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20 October 2010

Environmental claims both a liability and a chance to engage with marketing

The Federal Trade Commission has proposed new provisions to the Green Guides, specifically addressing marketers’ use of product certifications and seals of approval, and renewable energy, renewable materials and carbon offset claims. With greenwashing on the rise, trademark counsel need to ensure they are monitoring the marketing spin used alongside trademarks, as well as any suggested claim incorporated into the mark itself.

18 October 2010

Will the USPTO be able to identify the trademark bullies?

Seven months ago President Obama gave the green light to a study into mark owners' litigation tactics, with commentators wondering whether it would be able to reach any concrete conclusions on the emotive issue of trademark bullying. While the answer has moved a step closer following a request for comments on the issue, it is crucial that large brand owners engage with the consultation period to ensure any recommendations are based on a wide spectrum of views.

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.

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.

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.

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.

30 March 2010

Espinel must heed brand owners' call for cooperation

Victoria Espinel has set to work on her colossal task of better coordinating IP enforcement across US government departments, with key stakeholders demanding increased government transparency and closer cooperation between agencies and industry.

22 March 2010

Obama green lights US trademark study

Last week President Obama signed into law a new US trademark act that contains the provision for a study into mark owners' litigation tactics. But the big question is: will the study uncover anything that mark owners don't already know?

16 March 2010

President Obama draws a line in the sand over ACTA negotiations

The Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) controversy shows no signs of abating, with President Obama stating that the United States will “aggressively protect our intellectual property”. The remarks came after the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for transparency in the ACTA negotiations, arguing that discussions should be limited to the existing European IP rights enforcement system against counterfeiting.

19 February 2010

US brand owners reject ‘loser pays’ option

Members of the INTA enforcement committee have told WTR that a ’loser pays’ trademark litigation system would not work in the United States.

16 February 2010

Trademark monsters: tackling Lanham Act bullies

As a US senator proposes a new study to investigate trademark bullies, WTR considers whether the Lanham Act needs updating.

16 February 2010

Brand owner input to Special 301 review due today

Brand owners planning on submitting comments to the United States Trade Representative regarding the Special 301 review process must do so today if they wish to testify at a public hearing.

11 February 2010

US Customs calls for more input from brand owners

US Customs has urged brand owners to help improve border protection by becoming more involved in the process.

02 February 2010

Trademark bullies to come under scrutiny

The USPTO will examine the extent to which US businesses are harmed by trademark owners’ overly aggressive litigation tactics, if a US senator's proposed study gets the green light.