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DIP senior official's painting theft goes viral; fallout leads to loss of “asset to Thailand’s IP community”
Reports of the arrest of a senior official from Thailand’s Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) for stealing paintings from a hotel went viral last week, with thousands of messages posted to the office’s social media channels. The official has since resigned from his role and apologised for damaging the integrity of the DIP. But one leading IP law firm tells us of its regret that the fallout from the incident has resulted in the office losing a well-respected figure.
The Italian Patent and Trademark Office has launched a tender for granting funds to support the “revival and economic exploitation” of Italian brands deemed to “represent a piece of history”. One commentator tells World Trademark Review that the move is “significant”, but questions whether certain parts of the fund will be necessary for companies that have been trading for over 50 years.
Consumers know counterfeits are unethical but enjoy “thrill of the hunt” when shopping for fakes, study finds
A psychological study into the thought process of Chinese consumers who purchase counterfeit goods has revealed some startling motivations which dictate counterfeit consumption. An author of the study has told World Trademark Review the revelations should call into question the effectiveness of anti-counterfeiting awareness campaigns which focus on moral arguments against buying fakes.
It has been a busy first few days for US President Donald Trump, with a number of executive orders issued, cabinet appointments unveiled and January 20 (the date of his inauguration) proclaimed as ‘National Day of Patriotic Devotion’. In the midst of all this activity are some key policy changes that could have a significant effect on the trademark community both in the United States and internationally.
Online marketplace giant eBay will launch an authentication program entitled eBay Authenticate later in the year in an effort to “boost consumer confidence when purchasing high-end merchandise”. Talking to World Trademark Review, an eBay spokesperson confirmed the company will be “working closely with brands” on the initiative. One commentator, however, fears that the move will do little to quell the availability of fakes.
Exercise tracking technology company Fitbit has filed a lawsuit against a New Jersey business which sells discontinued and refurbished products to consumers. In the suit, Fitbit claims the defendant sold ‘counterfeit’ and ‘non-genuine’ versions of Fitbit products a claim staunchly denied, with a representative telling World Trademark Review that Fitbit is engaging in “litigious scare tactics” in response to a lawsuit it had filed a month previously.
Swarovski praises Alibaba Group suing counterfeiters; JD.com takes swipe at rival’s “lax IP enforcement”
Following a raft of coverage on Alibaba Group’s unprecedented decision to sue two vendors that sold fake watches on its Taobao marketplace platform, Swarovski has released a statement praising the move. The online giant has pledged more such actions but the response hasn’t all been positive, with e-commerce rival JD.com telling World Trademark Review that counterfeiters will continue to “flock” to Alibaba platforms and accusing it of “lax IP enforcement”.
Protecting brand reputation and managing the possible legal fallout from crisis situations are some of the main responsibilities of an in-house trademark department. One recent element that has created headaches for numerous brands in that regard is the tweeting habit of US president-elect Donald Trump, and specifically his regular calling out of companies and brands. As he prepares to take office on January 20, we take a look at how brands can react should they be the unwitting target of a Trump Twitter tirade.
Taobao returns to USTR's Notorious Markets list; Alibaba CEO speaks of "disappointing moment for all of us"
After a four year absence, an Alibaba Group platform has re-appeared on the annual Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets list and its CEO subsequently sent a strongly-worded email to staff, seen by World Trademark Review, urging stakeholders to continue undeterred in the “all-out war against counterfeits”.
Trademark implications of Brexit, Trump and Samsung Note 7 crisis feature in our most-read list of 2016
As 2016 draws to a close, it’s time to take a look back at the blogs which received the most reads in the past 12 months. Our list includes the brand value hit of Samsung’s Note 7 crisis, Alibaba’s spat with Chinese ecommerce rival JD.com and trademark applications attempting to commercialise the Panama Papers, Brexit and the once-popular ‘meme’ Be Like Bill.
Alibaba plays up its big data anti-counterfeiting credentials; launches alliance to fight fakes “for the entire industry”
Chinese online marketplace behemoth Alibaba in collaboration with law enforcement agency partners has revealed the results on its latest crackdown on offline counterfeiting operations. Leveraging the big data technology that Alibaba has at its fingertips, the figures appear to be impressive with 417 counterfeit product rackets halted and 332 suspects arrested but brand owners will be weary of rejoicing until they see tangible results for themselves.
Trademark filings in Kurdistan have been suspended until further notice due to “administrative and management issues” at the office, World Trademark Review understands. Those seeking to secure registrations that cover the entirety of Iraq which has had two self-autonomous trademark offices since 2011 will likely have to wait until early next year for operations to resume. The development could cause headaches for brand owners seeking to enforce rights in the region, including US president-elect Donald Trump, with a ‘Trump Fish’ restaurant recently opening in the Iraqi city of Duhok.
Health insurance giant reveals why cybersecurity response planning is critical to retain brand value after hack
A legal representative from one of the largest health insurance companies in the United States has claimed that it is “no longer if, but when” a company will face a hacking incident. At INTA's Digital World Conference, Heather C Steinmeyer, managing associate general counsel at Anthem Inc, went on to reveal that responding to a cyber-breach effectively is the only way to ensure brand value is not significantly affected long term.
Last week’s International Trademark Association Digital World Conference featured many discussions focused on the digital single market that the European Union is looking to implement. While issues around copyright have spurred the most IP-related concerns from brand owners during the ongoing negotiations, one speaker suggested that the "natural result of the European project" will be a future move to a single European system of trademarks and patents with national registered rights eventually faded out.
Brand owners and shipping firms sign “historic declaration” to fight counterfeits; reaction suggests this is just the start
Representatives from a number of global shipping companies, logistics firms, anti-counterfeiting organisations and multinational brand owners signed a declaration of intent last week aimed at preventing the maritime transportation of counterfeit goods. While described as “historic” by those involved, commentators say success will require a line-up of projects to curb the billions of dollars of counterfeit goods being shipped around the world.
Eyewear giant Specsavers has successfully secured registered trademark protection on the term SHOULD’VE, a shortened version of its well-known tagline ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’. The initial application at the UK Intellectual Property Office spurred negative media reaction earlier this year, with reports claiming that it demonstrates the overreach of trademark law. However, in exclusive comments to World Trademark Review, Antony Douglass, principal IP counsel at Specsavers, has hit out at the “inaccurate commentary” surrounding the mark.
Breakthrough in fight against trademark solicitations? Lessons from New Zealand’s $600,000 refund success
The constant flood of trademark solicitation scams has been a blight to the IP community for a number of years now. But a recent success in New Zealand has led to over NZ$600,000 in refunds being paid to affected parties. Expert commentators are hopeful that this positive outcome could be repeated in other jurisdictions and may serve as a deterrent to other trademark solicitation operators.
The Brazilian government has confirmed that it intends to join the international trademark system by mid-2018. While the country’s move towards the Madrid Protocol will be seen as positive by the World Intellectual Property Organisation, one expert argues that the country’s trademark office is far from ready even claiming that its progress could be stifled as a result of Madrid.
There have been growing calls in recent weeks for Facebook and Google to tackle content published by fake news websites. This follows accusations that both provided a platform for the sharing and promotion of misinformation during the recent US election. What is being less discussed is the responsibility that major media companies have to stop such sites specifically those that use the branding of popular news outlets as a way to add legitimacy to their hoax articles.
Following an investigation by World Trademark Review, leading crowdfunding platform Kickstarter has been labelled “a treasure trove of product designs for would-be counterfeiters and copycats” by a brand protection expert. The investigation found that countless popular crowdfunding projects are being copied and sold on major online marketplaces often before the legitimate product is available to buy.
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