29 Mar
2020

Counterfeiters capitalise on coronavirus fears, impact of AI on trademarks, WTR Global Trademark Benchmarking Survey and much more

Everything we covered on WTR over the past seven days – and all you need to know from the world of trademarks to set yourself up for the start of another busy week.

Top stories

It goes without saying that the top story this week has continued to be the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on industries and marketplaces around the world. Each day, we have been updating our live report on the most recent measures implemented by global IP offices, with the United Kingdom, Turkey, India and South Korea among those to announce new developments. (Read more.) Meanwhile, in the United States, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act will be of particular note to IP professionals, as it not only aims to provide urgent relief for small businesses and stabilise the economy, it also includes a number of provisions that temporarily enhance the authority of the USPTO director. These include the ability to toll, waive, adjust or modify any deadline established under certain trademark laws if the emergency materially affects the functioning of the office, prejudices the rights of applicants, or prevents them from filing a document or fee with the office. (Read more.)

Another issue for brand owners at this pressing time is the growing rise in counterfeit goods. Last week, US Customs confiscated a package containing fake covid-19 testing equipment and a man in the United Kingdom was charged with manufacturing and distributing counterfeit treatment kits. In fact, a new study has estimated that the total value of counterfeit pharmaceuticals traded worldwide had already reached almost €4.03 billion before the crisis. Given the sharp increase in demand for medicines since, the study has led to a call for governments to do more to tackle the illicit trade of fake pharmaceuticals at a time of unprecedented concern. (Read more.) This is not the only area that counterfeiters are latching onto either. We spoke to a number of experts who warned that rights holders in the food and beverage industry should also be alert, as criminals are capitalising on the heightened demand for food and household products, following a surge in panic buying across the European Union. (Read more.)

However, it is not all doom and gloom for brand owners. The pandemic has also created opportunities to do right by communities and worried consumers. In our latest opinion column, we considered how brands are taking up their civic duty to protect workers and support industries where they can. At a time when positive perception and brand reputation are paramount, the actions of trademark counsel are now more important than ever. (Read more.)

Headline news

Elsewhere this week, the USPTO published the results of a request for comments on the impact of AI on trademarks and legislation. Scrutiny of the responses provides insight into how the industry expects AI to change legal and office practice, ranging from lower risk applications to increased refusals and a boost for infringers. (Read more.)

In our Tuesday news digest, we highlighted praise for the City of London Police IP Crime Unit’s coronavirus counterfeits swoop, a Katy Perry clothing spat, a personal message from the INTA president, Nominet’s new approach to seized domains and Iceland’s amended fees, among other stories. (Read more.)

In a sneak peek of the data collated by this year’s WTR Global Trademark Benchmarking Survey, we revealed how diversity and inclusion programmes are now the norm at corporate level, but good intentions are no longer enough for law firms experiencing growing client demand for concrete policies. (Read more.)

On Wednesday we reported that Jones Day has maintained its position at the top of the Acritas US Law Firm Brand Index for the fourth year in a row. But below the number one spot, there has been a significant reshuffle. (Read more.)

With Tokyo 2020 now postponed until 2021, we took a closer look at the filing history of the Olympic Games and argued that, thanks to its airtight IP protection, those affiliated with the event will still benefit from its success when the games eventually take place. (Read more.)

In a preview of an upcoming WTR magazine article, Bird & Bird’s Paola Ruggiero and Alessandro Francesco Sciarra outlined why the current online protection mechanism for geographical indications is not sufficiently far reaching and why the UDRP must expand its terms. (Read more.)

We also reminded subscribers that next week WTR will be chairing an interactive webinar, hosted by Gowling WLG partner Kate Swaine, scrutinising the key principles on bad faith set out by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the long-awaited Sky v Skykick decision. To find out more about the webinar, click here.

On Friday, we put Twitter under the microscope to see how the social media platform often at the centre of third-party brand-related incidents has revamped its IP strategy to take control of the conversation while offering better assistance to active users. (Read more.)

In our last news round-up of the week, we reported on the effects of social distancing logos on brand image, signs that filing levels are beginning to dip, a change in leadership at the American Intellectual Property Law Association, and much more. (Read more.)

On Saturday, we kicked off our new series delving into the WTR archive of world-class trademark content to bring you five exclusive interviews with corporate brand leaders at Jack Daniel’s, Xerox, Tata Technologies, Pernod Ricard and Daimler. (Read more.)

Legal updates and international reports

Plus, we published 10 legal updates and one international report examining key trademark decisions and developments from around the globe:

Victoria Arnold

Author | Senior Editor, IP Editorial

[email protected]

Victoria Arnold