Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A real war of IP violators

In addition to killing people, forcing thousands of civilians to permanently leave their homes, and causing $1+ billion in damage, Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August may have also violated a special EU “design right” (consistent with the WIPO policy for industrial designs) held by the Finnish government.

The New York Times reports on the similarity between Russian and Finnish military camouflage uniforms, and the suggestion (never quite proved) that Russians stole a Finnish design. I didn’t know that camouflage can be protected, but apparently it can:

Over the last decade, as the world’s militaries switched over to camouflage based on digital images, it has become standard for countries to protect their patterns — though manufacturers in China have been known to pirate them and sell them commercially. The M/05 took years to create, Captain Karhuvaara said. Finland barred reservists from using it and filed for design protection within the European Union, he said.
But of course, Finland has no desire to pick any fight (ever) with Russia, so in the end, it let the matter drop. I suppose the Poles or the Czechs might pursue the matter, but otherwise (fearing invasion or commercial retaliation) none of Russia’s other neighbors will stand up to the Bear in their midst.

Hat tip: Madisonian

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