World Intellectual Property Organization

In the News

June 2007

The Plagiarius Museum designed by Reinhard Angelis, Planung Architektur Gestaltung. (Photo: ©Tomas Riehle/artur)
The Plagiarius Museum designed by Reinhard Angelis, Planung Architektur Gestaltung. (Photo: ©Tomas Riehle/artur)

Counterfeit Museum of Shame

Action Plagiarius, which each year hands out its ‘name and shame’ award to deter counterfeiters, has now opened a museum in Solingen, Germany, exhibiting its 30-year collection of counterfeit goods.

In 1977, when Professor Rido Busse announced the first Plagiarius award to a Japanese company for shamelessly copying some scales he had designed for a German interior decoration firm, the event attracted little attention. But the following year several companies sent him counterfeit copies of their original designs and the idea took off. This year the award – a black garden gnome with a golden nose – was handed out to 12 counterfeiting companies for products ranging from petrol pump nozzles, to shopping bags, to medical implements. The publicity resulting from the activities of Action Plagiarus helps to increase awareness among the public of the problem of counterfeiting; and among entrepreneurs and designers of the importance of protecting their IP rights. The organization says that some "prize winners" acknowledge their unethical behavior and seek agreements with the original producer (e.g. payment of a licence or compensation fee, or withdrawal of the product from the market).

Like the award, the Plagiarius Museum, which opened on April 1, focuses on goods produced by small companies and designers. These are the hardest hit by the effects of counterfeiting, often having invested all their resources, as well as their own creative efforts, in getting their product to market. They do not have the consumer brand recognition of major trademarks to protect them, nor the funds and know how to fight off counterfeiters. Action Plagiarius also offers legal advice and workshops to small companies to them help fight against counterfeiters.

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EMI Makes High-Quality DRM-Free Downloads Available

EMI Music, the recorded music division of Emi Group, the world’s largest independent music company, announced on April 2 that it would make its entire digital repertoire available in high quality downloads and free of digital rights management restrictions (DRM). The premium-quality downloads, launched in Apple’s iTunes Stores, are slightly more expensive than the regular quality DRM-protected music which iTunes will continue to sell.

The Chief Executive Officer of the EMI Group, Eric Nicoli, said “Our goal is to give consumers the best possible digital music experience. By providing DRM-free downloads we aim to address the lack of interoperability which is frustrating for many music fans. We believe that offering consumers the opportunity to buy higher quality tracks and listen to them on the device of their choice will boost sales of digital music.” 

When it comes to the Internet, EMI has had the lead in the music industry since it released David Bowie’s “Hours” as a digital download in 1999.

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Malaysia Creates RM5 Billion Fund for IP

On World Intellectual Property Day the Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced the creation of a RM5 billion (US$1.47 billion) fund to develop the country’s intellectual property (IP) system. The money will go toward improving and accelerating the processing of IP titles, assisting local inventors to conduct research and register their IP, creating an IP Court – to open in June – and IP awareness raising activities.

Malaysian statistics show that only 7 percent of the 87,846 patent applications filed in the country since 1986 came from nationals and that it took on average five years – and sometimes up to seven years – to approve the registration of an IP title. The government’s National Intellectual Property Policy is aimed at bringing down the registration time for patents to 3.5 years and for trademark, already reduced to 3 years, to 12 months.

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Electronic Patent Filing in China

Companies and inventors in China can now file international patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) electronically with the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO). The integration of PCT-SAFE (“Secure Applications Filed Electronically”) software into the operations of SIPO on May 1 will generate operational efficiencies by reducing the need to handle paper and by eliminating the use of traditional mail for filing.

Applicants will also enjoy significant benefits, including certain fee reductions, reduced printing, copying and mailing costs, almost immediate notification that their application has been received and is being processed and secure transmission of international applications.

PCT filings originating from China grew by 56.8 percent from 2005 to 2006, making China the 8th largest country of origin for PCT filings. China is the 4th largest patent office in the world in terms of the number of applications filed – patent filings by Chinese residents grew more than five-fold between 1995 and 2004 to reach 65,786.

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Woman in the Jukwa market in Ghana making high-density briquettes using a press designed and manufactured by MIT D-Lab. (Photo: © 2006 Amy Smith)

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The Bamboo treadle pump designed by Gunnar Barnes and International Development Enterprises Nepal is manufactured in local workshops in Nepal and Bangladesh. (Photo: © 2003 International Development Enterprises)

Design for the Other 90%

 On May 5, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Foundation in New York opened an exhibition entitled “Design for the Other 90%,” which focuses on humanitarian designers. The exhibition brings 30 humanitarian design projects to the fore, highlighting the growing trend among designers to create socially responsible and affordable objects for the world’s poorest, who have limited access to food and water, shelter and healthcare, education, energy and transport.
 

Many of the objects in the exhibition have been co-created by the designers working directly with the end users in the field. They show the human potential to transform and improve his environment.

 
The exhibition will run until September 23.


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