Safeguarding product designs via national, EU and international systems can provide companies with an important and cost-effective route to IP protection. However, systems for registering design rights do come with specific rules and restrictions.
Although trademark owners are legally entitled to oppose applications for similar or identical marks, by enforcing these rights they can sometimes be perceived to be bullying other companies. It is key for brands, especially those that are well known, to exercise their rights in a way that avoids causing damage to their reputation.
Negotiations between the EU and Mexico on an updated Free Trade Agreement could potentially open the door to non-agricultural geographical indications (GIs). Time will tell if the EU is ready to embrace protection for handicrafts however.
When budgets are tight, IP expenditure will naturally come under scrutiny, with patent annuity payments often one of the first areas to be identified for cuts.
It takes time, resources and money to create and launch distinctive and effective brands. But how can you be sure that the brand name you have chosen is really yours to use?
Priority is an essential element of patent law and its application by the European Patent Office (EPO) has been clarified through case law, as Stéphane Roux explains.
Trademark registrations provide an exclusive right to use protected brand names in the markets, and for the goods and services for which they have been registered. To maintain those rights, however, it is imperative to keep trademarks in use.
A Canadian brewery and a New Zealand leather shop have both been caught out this month after using a Māori word as a brand name that has quite a different meaning to the one they had originally intended.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games may have been postponed, but that hasn't stopped counterfeiters from trying to get in on the act, with fake medals recovered by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police earlier this month.