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23 March 2004

Forty-three marks receive well-known status under new rules

The State Administration of Industry and Commerce has published the first list of trademarks granted well-known status since the promulgation of the new Trademark Law in October 2001 and the new Regulations for Recognition and Protection of Well-Known Marks in June 2003.

22 March 2004

New bill will allow disclosure of IP infringers' identity

As part of the government's campaign against counterfeiting launched last year, the Ministry of Finance has submitted a bill amending the Customs Tariff Law that will help IP owners take immediate action against infringers by allowing customs to reveal the identity of the importers of suspected counterfeit goods.

19 March 2004

No writer's block for Hemingway bar name registration

The Court of Appeals of Lisbon has allowed the use of the name Hemingway for a restaurant and bar. It held, among other things, that Hemingway is a historic name relating to the internationally famous author Ernest Hemingway and it was not reasonable to consider that the proposed use would cause any damage to the reputation of Hemingway or his estate.

17 March 2004

A flawed act: balancing rights of free speech and publicity

While trademark rights protect the commercial value of goods or services, the right of publicity protects the commercial value of an individual's identity, even after his or her death. Unlike trademark rights, however, the right of publicity in the United States is a creature of state common and statutory law that remains unsettled. Thomas M Small and J Alison Grabell of Birch Stewart Kolasch & Birch LLP in Los Angeles explain that the courts have struggled to interpret when an individual's right of publicity trumps a defendant's constitutional right of free speech.

17 March 2004

Italian IP law set to be codified

As part of the Italian government's aim of rationalizing the entire IP system, the minister for productive activities has issued draft proposals for a new IP code, which will amend and consolidate IP law. The draft code has been submitted to various interested parties for comment and is set to be brought before Parliament for approval in June 2004.

16 March 2004

Pop-ups similar to offline ads, claims amicus brief

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which protects consumer interests in the digital world, has filed an amicus brief in the litigation in which 1-800 Contacts sued pop-up ad provider WhenU.com. The foundation claims, among other things, that pop-up ads are similar to offline advertising that diverts consumers' attention to competing products while they shop.

15 March 2004

Trademark defendant not entitled to attorney's fees and costs

In Eagles Ltd v American Eagle Foundation, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has affirmed a decision to refuse the defendant's motion for attorney's fees and costs, following the voluntary dismissal of the plaintiff's case. The Sixth Circuit held that the case was not exceptional under the Lanham Act because the plaintiff had legitimate grounds to dismiss.

12 March 2004

Anheuser-Busch loses trademark battle in South Korea

In a decision that put an end to a 15-year-old dispute, the High Court in Seoul has dismissed Anheuser-Busch's appeal against Bud&#283jovický Budvar's use of the company name Budweiser Budvar NC and BUDVAR trademarks, finding that there was no risk that South Korean beer drinkers would confuse the two companies' products.

10 March 2004

Intelcard ordered to change its name

In Intel Corporation v Intelcard Systems Sdn Bhd, the High Court of Malaya has granted the plaintiff's motion for an interlocutory injunction to restrain Intelcard Systems from further using 'Intel' in its name.

09 March 2004

Declaratory judgments on concurrent trademark rights ruled out

In J&D Home Improvement Inc v Basement Doctor Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has ruled that, where a case is pending before the US Patent and Trademark Office, federal courts do not possess subject matter jurisdiction to issue a declaratory judgment that a party has concurrent rights in a trademark, until after the USPTO has issued its decision.

05 March 2004

Stricter sanctions for industrial property violations in force at last

The law modifying the Criminal and Judicial Codes, and Industrial Property Law 35 of 1996 has come into force. The Legislative Assembly amended the bill at the request of the president of Panama, who had found the original draft contrary to constitutional principles and the interests of the law.

04 March 2004

IP crimes may be included in anti-money laundering legislation

The Thai Council of State has agreed to consider a proposal to include IP infringement in the Anti-Money Laundering Law. Under the proposed amendments, it will be an offence to transfer, convert or receive funds or property arising from trademark or other IP-related offences for the purposes of hiding or concealing the sources of the funds.

04 March 2004

Unauthorized parallel imports illegal in Hungary for the time being

The Supreme Court has upheld a first instance decision and has ruled that the unauthorized parallel importation of genuine Levi's 501 branded jeans into Hungary by the Hungarian affiliate of a multinational hypermarket chain infringed Levi's trademark rights. In so doing, the Supreme Court confirmed the principle of the exhaustion of trademark rights introduced by the Hungarian Trademark Act 1997.

03 March 2004

Will South America succeed in its fight against counterfeiting?

Despite adequate laws, South American countries are hit hard by counterfeiting, mainly because of enforcement problems, which are in turn due to inadequate structural control and administrative inefficiency. Rodrigo Borges Carneiro and Mauro Ivan C R dos Santos of Dannemann Siemsen Bigler & Ipanema Moreira in Rio look at the situation in the Southern Cone Common Market, its member states, Chile, the Andean Community and possible developments under the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

02 March 2004

Union ordered to stop use of parody TV commercials

In TELUS Corporation v Telecommunication Workers Union, the British Columbia Supreme Court has granted an interlocutory injunction restraining the defendant - a body representing the plaintiff's employees - from broadcasting television commercials criticizing the plaintiff, which were parodies of the plaintiff's own commercials. The decision follows case law that has established that free speech rights cannot be used in a way that infringes IP rights.