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A parody artist who has been entangled in a number of high-profile cybersquatting cases has told World Trademark Review that the “scare tactics” utilised by brand owners against alleged domain-squatters should not be the default option, noting that he has responded more positively to ‘polite’ approaches.
As the poll numbers of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump continue to rise, so too do the number of trademark filings using his name. Trump’s lawyer has confirmed to World Trademark Review that there has been a recent uptick in infringement, but reveals they are adopting an “aggressive” stance - whether it is to those infringers with a negative intent or to genuine Trump supporters.
This week British comic The Beano has built on its “classically cheeky” reputation with a series of marketing stunts that ‘gently parodies’ new Pixar movie Inside Out. Unusually for a campaign that ambushes a third party’s marketing campaign, The Beano's editor-in-chief has told World Trademark Review he hopes the target reacts to it.
The WTR Premium Daily email will be taking a summer break over August, with the full blog and Premium Daily email service for subscribers recommencing on Tuesday September 1. In the meantime, we take a look back at the most-read articles and legal updates in the first seven months of 2015 on World Trademark Review.
A growing number of large casino companies are threatening small video game developers with legal action over alleged trademark infringement, a New York lawyer has told World Trademark Review. Ryan Morrison, who runs a firm that specialises in representing independent games companies, claims this has been caused by a trademark classification system that is not keeping pace with the development of new technology.
The challenge of protecting fictional brand names has previously been discussed in WTR. An oft-used case study is the fictional Duff Beer, which features in TV show The Simpsons. The show’s owner, 21st Century Fox, has faced numerous companies launching Duff Beer in the real world and this week announced it was entering the beer market in Chile, partly as a bid to fight off third-party use of the brand. The company also announced that it plans to rollout Duff Beer in Europe, but a number of challenges lie ahead.
It was 10 years ago last month that Apple updated its iTunes software to support podcasts natively. Today, up to 75 million people a month listen to podcasts on iTunes, with the advertising revenue generated by the medium also on the rise. However, despite swift growth, the sector appears to be lagging behind in terms of brand protection and registered trademark rights.
When a trademark owner is perceived to act in a heavy-handed way, any resulting backlash is reported with relish by the mainstream media. However, the reverse rarely gets the coverage it deserves. This week, US production company Funimation directly engaged with the fan art community in a bid to explain how and why it has to police its marks. Its message was broadly welcomed by its target audience, many of whom have become allies in spreading the message.
The Eurovision Song Contest, launched in 1956, has become one of most recognisable event brands in the world. With this enduring popularity comes a whole host of IP challenges that the event’s producer, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), has to contend with. However, unlike the very strict enforcement approach taken by organisers of major sporting events, the EBU’s IP department tells World Trademark Review that it sometimes “deliberately tolerates infringements”.
‘.brand’ use has long been cited as potentially giving new gTLDs a positive profile boost amongst consumers, with Barclays recently generating headlines over the announcement that it plans to migrate its online presence to the ‘.barclays’ TLD. However, two other ‘.brand’ applicants have adopted a more cautious stance, with a Richemont representative describing the current ‘.brand’ landscape as ‘a desert’ and Volkswagen’s IP counsel noting that the company is in no rush to start using its new gTLDs.
American animal rights organisation PETA is well known for running campaigns that use popular third-party brand names to promote its message to a wider audience. A PETA representative tells WTR that the organisation draws on the expertise of legal counsel to use intellectual property to its advantage - and advises other not-for-profits to do the same.
In this year’s WTR Global Trademark Benchmarking Survey, one of the biggest trends observed was the sharp increase in online enforcement activities undertaken by corporate counsel. We take a look at this, and some of the other findings, in the infographic below.
A team of academics have launched a project to bring scientific rigour to trademark infringement cases, including the development of a computer tool to objectively calculate the ‘similarity score’ between brand names.
A new social network is hoping to shake up the social media model by paying users the majority of the advertising revenues generated from their content. weare8 officially launched its beta website last month and its co-founder tells World Trademark Review that the protection of IP and trademarks is one of the platform’s top priorities.
New research into typosquatting has highlighted the increasingly sophisticated methods that typosquatters are implementing to dupe users and revealed a number of trends that trademark counsel should pay heed to.
WTR conducted research this week that suggests that new social media website Ello is friendlier to brands than it lets on. Despite that, trademark owners should consider taking brand protection methods sooner rather than later.
The furore surrounding trademark applications filed by pop star Taylor Swift is another example of the confused and inaccurate reporting of trademark law in the media. The coverage has also sparked possibly the first trademark protest song.
While not a new phenomenon, over the past few weeks a number of increasingly sophisticated fake news websites have created headaches for media brands. The owner of a number of these sites has suggested to World Trademark Review that more such attacks are planned.
Messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Viber and Telegram, should consider offering a trademark abuse reporting mechanism for brand owners to combat spam, according to a leading online brand protection firm.
The threat of genericism is a constant fear for the owners of successful mainstream brands, and one that is keepings its head above the water, despite being bombarded with genericism challenges, is Kleenex. However, the counsel charged with protecting the trademark notes that the level of misinformation online makes this an uphill battle.
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