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In our latest industry data report we shine a light on the global media and entertainment industry. While digital and streaming content currently offer companies in the space the best prospect of navigating a challenging economic environment, we reveal that filings for new tech remain low.
Brexit update, plain packaging begins in Ireland, and first trademark ruling in Barbados: news round-up
In this round-up edition, we look at the latest Brexit developments from a trademark perspective, news on another solicitation scam, Hershey’s hawkish eye over the marijuana industry, and the result from the first ever trademark dispute in Barbados.
“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 Cantina e oleificio sociale di San Marzano v EUIPO the General Court has confirmed that there was a likelihood of confusion between the figurative mark SANTORO for “Italian wines” and the earlier word mark SANGRE DE TORO for “alcoholic beverages”. Among other things, the court rejected the argument that the scope of protection of the earlier mark should be limited to Spanish wine only.
In Anchorage Capital Partners Pty Limited v ACPA Pty Ltd the Full Court of the Federal Court has considered competing claims to ownership of the trademark ANCHORAGE for financial services. The decision clarifies certain requirements for establishing a claim of ownership and provides additional guidance on when the own name defence will be available.
In Novartis v EUIPO, the General Court has upheld a decision of the EUIPO finding that Novartis’ figurative EU trademark, which represents the company’s Exolon transdermal patch, was invalid. The court agreed that the mark was composed of a sign consisting exclusively of the shape of the product necessary to obtain a technical result within the meaning of Article 7(1)(e)(ii) of Regulation 207/2009.
Letters of consent have been problematic in China, where brand owners often experience difficulty in obtaining such letters from local companies and having them accepted by the courts. However, there are encouraging signs that the situation is changing, which is good news for brand owners looking to protect their trademarks in the country. This update also provides a useful summary of what brand owners need to know when seeking to rely on letters of consent in China.
Effective as of January 15 2018, Circular 16/2016/TT-BKHCN of the Ministry of Science and Technology introduced important changes to trademark-related procedures before the National Office of Industrial Property. Among other things, applicants are now given longer time periods to respond to office actions, and the NOIP must provide opponents with the details of the examination of the opposed application.
In this week’s country data report, World Trademark Review inspects the trademark landscape in France. We delve into the country’s filing trends and analyse how its leading brands have performed in recent years.
In Arctic Cat v EUIPO, the General Court has upheld a decision of the Fifth Board of Appeal of the EUIPO finding that there was a likelihood of confusion between two marks representing a jumping wild cat for goods in Class 25. Among other things, the court held that, when a mark covers several kinds of goods for which the level of attention of the public varies, the section of the public with the lowest level of attention must be taken into consideration to evaluate the likelihood of confusion.
Brands risk “destructive” reputational damage from lack of transparency about influencer marketing, study warns
A new study has revealed that the majority of UK consumers have a very poor understanding of the regulations surrounding influencer marketing, with brands failing to capitalise on the public’s desire to remain informed. However, the report also warns that failure to do so could have a destructive impact on brand reputation.
JOY fails to prevent registration of HISPANITAS JOY IS A CHOICE despite enhanced distinctive character
In Jean Patou Worldwide v EUIPO the General Court has upheld a decision of the EUIPO First Board of Appeal, finding that there was no likelihood of confusion between the figurative mark HISPANITAS JOY IS A CHOICE and the earlier mark JOY for goods in Class 3. Among other things, the court rejected the allegation that the board had not sufficiently taken into account the enhanced distinctive character, acquired through use, of the earlier mark.
Logan Paul fiasco shows risk for brands on YouTube; research reveals more YouTubers seeking trademark protection
A number of recent incidents have demonstrated why rights holders must be careful when advertising on YouTube or seeking partnerships with its high-profile stars. New research from World Trademark Review also reveals that content creators on the platform many of which make millions of dollars a year in advertising, sponsorship and merchandise revenue are turning to trademark registrations to protect their channel assets.
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 Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative which represents the Maasai tribe of Kenya and Tanzania in efforts to gain control over commercial uses of its cultural ‘brand’ recently secured royalty payments on the proceeds from Koy Clothing’s Maasai-inspired attire. While the deal is not based on formal IP rights, the negotiator behind the agreement describes it as a “stake in the ground”, telling World Trademark Review that his vision is for other fashion houses capitalising on the tribe’s heritage to follow suit.
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 Supreme Court of Appeal has handed down its decision in Cochrane Steel v M-Systems, which dealt with the effect of disclaimers and admissions in South African trademark law. Among other things, the court reiterated that the phonetic equivalent of a non-distinctive word is itself non-distinctive; it would seem to follow that, if the word itself is one that ought to be disclaimed, then so too should its phonetic equivalent.
In EUIPO v European Food SA, the ECJ has dismissed an appeal filed by the EUIPO against a decision of the General Court, finding that there are no time limits for the production of evidence in the context of an application for declaration of invalidity based on absolute grounds including at the appeal stage.
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
Scientology trademarks, Brazil’s backlog impact and Leason Ellis victorious against solicitation scammer: news round-up
In our latest news round-up, we look at the law firm which was told it doesn’t have exclusive rights to its initials, the impact of backlog measures in Brazil, the pros and cons of China’s rocketing trademark trajectory and a new victory against trademark scammers.
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