Legal updates

28 May 2015

New Balance ordered to pay $16 million in damages to Chinese businessman

China - In a recent case that has attracted significant attention, the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court has ordered Xin Bai Lun Trade (China) Ltd, a subsidiary of New Balance, to pay Rmb98 million (approximately $15.8 million) in compensation to the owner of the registered mark XIN BAI LUN. Controversially, the court determined that the amount of damages should be half of Xin Bai Lun China’s net income from 2011 to 2013. Read update

28 May 2015

Functionally non-protectable: Federal Circuit nixes Apple's trade dress claims against Samsung

United States - In Apple v Samsung, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has become the latest court to weigh in on the smartphone war between Apple and Samsung. The Federal Circuit overturned the jury’s verdict that Samsung infringed Apple’s trade dress, finding that each of Apple’s asserted trade dress designs was functional and non-protectable. Read update

28 May 2015

Cyrillic TLD '.бел' is launched

Belarus - The sunrise period for registration of the recently launched Cyrillic top-level domain ‘.бел’ is underway, ending on May 31 2015. The landrush period will run from June 1 to September 30, while the general availability period will start on October 1. Registration will be available for domain names in Russian and Belarusian. Read update

27 May 2015

Public will not establish link between SWATCH and SWATCHBALL

European Union - In Swatch AG v OHIM, the General Court has held that there was no likelihood of confusion between the mark SWATCHBALL in Classes 9, 35, 41 and 42, and the earlier mark SWATCH for watches. Among other things, the court found that the absence of similarity between the goods and services in question and the differences between the relevant publics were such that they were liable to exclude the existence of any link between the marks. Read update

27 May 2015

Average consumer will understand 'origin' as referring to origin of goods

United Kingdom - In Whyte & MacKay v Origin Wine, the High Court has allowed an appeal against a decision of the hearing officer finding that there was a likelihood of confusion between the mark JURA ORIGIN for whisky and earlier ORIGIN marks for alcoholic beverages. Among other things, the court found that the hearing officer had failed at the outset to consider how the average consumer would understand the word ‘origin’ in the context of the relevant goods. Read update

27 May 2015

Sale of '.hiv' raises awkward questions as to success of new gTLD programme

International - ‘.hiv’, a charitable TLD set up to raise awareness of HIV and raise funds to support initiatives to combat HIV and AIDS, is the second live new gTLD to be sold at auction. The sale of this gTLD - which describes itself as "one of the poster children of ICANN’s new gTLD programme" - via auction after only eight months of operation potentially poses some awkward questions with regard to the success of the programme as a whole. Read update

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