Global View

Argentina

The Argentine National Institute of Industrial Property has launched a two-stage fee increase for patents, trademarks, utility models and industrial designs. On October 1 trademark fees in Argentina rose by 40% on average, with the exception of recording assignments and name changes, both of which increased by 100%.


Bahrain

Trademark applicants must now state their full address – including street name and building number – when registering their brands in Bahrain. The move is a tweak to the country’s newly introduced online filing system, which aims to make the trademark protection process more efficient and user friendly.


Canada

Major changes were made to Canada’s geographical indication (GI) system on September 21, as the country’s Trademarks Act was adopted in accordance with its economic and trade agreement with the European Union. Previously restricted to wines and spirits, GI rights have been extended to encompass a broad range of agricultural products. Over 170 so-called ‘super GIs’ – almost exclusively for European products – are now exempt from objection and cancellation proceedings.


Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands Intellectual Property Office has received over 150 requests for trademark registrations since the new Trademark Law came into force on August 1 2017. This figure represents a sharp increase in the rate of applications – only 300 marks were filed in the previous 12 months – and is a positive sign for the territory’s new IP system, which previously required brand owners to have registered rights in the United Kingdom.


European Union

The European Commission has released its position paper on the treatment of IP rights after the United Kingdom completes its exit from the European Union. While the document is short, it provides crucial insights into the key concerns of EU negotiators. We have a rundown of the trademark implications of the position paper here.


Ireland

Ireland has joined Australia, France and the United Kingdom in adopting plain packaging for tobacco products, as of October 1. The full transition to plain packaging in Ireland is not immediate, though, as products that were already being manufactured will remain on the shelves until September 2018, according to guidance from the country’s Department of Health.


Nigeria

Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has submitted a new bill which aims to amend the country’s Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. A key amendment is the introduction of life sentences for counterfeiters, importers and sellers of banned, fake or sub-standard drugs and food products. It also seeks to enhance protections for whistle blowers and implement harsher punishments for those who aid and enable counterfeiters.


Thailand

Thailand’s Department of Intellectual Property is now allowing the filing of applications for sound marks, a move that was implemented in September. The change – which was the result of a ministerial regulation passed under the Trademark Act – introduces a new dimension to brand protection in this emerging market.


United States

The White House has nominated Andrei Iancu as the next under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the US Patent and Trademark Office, following the surprise resignation of Michelle Lee in June. Iancu is currently managing partner at Irell & Manella and has experience across the full range of intellectual property, although patents are his prime focus. It is predicted that a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination will begin in November, with confirmation finalised in December.

Get unlimited access to all WTR content