Legal updates

European Union
Applicant fails to prove occurrence of technical failure in EUIPO electronic communication system
In Groupe Go Sport v EUIPO, the General Court has considered Groupe Go Sport’s claim that a technical failure in the electronic communication system had prevented the transmission of its statement of grounds in due time. Although the judgment does not indicate how to prove the occurrence of a technical failure preventing an electronic communication, it does indicate what cannot constitute such a proof.
Mexico
Estimation of notoriety or fame by IMPI will help prevent registration of confusingly similar marks
Since the coming into force of the 2005 amendments to the Industrial Property Law, IMPI had stopped estimating the notoriety or fame of trademarks and relied only on declarations of notoriety or fame. However, IMPI has now begun to estimate the notoriety or fame of marks, alongside issuing such declarations. With this change, the estimation of notoriety or fame will become an important offensive weapon to prevent the registration of confusingly similar marks in all classes.
European Union
Kit Kat decision sets high bar for proving acquired distinctiveness of shape marks
In Mondelez v EUIPO, the General Court has ruled that the EUIPO must re-examine whether Nestlé’s 3D mark for the shape of its four-fingered Kit Kat bar had acquired distinctiveness in all EU member states for all the goods covered by the mark. The decision will not be welcomed by applicants for shape marks, who now face the prospect of incurring significant costs in compiling evidence that their mark has acquired distinctiveness in all 28 EU member states.

Blog

19 Jan 2017
European arm of top Asia-Pacific trademark player King & Wood Mallesons enters administration
The London office of King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) – a general practice firm with top-rated trademark credentials, previously touted as “the first global law firm headquartered in Asia” – entered administration this week. In the aftermath of what is reported to be the largest ever law firm collapse in the UK, KWM has established a new business to maintain a strategic presence in Europe.
18 Jan 2017
eBay expands on plans for “network of professional authenticators” in fight against counterfeiters
Online marketplace giant eBay will launch an authentication program – entitled eBay Authenticate – later in the year in an effort to “boost consumer confidence when purchasing high-end merchandise”. Talking to World Trademark Review, an eBay spokesperson confirmed the company will be “working closely with brands” on the initiative. One commentator, however, fears that the move will do little to quell the availability of fakes.
17 Jan 2017
One-fifth of foreign applicants’ judicial challenges against Chinese trademark office decisions are successful
Data on administrative disputes at the Beijing IP Court indicates that foreign parties have enjoyed particular success in recent years in reversing unfavourable decisions made by the Trademark Office of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce, China’s trademark-issuing agency.

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Cannabis marks in jeopardy – is your industry next?

Nearly 600 applications for ‘cannabis’ marks languish before the US Patent and Trademark Office, yet its patent arm happily grants protection for inventions which use the drug. Where does this disconnect come from and could other industries be vulnerable?
Gregory Wesner, Fran Jagla and Adriane Scola report

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