Policing online counterfeits; the risks of livestream e-commerce; key takeaways from Tiffany v Costco; 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.

Monday 17 August

Whether it is teaching children or engaging key stakeholders, there is still much work to be done in promoting IP issues. WTR’s Global Leaders explained how they are helping to raise awareness through positive action and community engagement. Read more

In an exclusive interview, British American Tobacco’s Roger Evans discussed how the company has built a unique brand strategy alongside its potentially reduced-risk products and argued that plain packaging restrictions can actually have a negative effect on consumers, adding: “There’s no evidence that plain packaging reduces smoking.” Read more

In a new series examining the innovative tools and services being launched by IP offices around the world, we heard from the Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia about its latest offerings, including the ‘New Latvian Government Common Web Platform’, which will facilitate access to IP services and include a virtual chatbot. Read more

Tuesday 18 August

In our Tuesday news round-up, we reported on a trademark blow for Drake’s new album title, South Korea’s IP Special Justice Police swooping in on four family members accused of selling counterfeit products through social media live broadcasts, Hyundai demanding the cancellation of Genesis BBQ’s trademarks in multiple areas that the car manufacturer does not currently operate in, and much more. Read more

WTR’s trademark champions – including in-house thought leaders at Coty, Rotary International and Verizon – revealed the biggest challenges that their brands currently face, with tips on how to tackle counterfeiting in a post-pandemic world and how to police less mainstream rights. Read more

An exclusive WTR investigation uncovered how livestream e-commerce platforms such as Douyin and Taobao Live are being used to sell counterfeit and replica goods, with evidence of the types of product being sold and how sellers are avoiding detection and hiding evidence from the authorities. Read more

Wednesday 19 August

While continuing to operate most services remotely, the Chilean National Institute of Industrial Property has announced a new system that will allow face-to-face processing of exceptional cases, while the deputy director-general of IP Australia has issued exemptions from certain extension of time fees for patents, trademarks and designs. Read more

After the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a $21 million damages judgment against Costco in Tiffany v Costco this week, we spoke to various legal experts about the importance of controlling a trademark’s use in the marketplace, with one expert warning brand owners not to “take an overly formalistic view of your rights merely by dint of a trademark registration”. Read more

Continuing our examination into the rise of livestream e-commerce, which has been driving online sales in China, we assessed the legal risks for brand owners looking to capitalise on the craze, especially when working with key opinion leaders, and the dangers of running afoul of advertising and unfair competition laws. Read more

Thursday 20 August

We shone the spotlight on some of the biggest challenges facing brands in Asia and uncovered five ways in which practitioners in the region can build watertight brand protection strategies. Read more

WTR sat down with Heike Bhonsle, brand protection director, global intellectual property at Crocs, to discuss the footwear giant’s wide portfolio of non-traditional marks and the aggressive approach that she takes to enforce its IP rights against copycat companies looking to profit off the goodwill of the ‘love them or hate them’ brand. Read more

This week, Apple became the first publicly traded US company to reach a $2 trillion market cap. Against this backdrop, the WTR Brand Elite project – which tracks how companies that invest in their brands perform against stock market indices – revealed that computing and software companies have continued to register the strongest financial performance this month. Read more

Friday 21 August

In our end of the week digest, we looked at the latest collaboration between digital technology solutions provider VerifyMe and Corsearch, Diageo adding more premium liquor brands – including Ryan Reynold’s Aviation American Gin – to its stockpile, Fat Brands’ $25 million acquisition of burger chain Johnny Rockets, and much more. Read more

After new research by Red Points discovered a 110% increase in counterfeits in the sports sector during the covid-19 pandemic, we asked whether this is the result of fans increasingly turned to the Internet during lockdown or part of a more worrying shift in the market trend. Read more

Gymshark has become the latest UK company to reach unicorn status after securing a £200 million investment from US fund manager General Atlantic. We examined how the fitness company has solidified its market presence among the greats with a winning social media strategy, deep commitment to its millennial consumer base and a forward-thinking approach to trademark protection. Read more

Saturday 22 August

This week US tyre company Goodyear found itself the centre of attention after US President Donald Trump hit out over reports that the company had forbidden staff from wearing Trump campaign gear. On Saturday, we recalled a selection of articles exploring instances where brands such as Google, Yahoo, Skype and HBO have found themselves the focus of political debate and asked: how do you manage brand reputation when dragged unexpectedly into the public eye? Read more

Unlock unlimited access to all WTR content