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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."

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.

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

You have 10 minutes to outline your thoughts on the European trademark system

Now the ash cloud has dispersed, trademark owners will today meet the Max Planck Institute researchers conducting the study into the functionality of the European trademark system. Unfortunately, each user association will only have 10 minutes to detail their concerns.

07 June 2010

IP community shakes its head as the URS piles on the pounds

The proposed Uniform Rapid Suspension system is becoming heavier by the day - and simultaneously losing potency. This reality is gradually trickling through the IP community as active members read through the fourth version of the Draft Applicant Guidebook, the manual for applying for a new generic top-level domain. It appears that the URS, one of the oldest proposals to protect trademark rights in the new space, has become heavily burdened in the course of the various ICANN processes.

04 June 2010

USPTO powers up for futuristic trademark services (with help from Google)

Keen readers of this blog will be familiar with the push for free trademark data. Over the past year, we have reported on various initiatives to open up trademark registers around the world. Today WIPO launches its free WIPO Gold service to provide IP data to the public via a web portal that is reminiscent of an old WTR front cover. In the US, following our revelation that the USPTO was searching for a partner that could open up the US trademark database, the organization looked no further than info-troll Google, which has just published bulk US trademark data for all to see.

02 June 2010

Is Canada finally preparing to join the 21st Century?

The wheels at the Canadian IP Office are grinding forward - but they are moving at least. Long regarded as one of the most backward IP offices among its peers in the G8 countries, CIPO is now pushing for amendments to Canada's Trademarks Act. The goal, top officials recently told WTR, is accession to the Madrid Protocol and the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademark.

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.

24 May 2010

As INTA kicks off, it's clear that trademarks are back

In hotel lobbies and conference centre hallways there is much more of a buzz this year than last at the INTA annual meeting. After two years of cutbacks, trademarks are definitely back. "Hats off to the programme producers," says Brian Banner, veteran trademark attorney who is in town to launch his new firm, H&A IP Law. "There really is something for everyone." Everyone who is interested in trademarks, of course. With 8,000 people in Boston for the meeting, that is a lot of people.

14 May 2010

Europe's anti-counterfeiting team between a rock and a hard place

The European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy is to hold its first events at the European Parliament from June 21 - 25. The week will include exhibitions, information sessions, short films and ceremonies to raise the profile of the observatory and awareness of the issues surrounding counterfeiting and piracy. These are commendable activities, so why does a question mark hang over the location of the observatory?

11 May 2010

Mark owners feel ignored, but will the European Commission listen?

European trademark owners are on the warpath. They are already unconvinced that the study into the EU trademark system is listening to their opinions, and now there is dismay that the European Council is trying to force the OHIM to commence anti-counterfeiting work and the 50% split of CTM renewal fees with national offices. So they are going right to the top: user association MARQUES today meets with the European Commission to try and explain why now is not the time to start work on these areas.

10 May 2010

It looks like the USPTO desires free trademark data for all, too

Here's a gentle whisper from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It appears that the agency is searching for a partner that can help it open up its trademark register to the public free of charge. The USPTO, which already operates a searchable trademark database, made noises last year about developing its technology in the interests of transparency and user experience.

07 May 2010

Campinos edges closer to OHIM's presidential chair

The European Union's Permanent Representatives Committee has recommended the approval by the European Council of Antonio Campinos as president and Christian Archambeau as vice president of the OHIM, WTR has learnt. The final decision now lies with the European Council, which will meet later this month to discuss the appointments.

30 April 2010

Is the Special 301 Report out of date?

The Special 301 Report is starting to look tired. Not only will ACTA be a much stronger instrument in stopping the counterfeit trade, but the White House plan to fight IP theft through better stakeholder coordination sounds like a much more sensible approach to the problem.