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18 October 2010

Cyber terrorists attack tech-savvy trademark office

Just as the USPTO received its two millionth electronic trademark application, proving the demand for high-tech registries, one of the finest IP offices in the world has fallen to its knees at the hands of copyright reform campaigners. Operation Payback, which attacks what it calls "the reign of extreme pro-copyright" organisations, this weekend denied trademark owners access to the online services of the UK IPO. The news comes on the day that the UK government reveals that cyber attacks are among the greatest threat to the United Kingdom.

18 October 2010

Will the USPTO be able to identify the trademark bullies?

Seven months ago President Obama gave the green light to a study into mark owners' litigation tactics, with commentators wondering whether it would be able to reach any concrete conclusions on the emotive issue of trademark bullying. While the answer has moved a step closer following a request for comments on the issue, it is crucial that large brand owners engage with the consultation period to ensure any recommendations are based on a wide spectrum of views.

15 October 2010

ACTA reaction is in, but questions remain over implementation

Having had a week to digest the full text of the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), industry is now reacting to the provisions contained in the treaty. While the broad scope of the document remains a concern, an interesting question is whether ACTA actually fits alongside existing EU and US law.

12 October 2010

New bill may not end cybersquatting but does send a warning to ICANN

While Senator Leahy’s proposed Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act will not automatically put an end to cybersquatting, participants at the Online Brand Abuse and Internet Governance Forum have argued the proposed law sends out a warning to ICANN prior to negotiations over the renewal of its charter.

08 October 2010

Three years in the making, ACTA arrives and invites deep review

Trademark owners around the world are scouring the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement now that negotiators have concluded the drafting process, with the International Trademark Association especially keen to conduct its own review of the treaty.

07 October 2010

US vote-hunters need to make IP a political issue

US politicians are scrabbling around for votes ahead of the November 2 mid-term elections. That business needs increased support is a non-partisan policy. But, while each party proposes different stimuli for commerce, they are united when it comes to ignoring intellectual property.

06 October 2010

Now the stats prove that brands fear for trademarks in new gTLDs

Over recent months, WTR's coverage of the trademark issues surrounding new generic top-level domains has shifted from policy matters to practical strategy. And now our exclusive survey has revealed vast differences in how in-house trademark counsel are approaching the issue of brand protection in the expanded domain space.

01 October 2010

Did LEGO try to stretch the CTM too far?

The former in-house counsel from MEGA Brands, the company which has now completed its demolition of LEGO's attempts to register a 3D CTM for its classic brick shape, has told WTR that LEGO tried to stretch the unitary right too far.

29 September 2010

No more sunrise surprise: will an umbrella clearinghouse appease trademark owners?

If there is one thing that trademark owners resent more than having to validate their registrations during the sunrise period of a new domain launch, it's having to do it countless times under different policies. The forthcoming introduction of hundreds of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) will compound the problem – but could plans for an umbrella clearinghouse save brand owners a major headache?

23 September 2010

WIPO opens global IP law database, but watch for errors

WIPO has launched what it describes as a "one-stop search facility" which compiles for the first time online all the national IP laws and treaties of WIPO, WTO and UN member states. WIPO Lex looks to be a valuable tool, but one early user has already spotted the inclusion of an abandoned law.

22 September 2010

Canada's police force sounds ready to give up on IP enforcement

Read Canada's newly published report on the extent of the counterfeiting problem and you would think that the Canadian police are so overwhelmed by fakes that they are about to give up the fight. In fact, the police might just be throwing a political football to the government as a way of asking for help – but is this call for help going to fall on deaf ears?

20 September 2010

OHIM president signs off with a warning for national trademark offices

With just over a week until he hands over the OHIM presidency, rather than go quietly into the night Wubbo de Boer has made clear his personal views on how the organisation should structure the renewal fee split and balance the budget. As expected, the interests of users were high on the agenda, with a warning to national offices that the receipt of OHIM funds needs to be justified.

16 September 2010

Bloodthirsty trademark protection services see dollar signs in social media

Trademark conference exhibition halls have become gladiatorial arenas in which non-legal trademark service providers battle each other with plasma screens and soft furnishings. This situation is the natural result of a pervasive internet, which invites innovative business models around the challenges trademark owners face daily. The new battleground is social network usernames, which could become as burdensome as domain names.

14 September 2010

Google picks a fight in Europe as brand owners prepare for the worst

Google has rejected calls to work more closely with brand owners and today liberalises its AdWords programme in Europe. The new rules, which allow advertisers to include third-party trademark terms in ad text, have been "strongly criticised" by trademark owner groups.

13 September 2010

Oracle challenges Euro-defences, foresees cheaper enforcement

US computer hardware manufacturer Oracle has told WTR it is "confident that both its position on the facts and its arguments on the law will be upheld" in its opposition of parallel importers' reliance on so-called ‘Euro-defences’. Success would reduce a parallel importer's ability to avoid summary judgment by raising a Euro-defence and save other brand owners the expense of going to trial.