Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Woe to Assumptions!

"Assumption and Expectation ~ Two cousin brothers responsible for most of the chaos in the world."

An anonymous blogger behind the FOARP kindly pointed out a technical error in one of my previous posts: Microsoft Falls One Step Behind in Protecting “Windows” . Here is the comment that this reader left:

Mate, there is no such thing as CTPO, there is CTMO (the trademark office) and SIPO (the state intellectual property office - which deals with patents) but no CTPO.

It was an assumption on my part. Here in the United States, one is so familiar with the USPTO that one might assume that trademark and patent offices in other countries are organized and institutionalized in a similar way as in the United States. Small it is, but the error is indicative of my tendency to assume certain things. A bit of attention would have led me to the acronym "CTMO" as used by the China Trademark Office Website (English Version). In the study of law, assumption is costly because it affects one's credibility; in the practice of law, assumption is a lawyer's enemy, costing clients' business, case, and trust. For those who practice international law, the need for precision, sensitivity to cultural differences, and thoroughness is paramount. It's a wake-up call for me as well as a reminder that attention to details really matters in the legal profession.

Thank you, FOARP! Corrections have been made at your suggestion. And for readers out there, please note the changes.

And FYI:

China Trademark Office (CTMO)
State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) ( handling patent-related matters)
National Copyright Administration (NCAC) (in Chinese only)