Rise in covid-19-related applications, 3M infringement dispute, INTA brand valuation report, 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 comes as no surprise that trademark offices around the world have experienced a deluge of applications for covid-19 and coronavirus-related terms in recent weeks. While the motivations of applicants vary, there are concerns that some opportunists are seeking to capitalise on the misfortune of others. In a guest post, Rebecca Anderson-Smith, senior associate at Mewburn Ellis, examined the obstacles standing their way and how the EUIPO and UK Intellectual Property Office might react – drawing on responses in other jurisdictions. (Read more) With the number of counterfeit goods also increasing, and international lockdowns limiting the work of private investigators, WTR spoke to two representatives from the Association of British Investigators, who explained how rights holders can undertake surveillance activities and test purchasing in order to gather evidence and ensure that brand protection operations are a success during the ongoing emergency. (Read more)

One company that may be setting a strong example of this is 3M, which made headlines this week when it filed four trademark infringement suits against distributors of its N95 respirator masks. Claims that the defendants had gouged the prices of N95 respirators by up to 600% in sales to government bodies have gained obvious attention, but the case may also demonstrate how brands can leverage an aggressive litigation strategy to send a global message and generate positive press coverage. (Read more)

There are many other ways to set a positive tone too. After INTA announced its covid-19 donation drive last week, asking individual members to help fund the purchase and distribution of personal protective equipment or contribute to local charitable organisations, we reflected on the association’s other recent efforts to increase its focus on corporate social responsibility, and how this latest call to arms is an opportunity to help those on the front line and better illustrate how the trademark community can step up at a time of global need. (Read more)

Sticking with INTA, the association also published its “Brand Value Special Task Force Report” this week, exploring brand valuation practices and offering a blueprint on how trademark professionals can – and should – be placed at the centre of the brand valuation conversation. Although IP practitioners may need to move a little outside their comfort zone, following the association’s guidelines to discuss these concepts with stakeholders should see in-house professionals further embedded in the corporate structure and external counsel opening the door to future revenue growth and diversification. (Read more) In light of the report, we decided to delve into our unrivalled archive of strategic trademark content to see how debates surrounding brand valuation practices have evolved over the past decade and revisit some of our most popular articles on the topic. (Read more)

Headline news

Elsewhere, we reported on a new study that has found that emotional brand attachment is key to minimising counterfeits, with some of the most common marketing methods having an adverse effect. (Read more)

We considered the many reasons why a company would rather keep a lid on upcoming launches of a new brand, asking how so-called ‘black hole territories’ can help to keep filings secret. (Read more)

Our Tuesday news round-up saw Verizon uncovering infringing covid-19 domain names, Michael Jordan ending his long-running dispute with a Chinese sportswear company, and one law firm offering pro bono covid-19 patent protection representation, among much else. (Read more)

With Lex Machina data revealing a 19% year-on-year drop in trademark litigation filings at US federal district level last month, we spoke to one trademark expert who explained that there could be a range of factors at play. (Read more)

Throughout the week, we continued to update our live article on the latest measures implemented by IP offices around the world in response to the covid-19 emergency. (Read more)

In the latest instalment in our regular series on marketplaces around the globe that are reportedly notorious for being counterfeit havens, we headed to the Southeast Asian nation of Malaysia. (Read more)

On Friday, we looked at the spate of media reports focusing on Land O’Lakes’ decision to remove the Native American image that has featured on its product packaging for almost a century, and why the brand may have missed an opportunity to lead discussions surrounding the move. (Read more)

We also put new household name Zoom under the spotlight to see just how equipped the videoconferencing app was for its unprecedented rise in popularity and how it is now coping with heightened demand for services and better security protection. (Read more)

Apple the most imitated phishing brand, Patagonia’s suit against OC Media, infringers piling on covid-19 domains and IP issues relating to 3D printing ventilators were among the stories in our end-of-the-week news digest. (Read more)

Legal updates and international reports

Plus, we published eight legal updates and four international reports examining key trademark decisions and developments from around the globe:

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