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Abuse of IP: The Effects of Counterfeiting on the Fashion Industry

louis-vuitton-2628969_640The phenomenon of counterfeiting has been around as long as couture itself. The rise of the internet and e-commerce has created an ideal breeding ground for counterfeiting due to the anonymity it provides and the proliferation of distribution channels. Protection against counterfeiting is difficult because it requires continuous monitoring of a brand and how its trade marks are used. (more…)

A “To Do” suggestion for the new IP Minister

brexit-1481028_1920“Uncertainty abounds” might as well be the summary for any article that’s written at the moment about Brexit.

After a 2017 in which the Prime Minister apparently sought to find out just how many times she could shoot her own party in the foot (triggering Article 50 before the UK was ready, setting out unnecessary redlines and calling a snap General Election) we somehow managed to agree a deal in the first phase of the EU talks. However, the shape of the UK’s post-Brexit relationship is still unknown and the negotiations are on a break while everyone works out what they want. (more…)

EUIPO Notice on Brexit – December 2017

On 5th December, the European Commission issued a notice, countersigned by the EUIPO, to right-holders of, and applicants for, EU trade marks (EUTMs) and Registered Community Designs (RCDs), looking at the potential scenario in which no agreement is reached between the UK and the remaining 27 EU Member States in the Brexit negotiations.

The notice states that, unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another withdrawal date or the period is extended, on 30th March 2019 the UK will become a “third country”, i.e. it will no longer be an EU Member State. Any EUTM or RCD rights granted by the EUIPO on or after the withdrawal date will only be valid in the 27 EU Member States and will no longer have effect in the UK.

It is expected that the UKIPO will recognise EUTMs and RCDs that were registered prior to the above cut-off date by granting protection on the UK Register. However, IPcopy recommends giving consideration to filing UK and EU trade marks and designs simultaneously, to ensure adequate protection. (more…)

European Commission Brexit Paper on Intellectual Property – a closer look

brexit-1481028_1920As noted in our post earlier this week, the European Commission has released its position paper on the treatment of intellectual property (IP) rights (including geographical indicators) after the UK completes its exit from the EU. It sets out general principles on unitary IP rights, geographical indicators, exhaustion, supplementary protection certificates and the protection of databases.

CITMA recently published its position paper on post-Brexit registered trade mark and design rights, and rights of representation. Many elements of the EU paper reflect the position of CITMA, in particular the unitary character of IP protection for European Union Trade Marks (EUTMs) in the UK and EU after the withdrawal date. However, there are two aspects of particular interest to UK practitioners that were not addressed: rights of representation and reciprocity of UK geographical indicators. (more…)

Brexit, IP and the European Commission’s Position Paper

brexit-1481028_1920Earlier in September the European Commission published this position paper on Intellectual Property Rights (including geographical indications) in the context of negotiations under Article 50 TEU.

The position paper, which runs only to 5 pages (actually a fairly meagre 3 and a half pages once you strip out the cover sheet and white space), notes that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will create uncertainty both for Intellectual Property Right (IPR) holders in the UK and the remaining 27 members of the EU (EU27) in relation to the scope of protection of intellectual property rights.

The position paper goes on to set out some general principles that should apply when the Withdrawal Agreement comes into force. The paper mentions trade mark rights, design rights, supplementary protection certificates (SPCs), database rights and exhaustion of rights. Much media attention was also directed toward the section on Geographical Indications (GIs).

IPcopy has summarised the main points of the paper below but feels like the paper comes across as a bit of a weak effort. It’s quite a high level document which is looking at matters pretty much only from the point of view of EU27 stakeholders. There is nothing on representation rights for EU trade mark and design attorneys (which is important for UK stakeholders as well as attorneys) and nothing on the unitary patent system.

The paper also strays, to my mind at least, into the territory of future arrangements (see reference to UK putting in place domestic legislation for GIs) which is something that Michel Barnier said wouldn’t happen until “sufficient progress” had been made on the withdrawal negotiations. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it….. (more…)

Designing design right protection in the Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands flagBackground

Design registration will go live in the Cayman Islands on 1st of August this year and here is how it all started. (more…)

Brexit through the Lens of IP Law

brexit-1481028_1920According to the Government’s White Paper on exiting the EU, the 65 million people of the UK are now willing the Government to make the negotiations happen (see PM’s Foreword, paragraph 4). I must have missed my reprogramming session as I’m still waiting for reality to snap back to normal….

However, even if we are now all on board the Brexit Bus, next stop the cliff edge followed swiftly by the foot of the cliff, it’s still good to see a well researched article on the impacts of Brexit on the IP sphere. The world has, of course, been awash with Brexit News Bulletins ever since the result came in but the latest addition,  The Legal Consequences of Brexit through the Lens of IP Law, comes with a sterling pedigree, namely Richard Arnold (a judge at the High Court), Lionel Bentley (University of Cambridge), Graeme Dinwoodie (University of Oxford) and Estelle Derclaye (University of Nottingham). (more…)

Innovation & Entrepreneurship START! Challenge hosted by the Imperial College Business School’s Enterprise Lab

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HackScience presented with their prize by Dr Markus Perkmann (left) and Bruno Cotta (right)

IPcopy welcomes Monica Patel back to the blog today with a report on the recent I&E START! Challenge Final 2016 at Imperial College’s Business School in which three finalists pitched their business to a panel of investors and competed for a £10,000 prize.

As I walked into the room, I couldn’t help but feel like I was entering the Dragons’ Den (despite the fact that I was in a brightly-coloured lecture theatre at Imperial College’s Business School). Sat behind the three “Dragons”, I had front row seats to the final round of the I&E START! Challenge, hosted by Imperial College Business School’s Enterprise Lab.

The top three teams of the competition, whittled down from a total of eight teams, were each about to deliver their pitch to a panel of judges. Evaluated on market opportunity, product feasibility and plans for growth, the winning team was to be presented with a prize of £10,000 to further develop their business venture. (more…)

You Ain’t Nothing but a Hamdog: IP Hit or Miss?

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If only there was a way to eat both together…

Joining the ranks of hybrid food combos such as the Cronut, Duffin and Cruffin this week was the Hamdog (click for image), an unholy alliance/mashup of genius (delete as appropriate) of a hamburger and a hotdog1. What got IPcopy’s interest however wasn’t the culinary flair on display but the fact that seemingly every mainstream news outlet was reporting that the inventor (if that’s not too strong a word) of the Hamdog had “patented” his creation (see this BBC article by way of example).

The article in The Mercury goes further with the story and notes that the “inventor” Mark Murray was successful in “securing a US patent for the “combination hamburger hot dog bread bun” in 2009.” Mr Murray himself is quoted as saying “Everyone told me it wasn’t possible, because you’d need a patent lawyer and it would cost millions of dollars“.

Now this IPcopywriter may just be demonstrating the pedantic leanings of the average patent attorney but we couldn’t let this story pass by without comment, for Mr Murray has not “patented” his gastro-creation (in the sense that we’d normally use the word patent in the UK and Europe). Instead, as we’ll explain below, this “news” item is just another example of a particular type of terminology confusion that arises when reporting IP in the media2. (more…)

Brexit means Brexit

brexit-1481028_1920It’s been just over two months since the UK decided to take back control and, as the summer parliament recess comes to an end, IPcopy thought it would be a good time to take stock of where things stand.

The process of Brexit has been split between three Ministers – the Three Brexiteers of Johnson, Fox and Davis – which has already resulted in some turf wars. David Davis, heading up the Department for Exiting the European Union, has raised some eyebrows by claiming that the UK could do one-to-one trade deals with individual member states of the EU (it can’t) and that he wants to negotiate a trading area 10 times the size of the EU which sounds impressive until you realise that that would actually be 1.5 times bigger than the economy of the entire planet Earth1. (more…)