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24 January 2017

What the first few days of President Trump’s administration could mean for the trademark community

It has been a busy first few days for US President Donald Trump, with a number of executive orders issued, cabinet appointments unveiled and January 20 (the date of his inauguration) proclaimed as ‘National Day of Patriotic Devotion’. In the midst of all this activity are some key policy changes that could have a significant effect on the trademark community – both in the United States and internationally.

17 January 2017

California’s proposed cannabis bill shines a light on state level trademarks

The introduction of a bill in the California legislature, which seeks to create the ability to secure state-level trademark protection for cannabis products, has led to a wave of media reports highlighting the challenges facing the marijuana industry. Crucially, it also shines a light on the potential role that state-based registrations can play.

15 December 2016

US government releases national IP strategy; concern over ‘introduction of shadow regulation’

While the community waits to see what impact a Donald Trump presidency has on the IP ecosystem in the US, the US government’s gears are still turning and this week it released the 2017-2019 US Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement. The report signals the key focus areas for federal government agencies over the coming few years. While welcomed by IP stakeholders, there have been accusations that the plan represents an effort to introduce shadow regulation for the online world.

02 December 2016

California Heritage Protection Act

California has adopted a new law that prohibits state parks from granting trademark or service mark rights in park names or names associated with historical, cultural or recreational resources to any businesses operating within the parks. From next year, any contract that violates this provision will be deemed unenforceable under California law.

08 November 2016

How domain squatters targeted candidates during the 2016 US election

New research from The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse has revealed the extent of identity squatting targeting this year’s presidential election candidates, as well as members of the US Congress and Senate.

04 November 2016

What a Clinton or Trump presidency could mean for US trademark owners

The US electorate is about to head to the polls to vote in the next president. The race has tightened in recent days and both the Republican and Democratic candidates appear to have a realistic path to victory. As election fever peaks, World Trademark Review asks IP experts how a President Hillary Clinton or a President Donald Trump could shape the trademark landscape in the years to come.

29 September 2016

New study reveals the US states and industries where trademark activity is most intense

The USPTO and Economics & Statistics Administration have released a follow-up to the ground-breaking 2012 study into the economic contribution made by intellectual property to the US economy. The 59-page report also identifies the regions and industries where trademark intensity resides.

06 July 2016

Anti-SLAPP law causes dismissal of unfair business claims

Petitioners seeking to cancel a trademark may avail themselves of the protections of the anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) law against unfair business practice and tortious interference with business relations claims even if their petition to cancel and related activities are motived by personal economic concerns.

01 July 2016

The pressure of rising demand

Trademark applications at the USPTO increased by 10.7% in fiscal year 2015. As the office grapples with this expanding workload, we conducted a survey to gauge user sentiment on its operations and explore some of the trends and issues that are defining the US filing landscape

28 June 2016

USPTO reveals ambitious plans to tackle register clutter

The USPTO is seeking comment on plans to conduct random audits on specimens of use in a bid to improve the accuracy and integrity of the trademark register. The move will be welcomed by practitioners, although effective execution will be all-important.

27 May 2016

Timing of the mark-fame inquiry under US dilution statute

The federal Lanham Act protects the distinctiveness of a famous mark against likely dilution, but the statute’s protection is available only against a defendant which began using the mark after the plaintiff’s mark had become famous. A hard line has historically been given towards this requirement, but this was taken one step further in Omega SA (Omega AG) (Omega Ltd) v Alpha Phi Omega.

17 May 2016

Trademark battle over Bear Bryant’s houndstooth hat

In an unusual clash between a federal judge and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), the question was: if the parties to a trademark registration dispute settle while the case is on appeal to a federal district court, must the TTAB obey the court’s order to vacate its precedential decision?

21 April 2016

USPTO makes next move in high-profile battle over disparaging marks

The USPTO has filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to review the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision in In re Tam, asking the Supreme Court to answer the question of whether the disparagement provision in Section 2 of the Lanham Act is facially invalid under the free speech clause of the First Amendment. The move means that the battle over the registration of disparaging marks is nearing its end.

19 April 2016

US IP case should remain in the United States

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has held that a US rights and infringement case should be heard in the United States as there was insufficient evidence that an alternative foreign jurisdiction could provide an adequate remedy.

15 March 2016

Bacardi ramps up HAVANA CLUB battle, in court and through the media

In January we noted that the resumption of legal proceedings would make the US federal district court the key battleground for control of the Havana Club brand in the US. This week Bacardi filed an amended complaint, asking for the removal of the HAVANA CLUB mark from the register.