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To continue our series of articles providing insights into the work of leading WTR 300-ranked corporate trademark professionals, World Trademark Review spoke to Shama Elliott, IP manager at American International Group (AIG). In an in-depth conversation, she explained the value non-lawyers can add to trademark departments, sheds light on some of the key challenges facing brands in the insurance and financial services sector, and much more.
Defunct NFL franchise trademarks, counterfeiters target Kickstarter and Pinduoduo investigated: news round-up
In our latest round-up, we look at Chinese regulators launching an investigation into e-commerce platform Pinduoduo, how tomato DNA is being used to combat dangerous counterfeits, an IP workshop in Kashmir, the Vega+ games console losing branding rights, reveal the members of the new WHOIS working group and much more.
The recent Tempnology decision has raised more uncertainty than it has clarity for trademark licensees and licensors. Parties and their trademark counsel must exercise more caution than ever when drafting trademark licence agreements to avoid unintended consequences in the event of a party’s bankruptcy.
“Stop the uncritical worship of the God of Automation”: practitioners push back on end-to-end electronic filings
The comment period for a proposed rulemaking change that would mandate the electronic filing of trademark applications, and associated submissions, at the USPTO closed last night. A number of concerns were raised about the proposed move, with current online systems coming in for criticism and warnings that some of the proposed changes could create an opportunity for trademark scammers.
Outstanding improvement in aerospace brands despite a fall in application numbers: exclusive data analysis
In our latest industry trademark report, we examine the top brands, industry trends and filing data in the aerospace and defence sector. We reveal that Airbus is the top filer, highlight a marked shift from vehicle-related applications to software and research and disclose the surprisingly small number of trademarks related to space flight.
TTAB finds sales to single customer, although not substantial, sufficient to avoid abandonment of MOMBACHO for cigars
In Mombacho Cigars SA v Tropical Tobacco Inc, the TTAB has dismissed a petition for cancellation of a registration for the mark MOMBACHO for cigars, ruling that the petitioner had failed to prove its claim of abandonment. Among other things, the TTAB found that, contrary to the petitioner’s assertions, the record did not support a finding that the MOMBACHO mark was dormant or part of a purported trademark warehousing programme.
Obtaining well-known status for a trademark can be a powerful tool for rights holders. However, different approaches must be used to secure enhanced protection. This three-part series considers the best route in 10 key jurisdictions, commencing with the US perspective
In a case regarding the Krusty Krab restaurant from SpongeBob SquarePants, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has confirmed that a specific element from a television series can receive trademark protection. It held that a real-life seafood restaurant by the name of The Krusty Krab would cause confusion with Viacom’s common law rights in THE KRUSTY KRAB.
Madrid System fails to have an impact for local filers: an analysis of the Indonesian trademark market
In this country data report, we hone in on the fast-growing Indonesian trademark market, revealing that the country’s recent accession to the Madrid Protocol has had little impact on local filers, while US applicants have been making the most of the new filing option.
Legislation was tabled last week in the US House of Representatives calling for the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), following a week in which over 100 elected officials declared their support for dismantling the organisation. It sparked a reminder that the agency plays a crucial role in the fight against counterfeits, with a leading trademark lawyer describing the calls for ICE’s complete abolition as “short-sighted”, warning that such a move would damage brand rights enforcement as well as other positive functions it serves.
In a case involving competing producers of foam ear plugs, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has vacated the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favour of defendant McKeon. The district court had found that Moldex’s bright green colour for ear plugs is functional and thus not protectable as trade dress, but the Ninth Circuit held that there remained a dispute of material fact as to whether the bright green colour is functional.
Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus, LeBron James to LA Lakers: the brand perspective on major sporting moves
The last week has seen two of the biggest sporting moves in history, with NBA legend LeBron James joining the LA Lakers and football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo heading to Italian club Juventus. Reports on both moves have focused on the massive money involved in the deals, but experts say that the power of the players’ brands will justify the big dollars being spent by the respective teams.
Federal Circuit: TTAB applied wrong test in finding Coca-Cola’s ZERO mark not generic for soft drinks
In Royal Crown Company Inc v The Coca-Cola Company, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has vacated a decision of the TTAB in which the latter found that the opponents had failed to prove that Coca-Cola’s ZERO mark is generic for soft drinks and sports drinks, but that Coca-Cola had established acquired distinctiveness in ZERO for soft drinks.
Eighth Circuit: phonetically identical description of competing dog bags does not necessarily cause confusion
In ZW USA Inc v PWD Systems LLC, which involved competitors in the dog bag market, the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has affirmed a district court summary judgment finding that no evidence had been presented from which a jury could infer that consumers were likely to confuse ZW USA Inc’s ONEPUL dog bags with PWD Systems LLC’s BagSpot ‘one-pull’ bags.
More evidence of the economic benefits of trademark ownership has emerged, with new research from the US Patent and Trademark Office revealing that registered trademark protection helps companies to grow, employ more people and innovate. Along with a slew of similar research findings to surface in recent months, the study reinforces efforts to communicate the benefits of trademark rights; not only to businesses, but to consumers and policy-makers.
Bereskin & Parr LLP Canada presents options for those seeking to protect and enforce rights in luxury brands, including effective mechanisms and alternatives for strategic defence and enforcement.
Birch Stewart Kolasch & Birch LLP A pending US district court case on a fashion company’s efforts to protect a handbag design as a non-traditional trademark under US law even though variations of the design have long been in the public domain should provide much-needed clarity on this area.
How brands should prepare for the big changes coming to Canada’s trademark market: exclusive data analysis
In our latest country data report, we delve into Canada’s trademark landscape. We examine how a major overhaul of its trademark laws may lead to a clogged up register, assess the impact cannabis legalisation might have on rights holders and take a close look at filing and litigation data.
Justice Anthony Kennedy of the US Supreme Court announced his imminent retirement on Wednesday, meaning that US President Donald Trump will now have a second opportunity to nominate a justice. With the prospect of a more right-thinking Supreme Court bench, leading IP attorneys are split over what it means for trademark cases.
Trump administration tariffs “could help legitimise fake goods”: trade associations join up to sound alarm bells
A number of major US trade associations have joined forces to send a letter to two members of the House Ways and Means Committee warning that the Trump administration’s recent trade tariffs are having a harmful effect on the battle against counterfeit goods. The strongly worded letter, seen by World Trademark Review, claims that the tariffs place “significant barriers on the fight against harmful fakes” and calls for an urgent rethink.
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