PATENTS – THE FUN WAY

My field of study now requires frequent analysis of some patent database available at the desired national or regional office (like Espacenet @ the European Patent Office), and I often run into hilarious stuff like of an American patentee who wanted to file for a rotating machinery for baby delivery, better explained in the following snapshot.

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More subtle, I would say, more inner needs may “find their way out” on a patentable way soon if this gentleman from Germany (Gerhard Brandl) obtains a patent for what is hereby described as a “Device For Discharging of Intestinal Gases”. Description by the inventor:

A device for discharging intestinal gases is provided, wherein the device comprises a tube like first portion having a first diameter and comprising a first inner channel, a second portion having a second diameter which is larger than the first diameter and comprising a second inner channel, and a tapered portion having a third inner channel and arranged between the first portion and the second portion. The first inner channel, the second inner channel and the third inner channel are in communication with each other while the first diameter is selected in such a way that the first portion is insertable into an anus and the tube like first portion has a smooth surface.

…learning made fun!

DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT or HOW TO SCREW WITH YOUR DIGITAL PROPERTY

We all agree on the fact that the good cause behind DRMs went ill, it got foul quite soon: consumers didn’t like the trick. Was it even supposed to be a trick or are we at this point in time just too mashed up with hundred-fold tech devices as before? I ran into DRMs on my iTunes purchases when I wanted to back some tracks up on an audio cd or dvd for myself.

I found that all the purchased songs were in gray and I couldn’t play them or see them copied.

I understand that the artist has no trust in me if I say: I’ll make 89 copies of your tracks cause I really want to make sure I have a safe backup.

But what about 1 copy? Do they really think we can make good cash on one or even 5 copies? And plus, I do want to play my legally purchased tracks for my enjoyment on my car.

And here is where there is no reason at all for DRMs. Still, let’s not forget that killing DRMs doesn’t mean piracy has been given the green light. Legally purchased online content is still the best, unless it’s not in the public domain: reckless sharing really does damage the makers of movies, music and else; but where is the magic of “I’ll make you a mixed tape” if all your tracks are purchased and carry any level of DRM in it? Do I have to purchase the same song X times as many audio/visual devices I have in my possession? What’s your take and what finger are you rising against this issue?

ART AT GIULIA SCANDOLARA’s NEW WEBSITE

Young handicraft entrepreneur from the industrious north-west in Italy, Giulia Scandolara, set up her own website. She came to a point in which selling her own home-made garments and gadgets wasn’t enough. She started selling on the streets sharing the sidewalk with other street creatives. She found that it’s about time to go digital. Her artworks also drew my attention because the way she paints or sketches (see below, in “the lover’s thought 2, the revenge” original title: “il pensiero dell’amante 2, la vendetta”) resembles my mother’s touch when she used to sketch or paint, or both.

Giulia, who gave me the green light to post about her new achievements and artistic realizations, is an enthusiastic presence, a delightful person to be around and greets every day with a huge smile. An inspiration. She also reminds me of Annie Lennox a lot, so, thumbs up for that, too. Now, unfortunately only in Italian for the time being, check out her website and let me know.

CALCULATING INTANGIBLE ASSETS

Halfway an Intellectual Property management masters course, there comes a man (or a woman) who sums it up for you and gives the picture of how to put your brain and skills to use, (quote) given there is a brain, therefore skills.

At some point I asked the Italian entrepreneur in his fifties with a law degree, who has spent some years at Harvard and whose technology transfer management company ranks 11th in the country, how does one objectively assess the value of a trademark?

 

Little did I know it would trigger so many (non-objective) “components” that are so much part of our daily life. Here is my graphic summary of my notes:

Underpinning almost each category lies one or more concept (and you are more than welcome to add new ones in the comment box). Some may seem obvious and are, in fact, very obvious. Others are equally undisputed but are susceptible to rapid change in today’s perceptions:

  1. Speaking about obvious: Network around a mark. means Virtual Capital, which, I know, doesn’t make it any easier to grasp. Let’s call it “relational business”, too. The contacts you’ve made in life at almost any level are potential buyers, clients, colleagues or even competitors: you might want to spend some quarters of an hour each day to check who’s who in your contact list and if they’ve moved somewhere interesting and are doing something that could attract your business or may be in your exact field of research right now. Most importantly, who is in your network and aware of the trademark you own, his persona will shed precious feedback about it, to his network. Word of mouth.
  2. Human Resources (a word I’ve been disliking since I first heard it, finding more attractiveness and maybe even humanity in “rare earths”) are not only the people in their occupation but are either engineers, lawyers, designers, lobbyists, secretaries, team leaders, auditing specialists, writers, and so on. That’s all asset, with all their specialties achieved in life, their in-house and public repute especially. Sometimes there’s nothing with more value than people.
  3. Reputation is a vast concept. From the retail market to the production and distribution chain, from conferences to foreign and local press, from achieved prizes or recognitions of merit to social media’s “Like”s, reputation is today’s flaming tool for either rapid ascent or total burnout. The “follower” concept, probably first introduced via Twitter, also carries interesting aspects despite its potential deceptive effect. A new tool I’ve been exposed to is Klout. Try for yourself.
  4. Brand Love. Another crucial aspect in feeding the calculations for a trademark’s value, with data coming from consumer’s behavior, is brand affection. In some circumstances it’s even love. Yes. Branded consumers are those who would never give up the trademark even if its price rose to the stars. There are different levels of brand-addiction of course. Also, keep an eye open for semantics: in German, from which many beautiful English words stem from, ‘brand’ (‘brennen’ is the infinitive for ‘burning’) means ‘burned’. ‘Verbrandt’ means burnt and it makes sense if you think that ‘to mark’ (markieren) a cow in order to distinguish it from someone else’s herds, you had to mark it with a hot marking utensil. We are all burned and therefore marked with a number of trademarks, aren’t we? So, the love and affection for either the aesthetics or for the evergreen intrinsic qualities of the loved brand, make it a stable mark, gaining in value especially if the purchasing individual is willing to $pend quite a bit for it.

Do you have some more?

Rating languages

It happened that I had this interesting talk with a young Italian teacher, who specialized in Chinese language and culture. She told me that, back at University, she had intensive Chinese and English classes. I asked her which one was her favourite language. She replied by telling me that Chinese is way more elaborated than English, while the latter is a perfect and functional language. So, Chinese was her favourite!

 
I suddenly remembered that I had this kind of talk even with the other administrator of the blog. I could not recall what conclusion we reached on the topic, honestly I do not even remember if we ever reached one, but it does not matter. I thank this kind teacher because she unintentionally gave me an idea to write this post!

I’d like to narrow down the discussion to one point: out of personal likes or dislikes, is it possible to objectively rate languages? For instance, is it possible to decide whether a language is better than another to define a state of mind, an action or other things?

I personally think it is not. What do you think?

THE BEST BEER. HOW SO?

I am befriended with many kinds of alcohol but I rarely exceed one glass (of everything). So here I go and click open a small canned beer, a red can, striped white and gold or red at the top where it says: Peroni (the Italian beer famous for it’s beautiful time-awarded poster, see below) La Birra Italiana (reads, The Italian Beer). I smiled and poured some more. I knew I was not drinking the best beer you can find in Italy (considering the domestic amount of rising and successful artisanship in brewery), having purchased it for nearly a Euro down at the corner shop. So why did they write “the” Italian beer for? Who are they fooling? Alright, the slogan doesn’t get in between a heavy drinker and the beer itself, but it may deceive a firstcomer to Italy.

Immediately after, I thought about a case I can not find the (German?) Court’s decision of, regarding Warsteiner‘s slogan. It has changed in the late Nineties from Die Königin unter den Bieren” (THE Queen amongst beers) to “Eine Königin unter den Bieren” (A Queen amongst beers). What is being argued here is a potentially deceptive behavior/message included in an apparently harmless statement.

  

If there has been a National ruling imposing Warsteiner to replace die with eine, I think Peroni beer should go down the same road. It’s not so much about losing face or clientelle, but deception counts. Nobody who runs into VolksWagen’s slogan Das Auto will think that VW cars are the only “original cars”, yet in edible products, deceiving is around the corner.

what do you think?

Ciao Tonino!

It is funny how the more you have a precious thing under your eyes and the more you do not notice it. It happens with almost everything in our lives, and, sadly, even with persons. Half of my family is from a very little town in Italy, a place that I have always loved and  considered as my future shelter for the days to come…

This little town is called “Santarcangelo di Romagna”. It is placed in the heart of Romagna, a region in the middle east of Italy. Santarcangelo has great traditions, especially related to food and wines (as many other regions in Italy ), but it also gave birth to a lot of talented Italian artists. Among them, the most famous was incontrovertibly the poet and writer Tonino Guerra. You can click on the links below to read what the Chicago Tribune wrote about him, and find a complete bio on wikipedia.

To what you may find on the web, I’d like to add just a few personal words…

Tonino used to live in Santarcangelo at about 200 meters far from my Grandmother’s house. He was venerated by Santarcangelo abitants and every year the town has organized special events on the day of his birthday. The last took place just a couple of days ago. He was very ill and could not participate at the party on the main plaza (as he used to do every year), but his family did!

Maybe in a little town you can still live such kind of experiences, where a worldwide artist lives and celebrates his birthday within the community. No wonder that in Santarcangelo were born lot of famous Italian artists though…when you are loved by the people you live with for what you do in your life, you will be always spurred to do give your best.

I wish there were more Santarcangelo around, to see more Toninos  growing up in my Country..

Thank you  and good bye Tonino, we will never forget you!

Chicago Tribune – Italo screenwriter Tonino Guerra dies

Wikipedia – Tonino Guerra

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