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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.

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?

07 September 2010

Google investigation must consider trademarks and AdWords

The news that Google is being investigated on antitrust concerns is perhaps not surprising, but the fact that regulators may study Google's keywords policies certainly is. However, the possibility that it will consider the impact of AdWords policies – set to change in Europe next week – is why trademark owners should watch this investigation unfold.

02 September 2010

Is the tide turning in the controversy over what to do about counterfeits?

On Monday, UK brand owners and law enforcement officers raided a counterfeit market at a racecourse, seizing hundreds of fake goods. On Tuesday, they opened the newspaper to a report entitled "Fake goods are fine, says EU study". This is a somewhat stretchy interpretation of the research. But its author has nevertheless angered the IP community.

20 July 2010

Your last chance to delay the gTLD trademark time bomb (probably)

Trademark owners concerned that the forthcoming expansion of the gTLD space will leave their rights open to infringement are rapidly running out of time. ICANN will soon close the latest round of comments - expected by many observers to be the last for a draft applicant guidebook (DAG).

16 July 2010

"Dialogue" alone won't purge auction sites of counterfeits

For auction sites, the removal of items from their listings dents their business models. The likes of eBay and Amazon Marketplace are publicly in agreement with brand owners that the deletion of fake goods from auction sites is in everyone's best interests. While this position is welcomed by brand owners, a way through the issue is more elusive than cybersquatters' WHOIS data.

14 July 2010

Political machinations threaten core mission of EU trademarks office

The European Union can be a very peculiar place. As readers of this blog will know, the community may soon add enforcement and anti-counterfeiting to the remit of its financially successful trademark registry, OHIM. For many, it is a strange proposal, and OHIM president Wubbo de Boer has now echoed trademark owners' fears that the idea may be underpinned by political and financial motivations.

28 June 2010

European politicians are alive to the business of trademarks

While the Community trademark (CTM) system has long been a contentious topic, it is now baking in the heat of political point-scoring by trademark owners, national offices and Eurocrats alike. Germany's Klaus-Heiner Lehne MEP, chair of the European Parliament's legal affairs committee, last week outlined his belief that use in one member state constitutes genuine use and that, although the study into the future of the trademark system is still underway, Parliament would make sure that reform will not weaken the system.

22 June 2010

Bold promises from the IP czar's shiny joint strategic plan

Among the many detailed ideas included in the Joint Strategic Plan, published today by President Obama's IP enforcement coordinator, is the promise of the government to help and listen to "victims" (clarified as rights holders) of IP infringement - and even a full review of IP laws.

22 June 2010

USPTO looks beyond the Next Generation

It was three months ago that David Kappos, director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, unveiled the Trademark Next Generation project, asking for suggestions on the IT functionality users would like to see as the the agency moved towards end-to-end electronic processing. This week, in an exclusive interview with WTR, Kappos outlined the approach being taken to create a system that will continue to change with the times.

21 June 2010

WTR briefed by researchers on EU trademark study

Who would have thought that trademark owners are a diverse bunch with divergent opinions? That is one of the more fascinating trends emerging from the study into the European trademark system. So it was pleasing to hear the researchers from the Max Planck Institute who are conducting the study acknowledge this when I met two of them earlier today. Roland Knaak, head of the research team, told me: "It is interesting for us to see the divergent opinions and positions of some of the user associations. Many have quite different opinions, for example, on the question of how further harmonization should be achieved."

17 June 2010

Although the trademark lobby will not win on new gTLDs, it must still try

After years of lobbying by a high-profile group of brand owners and stakeholders, trademark issues will be high on the agenda at next week's ICANN meeting. However, the trademark lobby faces a serious problem in Brussels: the rest of the ICANN community has never welcomed trademark owners and is now starting to get angry with their pleas. So while trademark owners retain serious misgivings for the latest proposed trademark protection measures, it is unlikely that the rest of the ICANN community will allow them to be voiced.

14 June 2010

Users cannot provide a united front against European challenges

"The books are open again," I was recently told by Alexander von Mühlendahl, co-founder of the CTM system, referring to the comprehensiveness of the study into the European trademark system. The sheer scope of the study means that the Max Planck researchers are collecting diverse opinions on issues such as genuine use - even from users, the one group you'd think would have a united stance.

11 June 2010

Indian IPO speaks out against fresh corruption allegations

For the first time since his successful modernizing reform process began 18 months ago, the head of the Indian patent and trademark office has a tricky PR situation on his hands. PH Kurian's office is under fire for allegedly "spinning off" its trademark function, with one attorney arguing that this "will shift the system back to its inefficient past". To find out what was going on, WTR spoke to Kurian.