'Be like Bill’ held off top spot of January's most-read list by RedTube coverage

Our most-read blog in January was a story published in October that centred on Google’s announcement of its YouTube Red ad-free subscription service. As we reported, media reports highlighted the similarity of the name to adult website ‘RedTube’ and a spokesperson for the latter told us that he welcomed the resulting publicity. The most popular story published in January, however, related to a very different internet phenomenon – ‘Be like Bill’.

The latter has garnered over 1.5 million ‘likes’ on Facebook over the past few weeks, and we uncovered a third-party UK trademark application for BE LIKE BILL. The creators behind the online phenomenon told us that they were “shocked” at the application and have pledged to crack down on online brand misuse.

Elsewhere, we reported on international law firm Norton Rose Fulbright’s ongoing legal battle in China against an entity that is specialising in IP services while using the ‘Norton Rose Fulbright’ name (and which appears to have registered domain names and a trademark related to at least three other law firms). We also spoke to Ian FitzSimons, general counsel of Pernod Ricard, who expanded on the news that Cubaexport has received a specific licence allowing it to renew the Havana Club trademark registration in the United States. While a positive development for the company, he tells us that the dispute with Bacardi over the brand name is basically back to where it was in 2006. Expect more on this story in the near future – this week Bacardi filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the US Department of Treasury to bring to light the reasons for the decision to grant the renewal, which it contends was in violation of the language and spirit of US law.

Finally, with the EU trademark reforms soon to become a reality, coverage of the upcoming changes and how counsel can prepare prior to the March 23 2016 implementation featured in both the top ten blog lists and that for the most-read legal updates.

The top 10 blogs in January were:

  1. Adult site “honoured” by YouTube Red association; opinion split on brand strategy – October 27
  2. Creator of viral sensation ‘Be like Bill’ “shocked” by trademark application; pledges “aggressive” enforcement – January 27
  3. “This is how you screw up your reputation”: Sony trademark fallout highlights challenge of online backlashes – January 20
  4. Groundbreaking study suggests plain packaging for food could increase consumption – January 11
  5. Domain experts on the slow start for new gTLDs, and what may turn the tide – January 18
  6. The European trademark package: what’s changing; when and how to prepare – January 8
  7. Tam laments “opportunistic” media reports framing Slants decision as Redskins win – January 6
  8. Four firms and a funeral service: the battle over the ‘Norton Rose Fulbright’ brand in China – January 26
  9. “We are back to where we were 10 years ago”: Pernod Ricard counsel on Havana Club dispute – January 22
  10. The world’s leading trademark professionals revealed in 2016 edition of WTR 1000 – January 15

The top 10 legal updates in January were:

  1. Practical implications of EU trademark reforms – January 14
  2. Full and stringent examination may lead OHIM to deviate from previous practice – January 21
  3. Revocation applications: form of mark used and principle of partial use – January 13
  4. Olympus falls in figurative ‘3D’ mark case – January 27
  5. ECJ decision addresses degrees of similarity – January 18
  6. Use of ‘Champagne’ in bar name infringes protected ‘Champagne’ designation of origin – January 19
  7. Reproduction of letter X is not insignificant for General Court – January 15
  8. Screen capture of website to which disputed domain names were pointing insufficient to establish bad faith – January 4
  9. First-time jail sentence for IP crimes issued – January 12
  10. General Court confirms likelihood of confusion between pharma marks – January 7

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