Archive for February, 2005

The Tricky Nature of Canadian Trade-mark Licensing

Monday, February 28th, 2005

Yesterday I noted that Apple Computer Inc., back in the early 1980’s, entered into a licensing deal with McIntosh Laboratory, Inc. - so that Apple could use MACINTOSH as a trademark on its new line of computers. A quick look through my old set of manuals (circa 1984) confirmed this. On the […]

Jef Raskin, creator of the Macintosh, passes away.

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

Being an early adopter of the Apple Macintosh computer back in 1984, I was saddened to find out that Jef Raskin passed away yesterday. See posts at DigiBarn and Cephaloblog. According to Wikipedia Jef Raskin died of cancer.

Jef Raskin, sometime referred to as the Macintosh Godfather, was the original creator […]

Updating the Blog

Friday, February 25th, 2005

Just a quick note to let you all know that I’m updating the Blog. I’m switching over to WordPress. There will be some changes in the theme and the overall look.

Let me know what you think of the new look by leaving a comment.

FOAMY and Descriptive Trade-marks

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

This morning I was talking with a colleague about descriptive trade-marks. My friend is working on a file where his client is opposing a trade-mark application which they feel is descriptive. Clearly descriptive marks are generally not registrable and would result in a section 12(1)(b) objection by an Examiner. We were discussing […]

Remove Arsenic from Drinking Water and Maybe Win a Million Dollars

Friday, February 18th, 2005

In today’s PATNEWS, Greh Aharonian notes that the National Academy of Engineering is sponsoring a contest with a million dollar prize for anyone who can invent a cheap, easy-to-use and sustainable way to remove arsenic from drinking water in developing countries. The levels have to be reduced from 300 parts per billion to 10 […]

More on Designs with Descriptive Wording

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005

Wow, yesterday I noted that the Trade-mark Office should soon be coming out with a Practice Notice in light of the Best Canadian Motor Inns case. Then today the Office published such a Practice Notice in the Trade-marks Journal (see pp. 217 - 220 of the Journal).

The Practice Notices states that, in light of the […]

Trade-mark Designs with Descriptive Wording - Watch Out!

Tuesday, February 15th, 2005

The other day I was talking with an Examiner at the Trade-marks Office, to enquire as to the status of one of my client’s pending trade-mark applications. I had filed the Response to the Examiner’s Report some considerable time ago and had not heard back from the office.

The Examiner was very helpful and explained […]

Chimera - Patentability of Higher / Mixed Life Forms

Monday, February 14th, 2005

PHOSITA today has an interesting blog on human-animal hybrid patent applications being found not patentable by the USPTO. The patent applications at issue are US08/993,564 and US10/308,135 (the later published under no. 20030079240).

In the United States, and since the case of Diamond v. Chakrabarty, patents have been awarded to bacteria, yeast, and […]

Invention Promotion Firms - Round Three

Friday, February 11th, 2005

Some nice comments regarding my recent article on Invention Promotion Firms were posted on Stephen Nipper’s The Invent Blog.

In those comments, P. Ballou points out that there are warning lists about Invention Promotion Firms maintained at, including what that site calls an Extreme Caution List and a Watch List. Additional newspaper article links […]

Trade-mark Office Speeding Up

Wednesday, February 9th, 2005

The other day I received a CIPO News Update highlighting all the improvements to CIPO and to their services, including the fact that the Trade-marks Branch has reduced both its working inventory and turnaround times. Inventory was reduced from 56,962 to 14,267 files waiting examination, while the turnaround times declined from 17.3 months in […]

More on Invention Promotion Firms

Monday, February 7th, 2005

Back about two weeks ago I noted that Invention Promotion Firms have received criticism from the U.S. federal government and from various trade groups for allegedly misleading consumers. Yesterday, PHOSITA ran a similar and excellent posting on their blog, which you can view here.

Douglas Sorocco of PHOSITA notes that Invention promotion companies are the […]

Innocent or Unintentional Infringement

Monday, February 7th, 2005

Once in a while I have clients who ask me if intention matters in an act of intellectual property infringement. Here is a brief and generalized outline:

Patents - Generally speaking in a patent infringement case, liability is strict and the intention or knowledge of an infringer is immaterial. One may infringe in ignorance […]

Nescafe model awarded millions for two-hour photo shoot

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005

My wife pointed this out to me yesterday. Apparently former model Russell Christoff did a two-hour photo shoot for Nestle USA in 1986. Nestle doesn’t tell him that it used his image on the Taster’s Choice coffee jars. Then sixteen years later, in 2002, Mr. Christoff sees the jar for the first […]

Trademark File Wrappers (seems better today)

Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

I seem to be having none of the problems I had the other day and I am actually finding some pretty useful information.

Oh, do I wish the Canadian Trade-mark Office had something similar.