Tag archives: trademarks

‘Apples, Beatles and four decades of litigation’ – Cautionary tales for start-ups settling on a new brand name

Apple: the world’s most successful company, with an estimated worth of three-quarters of a trillion dollars. It’s no wonder that would-be tech entrepreneurs around the world are sitting around in black turtlenecks, jeans and New Balance sneakers, poring over Steve Jobs’ biography and trying to work out how they might emulate his success in their … Continue reading

The Slants Win: SCOTUS rules “Disparaging” trademark provision unconstitutional

On June 19, 2017, the United States Supreme Court issued a much-anticipated decision, holding that the so-called “disparagement clause” of the Lanham Act is an impermissible restriction on free speech under the First Amendment. The ruling is the culmination of years of litigation, and clears the way for Simon Shiao Tam and the Slants to … Continue reading

What’s in a name? How to protect yourself if your name is your personal brand

Cher, Prince, Oprah, Bono – all of these celebrities have one thing in common – the capacity to be recognised by nothing more than a single name. For businesses which are built on the success of a personal brand, a name can be a crucial component of being recognised by consumers. But the question remains: should … Continue reading

Productivity Commission’s Report on Australia’s IP system

The Inquiry Report into Intellectual Property Arrangements recently published by the Productivity Commission (Report) argues that Australia’s IP system is weighted too heavily in favour of rights holders and against the interests of the broader community. It has made various recommendations to correct this perceived imbalance. This article considers some of the recommended changes which, … Continue reading

Protecting Australian brands in China

Summary China continues to emerge as one of the most important intellectual property (IP) destinations for Australians, having overtaken the US and New Zealand as Australia’s predominant destination market for Australian trade marks filed overseas in 2011. With the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) coming into force last year, China is now Australia’s largest trading … Continue reading

Copyrightability of private standards in federal regulations

On February 2, 2017, a federal trial court judge in Washington, D.C. ruled, in a 55-page opinion, that private standards developing organizations (“SDOs”) do not lose their copyright or trademark protection if a federal regulation adopts their standards. Background This case, American Society for Testing and Materials v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc., Case. No. 13-cv-1215 (TSC) (D.D.C. … Continue reading

Use them or lose them: US trademarks put to the proof

In the United States, a trademark owner must use their mark in commerce to maintain a federal trademark registration. This requirement is different from many other countries which do not require use of the mark to maintain registration.  Further, the trademark owner is required periodically to prove to the United States Patent and Trademark Office … Continue reading

PTO not required to register disparaging trademark until cert deadline passes

In December 2015, the Federal Circuit struck down the “disparagement” clause of §2(a) of the Lanham Act on First Amendment grounds. However, according to a recent ruling from the court, the USPTO is not required to register disparaging trademarks just yet. In re Tam, No. 16-121 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 30, 2016) (denying petition for writ of … Continue reading
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