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19 November 2012

Strawman to the rescue? Details of latest gTLD trademark discussions published

While news was breaking that ICANN’s long-serving chief strategy officer Kurt Pritz had resigned “because of a recently identified conflict of interest”, president Fadi Chehadé was meeting with stakeholder representatives in Los Angeles to complete implementation discussions on the Trademark Clearinghouse and its associated rights protection mechanisms (RPMs). The discussions attempted to find a middle ground on RPMs, but are already the subject of concern among some stakeholders.

13 November 2012

Brand owners and filmmakers can both learn from Flight trademark quandary

This month saw the release of Flight, a film that tells the story of an alcoholic airline pilot. Throughout the movie, the protagonist can be seen indulging in a range of brand-name alcoholic beverages. The depiction of real-life brands in the film raises the issue of how much influence rights holders have over use of their marks in artistic works – and provides pointers for filmmakers to avoid costly disputes with trademark owners.

08 November 2012

Counsel will need to spare 178 years to check just one day’s worth of AdWords for infringement

Last week, WTR reported on the landmark settlement that ended the long-running keyword dispute between Google and Rosetta Stone. Research released in the week leading up to the settlement underlines the value that keywords create for Google – and the challenge of mind-boggling proportions that they pose for trademark counsel.

05 November 2012

Top 10 legal updates for October

The most-read WTR Premium Updates for October focused on the conclusion of a long-running Community design dispute, with the ECJ clarifying the test for comparing the overall impression of two designs.

05 November 2012

Top 10 trademark news stories for October

Plain packaging topped the trademark agenda for WTR in October, with the top two most-read blogs focusing on Australia’s looming regime and what it may mean for trademark counsel outside the tobacco industry.

02 November 2012

Imagine… a world without trademarks

Recently there have been signs that regulatory authorities in India were considering the prohibition of brand names for pharmaceutical products; while elsewhere, the march towards plain packaging for tobacco products continues – with warnings that such legislation could creep into other sectors. Being forced into defending the very concept of trademarks is a headache that counsel can do without – but there is a need to educate the public on the benefits of trademarks.

03 February 2012

Struggling to stand out – the identity challenge facing automotive brands

The perceived difference between the top car brands and their challengers is lessening, according to new research. Focused wholly on US consumers’ brand perception, rather than automotive quality, the research highlights the challenges facing auto industry companies in differentiating their offering.

31 January 2012

Encouraging piracy or responsible policing? Angry Birds looks to the benefits of counterfeiting

While debate rages over legislative proposals to tackle piracy, the company behind one of the world’s most successful game franchises has taken a swipe at the approach of some industries, suggesting that ‘quality’ fakes can help increase customer engagement with legitimate brands.

30 January 2012

List of the top ‘trademark bullies’ renews debate on enforcement strategies

Last week, media reports latched onto the ‘trademark bullies’ label being applied to such companies as Apple and Zynga. The coverage followed the launch of a ranking of the top trademark bullies, defined according to the number of oppositions filed. While the list has renewed the debate over what constitutes bullying, one brand owner told WTR the rankings could be seen as a positive endorsement of in-house team efforts.

26 January 2012

Online protest spreads to Europe as countries sign up to ACTA (updated)

Last week, the power of online protest was demonstrated when PROTECT IP and SOPA seemingly stalled in the US legislature following the high-profile closure of websites which objected to the planned acts. Online action has now reached Europe, with the Polish government under attack over its intention to sign ACTA. Despite the protests, the signing went ahead today as planned.

25 January 2012

Obama’s State of the Union address makes tackling counterfeits a priority

President Obama placed the fight against counterfeit goods firmly on the political agenda last night, using his State of the Union address in Washington DC to outline plans for a trade enforcement unit.

20 January 2012

Concern voiced over proposed EU Customs Regulation changes

Proposed changes to the EU Customs Regulation are designed to reinforce the current legal framework for customs' actions, as well as tackling the trade in small consignments of counterfeit goods sent by post. However, this week commentators expressed disappointment over the scope of the proposals.

12 January 2012

A missed opportunity to address the lookalikes problem?

In a presentation at the European Parliament, Nunzia Varricchio, chair of MARQUES, has lamented the fact that the European Commission’s review of the trademark system has not taken the opportunity to tackle inconsistencies in the treatment of lookalikes, leaving brand owners to navigate a complex maze of legislation.

15 December 2011

Apple’s iPad problems in China: the tip of the iceberg for Western companies?

Apple’s recent travails in China over its IPAD trademark have generated numerous headlines across the globe. However, missing in much of the analysis is practical advice on how others can avoid a similar situation occurring. As one commentator notes, the Apple example is merely the tip of the iceberg.

14 December 2011

'.xxx' registry takes the initiative in trademark takedowns

With media headlines focusing on cybersquatting activities in the ‘.xxx’ TLD, ICM Registry has been quick to react – by suspending obviously infringing registrations.