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Trademark trolls in Canada? Data reveals rise in “suspicious” applications are nearly all related to millionaire Gleissner
There have been recent reports of a steep rise in so-called 'trademark trolls' in Canada, following fears that the impending overhaul of the Canadian Trademarks Act could lead to an increase in nefarious activity on the register. However, new research suggests the vast majority of the “suspicious” applications over the past year are related to notorious trademark filer Michael Gleissner leading to calls for the Canadian IP Office to “take action”.
This week, LegalForce founder Raj Abhyanker filed an amended complaint in his litigation battle with LegalZoom. The dispute centres on the latter’s business model, which Abhyanker alleges involves the “brazen, illegal, unlicensed practice of law”. LegalZoom has defended its practices but, with the USPTO also in Abhyanker’s sights (and given the parties involved), the case is one that trademark counsel will want to follow closely.
In the weeks since World Trademark Review published its investigation into UK oppositions linked to Michael Gleissner, more decisions have been published most of which will leave the multi-millionaire entrepreneur disappointed. One attorney who recently prevailed in an opposition against a Gleissner-linked application recommends that future opponents plead bad faith, and explains how he worked the case “for the good of the system rather than profits”.
The European Commission has published a draft agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland from the European Union, which outlines the broad understanding the negotiating parties have arrived at on key issues. The wide-ranging document contains eight articles which directly address intellectual property. While still requiring final agreement, the document offers vital detail on the likely treatment of EU trademarks and Community registered designs in the coming years.
The Gleissner Oppositions: investigation reveals serial trademark filer has prevailed in disputes with major brands
A major new investigation by World Trademark Review has collated data from every trademark opposition in the United Kingdom involving entrepreneur Michael Gleissner since January 2017. The information reveals that he has lost a vast majority of decisions, with a number of successful opponents giving their insights into taking on the serial trademark filer. However, he has also scored some notable victories against well-known brands.
Expert wonders if adidas enjoys “hyperprotection” as sportswear giant prevails in EU three stripes battle
The EU General Court has ruled that two parallel stripes on footwear infringes the 'three stripes' trademark rights of adidas. Reflecting the recognition acquired by the footwear giant’s branding, the decision also shows the power of non-traditional marks according to one IP attorney; however, another has questioned whether it is an example of a brand enjoying “hyperprotection”.
“We’re running out of good trademarks” groundbreaking study reveals 81% of common words are registered marks
A new study scrutinising the millions of marks on the US trademark register has discovered that more than 81% of the 1,000 most frequently-used words in the English language are already registered as single-word trademarks. One of the study’s authors characterises the findings as “disturbing”, warning that it could cause problems for those seeking to create brand names in the future.
The USPTO has filed a petition for a rehearing en banc in In re: Brunetti, a decision it contends “invalidates a century-old provision of federal trademark law that renders trademarks containing ‘scandalous’ and ‘immoral’ matter ineligible for the benefits of federal registration”. The bid to maintain a ban on scandalous marks is one that practitioners will keenly follow. However, one legal expert told us that the government faces an “uphill battle” to reverse the Federal Circuit’s ruling.
Scientology trademarks, Brazil’s backlog impact and Leason Ellis victorious against solicitation scammer: news round-up
In our latest news round-up, we look at the law firm which was told it doesn’t have exclusive rights to its initials, the impact of backlog measures in Brazil, the pros and cons of China’s rocketing trademark trajectory and a new victory against trademark scammers.
A recently launched trademark solicitation campaign is offering to publish trademark registrations in a private database for up to $2,800. Further investigation into this entity offers clues about how these platforms are set up and the means used to solicit payments. Meanwhile, there are renewed calls for IP offices to offer “more clarity and simplicity” in an effort to make warnings about misleading invoices more visible.
LegalForce calls on USPTO to tackle Chinese firms “practicing illegally” allegations and threats revealed
Raj Abhyanker, founder and shareholder in LegalForce RAPC Worldwide the firm behind online filing engine Trademarkia has sent a grievance complaint to the US Patent and Trademark Office centred on Chinese IP law firms “practicing illegally” in the United States. Speaking exclusively to World Trademark Review, he expands on his allegations and the threats he received from one China-based filer.
"Infamous troll" Michael Gleissner involved in 5% of all live contested trademark cases in United Kingdom
In a decision which one trademark attorney characterises as “good news for brand owners”, the UK Intellectual Property Office has upheld an earlier decision which dismissed entrepreneur Michael Gleissner’s attempt to register the common name ALEXANDER as a trademark. The decision includes the startling reveal that entities related to Gleissner account for 5% of all live contested trademark cases in the United Kingdom demonstrating the unprecedented volume of the millionaire’s filing activity.
K-pop superstars T-ara vow to fight for rights to their name; experts predict bitter legal battle ahead
Members from one of the most popular Korean bands in the world, T-ara, are taking legal action for rights to use the group name following a trademark application by their former management agency, MBK Entertainment. Two attorneys have told World Trademark Review that both parties have viable arguments for legitimate rights over the group name and point out that it is common practice in Korea for music agencies to own the trademark rights to band names as a tactic to ward off rival agencies from poaching talent.
IP technology company LawPanel has called on national trademark offices to develop software tools that open up data to third-party developers. In comments to World Trademark Review, the company’s chief financial officer claims that through the introduction of application programming interface-driven architecture, such innovation could “fundamentally change the working life of trademark attorneys”. However, he acknowledges that the challenge will be to convince all stakeholders to embrace such change and foresees an opportunity for the International Trademark Association to facilitate the process.
Business owners have spoken to World Trademark Review about their anger and confusion over the mysterious trademark activity of entrepreneur Michael Gleissner. One, who recently prevailed against Gleissner in a 16-month trademark dispute, claims that he has yet to be paid legal costs and calls on IP offices to address “malicious action against legitimate trademarks” urgently.
“There’s a new sheriff in town”: LegalForce founder reveals motivation behind lawsuits against competitors
LegalForce RAPC Worldwide, the firm behind Trademarkia, has initiated a number of lawsuits against competitor online trademark filings portals, with shareholder Raj Abhyanker telling World Trademark Review that “this is just the start”. With more litigation filings expected, he contends that the regulation he adheres to as a law firm is restricting his ability to operate on a level playing field with some competitors. As such, he argues that his end goal is a resolution that benefits the entire legal trademark profession.
International applications at an all-time high as Asia and Africa experience sharp rise in trademark filings
The World Intellectual Property Organisation has released its latest report into global IP activity, revealing a significant rise in trademark filing activity. Most of the growth can be attributed to China’s continued domination of trademark filings, with both Asia and Africa accounting for a majority of the rise. World Trademark Review takes a deep dive into the data to uncover some of the key trademark trends.
This week, in partnership with Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Melbourne, IP Australia has announced its development of a “single, internationally-linked trademark database”, TM-link. The free to use offering is being positioned as an alternative to “expensive” country-specific trademark databases, bringing the tool into competition with commercial service providers.
US trademark filings from China soar, but law firms struggle to capitalise amid warnings of suspicious activity
New data obtained by World Trademark Review has revealed a startling increase in trademark applications at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that originate in China. Despite this influx of new filings, our investigation highlights how new Chinese applicants are bypassing traditional law firms, with smaller organisations responsible for thousands of applications. The USPTO’s trademark commissioner also notes a “dramatic increase” in illegitimate Chinese filings this year with urgent calls for the office to take action against this “pervasive” problem.
Thousands more trademarks linked to Michael Gleissner unearthed; leading in-house lawyer calls for action
An expanded investigation by World Trademark Review can reveal nearly 2,000 more trademarks linked to entrepreneur and serial trademark filer Michael Gleissner. The total now spans over 4,400 marks across 38 jurisdictions worldwide. As the scope of Gleissner’s extensive filing operation widens, a leading in-house lawyer has called on IP bodies to offer guidance to brand owners affected by this unprecedented activity and to consider whether any action should be taken in response.
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