Five things you need to know – North America

Canada

Canada has remained on the watch list for this year’s Office of the US Trade Representative’s Special 301 Report. However, in the document, the US administration did point to positive developments, including its agreement to (and subsequent ratification of) the IP provisions in the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). It added: “Canada’s commitments under the USMCA will substantially improve its IP environment, addressing areas where there have been longstanding concerns, including enforcement against counterfeits, inspection of goods in transit, transparency with respect to new GIs, national treatment, copyright term, and patent term extensions for unreasonable patent office delays.”

United States

INTA has announced that it will be transforming its 2020 Annual Meeting and Leadership Meeting in November into a virtual event in response to the continuing uncertainty surrounding the worldwide covid-19 pandemic. From 11 to 13 November, committee and Leadership Meeting sessions will be scheduled for INTA volunteers and the Annual Meeting will take place from 16 to 20 November. “Cancelling the Annual Meeting has not been an option for us,” explained INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo. “While the path here has come with a heavy heart, we believe this forward-looking approach is the safest option right now and keeps registrants’ best interests in mind.”

United States

In Romag Fasteners Inc v Fossil Inc, the US Supreme Court has unanimously held that a plaintiff need not prove wilful infringement in order to recover profits from a trademark infringer. The case settled a split among the circuit appellate courts as to whether wilfulness is a requirement for recovering such monetary damages.

United States

The International Anti-counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) and Amazon have expanded their IACC-Amazon programme to allow participants to access insights into the counterfeit sales volumes of known infringers. The move is available to IACC member brands and will permit users to “leverage the sales information to focus their enforcement efforts and more efficiently partner with both law enforcement and Amazon to target the most egregious counterfeiters”, the organisation stated.

United States

Amazon has hit back at the inclusion of five of its platforms in the latest notorious markets list from the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) – describing the move as advancing a “personal vendetta” of the Trump administration. The USTR criticised various aspects of Amazon’s Canadian, French, German, Indian and UK platforms, including claims of misleading seller information and a “lengthy and burdensome” counterfeit removal process. However, the e-commerce giant responded: “We strongly disagree with the characterisation
of Amazon in this USTR report. This purely political act is another example of the Administration using the US government to advance a personal vendetta against Amazon.”

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