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13 July 2010

Subscriber alert: a fully interactive digital version of WTR is now available

The latest addition to the World Trademark Review platform is an interactive, digital version of the magazine, allowing subscribers to bookmark pages for easy reference, highlight passages of interest, add notes and search the entire issue for key terms. The service is now live and we would like to know what you think of it.

12 July 2010

Big brands have only days to block the '.co' cybersquatters

The Colombians are no doubt planning a big party. It seems that their well-funded attempt to turn the '.co' country-code top-level domain into a global alternative to '.com' may well pay off: over half of the top 500 global brands have signed up for a '.co' already. However, WTR has seen a list of domains invalidated during the sunrise period which suggests that the cybersquatters are circling - and brand owners have just days to protect some well-known marks.

08 July 2010

Are trademark owners served best by large firms or small firms?

Of course, the answer might be: "a firm somewhere in between". Or probably: "it depends". Or even: "it doesn't matter - the expertise of the individual is what counts”. After all, the market for trademark legal services is deeply complex, with clients requiring specific legal expertise and broad business strategy at the same time. Not content with asking the question, WTR has set about identifying the brightest individuals and the strongest firms from around the world, those who can boast the attributes clients demand - and we want your help.

07 July 2010

Trademark owners beware: augmented reality can pollute your brand

There's a new form of trademark infringement on the horizon. For the past few years, brand owners have been scratching their heads over what to do when third parties use their trademarks in online games and virtual worlds. The merging of parody, free speech and trademark infringement has led brands into some murky waters. Now programmers have come up with a new way to play with brand value: augmented reality.

06 July 2010

Time to finalize your new gTLD trademark enforcement strategy

Trademark lawyers may be fed up with talking about the new gTLD programme, but many are also morbidly fascinated by it. These individuals will be interested in a new list of prospective applicants. It is fascinating to see the diversity of new gTLDs and consider gloomily how they may infringe on trademarks owned by some of the world's best brands. If '.money' or '.car' take off and brand owners from the relevant sectors have no strategy to respond, imagine the consequences.

01 July 2010

Exploitation or business as usual? Navigating the ambush marketing minefield

It is rare that trademark disputes grab global headlines in the way that recent ambush marketing activities in South Africa have. Much of the coverage has focused on those who blatantly flout the laws passed to deter these activities - often overlooked are the brands which want to carry on with legitimate marketing efforts while an event takes place. Yet how easy is it to actually walk the thin line between ‘business as usual' and accusations of exploitation? WTR put this question to Nike.

24 June 2010

Trademark community finally breaks out of the doghouse at ICANN meeting

For years, trademark owners have been stuck in the doghouse when it came to policy development at ICANN, especially with regard to new generic top-level domains. But at the current ICANN meeting in Brussels, brand owners decided to focus their policy development strategy on brands, rather than the legal intricacies of trademarks – which has created some interesting debate.

16 June 2010

The big business potential of trademark and domain name service providers

No trademark counsel finds it easy to win more budget from senior management. This battle becomes even trickier when the argument is made on behalf of a company that the trademark counsel wants to hire for its domain name and internet-related services. Many counsel do not know how to convince senior management why they should allocate the budget for such spend. This was the subject of a conversation I had recently with David Gandy, managing director of Group NBT's corporate brand management division.

10 June 2010

Will BP, Mars and British Airways win in the latest domain landrush?

Few brands are powerful enough to require only one or two characters for consumers to recognize them. Among this select group are some of the world's most distinctive brands: BA, BP, HP, M&Ms and VW. These brands and their two-character peers may have solid trademark protection but will that be enough in the new '.co.uk' domain space?

08 June 2010

First communiqué from new UK IP minister dodges trademarks

The minister appointed by the new British government to cover intellectual property has written a brief statement outlining the importance of her new beat. It is delightful to see Baroness Judith Wilcox acknowledge that "since the mid-1990s, UK firms of all types have been investing more in ‘knowledge’ or intangible assets than they have in traditional capital". Other governments around the world would do well to recognize this, but so few have ministers whose role specifically includes intellectual property - even though the new government adapted the portfolio somewhat.

03 June 2010

Should BP's trademark team be airdropped into the Gulf?

As brand strategists wallow in the horror of BP's brand disaster, here at WTR we're wondering whether the trademark team could have been better positioned to help the company prepare for a brand implosion.

28 May 2010

European trademarks saved by new gTLD clearinghouse rule, but details sketchy

Trademarks that have undergone examination based only on absolute grounds of refusal will be welcomed into the Trademark Clearinghouse proposed for the new gTLD space, WTR has learnt. The news came from Kurt Pritz, senior vice president, services, at ICANN, who was speaking at a roundtable hosted this morning by the UK IPO.

26 May 2010

Leading in-house counsel honoured at WTR Industry Awards ceremony

Last night, WTR celebrated the best in-house trademark counsel in the industry at the fourth annual Industry Awards ceremony. Among those honoured were teams from Apple, Nokia, L'Oréal and MasterCard.

25 May 2010

The ever-changing world of trademarks - direct from the INTA annual meeting

The unofficial theme of this year’s INTA annual meeting is change. This theme may have taken two years to filter down to trademarks from a certain election campaign but boy has it arrived.

17 May 2010

UK ponders trademark protection for two-character domains

With the UK yet to release one- and two-character domains, registry Nominet is canvassing for feedback on the proposed introduction process. Brand owners would be advised to get involved to avoid a repeat of the German experience, where the lack of a sunrise period resulted in a free-for-all for key domains.