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10 October 2014

Public awareness of IP crime rises, but counterfeit purchases continue

A report published today points to a growing awareness of IP crime among the UK public, with 90% of survey respondents viewing counterfeiting as morally wrong. However, this viewpoint does not necessarily influence individual purchasing decisions, illustrating the challenge ahead for the IP community.

11 September 2014

Are trademark registrations the new way for angry consumers to make a point?

Brands are well-used to disgruntled customers taking to social media to air their grievances, but consumers wielding trademark law is a less common tactic. However, one UK individual has bucked that trend and has registered a trademark in the name of the bank that is the source of his ire, with the corresponding domain name being used to air his grievances.

31 July 2014

The force is with famous trademarks in dispute over name change (updated)

(This article has been updated – the new information is italicised at the end of the article) The decision by the UK's Passport Office to reject a passport application because the applicant's signature, which reads 'L Skywalker', infringed a trademark is an unusual incident, and throws up the issue of how stringently passport examiners check trademarks.

16 June 2014

Trademark complaints rise, but this is not the start of a new era of conflict

At first glance, analysing the latest figures from the UK Intellectual Property Office suggests that trademark owners are being more combative in their efforts to protect their brands. However, the reality is that the shift – albeit limited – is heading the other way.

17 April 2014

Lawyers react to Commission recommendations on groundless threats reform

The Law Commission has published its proposals for reform of the groundless threats regime, a move which one practitioner feels will help further encourage a ‘negotiate first, sue later’ approach in UK trademark disputes.

28 November 2013

Plain packaging back on the UK’s political agenda

The UK government has taken what one opposition Member of Parliament terms “a U-turn on a U-turn” and announced a new independent review on the issue of standardised tobacco packaging. Coupled with legislation that would allow the government to bring forward regulations to introduce standardised packaging, plain packaging in the UK could be a reality by 2015.

14 November 2013

UK top-ranked jurisdiction for trademarks in Taylor Wessing Global IP Index

The United Kingdom has been ranked as the top jurisdiction for trademark rights in law firm Taylor Wessing's fourth Global IP Index (GIPI), which was released in London this week. The GIPI survey provides a comprehensive assessment of how the IP regimes of 36 key jurisdictions compare with each other, measuring their attractiveness for obtaining, exploiting, enforcing and attacking various IP rights.

01 August 2013

IPO publishes response to consultation on fast-track opposition procedure and appeal fee

The UK Intellectual Property Office has published a response following the consultation period concerning its proposals to introduce a fast-track opposition procedure and an appeal fee of £500 in relation to inter partes appeals to the appointed person. Having reviewed the responses from a range of interested parties, the IPO has decided to implement both proposals, with some modifications.

04 May 2012

Recovering reputation – how BP is turning the tide of consumer perception

Two years ago WTR considered the role the trademark team could play in managing BP’s corporate reputation in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. A new study suggests that the company has made positive progress over the past 24 months, with the key takeaway being that sometimes actions speak louder than a managed message.

26 July 2011

UK IPO report: trademarks are good, brands are bad

The findings of a study commissioned by the UK Intellectual Property Office to evaluate the benefits of trademark registration – that it does have a positive effect – will surprise no trademark attorney. The authors’ criticism of brand-building, however, will disappoint many.

18 October 2010

Cyber terrorists attack tech-savvy trademark office

Just as the USPTO received its two millionth electronic trademark application, proving the demand for high-tech registries, one of the finest IP offices in the world has fallen to its knees at the hands of copyright reform campaigners. Operation Payback, which attacks what it calls "the reign of extreme pro-copyright" organisations, this weekend denied trademark owners access to the online services of the UK IPO. The news comes on the day that the UK government reveals that cyber attacks are among the greatest threat to the United Kingdom.

02 September 2010

Is the tide turning in the controversy over what to do about counterfeits?

On Monday, UK brand owners and law enforcement officers raided a counterfeit market at a racecourse, seizing hundreds of fake goods. On Tuesday, they opened the newspaper to a report entitled "Fake goods are fine, says EU study". This is a somewhat stretchy interpretation of the research. But its author has nevertheless angered the IP community.

10 June 2010

Will BP, Mars and British Airways win in the latest domain landrush?

Few brands are powerful enough to require only one or two characters for consumers to recognize them. Among this select group are some of the world's most distinctive brands: BA, BP, HP, M&Ms and VW. These brands and their two-character peers may have solid trademark protection but will that be enough in the new '.co.uk' domain space?

23 March 2010

UK brands plot world domination, impeded by red tape

UK business leaders and government wince when they hear that only four of the top 100 global brands are from the United Kingdom. The poor standing is starker still when viewed alongside the United Kingdom's rivals France (8) and Germany (11). But efforts are now afoot to improve this embarrassing situation, according to a new report into how the United Kingdom can improve its IP regime to create a warmer environment for domestic brands.