E-sports revolution, the rise of virtual reality and TikTok brands, lessons from Sussex Royal, 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

WTR took a closer look at the e-sports industry this week, beginning with an exclusive interview with FIFA’s Daniel Zohny. Describing the FIFA eWorld Cup as “the pinnacle of the FIFA gaming ecosystem”, he explained how the association is embracing this new industry by licensing out its moniker to EA. Despite the potential for e-sports to radically change the work of IP professionals in the field, one thing remains constant: the need to balance enforcement strategies with fan engagement. (Read more here.) Continuing on this theme, we next sat down with Fnatic general counsel Andrew Cooke, who revealed that an entire generation of e-sports athletes are waking up to the power of their intellectual property, with brands racing to catch up. As teams attempt to navigate the different kinds of IP rights available per game, players are now demanding more nuanced contracts to further develop their careers. (Read more here.)

Elsewhere this week, we examined the significant effects that new technologies are having on the trademark landscape, unveiling both untapped IP potential and some worrying threats to brand protection. In the world of social media, WTR research discovered that the vast majority of TikTok’s most popular content creators – many of which are expected to make millions of dollars a year in advertising, sponsorship and merchandise revenue – have not taken any steps to protect their brand assets. Speaking directly to us, one IP expert suggested that besides cost, a lack of awareness may be behind this. Moreover, IP practitioners should be aware of the differences between working with TikTok stars and those on other social media platforms. (Read more here.) In additional news, a number of recent studies have highlighted a growing trend among consumers using virtual reality (VR), augmented reality and voice search technologies to interact with brands, raising questions about the potential IP issues involved, including the risk of VR counterfeit stores and the soundsquatting of domain names. (Read more here.)

Finally, we have been continuing our series of one-to-ones with the candidates running for the position of WIPO director general. On Tuesday, Kazakhstan nominee Saule Tlevlessova elaborated on her experience as president of the Eurasian Patent Organisation, as well as her ambitions to address the limited scope of languages currently accepted by WIPO systems and to increase innovation on behalf of local IP offices. (Read more here.) Taking an alternative stance, meanwhile, is Ghanaian candidate Edward Kwakwa, who on Wednesday relayed his plans to expand registries and engage with more developing and lesser developed countries, while broadening green initiatives such as WIPO GREEN. (Read more here.)

Headline news

With Prince Harry and Meghan Markle officially withdrawing their applications for the Sussex Royal brand this week, we outlined the key takeaways to come from the high-profile saga, including the importance of clear communication, the benefits of obtaining prior rights in smaller jurisdictions and the undeniable need to plan ahead. (Read more here.)

In our Tuesday news digest, we reported on the International Anti-counterfeiting Coalition relocating its annual conference to Rome, PepsiCo purchasing Chinese snack brand Be & Cheery, BlackBerry accusing an Australian baby products retailer of infringement, and much more. (Read more here.)

When it comes to employee wellbeing, a well-thought-through strategy that relates to your organisation is essential. Kilburn & Strode director of human resources Jonathan Clarke has provided a number of practical suggestions for employers, focusing on five key areas. (Read more here.)

As coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, we reached out to contacts in China to determine how the epidemic is affecting production, delivery and enforcement activities in the world’s biggest market for counterfeit goods. (Read more here.)

On Friday, we conducted an in-depth analysis of US filing data, revealing that “fake news” rhetoric has had a tangible effect on the reputations of national broadcasters. Unaided by the upcoming presidential election, recovering consumer trust in media brands could be an uphill battle. (Read more here.)

On our final round-up of the week, we reported on a significant drop in USPTO filings from China, the appointment of a new UK IP minister, the best response to a trademark invoice scam, and much more. (Read more here.)

Legal updates and international reports

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

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