16 Feb

WIPO director general race exclusive, USPTO email backlash, WTR 1000 2020 revealed, 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

With the race to become WIPO director general heating up, we reached out to the eight remaining contenders for the inside track on why they are the best candidate for the role. On Wednesday, we spoke to Nigerian nominee Adebambo Adewopo, who believes that innovative use of AI systems will be essential to WIPO’s future, while policy should focus on IP systems in all member states. (Read more here.) Staying with the race for the WIPO top spot, Thursday’s guest post by patent consultant Dr Sarasija Padmanabhan gave us an exclusive look at last week’s behind-closed-doors round of candidate interviews. (Read more here.)

In other news, the USPTO was in the firing line this week after announcing that trademark applicants and registrants will be required to provide email addresses that are publicly viewable. Within days, concerned attorneys had penned a letter urging the registry to rethink the requirement on the grounds of obvious privacy implications and the potential for scams. “The irony is that the rules were spawned to reduce false information being submitted to the USPTO,” stated Peter J Riebling of Riebling Law. “But in the context of those… who need to file a petition for a waiver to avoid disclosure, it may end up actually encouraging and increasing false information.” (Read more here.)

Finally, after months of rigorous research and more than 1,500 interviews, we are pleased to announce that this year’s edition of the WTR 1000 is now available online. Over the past decade, the directory has firmly established itself as the definitive ‘go-to’ resource for those seeking legal trademark expertise, and this year we have expanded its scope even further. Read more about the selection process here and view the rankings in full here.

Headline news

With restrictions on international travel continuing to cause chaos around the world, we asked whether global fears over the spread of coronavirus could be behind the dramatic fall in the number of INTA Annual Meeting reception invites this year. (Read more here.)

Coronavirus has also led to widespread shortages in face masks, forcing the Korean Intellectual Property Office to pledge a crackdown on counterfeit masks and other items that are supposed to protect against infection. This story, and much more, featured in our Tuesday round-up. (Read more here.)

In other news, we reported that ICANN has opened a public comment window seeking recommendations relating to future access to domain registration data. While some experts have welcomed the latest effort in building a post-GDPR data access model, one warned that “there is still much to be done”. (Read more here.)

Searching industrial designs has traditionally been a complex and costly endeavour, and to make matters worse, is often a useless exercise when brand owners can look only for classes, not shapes. But emerging technologies may finally begin to facilitate visual rather than verbal techniques, as an exclusive guest post explained. (Read more here.)

The acquisition of Pointer Brand Protection by Corsearch last month followed its recent purchase of Yellow Brand Protection. We sat down with the CEOs of the two acquired companies to discuss Corsearch’s plan for a unified brand protection offering. (Read more here.)

Netflix suffering a blow in a ‘choose your own adventure’ dispute, fakes markets in China closing due to the coronavirus epidemic, Ukraine introducing authenticity stamps to crackdown on fakes, and much more featured in our Friday news digest. (Read more here).

The number of trademark applications in China has grown by a staggering amount and the volume of Chinese filings has had a noticeable impact on the USPTO. However, trademarks are not the only area where China is experiencing significant changes: its businesses are also growing into more visible – and valuable – brands, as our data analysis reveals. (Read more here.)

Lastly, a reminder that the window to participate in this year’s WTR Global Trademark Benchmarking Survey closes tomorrow (Monday 17 February). All participants in the short survey will be entered into a draw to win one of five free places at their choice of upcoming WTR event. (Read more here.)

Legal updates and international reports

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



Trevor Little

Author | Editor

[email protected]

Trevor Little