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25 September 2015

Major win for Tiffany as court finds that 'Tiffany' is not generic term for ring setting

In a significant win for luxury jeweller Tiffany, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York has held that TIFFANY is a protectable mark and not merely a generic term for a type of ring setting. The court found that Costco had infringed the jeweller’s mark by selling diamond rings described as 'Tiffany' rings, and that its behaviour rose to the level of “wanton dishonesty” warranting punitive damages under state law.

15 May 2015

Etsy stock dive highlights role investors play in fight against counterfeiting

An analyst report into online marketplace Etsy has issued a stark warning about the large proportion of potentially infringing items being sold on the site, causing the company’s stock to plummet. While sending a clear signal to trademark counsel that they need to ensure the platform is in their policing plans, the positive takeaway is the hesitancy investors exhibit when faced with sites that sell allegedly infringing items.

24 November 2014

Fifth Circuit gives WWE the green light to 'smackdown' counterfeiters

In World Wrestling Entertainment Inc v Unidentified Parties, which involved the sale of unauthorised WWE products, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has vacated a district court decision refusing to issue ex parte seizure and temporary restraining orders. The Fifth Circuit found that the specific identities of the unnamed defendants were not as crucial to the evaluation of the case as the district court thought.

13 October 2014

Gucci and Tiffany dealt blow in case against Chinese banks

Gucci’s and Tiffany’s attempts to freeze assets located in Chinese banks have hit a roadblock. While the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a court’s authority to freeze assets under the Lanham Act - further cementing one of the most successful tools that brands have against counterfeiting - it made clear that a district court may enforce an injunction against a non-party only where it has personal jurisdiction over that non-party.

22 September 2014

Flea market owner potentially liable for contributory infringement

In Coach Inc v Sapatis, a district court has denied summary judgment to the owner, manager and sole member of the limited liability corporation that owns and operates a New Hampshire flea market. Among other things, the court found that the owner’s personal contributory liability depended on her own knowledge and control over the vendors’ alleged infringement, regardless of whether her actions or omissions were taken in an official or personal capacity.

15 January 2014

Website activity alone sufficient to confer personal jurisdiction over non-resident website operator

In Louis Vuitton Malletier SA v Mosseri, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has affirmed the lower court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to vacate default judgment, holding that the defendant’s activities fell within the Florida long-arm statute and that a finding of personal jurisdiction did not offend the traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.

31 October 2013

Richemont ruling against TradeKey is a victory for all brand owners

Pakistan-based online B2B trading platform TradeKey has been found liable for contributory trademark counterfeiting by a California federal court in a case brought by Swiss luxury brand owner Richemont. The court’s decision – which includes a permanent injunction against TradeKey – illustrates how brand owners can hold overseas-based e-commerce sites accountable for selling fake goods.

21 June 2013

New US study into the economic impact of IP due in December

The Executive Office of the President of the United States released its 2013 strategic plan for IP enforcement yesterday. Following the release last year of the US Department of Commerce study into the impact of IP-intensive industries, the White House promises a regular, annual report into the economic benefits of IP and calls for enhanced public engagement on the issues of counterfeiting and piracy.

20 June 2013

Flea market operator liable for contributory infringement due to sales by vendors

In Coach Inc v Goodfellow, dba The Southwest Flea Market, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has affirmed a district court decision granting summary judgment to Coach Inc and Coach Services Inc holding the owner of a flea market liable for contributory trademark infringement due to the sale of counterfeit Coach products by vendors selling at his flea market.

18 June 2013

Opinions split over New York bill to tackle counterfeit demand

Proposals to make the knowing purchase of counterfeit goods a criminal offence have been the subject of debate by New York council's Public Safety Committee – with opinions split over the best way to tackle demand for fake goods.

01 November 2012

Adversaries become partners as Google and Rosetta Stone end keywords dispute

Rosetta Stone Inc and Google have jointly announced an agreement to dismiss the three-year old trademark infringement lawsuit between the two parties, pointing to a future in which they will “meaningfully collaborate to combat online ads for counterfeit goods and prevent the misuse and abuse of trademarks on the internet”. While little is known on the exact form this collaboration will take, could their plans to improve detection methods benefit all brand owners?

10 July 2012

Politics and trademarks – the continuing story

It seems like the worlds of politics and intellectual property have clashed on an almost weekly basis in 2012 and this week the trend continued – taking time out from his own trademark battle, President Obama signed into law an act that strengthens the penalties for trafficking in counterfeit drugs. Meanwhile, over the road from the White House, the House Foreign Affairs Committee launched an investigation into allegations that WIPO supplied computers and other sensitive technology to Iran and North Korea.

07 June 2012

ICE seizes domain names and money associated with online sale of fake goods

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has seized 10 domain names, as well as over $2.4 million associated with the online sale of counterfeit sportswear. An investigation by federal law enforcement agents had revealed that several Chinese individuals whose domain names had been seized in a November 2010 ‘In Our Sites’ operation were continuing to sell counterfeit goods using new domain names.

01 June 2012

Counterfeit marks "substantially indistinguishable" from Burberry's plaid pattern

In United States v Lam, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has affirmed convictions of criminal counterfeiting based on the defendants’ manufacture, importation and sale of handbags and wallets bearing marks “substantially indistinguishable” from the registered trademarks of fashion house Burberry.

14 May 2012

Plaintiffs may recover attorneys' fees in addition to statutory damages

In Louis Vuitton Malletier SA v LY USA Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has considered for the first time whether a trademark owner who elects to recover statutory damages for a defendant’s counterfeiting rather than actual damages and defendant’s profits is precluded from also recovering attorneys’ fees.