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New blow for Redskins brand as court rules on constitutionality of Section 2(a) of Lanham Act (Blog)
The District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has delivered another blow to the Washington Redskins, denying Pro Football Inc’s challenge to the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act on the grounds that it violates the First Amendment and confirming that the REDSKINS marks should be removed from the USPTO’s principal register. However, Judge Gerald Bruce Lee was keen to emphasise that the team can continue to use the marks in commerce.
This week NetNames has reached out to the media to highlight its complaint to the European Competition Commission over Vox Populi’s pricing policies for the ‘.sucks’ string. Whether the complaint succeeds where previous referrals to the US Federal Trade Commission and Canada's Office of Consumer Affairs failed remains to be seen, but the CEO of Vox Populi has hit out at the “misunderstandings” that persist about the company’s plans.
Our most-read blog in June focused on the pros and cons of ‘do-it-yourself’ trademark filings, after one commentator warned that an individual who had spent up to $50,000 in trademark filings could find that his applications are “void from the outset”.
The latest issue of World Trademark Review magazine is now available online to subscribers. In this edition we celebrate best practice in creating, protecting and exploiting trademarks, profiling all of the winning teams and individuals from this year’s WTR Industry Awards.
Over the past week ICANN has been deluged with public comments focused on the use of privacy and proxy services, which allow a domain name registrant's personal details to be hidden from public view. The submissions followed a call for internet users to speak out against proposals, which are being linked to the ill-fated Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
The Intellectual Property Constituency has expressed concern that ICANN is rushing towards a second round of new gTLD applications, with the risk that first-round reviews will not be completed before a new application window has opened up. ICANN has moved to calm these fears, but the timings for a second round remain up in the air.
At a joint session of the Commercial Stakeholders Group and the ICANN board at this week’s ICANN meeting in Argentina, discussion focused on new gTLD pricing practices specifically, premium pricing policies and the higher levies charged by some registries on brand-related terms. While feeling the pain of trademark owners, the message from ICANN was clear - we can’t do anything about it until you empower us.
In April we noted that brands were rushing to secure their trademark terms in the ‘.sucks’ gTLD sunrise period, despite a hefty price tag. This weekend the sunrise closed, and the string hit general availability, giving us the first opportunity to gauge how successful its sunrise period actually was. On first analysis the Vox Populi registry has come out the clear winner, with anywhere between $2,635,805 and $6,786,605 added to the company’s coffers.
A new study, carried out by OHIM (acting through the EU Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights), has found that companies owning IP rights have, in general, 29% higher revenue per employee, approximately six times as many employees and pay wages that are up to 20% higher than those which do not own IP rights.
Noting that it wishes to “increase the consistency of registry agreements across all gTLDs”, ICANN has proposed that the renewal of the ‘.travel’ sponsored TLD registry agreement be based on the approved new gTLD Registry Agreement. One of the results of this approach is that the registry operator would comply with the URS, developed to enhance the RPMs available to trademark owners in new gTLDs. Subsequent to the consultation period opening, those opposed to the URS having effect in legacy TLDs have come out in force. However, the president of the IPC has told WTR that he would welcome the prospect of expanded URS use.
Two new research publications - IAM Strategy 300: The World’s Leading IP Strategists and IAM Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Professionals 2015 - have been published online by Intellectual Asset Management (IAM), World Trademark Review’s sister title.
World Trademark Review is pleased to announce the first speakers participating in the inaugural Managing the Trademark Asset Lifecycle conference, to be held in New York on October 29. Readers of this blog are also being offered the opportunity to register for the event at a reduced rate.
The UK Intellectual Property Office has revealed that trademark applications have risen by 44% over the past five years. Its latest figures also reveal that it received 54,498 trademark applications in 2014 up 9% on 2013 (50,265) and up almost a quarter when compared to 2012 (43,873). Registrations for the year also jumped to 45,123 up 15% on 2013 (42,548) and 23% on 2012 (43,873).
OHIM and the EU Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights have published their 2014 annual reports, the latter expanding on how its enforcement-related activities are benefiting users.
On September 1 2015 the British Virgin Islands’ new Trademarks Act 2013 and Trademarks Rules 2015 will come into effect. However, in some instances it will be advantageous for trademark owners to register marks in the jurisdiction now, rather than wait for the new regime to be implemented.
It’s been a crazy week in the world of FIFA. In the space of a week, soccer’s international governing body has been rocked by the arrest of senior executives over the alleged use of bribery, fraud and money laundering to corrupt the issuing of media and marketing rights for FIFA games, with the fallout leading to the announcement by long-term (and newly re-elected) president Sepp Blatter that he will step aside within the next year. It’s also left FIFA sponsors in a difficult spot in terms of reputation management.
Our most-read blog in May focused on the financial impact of an analyst report into online marketplace Etsy. The research, conducted by investment firm Wedbush, issued a stark warning about the large proportion of potentially infringing items being sold on the site, causing the company’s stock to plummet 8% on the day of publication.
Research published by ICANN has pointed to a growing awareness of new gTLDs, although such strings lag significantly behind legacy TLDs in terms of familiarity. Arguably more of a surprise is the finding that just over one in three internet users are aware of cybersquatting.
For our latest podcast, we focus on the issue of disparaging marks and speak to Simon Tam, founder of Asian American dance-rock band The Slants, and Anne Gilson LaLonde, author of Gilson on Trademarks, about the band’s efforts to secure a trademark registration for its name, and the wider implications of its battle.
The US Federal Trade Commission has responded to ICANN’s referral of concerns over the pricing policies implemented in the ‘.sucks’ new gTLD albeit without actually answering the specific central question that was posed.
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