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06 December 2012

Trademark squatting: light at the end of the tunnel?

Trademark squatting has long been an issue for overseas trademark owners but, recently, the Chinese judiciary has openly acknowledged the problem. On December 3 2012 the Beijing Number 1 Intermediate People's Court held a press conference to report on its study into "the cause and characteristics of, and judicial response to, trademark squatting". At the same time, the court delivered judgment in six cases against trademark squatters.

15 November 2012

Draft Tobacco Consumption Control Act: plain packaging and beyond

In the wake of Australia’s legislation, it seems that Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health may also be considering introducing plain packaging. A current draft Tobacco Consumption Control Act is set to introduce more restrictions, including the government dictating the design of tobacco product packaging.

22 October 2012

Amendment to Civil Procedure Law: impact for brand owners

The National People’s Congress has passed an amendment to the Civil Procedure Law which seeks to alleviate the caseload burden on the judicial system and ensure the effective execution of judgments. The amended law implements a number of notable reforms, such as allowing preliminary injunctions for all types of civil claims and tightening up practices with regard to evidence submission.

17 October 2012

High Court explains reasons for plain packaging decision

The High Court has dismissed claims by a group of tobacco companies that Australia’s Tobacco Plain Packaging Act contravenes Section 51(xxxi) of the Constitution because it effects an acquisition of their IP rights and goodwill other than on “just terms”. The court considered that the restrictions under the act, while “severe” from a commercial viewpoint, do not operate so as to effect an “acquisition” by the Commonwealth of any proprietary right or interest.

25 September 2012

What trademark owners need to know as Myanmar opens up to foreign brands

As Coca-Cola becomes available in Myanmar for the first time in 40 years, more international brands are likely to follow suit. There is great potential in this untapped jurisdiction - however, brand owners need to be aware of the challenges of dealing with a country that was, until very recently, under military rule.

06 September 2012

New law passed to curb unfair trade practices

The Hong Kong legislators have passed amendments to the Trade Descriptions Ordinance which create new offences and strengthen enforcement against unfair trade practices. Among other things, the amended ordinance has been expanded to cover false or misleading descriptions of a service. However, offences relating to the use of forged trademarks remain confined to goods. The new law is expected to come into effect next year.

15 August 2012

Tobacco plain packaging clears final hurdle in Australia

Australia’s highest court has today rejected a final appeal by four tobacco companies, paving the way for the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes before the end of this year.

13 July 2012

Six months on, scant interest in 100% FDI as IKEA voices concerns to Indian government

WTR has previously reported on the decision of the Indian government to raise the limit on foreign direct investment (FDI) in single-brand retail to 100%, under which any foreign brand looking to take advantage of the new rules must source at least 30% of goods from local SMEs. Six months on, issues have been raised by trademark owners - not least the difficulties of quality control and monitoring mark usage by local partner companies.

03 July 2012

Amendments to trademark legislation enter into force

Numerous amendments to Kazakhstan’s trademark legislation have entered into force. Among other things, the amendments establish strict requirements regarding the language of documents filed with the Kazakh Patent and Trademark Office. The language requirements contribute to an increase in the filing costs and have thus provoked negative reactions among local trademark attorneys.

26 June 2012

Amendment to Trademark Act to enter into force

The amendment to the Taiwan Trademark Act 2003 was promulgated by Presidential Order on June 29 2011 and will enter into force on July 1 2012. Among other things, the amendment clearly specifies that a claim for damages can be made only when the infringer had a subjective intent to commit the infringing act.

14 June 2012

Denial of access to AIC files will frustrate brand owners' enforcement efforts

Certain AICs across China have reportedly started to refuse access to the files of local Chinese companies. This change in practice will have a negative impact for brand owners trying to ascertain the financial situation of Chinese companies: brand owners have been actively using civil actions to sue counterfeiters for damages, and a key step was to conduct due diligence to discover whether the counterfeiter had real assets.

11 June 2012

Compulsory licensing in China – a concern or an opportunity to demonstrate trademark value?

This weekend a range of media reports focused on amendments to China’s patent law, which clarify the conditions under which compulsory licensing can occur. While the story is a bit more complex than being reported, it does throw the spotlight on the role trademarks can play when patents are under attack.

01 June 2012

New opportunities for brands as the Philippines joins the Madrid Protocol

The Filipino IP Office (IPOPHL) announced last week that the Philippines has joined the Madrid Protocol - the 85th country to sign up to the agreement. According to IPOPHL, accession to the protocol will help to make the Philippines globally competitive and ease costs for Filipino companies doing business overseas.

25 May 2012

New streamlined and cheaper National Business Names Registration Service

The new National Business Names Registration Service begins on May 28 2012. Under the new scheme, businesses will have to register their business name only once, instead of separately in each state or territory in which they trade. It is hoped that the new system will lead to greater consistency in the assessment of business name applications and greater understanding of the differences between trademark and business name registrations.

23 May 2012

Price becomes the new weapon against counterfeiters in plain packaging debate

As the Australian high court considers legislation banning the use of trademarks by cigarette companies, British American Tobacco has introduced a budget brand to Australia, saying that they have been forced to do so by price competition, including from counterfeiters.