12 March 2013

International Patent Forum 2013: a London conference

I will be attending the International Patent Forum 2013, which will be held in London on the 16-17 April.

I normally deal with patent searching and documentation. It will be a change to listen to fourteen talks about changes in patent law, or about case law and other developments (and patent filing strategies), in specific regions or countries (including each of the BRICs). The emphasis is on how it all affects companies and their corporate strategy. This is of great importance to modern economies, of course.

I’m particularly looking forward to the talk on the new unitary patent and unified court for Europe, and the talk on the impact of the US patent reforms. I feel I'm not quite up to speed on both topics. The talks on the pharmaceutical sector, and on the smart phone wars, ought to be interesting too. I remember last time I attended coming away with lots of notes which I later followed up.

The conference will be run by the Managing Intellectual Property journal.

05 March 2013

The DesignView database for registered designs

OHIM, which administers the Community Designs, has a database called DesignView which enables many separate databases of registered designs, for the look of a product, to be searched at the same time. 

At present 8 national offices plus Community Designs are included. Benelux and Spain are probably the biggest offices besides the Community Designs themselves, and the joining of larger offices such as France, Germany and the UK will be welcome. Already, anyone wanting to trace registrations by a company will find it useful.

There are drawbacks, though, if searching for a particular look. You have two options: classification, and keywords.

Classification is the Locarno Classification, where two numbers express the subject. Hence 14/02 is for “Data processing equipment as well as peripheral apparatus and devices”, and 21/01 is “Games and toys” – two massive areas. Already searches for those classes give 145 and 207 hits respectively. See the image below for the appearance of the search page. The classes have to be selected from a clicked open display.

DesignView search page

You can add words in the “indication of the product” (title) field to narrow down the hits, but there are two problems with that. You have to guess at what words might be used in the title, and the actual titles are in the local languages. An exception is the Community Designs, where you can search in various European languages and it will retrieve relevant material, displaying the results with English titles.

In trying out a search for the words board game in Locarno 21/01 in the default "strict mode" I got just 3 hits. When I altered it to "contains mode" I got 150 – all relevant. The plural games was searched for,  for a start.

Useful features are that you can ask to sort results by various criteria, and that as the cursor is moved it enlarges the image in the hitlist. Below is an example of the results page.

DesignView results page

The UK’s national designs database does not permit searching by title, so its eventual addition to DesignView will be useful. Another aspect of the UK site is that it -- uniquely -- allows a third layer of the Locarno, as worked out the UK office, to be selected. This gives much more precision, and is why I always suggest that a novelty search in designs begins with the British designs. I think it unlikely that this ability will be used in DesignView, however.

04 March 2013

Fashion night at British Library

Well, Friday was quite an experience -- our LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback. Our front hall and neighbouring rooms were full of people celebrating British fashion and enjoying a variety of events. As curated by students at Central St Martin's, the art college which is nearby.  

I spent much of the time in the staff restaurant which where four speakers spoke about fashion illustration and fashion journalism and so on -- there are different angles, it's not all about designing and retailing.

There was also a catwalk: which was models descending a staircase after descending and ascending escalators.

Fashion show at British Library

And there was also a display of covers of fashion magazines as held by the British Library. Although, as remarked in one of the talks, the newspapers with advertisements and reviews are often more revealing about what ordinary people rather than the designers themselves are interested in.

Fashion magazines at British Library