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Jamie Oliver dispute highlights certification risks; experts say new EU right creates opportunities for canny brands
British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver hit the headlines this week when his online recipes were accused of infringing a US gluten-free certification mark. The lawsuit coincides with the recent introduction of EU certification rights. While an increased risk of similar infringement suits could stir up concern among European brands, lawyers are confident that the opportunities offered by the new EU marks far outweigh the risks.
The Gleissner Files: investigation reveals massive scope of entrepreneur’s global trademark and domain portfolio
The vast domain name and trademark portfolio of entrepreneur and film producer Michael Gleissner can be revealed following an extensive investigation by World Trademark Review. The operation spans at least 36 countries with an estimated cost of close to $750,000 for trademark filings alone. Due to the breadth of this ongoing activity, and with high-profile brands such as BMW, Western Digital and even US President Donald Trump currently challenging some of his marks, every rights holder should take notice.
Brand owners wishing to protect their trademark rights in Argentina should prepare for increased costs, as the country’s IP office recently implemented a two-stage set of fee rises. The changes, which will be fully implemented from October 1, see some filing fees rise by over 50%.
Exclusive data compiled by World Trademark Review has revealed the top corporate and representative filers at the EU Intellectual Property Office for the year to June 2017. L’Oréal sits in top spot, with a number of Asian technology brands close behind. While international brand powerhouses continue to utilise European-wide protection, the office experienced volatility in filing levels last year, which it attributed in part to the Brexit vote.
USPTO pledges additional support following Hurricane Harvey; questions raised over speed of response
The US Patent and Trademark Office has vowed to offer extra guidance and support for users affected by the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Harvey, which has devastated areas of Texas and Louisiana over the past 10 days. The move follows criticism by some in the trademark community, with one practitioner suggesting the response was slow in comparison to the office's swift reaction following Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
When US president Donald Trump mistakenly posted the typo ‘covfefe’ on Twitter in May, it quickly went viral and led to over 50 trademark filings across the globe. In the months since, a number of those applications have reached registration, with one applicant telling World Trademark Review that he is confident a brand name featuring the seven-letter misspelling will be a catalyst for business success.
New data has revealed that technology giant LG was the most prolific filer of trademark applications at the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2016, with entertainment conglomerates CBS, Time Warner and Disney just behind. Meanwhile, Apple which had the most trademarks of any major tech company a few years ago filed less than 70 marks last year, leading one industry commentator to ask: “Hey Apple, why aren’t you filing trademark applications?”
Numerous ‘offensive’ trademark applications filed following Tam ruling; applicants reveal commercial hopes and exploitation fears
It is a week ago today that the Supreme Court handed down its long-awaited ruling in Matal v Tam, holding that the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act violates the US Constitution. On the day of the ruling, there were at least 11 trademark applications filed that could be deemed disparaging or offensive. We reached out to the applicants of these filings to find out why they have chosen now to make their applications, and how they expect last Monday’s decision to affect them.
The long-awaited Supreme Court decision in Matal v Tam was handed down yesterday and immediately caused heated debate. Following our coverage of the decision, we approached a number of trademark experts to obtain their analysis of the wider implications and what it practically means.
A violation of the First Amendment: Supreme Court issues long-awaited decision on disparagement clause
The Supreme Court has handed down its long-awaited ruling in Matal v Tam, holding that the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. In a unanimous 8-0 opinion, the court states that “the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate’”. In response, the USPTO has confirmed to World Trademark Review that it plans to "issue further guidance" on how it will affect the examination of applications.
LegalForce RAPC, the law firm behind the Trademarkia search engine, has revealed to World Trademark Review that it is moving into the “next phase of the company” by implementing quality initiatives, forging new law firm partnerships and conducting an international recruitment drive. The move is an effort to bring more work in-house and diversify its global offering and will add further competition to the legal services space.
USPTO steps up efforts to remove deadwood from the register; proposes “streamlined” cancellation proceedings
As part of its efforts to declutter the US trademark register, the United States Patent & Trademark Office is looking to establish a “streamlined version” of the current cancellation proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Reaction to the proposal on social media has been broadly positive, with one IP expert further telling World Trademark Review that the move is a “logical” one.
Business owners slam UKIPO for "not doing anything proactive to defend existing trademark owners" following Gleissner filing spree
A number of small business owners have contacted World Trademark Review to criticise the UK Intellectual Property Office’s (UKIPO) handling of trademark applications filed by entities related to entrepreneur and serial trademark filer Michael Gleissner. One stinging critique, from the owner of IT support firm Purple Computing, questions why the UKIPO is not providing sufficient protection for existing rights holders and claims that the duty to oppose or seek cancellation of marks is too financially burdensome for most small businesses.
As mysterious Gleissner trademark portfolio grows, insider denies “far-fetched” claim of link to domain acquisitions
Over six months after our original reporting into the vast trademark and domain portfolio of entertainment magnate Michael Gleissner, his attorneys are continuing their prolific filing activity. While industry experts speculate that the mysterious filings could be linked to acquiring lucrative domain names, a source related to one of Gleissner’s companies tells World Trademark Review that this claim is “far-fetched” and “gross” and reveals an unusual business strategy involving the ‘farming’ of brands.
Halving of Chinese trademark fees provides immediate costs benefit for counsel, but raises squatting concerns
Reversing a trend towards increases seen across several Asian jurisdictions of late, the China Trademark Office of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce has slashed user fees by half. While the reduction is welcome in terms of budgets, many trademark counsel will be concerned about a potential increase in indirect enforcement costs should squatters try to take advantage of the lower fees.
Trademark application and registration rates in India went through the roof last year, indicating success in terms of both streamlining the prosecution process and dealing with a hefty filings backlog. However, it remains to be seen whether the national registry’s human resources can keep up with this positive trend.
The World Trademark Review Yearbook provides legal professionals worldwide with a simple, easy-to-use guide on the structure of trademark regulations in key jurisdictions across the globe. The 10th edition, which includes an interactive online comparison tool which allows practitioners to directly compare trademark procedures in up to four countries, is now available online.
The United Kingdom government officially triggered Article 50 at lunchtime today, beginning the two-year process of negotiations that will lead to the UK leaving the European Union. While uncertainty still reigns, the impact on trademarks and designs could be significant and with Brexit now a certainty, brand owners should ensure they know exactly what rights could be affected once ‘leaving day’ arrives.
15 years at the top: China’s trademark office received a record-breaking 3.7 million applications last year
The State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) the regulatory body that encompasses China’s national trademark office announced some headline figures for 2016 yesterday. China continues to lead the world in trademark filings and year-to-year growth shows no sign of slowing down.
Further to our report earlier this week, India’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has ratified new trademark registry rules and published final fees some of which are higher than most industry observers had anticipated.
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