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DC Comics and Marvel were in the news this week after a British author complained over a notice opposing the use of ‘Superhero’ in the title of his advice book "Business Zero to Superhero". In many respects this is a straight trademark dispute, but it does have an interesting dimension, the joint ownership of trademarks.
The UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has launched its Infringing Website List (IWL), which is designed to provide the digital advertising sector with an up-to-date list of copyright infringing sites that they should avoid placing advertising on. The initiative follows other recent efforts to disrupt advertising on websites that infringe copyright and trademark rights, and trademark counsel have a critical role to play in such initiatives.
Trademarks play an essential role in guaranteeing the origin of goods and services. But what happens when a brand is used by multiple partners and consumer perception of ownership becomes blurred? According to one brand expert, trademark counsel need to prepare now for a future in which collective brand ownership becomes an everyday challenge.
Online marketplace Alibaba has been the focus of increased counterfeit policing for many trademark counsel in this year’s Global Benchmarking Survey, the site was most frequently cited when counsel were asked which sites are the biggest enforcement concerns. However, the Chinese site’s corporate counsel this week outlined how it is fighting back against the sellers of fakes and crucially called for more help from brand owners.
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