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11 January 2017

PRET A MANGER held to be highly distinctive

The General Court has upheld the decision to reject an application for the mark PRET A DINER following opposition by Pret A Manger. The court found that the appeal lacked substantive arguments and the decision demonstrates that a high degree of distinctiveness and reputation will satisfy assessment purposes where there is a low degree of similarity between marks.

11 January 2017

Nestlé loses appeal over Kit Kat shape marks

The Court of Appeal has upheld the decision that Nestlé’s two-fingered and four-fingered KIT KAT shape marks lack inherent distinctiveness as they do not represent a significant departure from the norms of chocolate confectionery. The decision emphasises the fact that, unless there is evidence to prove that consumers are accustomed to recognising the shape of a product as a badge of trade origin, even evidence of substantial use is unlikely to assist.

09 January 2017

Insufficient distance between guitarist and former band's name

According to the decision in Commodores Entertainment Corporation v Thomas McClary, the doctrine of nominative fair use will not shield musicians from liability when they continue to feature their former band’s mark in promotional materials.

05 January 2017

Swarovski praises Alibaba Group suing counterfeiters; takes swipe at rival’s “lax IP enforcement”

Following a raft of coverage on Alibaba Group’s unprecedented decision to sue two vendors that sold fake watches on its Taobao marketplace platform, Swarovski has released a statement praising the move. The online giant has pledged more such actions but the response hasn’t all been positive, with e-commerce rival telling World Trademark Review that counterfeiters will continue to “flock” to Alibaba platforms and accusing it of “lax IP enforcement”.

12 October 2016

Low times for infringer: court finds owners personally liable for corporation’s infringement

In a recent decision involving allegations of trademark infringement and passing off, the Federal Court of Canada found the owners and directing minds of a corporation personally liable for the infringing activities of the corporation.

11 October 2016

Same, same but different – design infringement

A recent decision by the Federal Court of Australia in Hunter Pacific International Pty Ltd v Martec Pty Ltd is good news for registered design owners as it confirms that liability for design infringement is not avoided by tweaking a registered design to create minor differences.

10 October 2016

Trademark litigation on the rise in China, but foreign rights holders account for little

Trademark enforcement data emanating from China shows that civil infringement litigation is on the rise – perhaps indicating that the country’s courts are shaking off their negative image for unpredictable judgments and protectionist biases.

07 October 2016

Trademark associations should take ‘less dogmatic approach’ to plain packaging, expert urges

A panel of trademark experts have written what is claimed to be the first full-length legal and policy analysis of the IP aspects of regulatory measures affecting the packaging of certain health-related goods. Talking to World Trademark Review, a co-author of the work says that the tobacco industry’s fight against plain packaging is on the verge of defeat, and that IP associations must rethink their lobbying approach against similar measures.

05 October 2016

Key trademark service providers are Asia-bound with completion of $3.5 billion Thomson Reuters deal

Thomson Reuters’ $3.55 billion sale of its IP business to Baring Private Equity Asia and Onex Corporation completed this week in a deal that highlights the growing demand for trademark strategy services in the region.

05 October 2016


The Swiss Federal Administrative Court has overturned a decision of the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property which had affirmed an opposition from Campagnolo SPA based on its trademark CAMPAGNOLO (and design) against the trademark F.LLI CAMPAGNOLO, as the element CAMPAGNOLO was held to be descriptive.

03 October 2016

EU customs seizures skyrocketed in 2015; concerns raised that counterfeit issue being ‘massively underestimated’

The European Commission’s latest annual report into EU customs enforcement has found that the level of suspected counterfeit articles detained by authorities rose by 15% year-on-year, with the number of applications for action up by a startling 59% across the same time period. While the estimated value of the detailed articles totals nearly €650 million, one expert claims the report could be massively underestimating the scope of the problem.

30 September 2016

Goods versus services infringement in Indonesia

A longstanding dispute between PT Multicom Persada International and PT Data Citra Mandiri has highlighted the difference in assessing infringement claims between goods and services, specifically in retailing.

15 December 2016

Asia’s first global IP law firm reportedly set to exit European market if no buyer found

While talks with potential buyers continue, it has been suggested that multinational law firm and leading trademark practice King & Wood Mallesons could disappear from the European, Middle Eastern and North American markets as the financial situation at its regional branch takes its toll. It was reported today that the firm’s European arm could enter administration next month if a purchaser is not found.

15 December 2016

US government releases national IP strategy; concern over ‘introduction of shadow regulation’

While the community waits to see what impact a Donald Trump presidency has on the IP ecosystem in the US, the US government’s gears are still turning and this week it released the 2017-2019 US Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement. The report signals the key focus areas for federal government agencies over the coming few years. While welcomed by IP stakeholders, there have been accusations that the plan represents an effort to introduce shadow regulation for the online world.

14 December 2016

Niche fame dilution claim dismissed

The District Court for the Western District of California recently dismissed a dilution claim on the grounds that recognition in a “niche market or among a limited segment of individuals” did not meet the standard of fame under the Trademark Dilution Revision Act.