26 Apr
2020

US Supreme Court Romag ruling, virtual networking, covid-19 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

The US Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Romag Fasteners v Fossil on Thursday, concluding that plaintiffs in trademark lawsuits can secure an award of lost profits without having shown wilful intent – a factor described by the court as an “inflexible precondition” for such awards. We reflected on what this means for trademark owners, who have been eagerly awaiting the ruling, as it focuses on the standard for awarding an important form of monetary relief often sought in infringement cases. Besides being positive news for plaintiffs, we presented a range of initial reactions from industry experts. (Read more)

Elsewhere, we considered the long-term effects that the coronavirus pandemic is likely to have on legal practice in general. With much of the trademark community unable to communicate in person, various associations and service providers have implemented innovative new virtual networking initiatives, including MARQUES’ weekly virtual coffee break and Alt Legal’s virtual happy hour. (Read more) These initiatives are part of a greater movement that the legal profession is being forced to make towards improved remote-working abilities – and trademark practitioners are proving that they can adapt. Before the current health emergency, there were numerous reports of senior management not trusting employees to work from home or pervasive cultures shaming those that wanted more flexible options; when the crisis is eventually over, that may finally change. Of course, success will depend on factors such as budget and the quality of technology. We reviewed the measures that firms may look to keep or change going forward (read more) and continued to update our live article on those currently being implemented by IP offices. (Read more) We also asked practitioners for their comments on how the covid-19 emergency is affecting brand protection efforts. (Read more) To give your perspective on everything from the challenges of working remotely to the effect on counterfeit goods, please complete our short survey; the results will be presented on the WTR platform in the next couple of weeks.

Headline news

On Monday, new data provided insight into how the early '.brand' domain adopters are deploying their assets, with the automotive industry domain numbers racing ahead in recent months. (Read more)

In our first news round-up of the week, we assessed the Trump campaign cease and desist, rapper Pitbull being granted two trademarks for his yell, Victoria Beckham in a trademark dispute, New Balance ending another Chinese lawsuit, and much more. (Read more)

After a two-day bidding war over 234 trademarks owned by Shenzhen QVOD Technology Co closed at Rmb9.5 million on Alibaba’s platform last week, WTR reflected on the key takeaways and the growing popularity of judicial auctions. (Read more)

In a special guest piece, Haynes and Boone associate Joe Lawlor took an in-depth look at the trademark and copyright conflicts behind the Netflix phenomenon Tiger King and expanded on the outcomes of federal IP lawsuits brought by some of the docuseries’ infamous characters. (Read more)

WTR spoke to Treasury Wine Estates’ global director of intellectual property to get the inside track on how the company prevailed in a decade-long trademark squatting case, as it finally registers its Penfolds mark in China. (Read more)

We also spoke to Deanna Sheridan, general counsel at Spartan Race, who explained how she has managed to maintain the brand's determined identity through a crisis that has halted all of its events. (Read more)

With the recent release of video game Cooking Mama: Cookstar mired in controversy and confusion, we asked what lessons can be learned from the very public licensing dispute. (Read more)

A closer look at the data behind German trademark filings suggested that while the country is well placed to bounce back from lockdown measures, local brands are likely to suffer. (Read more)

The IP Office of Singapore postponing IP Week, 3M filing more lawsuits, the Korean and Saudi IP offices pledging better cooperation, and much more featured in Friday’s news digest. (Read more)

We ended the week with a trip down memory lane, revisiting the highlights of INTA Annual Meetings gone by on the day that trademark experts from around the world would have been gathering in Singapore. (Read more)

Legal updates and international reports

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

Victoria Arnold

Author | Senior Editor, IP Editorial

[email protected]

Victoria Arnold