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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.

Chinese IP Court takes measures to stop bad faith trademark filings


On 10 January 2017, the Supreme Court of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) issued ‘Provisions on Several Issues Concerning the Hearing of Administrative Cases Involving the Granting and Affirmation of Trademark Rights’ (Provisions). These entered into effect on 1 March 2017. Novagraaf’s Zhenghan Gong explains the implications of the changes for brand owners, and how the new Provisions..


Fusing corporate brands: the IP implications of growth through M&A


Where businesses merge with or acquire other businesses, the challenge for IP professionals is not always as simple as ensuring a transfer of the associated rights – there is also the question of combined or conflicting brands.


Domain name victory for sports brand Volcom


What can you do if a third party seeks to profit from your brand by registering a domain name that incorporates part or all of your brand name? Domain name dispute procedures, such as the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), exist to enable trademark holders to challenge such registrations. They can provide a fast and relatively inexpensive route to resolution, as sports brand..


Stripes on Pirelli tyres not eligible for trademark protection


In July 2017, the EU’s General Court ruled that tyre manufacturer Pirelli’s application to register the curved stripes that appear on the sides of its tyres was rightly refused as an European Union trademark (EU TM). Pirelli applies the stripes in the same position on its tyres, albeit in different colours; however, the general court rejected its argument that this ‘position’ trademark..


Breakfast cereal trademark battle: Weetabix seized by NZ customs


Customs officials in New Zealand seized around 300 boxes of popular British cereal Weetabix in June at the request of rival cereal giant Sanitarium, to prevent confusion between Weetabix and its brand Weet-Bix.


Intel v McAfee: Should you use your name as your business name?


News that John McAfee has settled legal action in the US with technology giant Intel over the commercial use of his name once again raises the question over whether brands should ever be built around a founder's name. McAfee founded the computer anti-virus software in 1987 and sold his company, including the brand name to Intel, in 2010. This latest dispute relates to McAfee's decision to change..


CJEU rules: soy milk is not milk


Plant-based diets have become something of a wellness trend in recent years, and this is now reflected by our supermarket shelves with a wider and wider range of related products available for purchase. However, consumers will soon have to get used to new designations for products such as almond milk, soy yoghurt, tofu butter and rice cream, following a ruling by the Court of Justice of the..


Navigating a new market: trademarks and e-cigarettes


As e-cigarette use grows, so do the dangers of trademark infringement for well-known brands, as Claire Jones explains.


CJEU landmark ruling could lead to Dutch ban on The Pirate Bay


In a recent landmark ruling, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) ruled that ISPs in the Netherlands could be forced to block access to BitTorrent site ‘The Pirate Bay’. According to CJEU, the making available and management of an online sharing platform such as The Pirate Bay, must be considered to be an act of communication to the public which may constitute copyright infringement.


&PIZZA not suitable as a trademark for… pizza


In 2016, a US company filed an EU trademark (EUTM) application for the word/device mark &PIZZA. The company sought protection for foods and drinks, as well as for restaurant, bar and catering services. The EU's Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) partly refused the application due to lack of distinctive character as a result of the descriptive nature of the term 'pizza'. However, the applicant..