17 November 2009

IPO: Sean Dennehey for Comptroller

Yorkshire wants Sean Dennehey to be the next Comptroller and Chief Executive of the Intellectual Property Office. He is already interim comptroller and we want him to keep the job.

If you agree:
lobby Lammy and your MP

support our campaign on twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing and every other social networking site using the #sean4comptroller hashtag.

16 November 2009

Ian Green's Comments on BarCampBradford

Ian Green of Green Communications inspired, piloted and managed BarCampBradford and much if not most of the credit for the success of the day belongs to him.

Ian is a PR wiz who has done marvelous things for some of the biggest companies and institutions in the country as well as individual inventors, start-ups and SME. His clients seem to include a lot of law firms some of whom I know very well. He is a very good speaker and blogger and everything he writes is worth reading.

His latest blog post is "We did a BarCamp" and I commend it to you.

Another Blogger's View of BarCamp

I arrived at the WOW Academy at lunch time and so missed the morning's presentations. Charlotte Britton was there though and you can read her appreciation at "Charlotte Britton: Reflections on BarCampBradford".

BarCampBradford Update

I have just discovered that the presenters of the excellent session on Second Life were David Batty and Rebecca Barker. Rebecca's website is at http://rebeccap.co.uk/. David has a link to Second Life at http://bit.ly/1SnVBh. His website is at http://www.davidbatty.com/

One of the most useful presentations that I have ever heard - not just at BarCamp but ever - was Ian Smith's talk on Rethinking the Presentation http://bit.ly/77h5G.

There are some really good pictures of the event on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/greensontour/sets/72157622808510230/

There is a photo of the list of the talks at http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2660/4104806795_6b5e1ba158_o.jpg

Also a picture of the delicious cup cakes which we devoured at the WOW Academy http://tweetphoto.com/c526b2

Anybody who subscribes to twitter can find these and many other links and comments by entering the #bcbradford hash tag.

A wonderful day and many thanks to all who made it possible, particularly Steve Ding and Ian Green.

15 November 2009


Yesterday I attended and spoke at BarCampBradford which took place at the WOW Academy and the National Media Museum. These are two of many world class institutions in Bradford which very few other towns in the United Kingdom can match.

A BarCamp has nothing to do with the Bar (in any sense of the word) and is not really a camp. The best summary of the concept that I have found is the one that appears in Wikipedia:
BarCamp is an international network of user generated conferences (or unconferences) - open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants. The first BarCamps focused on early-stage web applications, and related open source technologies, social protocols, and open data formats. The format has also been used for a variety of other topics, including public transit, health care, and political organizing.
The advanced list of presentations included the following:
  • Google's hidden gems by John McLear - Primary Technology and Welcome3's MD exposes some of googles hidden gems including Android, CSE, Analytics, SSO, Adwords & Adsense.
  • Twitter for Business - the dos and donts of Twitter and how it can make or damage a brand's reputation - Ian Green
  • How a small local team of individuals are trying to find new ways of bringing social history to life - and aiming to change attitudes to open data along the way. (Jon Eland
  • Rethinking the Presentation - how to not kill people with Powerpoint. - Ian Smith
  • iPhone Application Development - Things I've learned from making my Zombies game - Matt West
  • Setting up an ecommerce business & use of social media, blogs, Twitter, Facebook... - Chris Wildman
  • TBC - Alistair MacDonald
  • A Decade of WebDesign - Tracking trends in design - Monica Tailor
  • Retro Gaming - A session, round-table, discussion, demos of retro games and retro tech - Mohsin Ali & Pawel Dubiel
  • The 'Civic App Store' - Round-table around OpenCities, OpenData, Cities as Operating Systems, Streets as Platforms, Unique AR useage & Mobile apps for cities - Mohsin Ali
  • Version Control - An introduction to how we use it to develop large CMS projects - Panoetic
  • Legal Challenges of Web 2.0 - Will cover such issues as ownership of copyright and other intellectual property in user generated content, liability for user generated content, privacy, dispute resolution and much more - Jane Lambert
  • Internet marketing workshop - want more website visitors? Conversion/sales/downloads? Reputation? Round table IM problem solving with John Allsopp
  • Drupal For Good - presentation on how Gentlehost are using Drupal for Social Change, then it's over to you for discussing ways in which Drupal can be used for good - Alice K√¶rast
  • How to sell yourself better at interview - we've interviewed somewhere in the region of 50-60 developers this year, and only hired two. What we've learned in this process - Adam Hepton
  • User experience in .net magazine December 2009 - a response on a couple of articles in the latest issue: interview with Brian Kalma from Zappos, and article by Craig Grannell on 'Master user experience design' - Keith Doyle (Usability Analyst)
  • Making a Game! - A presentation on the process of game making and the various markets. (Simon Barratt - hoping he'll be able to get by just working from his bullet points!)
  • Get rich with Free Software - Free Software, what it is, how it works and how you can get fat rich with it. John Leach

With 5 presentations at any one time campers had to be selective. Of the published presentations I attended John Leach's talk on Free Software and Ian Smith's on presentations. But there were so many more announced only on the day such as Alex Wolf's talk on 101 tasks in 1,001 days which revealed a really useful time management tool and a fascinating introduction to Second Life by a speaker from Lancashire whose name I wish I had caught. All the discussions were excellent.

I spoke on the law: "The Legal Challenges to Web 2.0" which I presented from SlideShare itself as there was a shortage of screens in the museum, That no doubt explains the rather flattering email that I received from SlideShare just before my presentation:

"Legal Issues of Web 2.0" is being tweeted more than any other document on SlideShare right now. So we've put it on the homepage of SlideShare.net (in the "Hot on Twitter" section).
Well done, you!
- SlideShare Team

I suspect that says rather more about the number of people on twitter who tweet about SlideShare presentations at any one time than the quality of my slides but it was sweet of them to send it.

Best of all were the people I met yesterday from all walks of life such as well as the chance to renew catch up with plenty of old acquaintances. I do hope this event is repeated.

17 August 2009

Transfer of Title: Appeal Court Upholds Judge Behrens in Trade Electronics

In Trade Electronix Ltd v Best Buy Today (Wholesale) Ltd (In Administration) and Another His Honour Judge Behrens, sitting as a judge of the High Court, had decided that title seller given by administrators under s.24 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 prevailed over that of a company that had contracted to buy but had not taken delivery of the goods prior to the seller#s administration. Though no intellectual property point arose in that case, it considered issues that arise frequently in all industries including consumer electronics distribution. It is important to note that deals similar to those that are the subject of this litigation are nowadays often made electronically with increasing frequency.

The basic facts were that a Mr Singh of Trade Electronix met a Mr Smith of a wholesaler called Best Buy Today (Wholesale) Ltd at Best Buy's warehouse in Leeds and agreed to buy for £150,000 a stock of returned of returned goods that Best Buy had intended to buy from Argos. The purchase from Argos was to be funded by Davenham Trade Finance Ltd which purchased the goods and invoiced them to Best Buy. Before Best Buy could deliver the goods to its customer it went into administration leaving them in Davenham's possession which sold them on.

Trade Electronix sued the administrators and Davenham for wrongful interference with goods. Dismissing the claim the judge relied on s.24 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979, which provides:
"Where a person having sold goods continues or is in possession of the goods, or of the documents of title to the goods, the delivery or transfer by that person, or by a mercantile agent acting for him, of the goods or documents of title under any sale, pledge, or other disposition thereof, to any person receiving the same in good faith and without notice of the previous sale, has the same effect as if the person making the delivery or transfer were expressly authorised by the owner of the goods to make the same"
Trade Elelctronix appealed on the ground that .the goods had never entered into Davenham's possession.

The Court upheld Judge Behrens's decision but on the ground that there had been no binding contract between Trade Electronix and Best Buy. A very unfortunate result for Trade Electronix which lost a bargain through no fault of its own.

The Lord Justices' decision appears to be based entirely on an analysis of correspondence between Mr Smith and Mr. Singh resolves none of the uncertainties produced by s.24. The only way that a purchaser can protect itself is by removing the goods as soon as it buys them. Not always easy when they are resold several times in quick succession.

20 June 2009

Trade Marks: FAT BETTY Invalidity Application

On 16 June 2009 Mrs Ann Corbett dismissed Bettys & Taylor Group Ltd's application for the invalidation of UK registered trade mark FAT BETTY with costs (BL Number 0/163/09). The mark had been registered by Mr. Jonathan Kidd who carries on business in the name or style of "Cheese & Co." from an industrial estate near Tockwith. In her judgment, the hearing officer referred to Mr. Kidd as "Cheese",

Mr. Kidd sells a range of nibbles and savoury biscuits in the name known collectively as "A Taste of Yorkshire". Among the products in that range "organic cheesey nibbles" that are sold under the registered trade mark in the drums shown on the right.

The applicant company runs among other businesses several tea shops in Harrogate, Illley, Northallerton and York under the BETTYS appellation. It had registered the word BETTYS simpliciter and in combination with other words as a trade mark for a large number of goods and services. The group challenged the registration under s.5 (2) (b), (3), (4) (a) of the Trade Marks Act 1994.

This is a case that had attracted a lot of local interest in the national and Yorkshire press with articles in The Daily Telegraph, Wetherby News and the Yorkshire Business Desk. It is also of interest to intellectual property practitioners in view of the group's earlier successful opposition to Granada TV's Betty Kitchen Coronation Street Application [2002] RPC 840.

Finding that the goods for which Mr Kidd's mark had been registered was identical to those of the earlier marks, Mrs. Corbett compared the marks:
"32. Cheese’s mark consists of an ordinary English word, the adjective Fat, and the common name Betty. I consider the word Fat and its meaning, and the fact that Betty is a name, to be well known by the public at large. The word Fat has somewhat negative connotations in relation to foodstuffs, as B&T submitted at the hearing, and is therefore somewhat unusual but the words hang together to create a distinctive whole. B&T’s marks are single words which are suggestive of the possessive form of the name Betty (and perhaps more so in relation to the marks in cursive form). I say “suggestive” because of the absence of the necessary apostrophe. (I note that B&T say they originally used their marks in the possessive form but have since dropped the use of the apostrophe).
33. To the extent that the name BETTY is common to both marks, albeit in its (quasi) possessive form in the case of B&T’s marks, there is a degree of visual and aural similarity. In my view, the singular and the possessive forms are close in appearance and potentially more so in sound, given that when goods are referred to by their brand it is sometimes in the possessive form, as in “Fat Betty’s biscuits”. But there are other, quite clear differences. Cheese’s mark is not just the word Betty; it also contains the word Fat as the first element. Given its relative position in the mark, it is unlikely that the word Fat will be overlooked, either when the mark is referred to, or in its impact on the eye. Balancing the similarity of Betty and BETTYS with the differences in the marks as wholes, namely, that Cheese’s mark is composed of two words, the additional word Fat as the first part of the mark (which is generally
considered as being of most significance) and, to a lesser extent, the addition of the letter “S” to B&T’s marks, I am of the view that the respective marks are visually and aurally distinct.
34. As I indicated above, Cheese have provided evidence that Fat Betty is a landmark on the North Yorkshire Moors. Whilst I am prepared to accept that some people, on hearing the mark, may bring the landmark to mind, for others not familiar with the area, the mark will simply bring to mind a female called Betty who is overweight. B&T’s marks bring to mind a business run by or having a connection with a woman called Betty. There is some degree of conceptual similarity between the respective marks but the inclusion of the word Fat in Cheese’s mark creates a specific impression of size which is absent from the earlier marks."
Since both parties agreed at the hearing that the purchase of such goods will rely heavily on the visual impression the consumer has of the marks, she took the view that the the visual comparison between the marks was of greater than usual importance. Taking all relevant factors into account and applying the global approach required of her, the hearing officer found the respective marks were not likely to be confused even though the goods were identical.

The absence of confusion also disposed of any claim in passing off which disposed of the objection under s.5 (4) (a) and having decided that the registered mark was neither the same as or similar to any of Betty & Taylor's earlier marks there was no need to consider the s.5 (3) ground.