IT companies pile on patents in the US

In a recent Lightbulb post, under the heading "30 years of IP for IT (1977-2007)", I provided an analysis of why there has been a significant increase in Australia and elsewhere of patents for IT. See Fox in Socks: A parable for 30 years of IP for IT.

Statistics from the United States further confirm that trend. IP strategy involves knowing what to register or protect, what to license and what to give away

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Australian trade marks registrations in UK

The UK ranks very high for Australian businesses considering registering their trade marks in export markets.

This is confirmed by statistics released this week in the 2006 Annual Review of the UK Patent Office (due to the Gower Review now renamed The UK Intellectual Property Office). The Annual Review is a big PDF.

For Australian businesses the Annual Review answers many questions, helping to refine an IP strategy for the UK. For example, how many registrations were there from Australia? How does Australia rate as a source for trade mark registrations in the UK? Which companies are registering the most trade marks in the UK? Finally, which trade mark classes are the most popular for the UK?

In 2006, trade mark applicants noting Australia as their residence, registered 333 trade marks in the UK. They registered a further 497 using the Madrid Protocol system.

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Why the authors who sued The Da Vinci Code lost twice

It is a Hollywood truism that commercially successful films attract litigation. So do wildly successful works of literary fiction. Why do people sue against successful films and novels? Answer: usually, for a slice of the money.

Among the most successful books of our era is Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. A sequel to the 2006 Hollywood adaptation is in the production line.

Since 2004 The Random House Group Ltd, publisher of The Da Vinci Code in the UK, has had a dark cloud of litigation over its head in courts in England.

In the first court case, the court sat for 11 days hearing legal arguments as to why The Da Vinci Code allegedly breached copyright in The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail. In the US it was re-titled (Holy Blood, Holy Grail). I had a view on that case as soon  as I heard the report that The Holy Blood is a work of non-fiction. More on that later.

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Interactive media builds context and value chains

In the last century I read and wrote a lot about multimedia and the Internet.

From that period I've kept some quotable quotes by others, as well as my accompanying photo of relics from Egypt.

The quotes are sourced from three magazines - Australian Personal Computer, Internet World and Wired.

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Employment records and pay slips law Q&A

From 27 March 2007 the Workplace Relations Regulations 2006 imposes record keeping and pay slip records obligations to employers who engage workers under the Work Choices legislation. This follows Work Choices amendments in 2006 to the Workplace Relations Act 1996.

According to the Federal Government the obligations are designed to ensure compliance with the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard and industrial instruments.

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Coffee brand values

For consumers coffee is a beverage or even part of a lifestyle. For about 25% of Ethiopia's population it is a livelihood.  Coffee forms a very high percentage of Ethiopia's export revenues. This exposes Ethiopia's people and economy to coffee price fluctuations.

This is a story about Ethiopia's attempt to increase coffee revenues using brands, IP strategy and licensing contracts - all founded on trade marks Ethiopia seeks to register across the world.

The story begins in 2001 when coffee-producing nations experienced a severe downward price trend. The trend continued to 2005. So the first paragraph of the September 2005 submission by the International Coffee Organization to the UN General Assembly stated:

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Legal compliance in financial record keeping

Ask someone why their business failed and you'll rarely hear them say that it was because of information mismanagement. Yet the lack of record making and keeping is often present in failed businesses.

The extent of legally required record keeping obligations continues to grow. Hundreds of statutes in Australia now dictate the length of time certain documentation must be kept. Yet there is no statute which integrates the times, let alone the requirements.

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The business of making money from IP

I wrote about IP business models 13 years ago in IP stategy and the rise and rise of Bill Gates. It was published in The Australian's computer section. It tracked key IP strategy decisions which either created or destroyed wealth in the intellectual property history up to 1994 of these IT organisations - IBM, the Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC), Apple and Microsoft.

In 2007 it is time to look ahead again. Our focus here is on IP strategy issues for the music industry. The topic affects all copyright-based industries.

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Private equity or private debt? Beware the Ides of March.

Not a day passes without news or concerns expressed about private equity taking on bigger businesses for acquisition.

The latest in Australia is an emblematic deal. It is the A$370 million bid by Archer Capital Pty Ltd to acquire Rebel Sport Ltd. It overcame a key hurdle yesterday when the bid was approved by a requisite majority of Rebel shareholders.

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Viacom to YouTube: "I want my MTV"

In barely seven months, video on the Web has moved from being a teaser topic, to an overview for geeks in PCworld magazine, to being mass market core content on the Web. Viacom's US$1 billion legal action launched yesterday in New York against YouTube is just part of the online video retailing revolution. Here's a copy of Viacom's complaint [PDF].

Lightbulb reported early on YouTube's IP law exposure: Person of the Year caught in copyright scandal. See also YouTube in copyright licensing negotiations and YouTube's IP revenue sharing model.

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Intellectual property you can eat and drink

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival will run 16-30 March 2007. Lightbulb's team of foodies and sommeliers sample what's on offer this year. Several events parallel Lightbulb posts run since August 2006.

The MasterClass presenters [PDF] session features talks by chefs and food critics including Jill Dupleix (food editor of The Times (UK)), Tony Bilson (Bilsons in Sydney) and Cheong Liew (The Grange in Adelaide). For chefs the relevant Lightbulb post, among our most popular, is: A recipe to make a high net worth celebrity chef.

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Licensing intellectual property in museums

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, announced jointly with France last week that a branch of the Louvre will open in Abu Dhabi in 2012.

Under a 30 year accord signed last week in Abu Dhabi (see picture), the Louvre will be paid a tidy sum. It totals $US1.3 billion in payments, fees and donations by Abu Dhabi.

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Intellectual property litigation and protection for shoes

In the stunning National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Melbourne having just admired three Rembrandts I was still in deep contemplation when I turned the corner and there they were. There were over 150 new and used sneakers exhibited like jewels under lights in two darkened rooms.

There were running shoes, sandshoes, basketball shoes, tennis shoes and sports shoes generally

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7 commercialised IT technologies

Some months ago I reviewed seven commercialised IT technologies. They are Skpe, Flash, SMS, Bluetooth, i-Mode and Windows CE. As an IT lawyer it's essential to understand the functionality, commercialisation and revenue streams of IT technologies.

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Perceptions of value on 42nd Street

The UK office of Deloitte published a media predictions report in January 2007 which contained an observation about consumer perceptions of value.

It's relevant to every business that needs to respond to changing customer perceptions of value and this query by sophisticated customers: "Give me what will deliver value for money!".

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