IP Draughts has been on his annual trip to the Edinburgh Festival.
Highlights for him included Backstage in Biscuitland, a surprising and very amusing hour of narrative from two ladies, one of whom (Jessica Thom) has Tourette’s Syndrome. This might not seem like a promising subject for entertainment, but it was, due to Thom’s humorous personality and story-telling skills.
The show included references to her verbal ‘tics’ (many were made during the performance, including ‘biscuit’, hence the title), friends and helpers, including Leftwing Idiot (his ‘tic’ name), her experiences of treatment in the theatre (where she was once asked to move to a sound-proof control box to avoid disturbing the other members of the audience), and other experiences of life with a serious, neurological condition. Physical comedy was provided by Thom’s attempts to eat a bowl of strawberries, most of which ended up on her face rather than in her mouth.
Less entertaining, in IP Draughts’ view, was the performance of a neo-Dadaist comedy written in the 1970s and rarely performed. Murmel Murmel consisted of a troupe of performers doing physical comedy and saying nothing but the words of the show’s title (German for ‘murmer’). It received rave reviews from the professional critics, but nul points from IP Draughts.
This blog is meant to be about intellectual property, and there was little in the above performances that raised IP issues, though IP Draughts idly speculated on whether the repetition of a single word several hundred or thousand times could amount to a copyright work.
IP issues were explicitly addressed in an exhibition by the Museums of Scotland, on the history of photography. A section on George Eastman referred to his care to protect his photography business with both patents and trade marks. It discussed his choice of the name Kodak, a made-up word, and displayed examples of the company’s early Brownie cameras. The fortune that Eastman made from his photographic inventions was put to philanthropic uses, including £200,000 that was donated for the founding of the Eastman Dental Hospital in London. Generations later, IP Draughts advised the Eastman Dental Institute (as it was then known), before its merger with UCL in 1999.
Back to work…