Thursday, 6 November 2008

Noseweek's Thick as IP lawyers ... update

Noseweek's taster and our curiosity has shed some light on why IP lawyers are as thick as claimed by Mr Nose... and there is more to this story than a short update in the Punch-like publication as one might expect. The article itself has a go at SAIIPL's reply to a letter of complaint alleging that a local patent attorney had fraudulently altered the complainant's patent application. In effect Mr Nose (in his own direct way) calls the apparent reply, bureaucratic and circular - the reply apparently suggested that the complainant contact his patent attorney for advice. That all said, the update is just one part of a what appears to be a fairly complex series of events reported in Noseweek's September publication under the titles "Playing with Fire" and "Nothing Sinister" in which (in the former article) it is claimed that "a South African inventor has lost his rights to the safe paraffin stove he designed, because a lawyer agreed to draw up an illegal transaction and refused to correct the error". Serious stuff. And there is more in September ... in an article entitled "Bid To SA Hooch" Mr Nose exposes badly drafted letters of demand in trade mark matters.

Noseweek describes itself as "news you are not supposed to know" and one possible reason for its foray into the IP arena is that Hans Muhlberg, a well known commentator on IP issues in South Africa, is its assistant editor. One's first reaction may be that this type of press is not good news for the SA IP profession but is that correct? Should Noseweek's no-punches-pulled-name-and-shame approach not be applauded if there is a case to be answered...and how would you combat the bad press if it was YOU? ... And how big is Afro-Leo's nose? Hans has joined UK firm Beck Greener.

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