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News about trademarks

Trademarks, whether they are strong, beautiful or special, play an important role in our daily lives. All brands have their own story, their own context within which they develop. Investing in the value of a trademark is an important part of a business’s strategy since the value of a trademark or trademarks to a great extent determines the profitability of the organisation and thus its value. With practical situations as a focus, this section sets out all relevant and interesting developments in the field of trademark law.

Geographical origin and trademark descriptiveness


Brand names can also be considered too ‘descriptive’ for trademark protection due to their geographical resonance, as the recent judgement against the application to protect ‘KARELIA’ illustrates. The sign was considered to be descriptive for industrial oils.


Trademark validity: Establishing genuine use


After the initial ‘grace period’ of five years, EU trademark owners must be able to show that their marks are (‘genuinely’) used for each of the goods and services for which the trademark has been registered. If they cannot, their trademark may be vulnerable to revocation actions. But, what is considered ‘genuine use’ and what if a trademark is used in a different form from which it..


Trademark trumps design right in Mik Maki Tic Tac dispute


The trademark registration procedure provides brand owners with the opportunity to identify and object to potentially conflicting applications. But, what if a conflict exists between a trademark and design right? This is a question recently addressed by the EU General Court in its judgement on Tic Tac’s invalidity action against Mik Maki’s Registered Community Design.


Trademark protection and social media: the rise of the hashflag


First there were hashtags, and now there are hashflags – also known as Twitter emojis. These custom icons were first introduced by Twitter in 2010 to promote the 2010 World Cup in Brazil. Then just a simple flag emoticon, their use has since expanded into a whole range of different images and subject areas. Novagraaf’s Claire Jones examines the IP implications.


Indonesia becomes 100th territory to join Madrid System


The number of countries and regions joining the international system for trademark registration on the basis of the Madrid Convention and its Protocol, continues to grow. Indonesia is the latest country to deposit an instrument of accession with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which comes into force on 2 January 2018.


Combination of descriptive terms eligible for trademark protection


Trademark applications frequently fail due to lack of distinctiveness. However, it is possible to overcome this barrier to registration for marks combining descriptive and/or non-distinctive elements, if the sign as a whole creates an overall distinctive impression, as Novagraaf’s Frouke Hekker explains.


Implications of the IP (Unjustified Threats) Act 2017 (UK)


The IP (Unjustified Threats) Act that received Royal Assent on 27 April 2017 came into force on 1 October this year, reforming the existing law around threats provisions. Novagraaf’s Claire Jones explains the implications of the reforms.


Genericism: When does a brand name stop being a brand name?


While many marketers admire the success of brands such as ‘google’ in becoming part of everyday speak, trademark practitioners routinely caution brand owners against using brand names as nouns or verbs for risk that they might become generic terms. As if to illustrate their point, Google is currently battling in the US Supreme Court to retain trademark protection.


Mitsui and Novagraaf establish Strategic Alliance


Mitsui & Co Ltd. (‘’Mitsui’’) and European intellectual property (IP) group Novagraaf BV have established a partnership to offer greater choice to Japanese customers. The agreement, which includes an investment by Mitsui in Novagraaf, will support Novagraaf’s strategy to transform the way IP owners in Japan protect and create value from their IP assets.


Novagraaf UK recommended in The Legal 500 2017


The UK trademark practice of Intellectual Property (IP) consultancy Novagraaf has been recommended for its expertise in the 2017 edition of The Legal 500. Trademark Attorneys Nora Fowler and Michael Freeman were recognised in this year’s publication.