patent Office was closed. Napco’s behaviour put unnecessary pressure on the patent office and on Exstal.  Consequently, regardless of the outcome of the wider issues, Napco should pay 5000 Shekels costs for this request.

Interim ruling re Israel TMs 240319 and 253416 by Jacqueline Bracha, 21 April 2016.


Go to INTA & C World

June 2, 2016

Over the past decade, I have  travelled to the United States and am discovering this fascinating continent, State by State, conference city by conference city with INTA. I’ve visited Boston (2010), San Francisco (2011), Washington (2012), San Diego (2015) and now Orlando.

I needed a holiday from the family, to have energy for a family holiday this summer. INTA is ideal. I got to catch up on half a dozen movies on the airplanes, and spent a few days partying with 10,000 other IP practitioners. For a total outlay of maybe $3500 including registration, hotel and flights, I collected over 700 different business cards. That’s a mere $5 per card networking opportunity.

I flew British Airways via London, with 3 hours 5 minutes to leave Heathrow, transfer to Gatwick, pass through the ridiculous UK security and make a connection. It was an opportunity to catch up on British films, and saw suffragette, The Lady in the Van,  Eddy the Eagle and the new James Bond film, Spectre. Also saw Dad’s Army, the movie. This was disappointing. The original television series was one of the best sit-coms the BBC ever produced, and was 30 minutes of belly-laugh-a-minute comedy. The film just didn’t do it for me.

I arrived on Thursday, and spent the Friday at Sea World. IP Practitioners come in all shapes and sizes.

The orcas are plaOrca.jpgyful attorneys that seem to be permanently grinning. Aware of their position as big firm lawyers, they are strict about wearing black suits and white shirts. These apex preditors will drag you down and drown you without notice.

 

The flamingoes are very attracflamingostive, colourful lawyers with high hemlines and long legs. Coming from the Caribbean and Latin America, they are exotic and mostly female. It is delightful fun socializing with them, but is unlikely to bring incoming work as they don’t have any patents or trademark filings in Israel.

 

pelican

The pelican is easily spotted in the exhibition hall. Armed with his or her carrier bag, this conference attendee is intent on collecting every bit of swag going.

He or she will collect magazines and directories, only to leave these in the hotel room to keep within baggage allowance.

turtle.jpg

 

The inside-counsel are a little retiscent and afraid of
being eaten. They withdraw into their shells
if they feel threatened.

 

 

eagret

The eagrets and herons don’t bother registering. They are not officially part of the show. They come for the party and help themselves to fish when the keeper’s back is turned.

 

 

And me? I think I am a manatee. manatee

Spending all day at his desk, the manatee
is severely overweight.  He is to be seen nibbling on raw vegetables at INTA receptions due to Kosher food restrictions.

 

 

Pet’s ahoy! the trained cats and dogs come along Pets-Ahoy-at-SeaWorld
and do their thing.

Often first time INTA conventioneers, they have been noted attending lectures.

 

octopus

There are the wheeler dealers who are not actually patent attorneys or lawyers. They seem to have a finger in every pie.

 

I spent Shabbat with Chabad in Orlando. The usual INTA suspects were there. Mark Bodner wore a straw trilby and looked remarkably like Leonard Cohen. I met a long-haired, bearded Jesus like Israeli who turned out to be a grandson and son of two of Israel’s less observant IP practitioners. Apparently he went to Australia to bum about surfing and discovered religion. Go figure!

The food Friday night was different. Mushroom, avocado and cranberry salad – with the flavours neither complementing or clashing, followed by sweet, Galician style gefilte fish served hot for some reason. This was followed by honey glazed chicken, sweet potato, and rice with cranberries. The ice-cream and brownies for dessert were the least sweet part of the meal.  Shabbat lunch consisted of cold baked salmon, smoked salmon, chopped liver, salami and salads followed by quite the worst cholent I’ve ever had. The Rabbi seemed to specialize in citing well-known readings and offering counter-intuitive and non-convincing Hassidic and/or Kabbalistic interpretations. Led by the Australian trademark contingent, Psalm 126 was sang to the tune of Walzing Matilda.

The Exhibition

The conference exhibition seemed larger than usual. The usual culprits were in evidence, except for Lehmann Lee who usually have a large, attractive booth giving out good swag, and this time were inviting attorneys to visit them in the headquarters hotel.

Cleverly disguised as a selfie-stick, Sugimura were giving out an origami folding martial swag.jpgarts weapon, that was essentially a Kubotan that telescoped into a taikondo pole and then snapped in half to form nunchaku.  Whilst certainly being an appropriate give-away for a Japanese firm, this type of freebie is likely to be confiscated by 10-15 year old kids and won’t find its way to the practitioner’s desk.

Thompson Reuters was also giving away selfie-sticks. Personally, I’ve never had a problem finding someone at INTA to take my camera and press the button. In my experience, people are looking for an excuse to start a conversation with other practitioners. Who needs a selfie-stick?

Both Dennemeyer and Corsearch were giving out reasonable coffee on their stalls. Corsearch were using proper coffee cups with their name on, and giving these out to the participants. This is not a bad way to get one’s name on attorneys’ desks, or at least in their kitchenettes and is one of the reasons behind IPFactor’s exclusive PCTeabags. However, other firms have given out mugs, and the PCTea bags are not elligible for this competition as we did not have a stand that was giving them out, although I did give away a couple of cartons of these.

Oxford University Press gave me a copy of a long-awaited book “Copyright from Maimonides to Microsoft” by Neil Netanel (with some chapters by David Nimmer. Weston Anson have me a copy of his book “IP Valuation and Management”. Certainly these were the most valuable free gifts I received, but these were copies for review purposes and most people were expected to pay for them.

Iran TM was giving out a felt-tipped hamsa – a lucky hand where each finger was a different coloured marker.

There were  a lot of nice pens, plenty of chocolate and some squeezy balls. Much of the swag was left-overs from previous INTAs and wasn’t very exciting. InternetX was giving away rubber gavels, but these did not make the right sound on impact. Septotex were giving out piggy banks, and Bloomberg Law were giving away fold up sunglasses that my 13-year-old, who is an expert in such matters, considered really cool. He was also impressed with the Patrix bluetooth WIFI speaker and Bufete Meija’s screwdriver-spirit level combo.

Novagraaf was giving away a pedometer that calculates the number of steps taken per business card collected. However, after a lot of thought, I have decided to award the best swag prize to Luzzatto and Luzzatto, an Israeli competitor who had a stand. Their freebie was a two-dimensional tree stamped out (or lazer cut) from steel sheet and provided with parrot shaped plastic retainers with magnetic cores. The name of the firm, and their currently claimed founding date were printed on the trunk. This bonsai piece of junk sculpture holds photos, business cards, notes, and the like and is designed to grow on a desk. I do not lightly make this award to a competitor, but this piece of swag was different and is likely to find itself on practitioners’ desks.

Receptions and Parties

20160524_220031Wearing a straw hat courtesy of Darts IP, I added more and more ribbons throughout the conference. Several people thought I looked like a Russian general. Three separate attorneys noted a similarity to Peter Ustinov…

The Kosher table at the Opening Reception had two plates of nibbles, one hot and one cold. Neither where much good, but one included salmon and the other meat. There was also a table with tortilla chips, raw vegetables and various flavours of hummous, all labeled vegan friendly. Hummous with wassabi was different, but not unpleasant.

Domain 101 sponsored a party at the Howl of the Moon, a nightclub with dueling grand pianos. The performers were versatile, the music, selected by the audience, was eclectic. The beer was on the house and a good time was had by all.

On Monday there was a reception for Middle Eastern practitioners, and, being generally gauche, decided to go and network. The Arab attorneys were generally very friendly and a number told me that they received and enjoyed my monthly newsletters. Tiffany Hess, from Colb’s office was there as well.I was not surprised to see that the food was not Kosher, but think that many of the invitees would have preferred Hallal and a number were not eating for that reason. Kosher food, is, of course, also Hallal. Had the food been kosher, everyone could have participated. Without mentioning names, a fair number of my Middle Eastern colleagues were less than rigorous in avoiding alcohol and the barman was quite busy. We promised each other work and swapped business cards, vowing to visit when the political situation improved. I suspect that the good wishes were genuine. We’d all gain from normalized trade. Surprisingly, I did actually meet a client there – a firm of attorneys from Mauritius that we are handling a trademark opposition for.

My main reason for attending INTA this year was because I am on the Bulletin Committee. The time, date and location of the meeting were sent by email and entered into my calendar. It turned out that there was a bug in the system and I went along at the time given, and arrived six hours late. Google was entering things using Israel local time. This was a great way to ensure that everyone joined conference calls at the right time, no matter where they were based, but was a disaster as far as the conference was concerned. This was the only piece of programming that I intended attending.

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From the Middle East reception, I went on to the KIPA (Kosher Intellectual Property Attorneys’ dinner, which is an informal event held in a local restaurant at each INTA. This time, we had a crowd of some 25 attorneys from the US, Australia, Holland, Ukraine, US, Canada, Switzerland and France, and as one of the US attorneys was saying Kaddish, we fitted in both afternoon and evening services. I enjoyed the event. It was also nice having a proper meal for a change.

 

 

 

 

I meant to go on to the Meet the Bloggers Reception and went back to the right stretch of International Drive, saw a queue of INTA people which I joined, and found myself in a high-powered party sponsored by Corsearch where I discussed the America Invents Act with President Obama and was interviewed by Ofra Winfrey courtesy of Madamme Toussaud.

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Networking…

The Chief Legal Counsel at Penthouse asked me to photograph her with her tongue in the ear of a waxwork pop-star who was less than adequately dressed. I found this odd, since for a modest fee, I am sure that the model-singer would have willingly cooperated.

 

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On the Tuesday, I went to a couple of parties on International Drive. One was a little rowdy, and the building was trashed.

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On the Wednesday, Florida trademark attorneys Michael Chesal and Mark Stein took a group of INTA conventioneers kayaking. I found myself about 8 feet away from an 8 foot alligator! The alligators are not aggressive. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the whomping willows and devil’s snare that attacked my kayak and caused me to capsize. If only I’d used the free watertight bag for mobile phones I’d picked up at the exhibition hall….

There were a lot of turtles and a fair number of birds including both white and white-headed ibises, various herons, an osprey, a white hawk with a swallow-tail that I later discovered was creatively called a white swallow-tailed hawk, red cardinals, and several eagles and buzzards that I didn’t recognize, as the American birds are different from their Eurasian cousins.

I usually tan easily so didn’t put sun-screen on my legs. I got second degree burns, and have discovered why skin is called tissue; as it peels off, it is remarkably like tissue paper. I’ve also discovered that Silversol, prescribed by the doctor for sunburn, is dispensed in white tubes that are confusingly similar to toothpaste when you fumble about at night for something to smear on agonizing legs. It is a good thing that I use sensodyne, which is a desensitiser. Not intended for sunburn, but not bad.

I was staying at a cheap hotel which wasn’t an official INTA hotel and thus wasn’t connected to the floo-network. I tried to flush myself in to the final reception from the honeydukes.jpgen-suite bathroom, but that didn’t work either. After changing out of my damp shoes and socks, and not being a fan of uberation, feeling totally splitched after the kayaking, I took the muggle transport known as the i-trolley. This stops every few hundred meters along Universal Drive and took me to the conference headquarters where I caught the knight bus to Universal Studios.

It took a while to find where the Kosher food was, and I got there just after they had stopped serving which was very annoying, as there were steaks, they just weren’t giving them out. Luckily, an Australian attorney called Jonathan went into the kitchen and brought me a couple of bowls of salad, and, feeling virtuous, then had a couple of desserts as well.

The Hogwarts’ Express took me back to a highschool where I studied briefly. The lecturers were gowns. The pupils were jackets and ties, the weather was appalling and inter-house competitions were taken far too seriously. I wanted a nice quiet ride, and the staff told me that the flight of the hypogriff was considered family friendly. I don’t think we understood each other. It seemed to be a fast and bumpy roller-coaster. I have that when I drive. I wanted something slow and flat like the roller-coaster at Orlando Airport, that collects people from the baggage control and sets them down near the exit. I enjoyed the shop window displays with their wand control features, but went on to Jurassic Park. I can’t understand all the fuss made about the Sea World Orcas. Their paddling pool is fairly large. Here dinosaurs were kept in shocking conditions with electric fences. Dangerous and inhumane if you ask me. I went back to Dr Suisse. Much more my type of thing.

Flying Back
I flew back via American Airlines through Philadelphia.

I was severely overweight, no not me, well, yes me, but I mean the case. I took out everything heavy, such as books, business cards, and the like, and loaded them into the backpack. I took out a tee-shirt, a sweater and a jacket and got over dressed. I changed my sandals into socks and formal suits and looking more overweight than ever, managed to check the suitcase through.

hummus and pretzelsFor some reason the Kosher food I had ordered hadn’t arrived. Very annoying. I could have bought some Sabra hummus with pretzels at Orlando airport. I have an ongoing friendly dispute with my friend at Alyafi (a Lebanese IP firm that gives out phenomenal baklava at their stall in INTA), as to where hummus was invented, Israel or Lebanon. What is clear, is that regardless of cultural approbation, Israel, with a population of immigrants from around the world has created incredible fusion foods, and hummus and pretzels could not have been coupled together anywhere else. Jews brought fried fish to the UK and bagels to New York. They have always cross-cultivated cuisines.scooter

In Philadelphia we should have had to change disembark from one plane and for reembarkation on another, miles away. We couldn’t get off the plane due to processing pressures. When I finally did manage to disembark, I had very little time. I followed the signs into the bathroom and considered trying to flush myself in. However, as it wasn’t successful the first time, I put in a couple of dollars and took a scooter. The wheels went all over the place. Completely uncontrollable.

So there I was, overweight and overdressed, with the weight of full combat gear on my back, trying to race along kilometers of corridor; I recalled the beret march at the end of basic military training.

Luckily a golf cart was collecting a family and I persuaded them to take me as well. it was wonderful. We whizzed along, and I doffed my hat and waved regally at all my subjects fellow passengers, as we passed them.

A week later, still jet-lagged, I’ve just about caught up with the backlog. This was the most enjoyable INTA yet. Whether or not it will bring in sufficient work to cover costs and the lost-time that could have been spent doing billable work is anyone’s guess.


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