Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Sydney Water: you couldn't make this up

... or could you? This story from the Sydney Morning Herald seems stranger than fiction. An entrepreneur - am I right in thinking that this word, like so many others ("celebrity" springs to mind), has become devalued in recent years? - proposes to sell bottled Sydney Water worldwide. He seems to think that the utility of the same name has inadequately wide trade mark rights to do anything about it, but they are suing him - not for infringement but for money he's received that they say he shouldn't have. Have you lost track yet? I certainly have.

The really entertaining part of the story is that the defendant has demanded that the judge stand down. The defendant suspects a Masonic conspiracy because the New South Wales Treasurer, one of two shareholders in the utility company (but ex-officio,one assumes, not personally) was photographed in a pose that indicated to the defendant that he is a Mason. No, not with a trouser leg rolled up, but with his eyes looking up. Of course, that can't be more than prima facie evidence, can it? Anyway, the judge refuses to say whether he's a Mason. He also refuses to say whether he's Jewish, and the defendant thinks that's relevant because Jewish law doesn't recognise intellectual property. Nothing about the fact that Australian law does - and this is reportedly a trial in the Supreme Court, not the Beth Din (where intellectual property disputes are, I believe, regularly and efficiently dealt with anyway, and Sydney apparently has a particularly eminent one, although it doesn't promote itself as a forum for IP disputes - its London equivalent deals with all manner of litigation).

The Sydney Morning Herald has several pieces about his unfolding story - see also here if you feel so inclined.

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