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A new report has expanded on the link between organised crime groups and the trade in counterfeiting goods, calling for the establishment of a new “multidisciplinary and multi-agency taskforce” to combat complex international counterfeiting rings more effectively.
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is to consider whether the federal government’s treatment of ‘disparaging’ marks violates the First Amendment. The move, issued as the court vacated last week’s decision on the rejection of a trademark application by Asian American band The Slants, has been labelled a “shock” by the band’s attorney.
Following European ‘trilogue’ discussions yesterday, the European Parliament, Council and Commission have announced a provisional agreement on the European trademark package, meaning that the reforms are a significant step closer to being realised. While many aspects have been welcomed by user associations, the lack of detail on crucial aspects means that the ‘thumbs up’ remains a tentative one.
Policymakers and academics are debating how certain provisions in a leaked draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal could affect IP-related laws, including those governing plain packaging of tobacco products, in Australia and other prospective member states.
We talk with key figures from both sides of the dispute, including an IP adviser who claims that he was dismissed from his law firm after alleged pressure from OAPI.
The African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI) has suspended a number of lawyers and firms from representing clients at OAPI, in a bid to quell “significant tensions” over its recent decision to join the Madrid Protocol.
Last year we reported on calls for official publication of investigations into allegations against the serving director-general of WIPO, Francis Gurry, and disagreement over the firing of a WIPO staff member. Our story followed previous reports on the growing pressure for a full investigation of accusations of improper conduct levelled at Gurry by James Pooley, a deputy director general of the UN body. Our sister title IAM has reported on the latest developments in this dispute and called for an independent investigation into the charges.
This week The Washington Post’s Frances Stead Sellers spoke to linguistic expert Geoffrey Nunberg, who argued that linguistic analysis of big data could make an important contribution to analysis of when a term is also a slur. However, linguistics is just one dimension of the debate over the Washington Redskins team name, posing the question of whether trademark law, marketing considerations, social justice concerns, economics or political pressure will ultimately prove persuasive in the battle for change.
With the legalisation of marijuana gaining momentum across the United States, a new multi-billion dollar industry is growing at a startling rate. Nonetheless, there are strict restrictions on the registration of trademarks for marijuana products at national level, meaning that companies in this sector are struggling to protect their brands.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has released its latest Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, and once again a number of Asian jurisdictions figured prominently. This was the fifth such report since USTR made its markets review a standalone publication in 2011, so WTR reached out to some practitioners in the region to find out just how much political weight it carries, and whether it might actually be counterproductive.
Following the vote by UK MPs to approve tobacco plain packaging, the UK’s minister of intellectual property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, has stated that there are no plans to extend the regime to other products. However, not everyone listening in was convinced that other sectors will not now be targeted.
UK MPs have voted to approve legislation for plain packaging on tobacco products. With a range of other countries currently proposing its introduction in the imminent future, one commentator told WTR that momentum is now behind plain packaging.
The China IPR SME Helpdesk, a service of the European Commission, has published a “Guide to Geographic Indications in China” which makes sense of the country’s two-track system for protecting the goodwill of GI organisations. It is a useful reference for those whose portfolio includes these rights but have not yet registered them in China and if some statistics WTR has come across are to be believed, there may be quite a few organisations in that category.
MARQUES has slammed proposals to introduce three permanent new expenses in the OHIM budget, arguing that the move, being discussed as part of the European trademark reforms, represents “a distortion of the very nature of the fees paid by the users and risks reducing the well functioning of OHIM to the detriment of users”.
The UK general election is now two months out and campaigning is in full swing around the country. World Trademark Review approached the major UK parties about their IP views and policies - and received some startlingly different responses.
According to a report in India’s Economic Times, the Indian government is considering reforms to simplify the country’s foreign direct investment policies in the retail sector. Among the changes are several that could directly impact trademark counsel for companies looking to establish a retail presence there.
The Madrid Protocol came into effect in 17 African countries this week, with Zimbabwe due to join them at the end of next week. Commentators have expressed concern over the enforceability of registrations in a number of nations across the plateau continent.
The UK government has today outlined measures to reform the groundless threats regime, responding to the proposals published by the Law Commission last year.
Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma met this week with China’s top product quality regulator, emerging with more promises of an anti-counterfeit crackdown on the company’s sales portals.
OHIM has published its Strategic Plan 2020: Guiding Principles and Outline, setting out its proposed vision for the next five years. Now is the time for users to have their say and time is running out to do so.
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