Trademark litigation data trends, the future of the Sussex Royal brand, TikTok takedowns, Bruce Lee infringement fight, and much more.

Everything we covered on WTR over the past 12 days – and all you need to know from the world of trademarks to set yourself up for the start of another busy week.

THURSDAY 2 January

Last year, a record 392,622 users visited the WTR platform, according to information supplied by Google Analytics. We have analysed the data to reveal the regions and countries that are hotspots in terms of interest in trademarks – as well as the stories that were of most interest to the community last year. Read more here.

We published the Winter 2020 edition of WTR magazine, which contains insights into potential frameworks for trademark law in outer space, explores alternative law firm models, reveals the top filers at the USPTO, and much more. Read more here.

FRIDAY 3 January

Despite years of opposition from South American countries, ICANN has now signed the Registry Agreements and Specification 13 Amendments for Amazon’s '.brand' applications. With '.amazon' and its Chinese and Japanese equivalent strings likely to be delegated imminently, we looked at the impact of this seven-year battle. Read more here.

For our first news round-up of 2020, we covered a notable acquisition in the cannabidiol industry, a Bruce Lee infringement fight, an IP licensing agreement between Imagination Technologies and Apple, Israel joining the Hague system, and much more. Read more here.

MONDAY 6 January

A total of 4,367 trademark litigation actions were filed in the United States at district court level last year, according to the latest information from Lex Machina. Our examination of the data revealed the leading trademark litigation plaintiffs and defendants in the country, as well as the law firms picking up the most work. Read more here.

A new academic paper has argued that the existing appellation of origin system of protection is too restrictive to effectively act as a sui generis geographical indications regime for many non-agricultural products. We spoke to one of the authors, who calls for the scaling up of an EU-wide protected geographical indications scheme. Reads more here.

TUESDAY 7 January

After the USPTO officially confirmed Meryl Hershkowitz as acting commissioner for trademarks, we argued that history suggests the next permanent commissioner could already be toiling away in the agency’s Alexandria headquarters. Read more here.

Chinese video-sharing social platform TikTok has released its first legal transparency report, revealing the levels and outcome of content takedown and user information requests on the platform in the first half of 2019. We delved into the data, which serves as a reminder of TikTok’s rapid growth, and highlighted why legal practitioners should be aware of its potential risks. Read more here.

WTR is inviting trademark professionals across the globe to participate in our annual Global Trademark Benchmarking Survey, which measures the pulse of the industry and tracks the latest trends. Read more here.

In our first news digest of the week, we looked at Facebook’s actions to combat deepfakes, Disney moving to protect Baby Yoda, Volvo scoring a US court win against Chinese counterfeiters, and much more. Read more here.


In an exclusive interview, we spoke to Marianne Privett and Francesca Rivers, co-chairs of IP Ability, a new community attempting to address diversity and inclusion challenges for neurodiverse and physically disabled IP professionals. Read more here.

An Indian court recently ruled that God's name was registrable as a trademark. We spoke to experts across four key jurisdictions about the risks that brands should be aware of before registering a religious name as a mark. Read more here.

THURSDAY 9 January

A new research paper has scrutinised the strategy of blending words into brand names, concluding that such activity could increase because “the supply of effective trademark is not inexhaustible”. We spoke to the author, who argued that this approach to brand naming could pay dividends. Read more here.

In the latest instalment in our regular series on marketplaces around the world that are reportedly notorious for being counterfeit havens, we headed to Belarus. Read more here.

FRIDAY 10 January

After WTR uncovered a newly filed EU trademark application that appears to be targeting the Sussex Royal brand associated with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, we argued that it is a reminder of the significant IP risks that they face in the wake of their global fame. Read more here.

High-end brands are not the only ones suffering the repercussions of social unrest in Hong Kong, with trademark activity on the local register plummeting – as our deep dive into filing data revealed. Read more here.

The European Commission has published its biennial report on the protection and enforcement of IP rights in third countries with some new additions to the priority list, as well as an update on the countries that require further monitoring. Read more here.

Shinsegae bowing out of a trademark spat, streetwear brands appropriating third-party logos, a Panda fight, and much more featured in our Friday news digest. Read more here.

Plus, we published 10 Legal Update articles, and an International Report, examining key trademark decisions and developments from across the globe:

  • CJEU on geographical designations of origin: German ‘Balsamico’ is permitted (European Union). Read more here.
  • Introduction of central opposition procedure for ARIPO marks (International). Read more here.
  • When ‘Nova Tela’ is as common as telenovelas (International). Read more here.
  • CNIPA: use of recycled beer bottle with exposed original trademark is illegal (China). Read more here.
  • CJEU finds genuine use of EU collective mark for packaging waste system (European Union). Read more here
  • Cookie crumbles against injunction granted to terminated trademark licensee (United States). Read more here.
  • Over 3,000 units of fake spirits and alcoholic beverages seized before end-of-year festivities (Peru). Read more here.
  • Blow for Chanel as district court holds that rebottling is not an act of infringement (Israel). Read more here.
  • New law on trademarks and GIs brings important changes (Bulgaria). Read more here.
  • CANNABIS decision: coffee and (space) cakes at the General Court (European Union). Read more here.
  • Identifying the rights holder of a trademark – how to do it and what it is for (Russia). Read more here.

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