On 7 June 2018 a new trademark regulation entered into force. Among other things, the new regulation more clearly defines different types of trademark and representation requirements for the most common traditional and non-traditional trademarks. The regulation was accompanied by the introduction of official fees for newly established Albanian Patent and Trademark Office procedures and an increase in certain existing official fees by an average of 10%.
The Cuban Ministry of the Interior has enacted the country’s first specific consumer protection rules, which affect all aspects of commercial trade (including e-commerce) and which are designed to protect consumers against false or misleading commercial advertising and unfair practices. Crucially, the rules also provide financial penalties for failure to comply. “As more businesses expand their marketing into Cuba, it’s critical that they comply with Cuba’s emerging consumer protection rules,” observes Jeffrey A Greenbaum, Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance chairman and managing partner of Frankfurt Kurnit.
In landmark decision Louboutin v Van Haren Schoenen BV, the European Court of Justice has ruled that it cannot be held that a sign consists of a shape where the registration did not seek to protect that shape but rather sought to protect the application of a colour to a specific part of a product. The decision has been welcomed by Louboutin, which notes that it strengthens protection for the company’s red sole mark.
The Permanent Representatives Committee of the European Union has recommended that Christian Archambeau – currently the acting general director of the EUIPO – be appointed to the role on a permanent basis. The last stage in the appointment process is for the recommendation to be formalised by the Council of the European Union.
The EUIPO has provided an update on a case against trademark scammers, confirming that on 4 April 2018 the Supreme Court of Sweden refused leave to appeal against a Svea Court of Appeal judgment handed down in December 2017. That judgment saw fraudsters who had sent misleading invoices to EU trademark owners under the letterhead ‘OMIH’ sentenced to imprisonment for completed gross fraud. The appeal court also approved all claims for damages presented by some of the recipients who had made payments after they received fraudulent invoices.
The Kenyan authorities have published the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2018, which provides for amendments to several laws. The most significant change to the Anti-counterfeiting Act is the creation of a dual trademark registration system. Under the new rules, all marks relating to goods to be imported into Kenya will need to be recorded with the Anticounterfeiting Authority.
The IP Office of the Philippines and the Department of Trade and Industry have announced that they will expand a programme to waive trademark application fees for small businesses. Specifically, over 1,000 more applications will be offered for free to local micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. The so-called Juana Make a Mark programme will be effective until 14 February 2019.
New IP officials have been appointed through a resolution published in the Venezuelan Official Gazette on 12 July 2018. Amado Enrique Maestri Loyo, who has worked in the registry office for many years, is the new director of trademarks and patents. Isabel Cristina Piña Sierralta has been appointed as the head of the Copyright Office, while Mayra Alejandra Pascual Guzmán has been appointed as legal counsel.
A new competition law, which has been passed by the National Assembly, will enter into force on 1 July 2019. In light of the changes introduced by the law, the alternative procedure for challenging certain IP-related unfair competition acts before the National Competition Authority may no longer be available to brand owners.