IP round-up: a lighter look at the world of IP


Most of us are on Facebook, but how entertaining are we to our followers? The answer is probably not as much as we would like to think. Never fear! Google to the rescue. Google has recently been granted a US Patent (US8621366) that takes your perpetually tedious Facebook updates and converts them into an (entertaining?) comic strip.

Bitstips logo
Bitstips logo


It doesn’t appear to be restricted to Facebook, but you get the general idea from the patent abstract:


‘Communications to be shared on social networks and other electronic modes of communication are presented in comic strip form. The comic strips are created with a simplified user interface and are formatted to be well-suited for display on a selected social network or other electronic facility. The comic strips are displayed in an embedded form directly in the social network or other facility, without the need for a user to go to a separate site to view the comic strip’. 


Seen it all before? Perhaps you have with the ‘Bitstrips’ App on Facebook.


Duff Beer

The fictional beer from the TV show The Simpsons, known as DUFF BEER, is finally coming to Australia in an apparent genuineform. Food Magazine have reported that the formerly two-dimension beverage will be making a three-dimensional appearance at Dan Murphy’s and BWS stores in late May 2014.

Duff Beer
Duff Beer


So far we note that Twentieth Century Fox have an Australian trade mark registration for DUFF BEER in Class 32 covering Beers and ales, not to mention registrations in other classes (16, 20, 21 and 25). It seems unlikely that Fox is entering the alcoholic beverage market but it is not yet clear whether they have licenced use of the mark. If not, we can expect that Springfield’s favourite amber ale may find some legal hurdles prior to its launch.


We note that The Simpsons’ creator, Matt Groening is famously quoted as saying that he would never licence the use of the ‘Duff’ trade mark for fear it may encourage children to drink. Duff Man will be disappointed!


Fake OMO powder



Who would have thought that there was a big trade in fake OMO washing powder in Australia? We became aware of ‘Operation OMO’ back in 2012, in which the NSW Police seized over 33 tonnes of counterfeit OMO laundry powder. The NSW police cleaned up two individuals in Sydney allegedly responsible for the importation and sale of the counterfeit OMO. There was no information as to whether they had laundered the proceeds.


Unfortunately, the stain of counterfeit commercial goods like laundry powders is a difficult problem to wash away. Earlier this year, the two men responsible for the OMO counterfeit goods were cleaned up in the courts with a fine of $25,000. See what I did there?


Apple technology

Apple is notorious for being super secretive when it comes to disclosing or discussing its future plans with regard to technology. They have made an art form out of the process of ‘keeping mum’ until a formal announcement, with many suggesting that many of the rumours actually originate at Apple simply as a means to generate a buzz.


Fortunately for us, Apple can’t hide from the patent process. Like everyone else their patent applications are published at 18 months and reveal a window into the technology developments and potential products that may emanate from Apple in the future. Very recently a massive 82 patent applications were published simultaneously by the USPTO.


The technology covered a vast array of technology – enough to whet the appetite for any Apple fans out there. You can view this over at Patently Apple – www.patentlyapple.com


New top level domains (TLDs)

You may have heard a little bit about the new top level domains (TLDs) that are starting to slowly appear. Previous top level domains are .com, .org, .co.uk, etc. The jury is out on whether these will be useful or profitable domain names for companies around the world, but one thing is for sure, there are certainly a few bizarre ones coming online soon. We wonder how many people will be rushing to register in the following TLDs:


  •  .blockbuster (didn’t that mega chain store file for bankruptcy in 2010?)
  • .beer (perhaps duff.beer?)
  • .george (surely, this is limited to only a few people of that name – maybe www.prince.george?)
  • .sucks (suggestion www.thisnewTLDreally.sucks?)
  • .ninja (my 7-year-old maybe interested in one of these)
  •  .genting (I don’t even know what that would be used for!).


Rodney Chiang-Cruise BAppSc(AppChem) FIPTA is the Manager of IP Organisers and has more than 25 years’ experience in intellectual property information research and investigation. He is experienced in all types of searches, including freedom to operate, novelty and non-patent literature searches, as well as IP management and audit.


BAppSc(AppChem) FIPTA

Rodney is the Manager and Team Coordinator of IP Organisers Pty Ltd. He is also a Principal of Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick.