WIPO considers Azerbaijan office, Caribbean nations urged to monetise intellectual property and India ponders packaging law change: news round-up

Every Tuesday and Friday World Trademark Review presents a round-up of news, developments and insights from across the trademark sphere. In today’s edition, we look at the Indian government considering a change to packaging laws following pressure from European brands, WIPO mulling a new office in Azerbaijan and much more. Coverage this time from Trevor Little (TL), Tim Lince (TJL), Adam Houldsworth (AH) and Timothy Au (TA).

Legal Radar:

Campinos to EPO? – German legal magazine JUVE is reporting that António Campinos, the current head of the EUIPO, is set to be elected president of the European Patent Office (EPO). Claiming to have heard from the EPO’s board of directors, it is understood the search for a new EPO president has “produced few suitable candidates”, with Campinos expected to be selected today and to succeed president Benoît Battistelli from July next year. Our sister title IAM understands that the other candidate for the role is Cuno Tarfusser of Italy, who is a judge at the ICC and has no IP background. “Hard to see anything other than a clear Campinos win,” is the general consensus – and, if true (update: it's true and here's our analysis), it will be a hefty loss for the EUIPO, and speculation is already underway about who will fill his shoes in Alicante... (TJL)

Indian government may change packaging rules following brand pressure – The Indian government is considering changing labelling laws in response to lobbying by the European Business Group, according to the Times of India. The group of prominent European brands – including IKEA, Decathlon and Hennes & Mauritz – is seeking alterations to the country’s packaging regulations, which currently require companies to state a maximum retail price and date of manufacture on their goods. It argues that such requirements are often unnecessary and significantly increase production costs. (AH)

Caribbean countries should monetise IP, says Jamaican minister – Jamaica’s minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sports, Olivia Grange, has argued for greater emphasis on IP commercialisation by Caribbean nations. “We are operating in a time and space when monetising intellectual property related to our creativity has become an imperative”, she recently told the Association of Caribbean Copyright Societies. This was because traditional export sectors had faltered and Caribbean countries had failed so far to reap the benefits of their creativity, she further claimed. These comments follow a number of efforts by Grange to promote the importance of IP in the region: as reported in a previous World Trademark Review round-up, she lately declared that Jamaica would join the Madrid Protocol; an announcement which came at the end of a two-day conference on the strategic uses IP organised by her department. (AH)

WIPO considering Azerbaijan office – The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) may open an office in Azerbaijan, according to News.az. The news come as director general Francis Gurry met with chairman of the country’s Azerbaijan’s state committee on standardization, metrology and patents, Ramiz Hasanov, in Switzerland last week. Outside of Geneva, WIPO currently has offices in Brazil, China, Japan, Moscow, Singapore and the United States. (TJL)

Freight industry congress hears counterfeiting concerns from brand representative – A brand owner representative has, for the first time, addressed the annual conference of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA). Speaking last week at the organisation’s 56th World Congress, Meena Sayal, Unilever’s Director of Global Brand Protection, reiterated trademark holders’ concerns about the widespread use of container shipping for counterfeit trade – an issue previously analysed by World Trademark Review (here and here). Representing the International Chamber of Commerce’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), she discussed ongoing collaborative efforts to the ameliorate the problem; BASCAP and FIATA are among the initial signatories of the 2016 Declaration of Intent to Prevent the Maritime Transport of Counterfeit Goods, the first such declaration promoting cooperation between brands and freight companies in the global fight against fakes. (AH)

On the move:

Bird & Bird to open shop in the US – International outfit Bird & Bird has announced it will open its first US representative office in mid-2018. The office will be located in San Francisco and will be helmed by Stefano Silvestri, the co-head of the firm’s International Corporate Group currently based in Milan, and Nick Aries, a London-based IP partner. With 28 offices around the world and a robust IP practice, Bird & Bird features prominently in the WTR 1000 – in the latest edition, it is featured in 17 jurisdictions. (TA)

Senior telecoms lawyer returns to Hill Dickinson – Tracey Sheehan, a senior lawyer in the telecommunications industry, has re-joined Hill Dickinson, a global commercial law firm, as a partner and head of telecoms. Sheehan left the firm in 1998 but returns after various stints at other law firms, most recently at Dentons. She will be based in Manchester, and will shore the firm’s commercial and IP team. (TA)

Cleaver Fulton Rankin sets up brand protection team – Belfast-based law firm Cleaver Fulton Rankin has established a brand protection team, including defamation, IP and data protection experts. The new department, according to its leader Alan McAlister, will satisfy clients’ growing need for protection of their reputations from the risks associated with increased online activity. (AH)

New trademark leader at Marks & Clerk – UK-based international IP service provider Marks & Clerk has announced the appointment of Tom Farrand as its new head of trademarks for its UK business. Farrand is a UK registered trademark attorney and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys. He was formerly the managing director of trademarks at IP consultancy Novagraaf. (TA)

Media watch:

Kane able to get registered rights? – We’ve written before about football players seeking registered trademark protection for their name and, in some cases, their own personal logo or nickname. On our last count, Neymar – who recently transferred from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint Germain for an incredible £198 million – has the most trademarks of any current football player, with 47 in total. His former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi is just behind with 33. Now, as The Sun reported on Sunday, England player Harry Kane is looking to get in on the trademark bandwagon. The Premier League star attained registered rights for his name last year, and The Sun expects his personal brand “could earn him £10m a year in marketing deals alone over the next five seasons” (on top of his his £5m-a-year wages). With that kind of potential income from having registered protection, expect more players to lodge trademark applications in the future... (TJL)

And finally…

What are you doing next Tuesday? World Trademark Review is hosting the third annual Managing Trademark Assets on Tuesday October 17 in Chicago, with the bookings window for the few remaining seats closing on Friday. The event programme will take a deep dive into the cost-effective management and communication of international portfolios, with attendees receiving updates and guidance on best practice from a range of industry professionals. Amongst the companies represented on our stellar speaking faculty are Adobe Systems, Enterprise Holdings, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Rotary International, Time Inc and Zippo Manufacturing Company. Click here for full details on the event and to book your place. (TL)

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