Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Birthday Musings

It is one year ago today that this blog came into existence.

It all started in a relatively spontaneous manner. Armand Grinstajn published some posts on decisions he had found interesting. He did not know whether this would become periodic, but he thought that daily publications were a good rhythm for a weblog. But would there be enough decisions worth reporting to keep this pace? It turned out that there would.

Being an experimentalist, Armand decided that he would not do any advertising for his blog. He only left his url when making comments on other IP blogs. How long would it take to have readers? But this experiment came to a sudden end when Laurent Teyssèdre, to whose popular blog Armand had made some minor contributions, discovered the existence of K’s Law and informed his readers.

Armand had made a mistake when giving pieces of information on himself. He had (rightfully) declared being a European patent attorney. As curious people looked up his name in the register and could not find it, trouble began. He was accused of being a deceiver, or alternatively of violating the rules of conduct by providing false information. His case was examined in higher spheres, but without much outcome. As the reason for having a pseudonym had disappeared in the meantime, it was decided that Armand should leave and Oliver take over.

Now, one year later, the blog has a bit more than 100 visitors per working day; there have been almost 25000 visits so far. Readers appear to include patent attorneys, patent attorney candidates, but also EPO examiners and even some members of the Boards themselves.

Where do my readers come from? Here is a graph provided by my web counter:

The great number of French readers has historical reasons ; their share is actually decreasing. The Netherlands were quite strong from the very beginning, but I have been told that EPO staff, even when located in Munich or Berlin, appear as Dutch when connecting from their workplace. I had relatively few UK readers until recently when Jeremy Phillips kindly mentioned the blog among other Wednesday Whimsies. Germany has not been very present until recently, either. I have no explanation to offer for the considerable number of American readers.

One of my major disappointments concerns the comments left by readers. I had imagined that K’s law could call into being a web community of people interested by case law. It just did not happen. Most comments are anonymous, and sometimes we have those weird discussions between anonymi. This might be due to the fact that the blog is of a semi-professional nature and that the IP community is relatively small. As a matter of fact, most IP blogs are contaminated with the anonymity virus. I can fully understand that people do not wish to reveal their real identity, but there are other ways to stay under cover. On most blogs outside the IP domain which I follow, there are indeed communities, where people use pseudonyms. This allows to “get to know” each other without actually knowing each other’s names. On K’s law, I am always pleased to see Rimbaud or pat-agonia. I have no clue who they are, nor do I need to know, but they are people with a name. Pseudonymity allows for some warmth, whereas anonymity is utterly cold. But there is not much that I can do about that.

Coming back to my own contributions, there have been 360 posts on about 340 different decisions. Looking back, I would say that the last year was not an outstanding vintage: as far as I can see, there have been no real landmark decisions. Still, I believe to have shown that there were lots of useful things to grasp.

Will there be a full second season for K’s Law ? Honestly, I can’t tell. As you can imagine, there is much work behind such a blog. Any major event, be it professional or private, could take me out. Also, I do not believe that it is man’s chief end to glorify case law, and to enjoy it for ever, if you know what I mean. But for the time being, EPC case law blogging is still fun and I intend to have K’s law go on for some more time. See ya then!


Anonymous said...

I like this blog and I am happy to read that it will go on. Is it possible however to change the template ? It is not easy to read on a black page ;-)

Crazy Chemist said...

I really appreciate your efforts. For me this is the best EPO case law, and I wish K's law blog run for much more time.

We need you!!

thanks again and regards,

Antoine said...

Art 14(1) CBE. Bravo pour votre blog, même si je ne mets que rarement des commentaires, j'en suis un lecteur régulier.

Pat Lotstolearn said...

I read your blog nearly every day - it´s how I keep up to date with the huge amounts of decisions and I appreciate the work you do on your end so that others like me know what is going on. I hope you continue for a very long time still.....Merci beaucoup K´s law!

pat-agoni-a said...

Dear Oliver, thank you very much for all the effort you have put into this blog. I always find your presentations of the case law accurate and very interesting. Please continue to do so as long as it gives you satisfaction.

With best wishes and a HAPPY BIRTHDAY ...

Emilie said...

Your Blog is really helpful. I can imagine the time it requires to find, read and explain all these cases! I appreciate to read one case every morning when I arrive at work. Hope this blog will go on...

thanks a lot for keeping us up-to-date!

Laurent said...

Bon anniversaire !

Travail impressionnant, iconographie toujours bien choisie, ce blog est clairement LA référence en matière de jurisprudence OEB.

Espérons une deuxième saison complète !

Oliver G. Randl said...

Thank you all for your kind comments.

I would agree that this blog is the greatest case law blog in English that is exclusively dedicated to EPC caselaw. This statement will not make too many fellow bloggers unhappy. :-)

@Valérie: I already thought about changing templates. The problem is that some of the text in the older posts is written in white and yellow colour, which means that they would not be readable any more on light background. I would add that I am not so eager to change the font colour in 360+ posts. Perhaps I will have a poll to see if many people are uncomfortable about the template I have been using.

Pierre-Aimé said...

Happy birthday to your blog!
I read it on a regular basis and it has proved to be a great help in preparing for the EQE!
Thank you for all the work you put in over the past year! Needless to say, I truly hope to read your posts in the future!

EQE Tools said...

Hello Oliver, congratulations with your 1st blog-birthday !
I don't a lot to add to what is already said. Indeed K's Law is the Blog for those hungry for EPO case law. 360 posts is really impressive!
W.r.t. your visitor analysis I can tell you that I account for at least part of your Dutch visitor (or pageload) number...

Keep going and all the best !!

Rimbaud said...

360 congratulations !

Regarding the template, I suggest the following color scheme:
A noir,
E blanc,
I rouge,
U vert,
O bleu.

Jean-Francois said...

Dear Oliver,

I am amazed of the quality of this blog (and the one of your ‘pote’ Laurent), I am very impressed by the time this certainly requires, and I wish to the blog and the author a very happy birthday.

I selfishly wish this to continue, but most of all I hope the author will do what makes him happy.


Bartmans said...

Dear Oliver,
your blog is my main source to keep up to date with EP case law. Wherever I can, I try to promote your blog: to CEIPI students, to patent agents in India (that's why you recently got some visits from Bangalore) and so on.
Keep up the good work; and if you think you can not manage on your own, please give a call. I suppose that many of our colleagues would be happy to contribute to keep your goal of 1 decison a day.


Rimbaud said...

To the readers who prefer to have a template with dark text on light background, I suggest they subscribe to a feed via their e-mail software.
I subscribed to RSS via MSO and get Oliver's posts complete (with the pictures) and on white background, with black letters instead of white ones and other colors apparently unchanged. Some font colors appear a bit light but still readable.

Two objections, though:
1. Such a reading may not count as a visit, I could not figure out with sitemeter figures. If Oliver confirms and finds it relevant, one can always click on the link provided within the feed message so as to counter this bias.
2. No background music :-(

Oliver G. Randl said...

My dear Rimbaud,

Thanks for your comments.

Two remarks: (1) I do not care about visit counts. The blog is absolutely non commercial, and I intend to keep it that way. As a consequence, I do not have to justify visitor numbers.

(2) There is no more background music, following a poll on this topic. The poll did not attract many votes but the majority of the voters had strong feelings against music. So I deleted this distinctive yet non-technical feature. As to the template, there is another poll going on. I guess this is the last item where I will let readers decide. Neither the choice of decisions nor the choice of illustrations are open to polling. 8')

Rimbaud said...

1. All right.

2. Since I mainly read your blog via MSO (except for comments), I did not notice you deleted this feature!
Beware of music lovers soon opposing that deletion thru A.100c) EPC.