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On Wednesday the ECJ issued its much-awaited decision in Société des Produits Nestlé SA v Cadbury UK Ltd, with most media reports arguing that the decision deals a final blow to Nestlé’s attempt to protect the ‘four-finger’ shape of its Kit Kat bar as a trademark in the UK. However, the reality is more nuanced, with the company itself stating that it was “very pleased” with the decision.
It was no surprise last week when trademark applications were filed in the US related to Cecil, the lion killed by dentist and big-game hunter Walter Palmer in Zimbabwe. However, one of the applicants has told World Trademark Review that he is not cashing in on a tragedy, but that his intentions are good, and that he plans to stop third parties marketing products capitalising on the famous lion.
The availability of online tools that make trademark filings accessible to all are, in most respects, a positive development. However, the flipside is that such offerings can result in applicants investing in the process without fully understanding trademark law or first seeking specialist help. This appears to be the case with the self-proclaimed 'Trademark King', who has spent up to $50,000 in trademark filings that one commentator has labelled “void from the outset”.
The founder of the Asian American dance-rock band behind the application has slammed this week's appeal decision, telling World Trademark Review that he finds the USPTO's treatment of evidence “absurd”.
Debbie Roenning, director of the legal division of WIPO’s Madrid Registry, has called for increased engagement from national offices with the Madrid Goods and Services Manager tool, in a bid to help international trademark applicants better manage the risk of first action refusals.
Russia’s Federation Council on Intellectual Property is proposing an amendment to Russian trademark law that would stop naturalistic images of products and descriptive trademarks as the basis for distinctiveness. WTR discovers a very mixed response to the proposed changes.
OHIM’s current ‘fast track’ design option allows for registration of Community designs within two working days, providing certain conditions are met. In its 2013 Annual Report, published last night, the agency revealed plans to extend ‘fast track’ to Community trademarks.
While it may not generate the same media buzz as the debate over the REDSKINS trademark, the US Court of Appeals’ ruling on the application for the ‘Stop Islamisation of America’ mark offers an important insight into the treatment of disparaging marks.
Towergate Software has published data which reveals the US law firms most active in TTAB oppositions through 2013. The names are familiar but the resulting top ten lists based on the data build up a multi-layered picture of the oppositions landscape.
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.
Islamophobia and Islamisation are hot-button topics and a group that has previously ran provocative advertisements in the New York City subway has hit out at the USPTO after it concluded that its trademark was disparaging to American Muslims. The dispute highlights the ever-developing issue of immoral, scandalous and disparaging trademarks.
The ‘cronut’ a cross between a croissant and a doughnut has taken the US patisserie world by storm. The growth in popularity of the pastry has been so rapid that it has already been widely imitated, highlighting the need for a nimble approach to trademark protection early in product development.
Last week the Python Software Foundation (PSF) a non-profit organisation which manages licensing of the open source Python programming language revealed its intention to oppose an application for the Community trademark PYTHON made by British company Our Holdings, based on its own claim on the term. While open source communities are oftentimes perceived to stand in opposition to more traditional forms of IP protection, PSF’s move shows the importance that brand can play in open source models.
The ECJ has issued its long-awaited decision in the ONEL case. While stating that the use of a CTM in one member state could be sufficient to establish genuine use in the Community, it confirmed that “all facts and circumstances” should be accounted for, ruling out a de minimis rule and suggesting that the bar for showing genuine use within the Community will be a bit higher than that for showing the same in a specific member state.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has revised its guidelines on marketing environmentally friendly products and services. While the FTC rulebook will help the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) to combat applicants attempting to mislead consumers, brand owners with genuine green claims will also have to be mindful of the shift in examination practice.
WTR Premium Updates, available to subscribers, provide daily case law bulletins from across the globe. Leading the list of most-read updates in April was the decision showing that the 'bad faith' analysis under Article 52(1)(b) of the Community Trademark Regulation is subjective and that tribunals can reach different conclusions based on the same facts.
It’s not often that a consortium of tech companies band together to fight a trademark registration. It’s even less often that they talk about it. But now that the dispute over APP STORE has gone global, the spat offers a fascinating insight into how Microsoft talks about intellectual property, and how Apple does not.
Just how much the Italian government wants a modern, functioning trademark system will soon be clear. Its IP office is in the process of implementing some major changes, including the introduction of an oppositions procedure, but may require additional budget from government for it to work properly.
The only Havana Club-branded rum available to buy in the United States for some time yet will be produced by Bacardi. Yesterday, Bacardi’s long-term opponent Pernod Ricard lost its latest attempts to use the HAVANA CLUB mark in the US market. But Pernod Ricard will take some comfort from the fact that one of the three judges dissented.
Sarah Palin and her attorneys have given trademark counsel the world over an all-American slap on the back. They appear to yell, “Good job!” This is because, in filing an incomplete application to register SARAH PALIN with the USPTO, Palin and her lawyers have highlighted not only the specialist knowledge required to file but also the simultaneous need for strategic brand-building advice.
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