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25 April 2012

Plain packaging under the microscope as New Zealand follows Australia

Legislation that prohibits branding on all tobacco products is under consideration by Australia’s highest court as tobacco companies ramp up their efforts to overturn the new regime. Central to the debate is whether the government is appropriating the property of the companies without due compensation, a question that was also high on the agenda at this year’s FICPI conference.

27 March 2012

Country brand hijacking – damaging practice or legitimate marketing tool?

Over the past few days, there have been a series of media headlines centred on the practice of Chinese companies suggesting, either directly or indirectly, that their goods are Italian-made, in a bid to capitalise on the perception of the country’s luxury goods. The difficulty faced in efforts to curb deceptive practices lies in drawing the line between illegal and perfectly legitimate branding practices.

08 February 2012

New procedure for co-ordination in handling cybersquatting cases

The Ministry of Science and Technology has issued Circular 37, which provides detailed guidance for the implementation of Decree 97 on the Sanctioning of Administrative Violations in the Field of Industrial Property. The new circular introduces a detailed procedure for the co-ordination of the activities of the IP rights enforcement authorities and VNNIC - the authority managing '.vn' domain names - when handling cybersquatting cases.

18 January 2012

Preparing for entry: India widens the market opportunities for international brands

Last week’s decision by the Indian government to allow 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in single-brand retailing has been welcomed by international brands seeking increased presence in the Indian marketplace. Amid the excitement however, it is important to take note of new IP challenges.

13 January 2012

EU Advisory Group evaluates implementation of Armenia’s IP Strategy

The EU Advisory Group to the Republic of Armenia has issued a report on the country's progress in implementing its IP strategy, which was ratified by the Armenian government in June 2011. Among other things, the EU Advisory Group commended the work of the Armenian Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy, which plays a central role in coordinating the reform and the enforcement of IP rights.

09 January 2012

Revamped Trade Descriptions Act introduced

The Malaysian government has introduced a revamped Trade Descriptions Act, which repealed the Trade Descriptions Act 1972. Among other things, a 'trade description' is now clearly defined as including a registered trademark. In addition, the new act has widened the scope of punishable offences and introduced significantly increased penalties.

05 December 2011

China to step up IP protection in China-US pact

At the 22nd session of the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, held in Chengdu on November 20-21 2011, China announced various plans to enhance IP protection. Among them, China aims to make permanent its Special Campaign against infringement and counterfeiting announced in October 2010, and lead enforcement efforts through a high-level central government structure.

01 December 2011

Premier Wen announces new IP enforcement plan

A variety of IP enforcement measures have been announced following the State Council’s November 9 2011 executive session. Premier Wen Jiabao praised the achievements of the Special IP Enforcement Campaign, but also acknowledged that the enforcement of IP rights still faced substantial challenges. One of the most significant measures is the proposed research into the amendment of the Criminal Code.

10 November 2011

Brand owners to continue fight as Australian Senate passes controversial legislation

The Australian Senate has approved the country’s Plain Packaging Bill, meaning that – bar an unexpected U-turn - tobacco products will be sold in generic packaging from December 2012. The move has sparked anger amongst brand associations, with tobacco companies looking to continue the fight.

22 August 2011

Trademark lobby might just save Marlboro Man's skin

As the Australian government prepares its final and fatal blow to advertising stalwart Marlboro Man’s cool and macho image by banning branded packages, familiar battle lines are being drawn by those in the pro and anti plain packaging camps. But the trademark lobby may hold the aces in terms of derailing the legislation.

21 July 2011

Does this photo show that Chinese authorities don’t understand trademarks?

China’s vice minister of commerce recently announced that, since October 2010, his government has shut down nearly 13,000 factories producing counterfeit goods and arrested over 9,000 people through more than 150,000 investigations. And yet an entire fake Apple store recently opened up in Kunming, featuring a “beautifully” ripped-off store design, according to one visitor. It is not yet clear what the authorities (let alone Apple) make of this, but the revelation follows reports that police authorities have been replacing the Mercedes-Benz badge on their cars in order to disguise the brand.

04 July 2011

IP system is further strengthened

The Philippines Intellectual Property Office has embarked on an ambitious programme of development aimed at bringing the country’s IP system into line with international standards. Recent initiatives under the programme include the introduction of arbitration rules and proposed amendments to the Intellectual Property Code.

29 June 2011

Law on unfair competition currently being drafted

Turkmenistan is in the process of drafting a law on unfair competition in the field of industrial property. Under the draft law, causing confusion among consumers and engaging in comparative advertising, among others, will constitute acts of unfair competition. The draft is in line with the international regulations on unfair competition.

29 March 2011

Will China’s growing awareness for IP kill the trademark squatters?

The advantages of China’s first-to-file registration system may be waning. Not only have recent auctions failed to attract much business, now some reports suggest that China’s growing awareness of IP rights may be killing off apparent trademark squatters’ chances of success.

13 December 2010

IP rights strategy listed in China’s 12th Five-Year Plan

The Chinese government has strengthened its commitment to the identification, growth and protection of intellectual property by listing IP rights as one of its areas of interest in the recently published 12th Five-Year Plan. With the implementation of this plan, there is no doubt that an already strong system will continue to fortify the rights of all IP owners, both foreign and domestic.