The 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…)
Mother Teresa died on 5th September 1997, in Calcutta, India. In her will she outlined that her likeness should not be used after her death for trade purposes, according to Biswajit Sarkar, an India-based lawyer who undertakes pro-bono work for the Missionaries of Charity, a religious Order founded by Mother Teresa.
Mother Teresa was known for wearing her characteristic white sari with three blue stripes on the borders, one thicker than the rest; this blue-and-white striped sari is woven specifically for the Missionaries of Charity by leprosy patients living in a home run by the Order. Nearly 4000 saris are woven every year. These garments are then distributed to nuns all over the world who work for the Missionaries of Charity and they are worn as a religious uniform. When Mr Sarkar heard about unauthorised sales of blue-and-white striped saris resembling that worn by Mother Teresa, and about instances of people trying to use Mother Teresa’s name for commercial gain, he applied to register a colour trade mark for the blue-and-white sari in India. (more…)
IPcopy was present for the annual patent seminar at Gowling WLG last week.
Carrying on the format from previous years, Alex Brodie opened up the proceedings with a look at UK court statistics. Gowling WLG’s case counting exercise attempts to catch as many cases as possible but Alex Brodie noted that not all cases are published or commented on and so there may potentially be some that are not included.
Having acknowledged the counting process behind the statistics it was noted that the total number of patent decisions in 2017 shows a slight fall from previous years – 62 total cases versus 79 (2016) and 75 (2015). This fall may be an example of a Brexit effect but it was highlighted that there have also been some significant cases this year and there are only so many judges to go around. (more…)
With the new EU Trade Secrets Directive coming into force in June 2018, Dr Chris Hayes of Lewis Silkin details his top 5 tips for protecting trade secrets. (more…)
According to the website of the Council of the European Union, Latvia has now deposited its instrument of ratification (on 11 January 2018) to become the 15th country to complete its ratification formalities. Latvia joins Lithuania, Estonia, Italy, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Finland, Portugal, Luxembourg, Malta, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, France and Austria as one of the fifteen countries who have completed their ratification processes.
The unitary patent system requires 13 countries to ratify, including the UK, France and Germany. Brexit in the UK and a court challenge in the German Federal Constitutional Court (GFCC) has put the brakes on the progress of the unitary patent system. (more…)
In the case of Red Bull GmbH v EUIPO, the European General Court (General Court) held that neither of Red Bull’s blue/silver colour combination trade marks were valid; this may cause concern to businesses looking to protect a combination of two colours forming part of their branding.
In 2005 and 2011, Red Bull registered two blue/silver colour combination trade marks due to having acquired distinctive character through use. However, in the years 2011 and 2013, Optimum Mark sp. z o.o. requested that both Red Bull trade marks be declared invalid. The EUIPO’s Cancellation Division granted this request, the First Board of Appeal dismissed Red Bull’s appeals and now the General Court has upheld these previous decisions.
The General Court’s decision has been seen as a blow to the chances of successfully registering ‘colour combination’ marks in light of the extensive list of requirements set out in the judgement. However, there are two underlying factors to consider in more detail: graphical representation and the description. (more…)
Just before Christmas, the Preparatory Committee for the Unified Patent Court (UPC) published an online article, looking ahead into this new year. Optimistic as usual, the committee expressed to be “hopeful the New Year will bring closure to [its] endeavours and the Unified Patent Court will become a reality”. Some words were spent on the delay caused by the challenges to the German ratification of the Agreement at the German Federal Constitutional Court (GFCC), but most of the article was meant to inform the future users of the unified patent system about the provisional application of the Agreement in the months before the Court will actually start. The article included no words on Brexit and the as yet unclear future relation between the EU and the UK. (more…)
“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…)
University spin-outs are growing with companies such as Applied Graphene Materials and PureLiFi hitting mainstream news. In the UK, spin-out programs are centered on university campuses and supported by two key government initiatives, the Enterprise Fund and University Challenge Scheme. The UK has the highest number of spin-out support programmes in Europe, with the main players being Oxford and Cambridge University. As well as benefiting universities, businesses and investors, the success of spin-outs is making an impact on regional and economic development too. On the back of this success more and more universities and investors are looking into possibility of spin-outs of their own. (more…)
Following the UK’s EU referendum and the triggering of the Article 50 notification, the UK is currently scheduled to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. Until the final arrangements between the UK and the EU are known there is widespread uncertainty in a range of areas including the intellectual property system within the UK.
For example, a particular IP related area of concern is what will happen in respect of EU Trade Marks (EUTMs) and Registered community designs (RCDs) post-Brexit. Without arrangements to the contrary it is unlikely that such EUTMs and RCDs will continue to cover the UK post-Brexit. [However, it is noted that it is completely within the UK’s ability to arrange for the implementation of an equivalent UK trade mark or design right to mirror the EU right. As such, holders of EUTMs and RCDs should expect that, even if arrangements are currently unclear, it is highly likely that the UK will announce the mechanism for continued protection in due course.]
As the UK and the EU move into the next phase of the Brexit negotiations IPcopy thought that this would be a good opportunity to recap how the referendum result impacts the IP world, what the current official announcements are and what action IP right holders can consider taking now. (more…)