Global view

Africa

The ‘.africa’ top-level domain has been delegated to the Domain Name System after a court ruling denied DotConnectAfrica’s request for an injunction to prevent the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers from assigning the string. The subject of a bitter tussle between two applicants, the ZA Central Registry has now launched a sunrise period for the string, which will end on June 2 2017.


Chile

On March 1 2017 the Chilean Customs Service seized a shipment of 238,418 sports shoes at the free port of Iquique. The shoes bore the trademark EILA, which was written in such a way as to resemble the trademark FILA, owned by Fila Luxembourg SARL. The seizure – whose official commercial value is estimated to be $10 million – is the largest-ever border measure carried out in Chile.


Hong Kong

The Hong Kong government has announced that it is proceeding with plans to adopt the Madrid Protocol, following its consultation with interested parties at the end of 2014. It is anticipated that the protocol will be available in Hong Kong in 2019 at the earliest.


International

A new report from the EU Intellectual Property Office, in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union, estimates that 184 million fewer genuine smartphones were sold in 2015, due to the presence of counterfeit devices in the marketplace. The report, which analysed the number of smartphones sold in 90 countries, estimates that 12.9% of legitimate sales of smartphones were lost during the year.


International

The International Trademark Association’s board of directors has approved its 2018-2021 strategic plan, with the rollout due to commence at its annual meeting in May. Speaking to World Trademark Review, 2017 president Joseph Ferretti explained that the plan will have a broader scope than previous iterations, with input being received from “people outside our immediate community, including lawmakers, academics, C-suite and marketing professionals and consumers”.


International

New research, commissioned by CompuMark, has revealed that 80% of C-level executives feel that trademark infringements are on the rise, with more than half reporting that their organisation has initiated legal action against third parties in a bid to defend their brands. Loss of revenue was the most frequently cited negative consequence of trademark infringement (26%), followed by damage to brand reputation (21%), customer confusion (21%), reduced customer loyalty and trust (19%) and loss of time for marketing and legal teams (12%).


Nigeria

The Industrial Property Commission Bill has passed its second reading at the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Nigeria (lower chamber), bringing implementation one step closer. The new bill represents a complete overhaul of the current system and will harmonise all current IP laws and bodies in Nigeria by establishing a single body for the administration of trademarks, patents and designs.


Qatar

Qatar has adopted the 11th edition of the Nice Classification. As a result, the trademark office will now accept applications in Classes 43, 44 and 45. Qatar maintains a single-class application system.


United Kingdom

On March 29 2017 the UK government triggered Article 50, launching a two-year negotiation period to agree the terms surrounding the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. The impact of the exit on UK and EU trademarks is yet to be discerned, but different scenarios are examined in “The consequences of Brexit for trademark protection”.


Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe government has signalled its intention to speedily ratify the Madrid Protocol, with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa acknowledging that progress has been hampered by the absence of implementing regulations. He stated: “As it stands, all the trademarks that have so far been filed through the system are yet to be processed because of the absence of the implementing regulations to guide the department on what needs to be done. The promulgation of these regulations is, therefore, an issue that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

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