23 Feb
2020

Reaction to INTA Annual Meeting relocation, European Conference coverage, WIPO director general race continues, 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

Following last weekend's breaking news that INTA would be cancelling its 2020 Annual Meeting in Singapore, we reflected on the reasons behind this difficult but unsurprising decision, given the unprecedented fears for the health and safety of all who would have attended. In an effort to minimise the economic impact of cancellation, the event will be relocated to the United States, creating a hefty job for INTA staff to pull together the biggest event of the trademark year in only a matter of months. With attendees reluctant to travel and vast amounts of spending down the drain, the rescheduled affair is sure to be very different, but the general reaction in the IP community seems to be the same: the show must go on. (Read more here.)

INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo commented on the decision in his opening remarks at the annual European Conference in Madrid on Monday, before turning to the topic at hand – sports. Reporting live from ‘Brands, Sports, and Esports: A Brand (R)evolution’, we presented the key highlights, with direct insight from representatives at Intel, FIFA, Nike, Ubisoft, Major League Baseball and the International Olympic Committee. Day one saw discussions ranging from the impact that TikTok and micro-influencers have had on the industry to the potential for an IP marathon to attract fitness-fanatic practitioners. (Read more here.) On day two, talk turned to diversity, with INTA taking the opportunity to reveal its new “Women leadership and IP” project, which will launch later this year. (Read more here.)

Continuing our coverage of the campaign to find the new WIPO director general, this week we spoke to Colombian nominee Marco M Alemán, who explained why his expertise makes him ideal for the role. “The multilateral attitude that WIPO requires is something you can only learn on the job,” he stated, and with 10 years as secretary of the patent law standing committee under his belt, he has an intimate understanding of this critical aspect of the WIPO ethos. (Read more here.) Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview with Ivo Gagliuffi Piercechi, the Peruvian candidate revealed his own vision for the organisation, arguing that his experience leading one of the most innovative IP offices in South America gives him a unique insight into other areas of the law, which could help to create greater synergy between intellectual property and other legal matters at WIPO. (Read more here.)

Headline news

In other news this week, the USPTO responded to recent criticism over its new applicant email requirements by issuing revised guidelines, removing the need for applicants to regularly access and review the email account provided. However, while this eases the burden on users, concerns remain. (Read more here.)

In our Tuesday news round-up, we looked at Amazon’s car seat criticism leading to calls for legal reform, Japan’s agriculture ministry removing Aichi Prefecture’s Nishio Matcha tea from its list of geographically protected names, General Motors pulling its iconic Holden brand, and much more. (Read more here.)

The saga of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s trademark activities continued this week, with reports that the Queen has “banned” the use of the Sussex Royal brand. Speaking to WTR, one IP expert warned that the development could pave the way for unauthorised third-party registrations. (Read more here.)

Meanwhile, across the pond, attention turned to the Democratic Party presidential primaries, with exclusive WTR analysis finding that Michael Bloomberg and Pete Buttigieg are ahead of the rest when it comes to brand protection – with Bernie Sanders facing the highest level of unauthorised third-party filing activity. (Read more here.)

On Thursday, we were pleased to reveal the full speaking facility for our upcoming Managing Trademark Assets USA and Brand Protection Online events in Chicago. Focusing on the cost-effective management of international portfolios and trademark operations, and the practical strategies and challenges for online brand enforcement, respectively, the confirmed speaker line-up is available here.

Taking a deep dive into the trademark activity behind the most popular sport in the world, WTR analysis revealed how football teams and corporates are cashing in on brand value. But a changing industry means that clubs will need to use new methods to continue strengthening their presence and engagement levels. (Read more here.)

ICANN cancelling its Mexico meeting, UpCounsel making a U-turn on the previous announcement it was shutting down and Authentic Brands acquiring Forever 21 were among the stories featured in our end-of-the-week digest. (Read more here.)

Finally, Friday saw the launch of our annual search for outstanding individuals to induct into the 2020 IP Hall of Fame. With a number of trademark industry luminaries already recognised, the community now has an opportunity to nominate other leading lights to join them. (Read more here.)

Legal updates and international reports

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

Victoria Arnold

Author | Senior Editor, IP Editorial

[email protected]

Victoria Arnold