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24 November 2014

Politicising the poppy: Royal British Legion turns to trademark law

A British charity’s dispute with a far-right political party over the use of the red poppy image highlights both the difficulties facing cause-related not-for-profits when their message is politicised and how trademark law could come to the rescue.

18 September 2014

What an independent Scotland could mean for trademark rights

Voters in Scotland head to the polls today for a referendum to determine whether the country will break away from the rest of the United Kingdom. The treatment of trademarks is not a subject that will sway the vote and has therefore been somewhat lost in the mix, but it is one that current and prospective rights holders will have questions about should the country vote for independence.

11 September 2014

Are trademark registrations the new way for angry consumers to make a point?

Brands are well-used to disgruntled customers taking to social media to air their grievances, but consumers wielding trademark law is a less common tactic. However, one UK individual has bucked that trend and has registered a trademark in the name of the bank that is the source of his ire, with the corresponding domain name being used to air his grievances.

27 June 2014

Wimbledon’s ‘British’ approach to brand protection revealed

The Wimbledon Tennis Championship kicked off this week, and compared to the continuing World Cup in Brazil and the previous Olympics event in London, trademark policing around the event appears to be significantly lower key.

11 May 2014

International trademark enforcement the Ralph Lauren way

In preparation for four days of networking and learning at the INTA Annual Meeting, World Trademark Review attended a one day fashion and IP law event, at which Astor Chan, senior director & associate general counsel at Ralph Lauren Asia Pacific, expanded on the company’s holistic strategy for brand protection.

06 May 2014

Why a saucy UK ‘copycat’ dispute is one to watch

Icelandic Seachill has secured a UK High Court interim injunction against German retailer Aldi after it alleged that the store’s ‘The Fishmonger Saucy Salmon Fillet’ products infringed its THE SAUCY FISH COMPANY trademarks. The case will be one for brand owners to follow, not least because it is rare for brand owners to resort to legal action against retailers in disputes centred on alleged copycat products.

25 April 2014

Brands hold the key to the future success of the UK’s IP Crime unit

Whether it relates to fighting illicit trade, or securing funding for the unit or increasing the level of IP crime reporting by brands, the challenges facing the City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) are numerous. Speaking exclusively to World Trademark Review, detective chief inspector Andy Fyfe, head of the unit, has suggested that brand engagement holds the key to the unit’s future success.

11 February 2014

Lush victory over Amazon puts search terms back in the spotlight

In December, WTR asked whether AdWord disputes could be back on the litigation agenda after UK cosmetics company Lush took Amazon to the High Court of England and Wales, claiming trademark infringement in a dispute centred on search terms. While this week’s decision in the case was fact-specific, it offers some important guidance on online advertising practices and could impact how retailers use related trademarks in instances where they don’t actually stock a particular brand.

28 November 2013

Plain packaging back on the UK’s political agenda

The UK government has taken what one opposition Member of Parliament terms “a U-turn on a U-turn” and announced a new independent review on the issue of standardised tobacco packaging. Coupled with legislation that would allow the government to bring forward regulations to introduce standardised packaging, plain packaging in the UK could be a reality by 2015.

31 July 2013

UK criminalisation of design rights infringement gets one step closer

The UK IP Bill – proposed legislation that would introduce criminal sanctions for infringement of industrial design rights – was passed yesterday by the House of Lords, the upper chamber of the UK Parliament. However, the potential criminalisation of certain instances of designs infringement has met with criticism from some sections of the IP community.

12 June 2013

Lookalike debate continues as IPO report is assessed

The impact of lookalike products on brand owner innovation, revenues and product investment is one that has been debated at length in the trademark community (previous WTR coverage is available here). Detailed new research on the issue has been published, but the way forward remains unclear.

05 February 2013

The FTSE 100 brands leveraging social media as a reputation management tool

The Group’s 2012 Social Media Index sheds new light on the shifting social media strategies of FTSE 100 companies. The index suggests that publicly-traded companies are increasingly realising the potential of using social media tools to manage their corporate reputations – but an effective strategy requires a hands-on approach.

21 January 2013

With Harris + Hoole coffee shops, Tesco takes phantom branding to the next level

There is more to the new coffee shop chain Harris + Hoole (H+H) than meets the eye. At first glance it appears to be an independent concern. In reality, H+H is part-owned by Tesco. While the creation of a seemingly ‘independent’ brand could pay dividends for the world’s third-largest retailer, it can also put brand equity at risk.

14 January 2013

Logo-free initiative highlights the power of designs and trade dress

UK department store chain Selfridges has launched a ‘No Noise’ initiative, one aspect of which involves the sale of well-known products with their logos removed. While the campaign aims to throw the focus on tranquillity and away from a marketplace characterised by an abundance of branding and choices, it also serves as a reinforcement of the value of strong product design.

27 September 2012

‘Man of the match’ sale revives the debate on trademark auctions

Last week, Sky News reported that a portfolio of trademarks and other IP rights relating to the term ‘man of the match’ had been sold at auction for an undisclosed fee to an anonymous bidder. While the sale of the rights to a slogan familiar to sports fans around the world has attracted a modicum of mainstream press interest, it also resurrects a key question for trademark owners and practitioners: will trademark auctions be the next big thing – or are they just a flash in the pan?