Scintilla – a flash, a spark, an iota. Shorthand for creativity and an indicator of inventiveness under Australian law.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The (internet addressing) revolution is here

By Joel Barrett, Senior Associate

Would a ninja be blowing his cover by registering a domain name in the .NINJA space? Will .SEXY overtake .XXX as the gTLD of choice for the adult entertainment industry? Will Corn Station LLC, the registry operator of .EQUIPMENT, open domain name registrations to everybody in the equipment business or will we only ever see websites about corn threshers and maize shellers?

These are just three of the important questions we will need to face now that .NINJA, .SEXY and .EQUIPMENT, along with 104 other new gTLDs, have been introduced into the internet's root zone (or 'delegated', in fancy tech-speak). It has taken more than eight years of policy development, stakeholder consultation and rule drafting, but the New gTLD Program, so carefully nurtured by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) since December 2005, is finally starting to bear fruit.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

An important step in trade secrets harmonisation

By David Stewart, Lawyer

What do Colonel Sanders' original recipe chicken, Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper all have in common? As an IP blog, we are going to ignore the obvious suggestion that enjoying them other than in moderation may be somewhat unkind to one's waistline.

The correct answer in this little IP-centric quiz is that none of the formulas for these products are protected as registered IP. Rather, the recipes have been kept hidden from the public as 'trade secrets' for a combined total of more than 325 years. (Conspiracy theories appear on a relatively regular basis claiming that a recipe has been 'cracked', but Scintilla's own 'secret herbs and spices' experiments leave us seriously doubting those claims). By protecting their recipes as trade secrets, KFC, Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper have been able to extend the monopolies over their recipes for a much greater period of time than would have been possible if they had been protected as registered IP (and they will be able to continue doing so for as long as the recipes remain secret).

So why hasn't everyone ditched registered IP rights in favour of protecting everything as a trade secret?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Accelerated harmonisation? Global Patent Prosecution Highway launches

By Helen McFadzean, Patent Attorney

The Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH) is an international program which offers accelerated examination procedures between Australia and 16 other participating patent offices around the world, including the UK, US, Canada, Japan and Korea. As we foreshadowed late last year, the pilot program launched on 6 January 2014. The full list of current participating patent offices can be found here.