Trademark-related quotes, opinions and observations from around the globe

Nothing about Section 2(a) impedes the ability of members of society to discuss a trademark that was not registered by the PTO. Put simply, the court holds that cancelling the registrations of the Redskins marks under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act does not implicate the First Amendment as the cancellations do not burden, restrict or prohibit PFI’s ability to use the marks.

The District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia delivers a blow to the Washington Redskins, denying Pro Football Inc’s challenge to the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act on the grounds that it violates the First Amendment to the US Constitution and confirming that the REDSKINS marks should be cancelled (July 8 2015)

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has not said that banks must now disclose information to rights holders or even that banking secrecy laws cannot ever prevent the disclosure of personal data to rights holders: all it has said is that national laws must strike a fair balance between opposing fundamental rights in light of the specific characteristics of each IP right and, where appropriate, the intentional or unintentional character of the infringement. It is not a foregone conclusion that any national law which meets these requirements will result in personal data always being disclosed to a rights holder.

Gareth Dickson of Cooley (UK) LLP reacts to the ECJ’s decision in Coty Germany GmbH v Stadtsparkasse Magdeburg (Case C-580/13), which found that Article 8(3)(e) precluded a national rule that allowed banks to invoke banking secrecy unconditionally to reject requests for information (July 17 2015)

It’s really important to stop just replicating what we had before and try to think about what this technology offers the customer in terms of experiences that we couldn’t offer them previously. Once you do that, you will start producing value around 3D printing. I haven’t really seen any brands do this yet and it’s largely because they are so stuck on what they have already been doing.

Speaking on the World Trademark Review podcast, Francis Bitonti, founder of the Francis Bitonti Studio, urges brands to fundamentally rethink how they can utilise 3D printing (July 20 2015)

Look at this as a proactive opportunity. From an IP attorney perspective, yes you should protect; but in this kind of world you don’t protect to prevent innovation, but rather to make it easier to interact. There are so many different new business models out there that allow you to harness the technology and then let the market exploit what you are doing with it. Instead of running away from it, embrace it and look at how it’s going to interact with what’s key to your brand.

Justin Pierce, partner at Venable, urges counsel to regard 3D printing as an opportunity (July 20 2015)

Panama is an important gateway between North America and South America, but you also have the Panama Canal, which is a gateway between the Atlantic and the Pacific, and an expansion is currently underway. These factors fit well with our theme of internationalisation and make it an excellent place for our first Leadership Meeting outside the US. It’s also a huge free trade zone, so figures heavily into how brand owners deal with counterfeiting. To meet where this is the business of the day is great and it gives exposure to those ideas and themes in the local media and among local government officials – and allows us to continue our advocacy on behalf of brand owners.

International Trademark Association (INTA) President J Scott Evans expands on why INTA selected Panama as the location of its first major event in Latin America (July 27 2015)

If you look at the major casinos’ list of US trademarks, you’ll see they have absolutely flooded Class 9, which is also home to video games. Many of these larger casino companies will send around a plethora of cease and desist letters to small-time video game developers who have created gaming apps. These major casino companies will come at the developer with some twisted logic that since gambling machines are games, it makes perfect sense that the public would consider the two coming from the same source.

Ryan Morrison of the Law Offices of Ryan P Morrison comments on the friction between video game and casino games operators, whose goods and services are both covered by Class 9 (July 30 2015)

The presence of unauthorised games bearing our logos, unfortunately, jeopardises the high quality associated with our brands by misleading our consumers into believing a third-party game is in some way authorised or associated with our games. Importantly, this confusion leads to the consumer simply not getting the game experience they have come to expect from Bally. Like almost all owners of valuable IP interests, we are put in the difficult position of having to protect the high quality of products and services provided to our customers through enforcement actions.

A spokesperson for Bally Technologies, manufacturer of slot machines and gaming technology, expands on the responsibility to police its marks (July 30 2015)

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