Trademarks

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EU Design Reform Package: More efficient, Affordable, and Future-proof Design Protection Ahead

On 28 November 2022, the European Commission adopted proposals for a revised Regulation and Directive on industrial designs. The proposals, that are now sent to the European Parliament and Council for adoption, are aimed at modernizing the EU design system and the harmonized national design protection laws.… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit: Commercial Brand Names Can Be Expressive Speech

In Punchbowl, Inc. v. AJ Press, LLC, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a trademark win for upstart news outfit Punchbowl News. In doing so, the court held that First Amendment protection extends to the names of commercial enterprises. This ground-breaking decision heralds the expansion of traditional fair use defenses to any trademark infringement claims where a … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds Foreign Trademark Defendants Can Be Served through USPTO

Suing an overseas defendant often forces plaintiffs to go through the expensive and time-consuming process of serving the defendant through the Hague Convention. This requires translating the complaint and related documents, delivering them to the foreign country’s designated “Central Authority,” and then waiting for that Central Authority to actually deliver the documents and confirm delivery … Continue Reading

God Save the Queen’s Royal Warrant Holders

With gratitude to Heloise Morle for her contributions to this post. In a modern world of celebrity and influencer endorsements, there is arguably one endorsement that still trumps others: the Royal Warrant. The granting of an English monarch’s royal seals of approval dates back to 1155 – when King Henry II granted the Weavers’ Company … Continue Reading

China: Design Patents and the Metaverse

The concept of Metaverse as an online framework for economic interoperability was born in and around 2020. Since then, giant companies all over the world ― especially in the IT, entertainment and fashion businesses ― have begun to launch products and solutions related to the ever developing Metaverse. Fashion brands, artists and entertainers, among others, … Continue Reading

China: Recycled Packaging and Trademark Infringement, a Questionable Decision in the Tsingtao Beer Case

Back in 2020, the famous Chinese brew company Tsingtao Beer filed an administrative complaint for trademark infringement against a smaller Chinese competitor for the use of recycled Tsingtao beer bottles. The smaller brewery was filling legitimately recycled Tsingtao bottles with their own beer. The recycled bottles did not bear the Tsingtao labels and marks, which … Continue Reading

China: Alternative Strategies to Trademark Enforcement against Parallel Import of Cosmetics by Unauthorized Sellers

E-commerce platforms are full of Chinese traders selling foreign cosmetic products they purchased at a lower price outside China. These branded goods are sold without the trademark owner’s consent for a much lower price than that of the official retailer. The consequences of such so-called “parallel imports” are well-known: the foreign brand and its official … Continue Reading

Ready or Not: Your Trademark Portfolio in the Metaverse

More and more companies are entering the Metaverse leading to a trend towards increased filings of trademarks in the “virtual” classes. This blog has reported on this trend here and here. Whilst the SPB Team does not blindly follow trends, we are advising all our trademark clients (even the more “conservative” ones) now to file … Continue Reading

First Time Ever! China Adopts Fast-Track Examination for Trademark Applications

On January 14, 2022, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) issued the Measures for Fast-Track Examination of Trademark Registration Applications (for Trial Implementation), which took effect on the same day. The Measures aim at improving the trademark examination system by addressing the national interests and the needs of market players, while maintaining high-quality examination … Continue Reading

NFTs: New Frontiers for Trademarks

Intellectual property owners need to add the metaverse to places to watch for possible infringement, specifically, trademark or copyright infringement in the form of NFTs or non-fungible tokens. This is highlighted in the case of Hermès International v. Mason Rothschild, currently pending in federal district court in New York. In this case, Hermès claims that … Continue Reading

An International Drama Over the Maradona Heir’s Right to Use Their Dad’s Name

The heirs of Argentinian soccer super star, Diego Maradona, as well as a John Doe identified only by an IP address, have been sued for trademark infringement based on their use of the name “Maradona.” The suit was filed on January 13, 2022, and is just another episode in an ongoing struggle over the rights … Continue Reading

New from China: Light Administrative Injunctions Now Available for Patents, Designs, and Copyrights

On June 21, 2021, the Shenzhen Administration for Market Regulation (Shenzhen AMR) issued the first ever administrative injunction against the alleged infringement of a design patent. The decision was based on a set of local IP regulations implemented in 2019 to increase protection of intellectual property (IP) rights associated with the booming local innovation in … Continue Reading

Make it a double! Brexit Transition of EU Trademarks and Designs Accomplished

With the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, the EU legislation governing the EU trademark and design system ceased to apply to the UK. While Brexit trade deal talks were in full swing, the SPB Team worked through all administrative details to comply with the new Brexit requirements, which took effect on … Continue Reading

US Trademark Modernization Act Provides New Relief to Trademark Owners

False claims of use and fake specimens of use have bedeviled the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and legitimate trademark owners for many years. The Trademark Modernization Act of 2020 (“TMA”) — part of the COVID-19 relief legislative package signed by President Trump on December 27, 2020 — provides significant relief for trademark owners’ … Continue Reading

Ferrari Loses Race for 250 GTO Trademark: Risks Arising From Non-Use of Registered Trademarks

Ferrari 250 GTO, often hailed as the most expensive car in the world, was initially introduced by Ferrari in 1962. Only 36 models of 250 GTO were exclusively produced between 1962 and 1964. The fact that each buyer had to be personally approved by Enzo Ferrari only added to the exclusivity of this particular car … Continue Reading

Messi Scores Goal in Trade Mark Dispute: Registering Celebrity Names as Trade Marks

The Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) has ruled that, after a decade-long legal battle, football ace Lionel Messi has the right to register his name as a trade mark. This interesting case confirms that celebrity names are registrable as trade marks. However, whilst there are some advantages to seeking such protection, there … Continue Reading

Ongoing Challenges for Fashion Brands in Germany – Legal Issues with Style Names Revisited

Using first names as style names to assist consumers in distinguishing between certain items, styles or washes within a collection is a widespread practice in the fashion industry. Compared to numerical identifiers, names may trigger emotions and are much easier to remember. Style names may be used in manifold ways, e.g. on labels sewn in … Continue Reading

Time to Act Against Chinese Parallel Import of Foreign Cosmetic Products

Parallel import is not easily tolerated by brand owners. Parallel import products, sometimes referred to as grey market goods, create market distortions, attack the official supply chain, double the risk of product liability and dilute trademarks. Brand-owners know, however, that trademarks are not a viable tool to stop parallel import of foreign cosmetic brands into … Continue Reading
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