13 July 2010

Encouraging a cat to shave

Hats off to Nicholas Weston for his post on the Whiskas Purple trade mark decision (noted earlier in this blog).

Weston comments that -
With 220 registered colour marks now on the Australian Register, colour trade marks continue to gain popularity. Yet this case exemplifies the importance of deliberately choosing a particular colour within an extensive and calculated branding strategy in order for such marks to be considered sufficiently distinctive. The more distinctive the trade mark, the less challenging it is to register and the more it adds to the goodwill of a business, observes Nicholas Weston, the commercial IP law firm behind the Australian Trade Marks Law Blog, citing its favourite commercial case involving cats: Whiteman Smith Motor Co Ltd v Chaplin (1934) 2 KB 35 at pp 42, 49, where the types of goodwill were zoologically classified into cats, dogs, rats and rabbits, stating:
The cat prefers the old home to the person who keeps it, and stays in the old home although the person who has kept the home leaves, and so it represents the customer who goes to the old shop whoever keeps it, and provides the local goodwill. The faithful dog is attached to the person rather than to the place; he will follow the outgoing owner if he does not go too far. The rat has no attachments, and is purely casual. The rabbit is attached by mere propinquity. He comes because he happens to live close by and it would be trouble to go elsewhere.
The categories characterise the goodwill of a business in composite, partly referable to its locality, partly to the way in which it is conducted and the personality of those who conduct it, and partly to the likelihood of competition, many consumers being no doubt actuated by mixed motives in conferring their custom. Human consumers, that is, not cats. A cat cannot be made to do anything. No shade of purple will encourage a cat to shave, for example, for the reason that they already prefer whiskers.

Reading

Reading 'Race definition run amuck: slaying the dragon of Eskimo status before the Supreme Court of Canada, 1939' by Constance Backhouse in Diane Kirkby & Catharine Coleborne [ed], Law, History andColonialism (Manchester: Manchester University Press 2010) 65-77; With Stendhal (Melbourne: Black Inc 2001) by Simon Leys; Open Constitutional Courts (Leichhardt: Federation Press 2010) by Patrick Keyzer, The Poor Relation: A History of Social Sciences in Australiaa (Carlton: Melbourne University Press 2001) by Stuart Macintyre; and 'Interviewing Working-Class Gay Men Over the Internet' by George Appleby in 12(3) Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services (2001) 133-151.

The Leys, like his other writing, is superb. The interview extracts in Appleby are deeply poignant.

12 July 2010

Age

From 'Turn 70. Act Your Grandchild's Age' by Kate Zernike in the 9 July 2010 New York Times -
Thomas R. Cole, director of the McGovern Center for Health, Humanities and the Human Spirit at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and the author of a cultural history of aging, said he hailed anyone who, borrowing a phrase from his mother, age 85, "is playing above the grass".

At the same time, he said, "if we don’t pay attention to the dark side of our 70s and 80s, we're not going to pay enough attention to the people who need help".

"We're going to make it look like if you're sick, it's your own fault; if you're not having orgasms or running marathons, there's something wrong with you. We need to think carefully about how to take care of people who are frail. We need to allow people to not feel like failures when they can't do the things they used to do."

He traces the origins of this "splitting apart" of the reality of old age — good and bad — to the mid-1800s, when people in the United States first experienced what he calls "the legitimization of longevity".

Life expectancy was only 40, but people began to believe that humans could live to be old — which they defined as 80 or more.

"People first began to say, 'I'm here to live a long life, and if I work hard and am a good person and am middle class, I will die a good death ... and if I don't do these things, I deserve a short life and a painful death'."

That split persists, he said, in our obsession with health and longevity, visible to anyone glancing across a magazine stand.

"It assumes you can control these things through willpower", he said.

Gerontologists tend to think of successful aging as taking advantage of what potential there is, staying as socially and intellectually engaged as possible. Our culture tends to measure it more in terms of how active people are.
It's a perspective on notions of virtue, aspiration and self-acceptance in 'Men's Bodies: Listening to the voices of young gay men' by Murray Drummond in 7(3) Men and Masculinities (2005) 270-290.

Virtuality

The latest issue of Innovative Higher Education features 'The Virtual Sabbatical: A Pioneering Case Study', a 15 page report by legal scholars Patricia Easteal & Nicole Westmarland on a virtual sabbatical involving UC professor Easteal and the University of Durham.

The authors note that -
International exchange is an important aspect of academic life. Thus, international sabbaticals are, in general, seen as a measure of research collaboration, networking, and international standing. There are, however, a few groups who are likely to be disadvantaged by such criteria even though they may be implicit, that is, those for whom international travel is problematic. Using reflective learning, the researchers conducted a virtual sabbatical for six months as a metaphorical "ramp" — that is, a way of making international sabbaticals accessible to more people. We now present a case study of this action research project, which answers the following questions. How does the concept of a virtual sabbatical fit holistically within the context of higher education? How can the aims of the sabbatical be fulfilled in a virtual context? What are the problems and successes of the virtual sabbatical?
They comment that -
For our research project we operated from the assumption that international travel is treated as a reasonable expectation and sometimes a requirement for career academics. Therefore, we asked ourselves some questions. If indeed certain groups are disadvantaged but a particular requirement or expectation is treated as reasonable, what sort of equitable adjustment can institutions of higher education make? Buildings for people in wheelchairs are made accessible by installing ramps. If full-time hours are deemed necessary, workplaces can adopt familyfriendly work practices to allow staff with child-caring responsibilities to complete their work hours within more flexible arrangements. Accordingly, how could sabbatical practices be made more flexible and allow an academic to engage in an international sabbatical without travelling? Since universities and colleges generally desire and value real engagement rather than simply a linking on paper, it is necessary to consider exactly how this real engagement could take place in a virtual context. We report here on a case study investigating that question, specifically answering the following:
- How does the concept of a virtual sabbatical fit holistically within the context of higher education?
- How can the aims of a sabbatical be fulfilled virtually?
- What are the problems and successes of the virtual sabbatical?
Easteal, an academic in Australia, spent six months as a virtual visiting fellow at Durham University in the United Kingdom. Without physically leaving Australia, she became a visible part of the Durham academic community which shared her research interests. A symbiotic scholarly exchange was facilitated through informal discourse and formal presentations.