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“We’re running out of good trademarks” groundbreaking study reveals 81% of common words are registered marks
A new study scrutinising the millions of marks on the US trademark register has discovered that more than 81% of the 1,000 most frequently-used words in the English language are already registered as single-word trademarks. One of the study’s authors characterises the findings as “disturbing”, warning that it could cause problems for those seeking to create brand names in the future.
In the conclusion of our four-part series, World Trademark Review reveals the full IP Office Innovation Ranking and analyse the key findings from this year's project.
Spreading the message the IP offices taking significant strides to engage with the public about trademarks
We take a deep dive into how registries are spreading the trademark message to a wider audience
Online trailblazers the IP offices breaking new ground in digital services, and those falling behind
As national IP registries are encouraged to become "innovation agencies" by offering more non-core tools and services, we look at how offices compare when it comes to digital metrics
As national IP registries are encouraged to become innovation agencies and to offer non-core tools and services, we once again identify those leading the way and the offices trailing behind
Canada is finally completing the last steps necessary for implementing its new trademark law. The final draft Trademarks Regulations were released on February 10 2018, and the regulations are expected to be officially published in their final form in October. The changes will be the most significant in 50 years; among other things, the definition of a 'trademark' will be greatly expanded and it will finally be possible to divide applications.
The USPTO has filed a petition for a rehearing en banc in In re: Brunetti, a decision it contends “invalidates a century-old provision of federal trademark law that renders trademarks containing ‘scandalous’ and ‘immoral’ matter ineligible for the benefits of federal registration”. The bid to maintain a ban on scandalous marks is one that practitioners will keenly follow. However, one legal expert told us that the government faces an “uphill battle” to reverse the Federal Circuit’s ruling.
The United States may be putting itself first, but on a global scale its long-dominant brands are facing increasing pressure. It is not just China that is closing the gap so is Europe. If US brands are to stay on top they will have to lean into the future and figure out what to do next
In In re: Brunetti, the Federal Circuit has reversed the TTAB's holding that the mark FUCT as used in connection with various apparel items was unregistrable. The Federal Circuit’s reasoning differed somewhat from the Supreme Court’s underlying rationale in the landmark SLANTS case, and concluded that the Lanham Act’s bar on registering immoral or scandalous marks is an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.
Jones Day has been named the strongest law firm brand in the United States for the second year running. According to the Acritas US Law Firm Brand Index 2018, Jones Day extended its lead in the table, while second place Skadden strengthened its brand over the past year. Bubbling below the surface, though, is the rising threat to traditional law firms from alternative legal service brands.
Following the release of Brand Finance’s Banking 500 2018 report last week, which identifies the brand value and strength of the world’s 500 largest bank brands, World Trademark Review attended the Brand Finance Banking Forum, a follow-up event that elaborated on the report’s findings and illuminated the most pressing issues banks are facing. Below are some of the key takeaways.
A recently launched trademark solicitation campaign is offering to publish trademark registrations in a private database for up to $2,800. Further investigation into this entity offers clues about how these platforms are set up and the means used to solicit payments. Meanwhile, there are renewed calls for IP offices to offer “more clarity and simplicity” in an effort to make warnings about misleading invoices more visible.
Online and media criticism of a Ram Trucks ad aired during this week’s Super Bowl broadcast continues to rumble on. For its part, parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has stood its ground, noting that the King Estate had given approval of its use of a Martin Luther King Jr sermon. The key question from a brand perspective is whether holding ground in the face of a social media storm is the right approach or whether appeasing critics is the better option.
In our latest news round-up we look at how the Zimbabwe government is hiring a technology company to tackle counterfeit goods, the brands being accused of using “underhand tricks” to fool consumers and a new report looking at the leading Chinese brands.
In Can’t Live Without It LLC v ETS Express Inc a New York federal court has granted a partial summary judgment dismissing a federal claim for false designation of origin and state claims for deceptive trade practices and false advertising. However, it refused to dismiss the federal and common law trade dress infringement claims and common law unfair competition claims against the owner of an alleged knock-off product.
Demise of Chief Wahoo shows how challenging Redskins brand was “successful legal failure”, expert claims
It has been announced that the Cleveland Indians baseball team will remove the controversial Chief Wahoo logo from its uniform next year. A prominent IP lawyer has told World Trademark Review that the move may have happened only because of the high-profile legal challenge against the Washington Redskins brand, claiming that it helped to create the shift in attitudes which led to the Ohio team’s branding shift.
In Kastle Systems v Lee Strategy Group, the TTAB has granted opponent Kastle's motion for summary judgment, dismissing applicant Lee's counterclaim alleging fraud in the procurement of one of Kastle's pleaded registrations. Among other things, the TTAB found that "a claim of fraud based simply on a perceived inconsistency in legal argument before the TTAB is legally insufficient to plead a claim of fraud in the procurement".
LegalForce calls on USPTO to tackle Chinese firms “practicing illegally” allegations and threats revealed
Raj Abhyanker, founder and shareholder in LegalForce RAPC Worldwide the firm behind online filing engine Trademarkia has sent a grievance complaint to the US Patent and Trademark Office centred on Chinese IP law firms “practicing illegally” in the United States. Speaking exclusively to World Trademark Review, he expands on his allegations and the threats he received from one China-based filer.
Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in China have reported improved confidence in China’s economy, with a third planning to increase investment in the country. While sentiment towards the IP environment has also improved mirroring the experience of those on the ground the escalation of the war of words over IP and trade, fuelled by US President Donald Trump's tough rhetoric, could skew perceptions back towards the negative.
In Vanderveen v Waterbridge Media Inc, an individual has successfully sued a production company for breach of privacy for using film footage of her taken without her permission. The footage appeared in a two-second clip as part of a promotional video for a condo development. The judge found that, in capturing the image of the plaintiff and publishing it in a commercial video, the defendant had committed the tort of intrusion upon seclusion.
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