Topic: Intellectual Property

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EVERYBODY is VS RACISM, so the Mark Fails as a Source Identifier

In a recent decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) to deny registration of “EVERYBODY VS RACISM” because the “public is unlikely to associate the mark . . . as a source-identifier” of GO & Associates, LLC’s (“GO”) goods and … Continue reading

Who’s in control? Liability for copyright infringement by contractors and software developers

The High Court recently delivered its decision in Real Estate Tool Box v Campaigntrack 1 relating to copyright authorisation. The High Court held that the appellants, who had engaged a third party software developer to create a real estate marketing system for their use, were not liable for copyright infringement, as they had not authorised the developer’s infringement of Campaigntrack’s … Continue reading

Trade Marks in the Virtual World: Is your Business Well Meta-Versed in Emerging Technology?

Introduction Digital technologies such as the metaverse, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), blockchain and augmented realities are directly influencing how we cultivate and protect various forms of intellectual property, including trade marks.   We have previously written about key steps for brand owners to consider for their trade mark strategy in the metaverse and since then, earlier … Continue reading

Whirlpool Wins Appeal Against Chinese Manufacturer in KITCHENAID Trademark Lawsuit

The Fifth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction last week prohibiting Chinese company Shenzhen Sanlida Electrical Technology Co. Ltd. and Shenzhen Sanlida Electrical Technology Co., Ltd.  (collectively “Shenzhen”) from selling stand mixers that allegedly infringe Whirlpool Corp.’s (“Whirlpool”) famous KITCHENAID trademarks and trade dress. In January 2022, Whirlpool sued Shenzhen alleging trademark infringement and dilution, trade … Continue reading

This Decision Rocks: Trademarking a Guitar-Shaped Building

In a precedential decision, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) allowed registration of the following design mark for “Casinos,” in International Class 41, and “Hotel, restaurant, and bar services,” in International Class 43 on behalf of the Seminole Tribe of Florida (“Applicant”): In re Seminole Tribe of Fla., 2023 TTAB LEXIS 184 (TTAB May … Continue reading

China – Suspension of Trade Mark Applications More Readily Available?

In our previous post (here), we talked about a change being proposed by the China National Intellectual Property Administrative (commonly known as CNIPA), prohibiting repeated filings for the same trade mark.  This was particularly concerning to brand owners and trade mark practitioners because, presently, it has been common practice to re-file identical back-up applications to … Continue reading

Yet Another Change Coming Up?  Structural Changes to CNIPA and China’s Potential 5th Amendment to Trademark Law

We are just a few months into 2023, but we are already seeing a number of proposed changes to Chinese Trademark Law.  We wish to draw attention to some of the upcoming structural changes to the China National Intellectual Property Administration (commonly known as CNIPA) and to highlight a few draft amendments to China’s Trademark … Continue reading

NUMB: BOTOX reputation insufficient to stop PROTOX

Earlier this month, the High Court of Australia ultimately rejected trade mark infringement and misleading/deceptive conduct claims by Allergan (owner of the injectable BOTOX®) against Self Care’s anti-wrinkle skincare products PROTOX and INHIBOX (marketed under the slogan ‘instant Botox® alternative’). The case has been running for 6 years. Allergan relied on the overwhelming reputation of … Continue reading

China’s accession to the Apostille Convention: Authentication procedure for foreign documents used in China to be greatly simplified

On March 8, 2023, China deposited an instrument for accession to the Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (also known as the “Apostille Convention”). Upon the scheduled implementation of the Apostille Convention in China on November 7, 2023, the expensive and time-consuming consular legalisation procedure that foreign … Continue reading

(Un)conscious Marketing: Is green really the new black?

As we settle into a new calendar year, we reflect on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) 2022/2023 compliance and enforcement priorities announcing, amongst other priorities, their commitment to resolving consumer and fair trading issues regarding environmental claims and sustainability. In a recent speech at the Sydney Morning Herald Sustainability Summit, ACCC Deputy Chair … Continue reading

Raising our (Ad) Standards: What environmental claims have Australian regulatory bodies deemed acceptable (or not)?

The recent announcement that the self-regulated Australian Association of National Advertisers’ (AANA) will be undertaking a review of the AANA Environmental Claims Code (Environmental Code) follows the growing community concern about the environment, increased sustainability claims and climate change. The review will focus on making certain that the Environmental Code is meeting its objectives in … Continue reading

Three Year Battle Ends with Lizzo Securing Registration for 100% THAT BITCH Mark

In a precedential decision, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) reversed two refusals to register Grammy-winning singer Lizzo’s 100% THAT BITCH trademarks. Lizzo’s company, Lizzo LLC, applied for two word trademarks in June 2019 for 100% THAT BITCH for various types of clothing after she popularized the phrase in her 2017 hit single … Continue reading

Transliterations of Chinese Characters Require a Translation Statement

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) refused registration of the mark “ZHIMA” because the applicant, Advanced New Technologies Co., Ltd., did not submit a translation of ZHIMA into English. In re Advanced New Techs. Co., 2023 TTAB LEXIS 2, 2023 WL 181172 (TTAB Jan. 12, 2023). In the original refusal, the Examining Attorney determined … Continue reading

USPTO Adds 75 Climate and Green-Tech Terms to Trademark ID Manual

Earlier this month, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it is adding new climate and green tech-related terms to the Trademark ID Manual. The USPTO has already added 75 terms that include biomethane, research and development in the field of wind energy, and treatment of captured landfill gasses. Practically, the addition … Continue reading

The Battle Continues After TTAB Refuses Registration for #LAW for Failure to Function as a Trademark

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) refused registration of #LAW on the Principal Register finding that #LAW failed to function as a trademark. Pound Law, LLC (“Pound Law” or “Applicant”) was unable to convince the Board that its vanity phone number functions as a trademark for legal services and legal referral services. In re … Continue reading

TTAB Sustains Opposition Based on Applicant’s Failure to Secure the Consent of a Living Individual

Terminal Moraine Inc. (“Applicant” or “Terminal Moraine”) sought registration on the Principal Register of the mark: for the following goods and services: Mystery Ranch, Ltd. (“Mystery Ranch” or “Opposer”) opposed registration of the DANA DESIGN mark based on an alleged false suggestion of a connection with Mystery Ranch and Dana Gleason, Mystery Ranch’s co-owner, under … Continue reading

Supreme Court to Examine the Reach of the Lanham Act to Impose Liability on Conduct Outside of the United States

Sections 32(1)(a) and 43(a)(1)(A) of the Lanham Act impose civil liability on any person who “use[s] in commerce” a trademark in a manner that “is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive.”  15 U.S.C. 1114(1)(a); 15 U.S.C. 1125(a)(1). Notably, the Lanham Act defines commerce broadly as “all commerce which may lawfully … Continue reading

NFTs and IP – Your opportunity to comment

On November 23, 2022, the US Patent and Trademark Office and the US Copyright Office issued a request for public comment on the subject of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and intellectual property rights. Comments are due by Monday, January 9, 2023. In addition, the Offices will offer three public roundtables:  one panel on NFTs and patents … Continue reading

Are we (virtually) there yet? Waiting for the rise of the metaverse from a brand owner’s perspective

We are now almost one year on from Mark Zuckerberg’s much talked-about October 2021 letter announcing, among other things, the change of the name of his company from Facebook to Meta, reflecting the company’s commitment to revolutionising social connection through virtual reality. Zuckerberg’s expansive vision of a metaverse currently remains more of a fantasy than … Continue reading

Aristocrat Technologies: The Future Patentability of Gaming Technology and Computer-Implemented Inventions

Last month, the High Court dismissed an appeal by gaming technology provider Aristocrat Technologies over whether computerised components in their electronic gaming machines (EGMs) which triggered a “feature game” constituted patentable subject matter. The judgment was split evenly between the six justices. Although in theory the ruling should provide more clarity on the increasingly important … Continue reading

Authorization of certain IP-related transactions in Russia

The ink was not even dry on the update regarding Russia-related IP issues that we published last week, when we learned of two more major developments. The USPTO recently issued the following statement on engagement with Russia, the Eurasian Patent Organization and Belarus: Per guidance issued by the U.S. Department of State, the United States Patent and Trademark Office … Continue reading

Key current considerations in handling IP rights in Russia

February 24, 2022, Russian troops poured over the border into Ukraine, unleashing unimaginable human suffering and widespread destruction of property. Russia’s aggression also ignited negative consequences in the international economy that continue to increase and cascade throughout all sectors and corners of the globe. As companies and other entities struggle to navigate the broader macro-economic … Continue reading

Russia enables free use of Russian patents and other intellectual property of rights holders in countries committing “unfriendly acts”

On 7 March 2022 a decree of the Russian government took effect, announcing that compensation need not be paid for the unauthorised use of Russian patents, utility models and designs to rights holders connected with foreign countries committing “unfriendly acts” against Russian legal entities and individuals. In the case of patents, the citizenship of the … Continue reading
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