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New research reveals that a majority of consumers have difficulty telling paid from unpaid content in the native advertising environment. For trademark counsel particularly those involved in advertising clearance activities the ongoing debate over consumer deception is one to follow.
In a trademark case which has attracted attention in the local media, the IP Office of the Philippines has dismissed an opposition filed by Apple against a Manila company’s attempt to register MY/PHONE. The tenor of press coverage provides yet another example of the challenges faced by a mega-company enforcing its brand against a local ‘David’.
A team of academics have launched a project to bring scientific rigour to trademark infringement cases, including the development of a computer tool to objectively calculate the ‘similarity score’ between brand names.
The US Supreme Court has handed down its decision in B&B Hardware v Hargis Industries, addressing the level of deference that should be afforded to findings made by the TTAB on likelihood of confusion. Commentators argue that its reversal of an Eighth Circuit decision means that trademark counsel need to think even more strategically about TTAB proceedings.
New research has found that nearly 10% of total sales of cosmetics and personal care products in the European Union are falling into the hands of counterfeiters.
The threat of genericism is a constant fear for the owners of successful mainstream brands, and one that is keepings its head above the water, despite being bombarded with genericism challenges, is Kleenex. However, the counsel charged with protecting the trademark notes that the level of misinformation online makes this an uphill battle.
(This article has been updated the new information is italicised at the end of the article) The decision by the UK's Passport Office to reject a passport application because the applicant's signature, which reads 'L Skywalker', infringed a trademark is an unusual incident, and throws up the issue of how stringently passport examiners check trademarks.
For decades universities, like their commercial counterparts, have been expanding their trademark portfolios, with the $4.6 billion industry for licensed merchandise an important revenue stream. However, one academic sector voice has accused such higher education institutions of misusing trademark law, going too far in a bid to create licensing revenue.
A trademark battle between a UK comedy club and an international entertainment studio has been ruled on by the High Court of England and Wales. While initially daunted by the prospect of taking on such a battle, the comedy club owner told WTR that confusion on social media proved important when evidencing confusion.
It has been reported by several media outlets that the key to fashion designer Stella McCartney’s victory in a trademark dispute against a Chatswood-based cosmetics company and subsidiary of Melilea International was that the mark would cause confusion when said in a “lazy” Australian accent. While this is perhaps a novel argument, according to one commentator it is a bit of a red herring.
Kitson, a Los Angeles boutique, has found itself in the crosshairs of a pharmaceutical giant for using a trademarked prescription drug name, Vicodin, on its clothing designs. This case raises interesting questions on whether the parody or commentary of a registered trademark can triumph over a brand owner’s duty to act on public health grounds against alleged infringers.
AdWords returned as a trademark battleground this week with UK cosmetics company Lush taking Amazon to the High Court of England and Wales, claiming trademark infringement. Following the Interflora ruling earlier this year, the issue of keyword use remains a live topic in the UK courts.
Damrong Maslae and his brother Damras are two independent Thai coffee vendors who have recently become caught up in what has been labelled a ‘David vs Goliath’ battle after their company Starbung was sued by Starbucks for trademark infringement. While the case has now been settled, it highlights the difficulties facing trademark counsel who are concerned that certain enforcement actions could lead to negative publicity.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has joined forces with the Dark Knight in a dispute over the CLEAN SLATE mark, submitting an amicus brief that urges a precedent that “can help diminish the chilling effect of trademark law on constitutionally protected expression”.
A start-up law firm in the US state of Minnesota is taking legal action against a non-profit organisation that had earlier claimed the legal practice infringed its trademark rights and accusing it of bullying. At a time when lawmakers in the state are considering the introduction of litigation to curb overreaching legislation, the dispute highlights some of the complexities surrounding this divisive topic?
In a decision that will be welcomed by brand owners, the ECJ has held that colour is relevant to the global assessment of the likelihood of confusion and unfair advantage.
The impact of lookalike products on brand owner innovation, revenues and product investment is one that has been debated at length in the trademark community (previous WTR coverage is available here). Detailed new research on the issue has been published, but the way forward remains unclear.
Software company Fortres Grand’s claim that a fictional product appearing in Warner Bros film The Dark Knight Rises infringes on its trademark rights has been dismissed by a Northern District of Indiana court. However, the potential problem of fictional product names that are the same or similar to real-life brand names could arise for any trademark owner and the dispute offers a number of takeaways.
The Debian Project, which oversees the development and distribution of free and open source operating system Debian, has released a new trademark policy which enables third parties to use its trademarks freely for commercial purposes. While such a laissez-faire approach could be seen as risky, it also presents an opportunity for some non-profit organisations, such as open source projects, to create additional value from their brands.
Kraft Foods which produces Cracker Barrel cheese is suing Cracker Barrel Old Country Store for trademark infringement as the rustic restaurant chain prepares to sell its name-brand products outside of its own stores for the first time. The dispute highlights how extensions into new categories can bring similar brand names that have previously coexisted peacefully into conflict.
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