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04 December 2012

USPTO sets out the trademark challenges facing Kappos’ successor

Last week, WTR reported on the news that David Kappos, Director of the USPTO, is to step down from his post next month. While no official announcement has yet been issued, this week saw the release of the agency’s performance and accountability report for fiscal year 2012, which identified some of the challenges awaiting his successor.

27 November 2012

Kappos to exit USPTO, agency looks to the future

David Kappos, under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the USPTO, is to leave the office by the end of January 2013. The reasons for his decision, which came to light last night, are sketchy at present – Kappos informed staff by email of his decision to leave the office but, at the time of writing, no official statement has been released by the agency. All eyes will now be on possible replacements – and the impact he or she may have for trademark practitioners.

09 October 2012

It’s not easy being green as USPTO takes tougher line on eco-friendly claims

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has revised its guidelines on marketing environmentally friendly products and services. While the FTC rulebook will help the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) to combat applicants attempting to mislead consumers, brand owners with genuine green claims will also have to be mindful of the shift in examination practice.

26 September 2012

US election shifts debate on intellectual property

With the United States’ presidential election fast approaching, intellectual property is becoming a major campaign focus for both incumbent Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. The past 12 months have seen intellectual property protection become a mainstream political issue after the outcry over online piracy legislation. However, while the latter demonstrated resistance to stronger IP laws, the current focus takes a different stance, with intellectual property theft by Chinese companies in the political crosshairs.

17 September 2012

Trademark or patent practitioners - which are made of the stronger moral stuff?

Data revealed at last week’s Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, gave some interesting food for thought regarding the moral fibre of a minority of IP professionals – and trademark practitioners in particular.

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.

18 May 2012

Online piracy debate shifts to new battleground

With PROTECT IP and SOPA seemingly vanquished and ACTA facing new obstacles, the debate over IP protection and online freedom shows no sign of abating, with the Trans-Pacific Partnership shaping up as the next battleground.

15 May 2012

Pernod Ricard goes on the offensive after Supreme Court blow

No sooner had the US Supreme Court refused to review the decision of the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia which prevented the renewal of Pernod Ricard’s HAVANA CLUB trademark registration in the United States, than the multinational drinks company came out fighting – unveiling a new brand for its Cuban-produced rum.

25 April 2012

Information sharing boost for US Customs and trademark owners

Victoria Espinel, US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, has announced that US Customs & Border Protection is now free to share information with trademark owners as part of its efforts to identify potentially infringing products.

12 April 2012

US study identifies economic importance of trademarks

The US Department of Commerce has issued a lengthy report identifying the sectors that generate the most intellectual property and the impact of those sectors on the US economy. At a time when the debate over IP rights rages on, the study sheds important light on the contribution of IP to economic performance – with trademarks playing a central role.

02 April 2012

IPEC outlines anti-piracy successes while legislation stalemate continues

Victoria Espinel, US IP enforcement coordinator, has issued the 2011 Annual Report on Intellectual Property Enforcement. While progress is clearly being made in the fight against counterfeiting, stalled legislation to combat online piracy remains on the agenda.

22 February 2012

Havana Club battle rumbles on as Cubaexport seeks Supreme Court review

The dispute over the Havana Club rum mark is one that reaches beyond trademark law into the realm of politics and international relations. It is perhaps not a surprise, then, that one of the parties is seeking review at Supreme Court level, with support from the French Republic. In a statement supplied to WTR, representatives of Cubaexport have stressed the implications of the case for trademark protection internationally.

25 January 2012

Obama’s State of the Union address makes tackling counterfeits a priority

President Obama placed the fight against counterfeit goods firmly on the political agenda last night, using his State of the Union address in Washington DC to outline plans for a trade enforcement unit.

17 January 2012

Wikipedia to shut up shop in protest against online piracy legislation (updated)

Last week WTR reported on the three pieces of legislation currently under consideration for tackling online piracy – the OPEN Act, the PROTECT IP Act and SOPA. The debate’s profile has now moved to a new level, with a number of popular websites shutting up shop for a day in protest at the latter two proposals.

13 January 2012

US scores piracy victory in Spain, domestic picture gets ever more complex

While the United States have reportedly played an active role in the passage of Spain’s new anti-piracy legislation, the picture on the domestic front has got even more complicated, with the OPEN Act joining PROTECT-IP and SOPA on the legislative agenda.