How horse names resemble trademarks

Trademarks identify a particular product or service and enable consumers to quickly identify the source of a given good. In order to meet this function they must be distinctive. Trademark law protects the owner’s right to use the trademark exclusively and prevent others using a mark that is confusingly similar. Use of an identical mark on the same product would be considered confusing and could clearly constitute infringement. So far so good. But are you aware that the same standards exis... Read More

Trademark bullying? The Glencoe story

Glencoe is an “unforgettable place of dramatic mountains, rare beauty and haunting history” in the Scottish Highlands. It is also a UK trademark, registered by several companies including The National Trust for Scotland. NTS’s 2016 trademark is registered for goods including beauty products, jewellery and clothing. A prior UK Glencoe mark protecting articles of clothing was registered in 1996 by Glenmuir Limited, a “family-run business dedicated to producing the finest golf wear” but it does no... Read More

Bitter taste to confectionary disputes

  Last week the UK Court of Appeal ruled on the long running battle between Nestlé and Cadbury (owned by Mondeleze) over the attempt to register the shape of the KitKat bar in the UK.  Trademarks need to be a “badge of origin”. In particular registration of a shape mark requires good evidence of acquired distinctiveness to show that consumers rely on shape in a “trade mark sense”. The UK court has ruled that this is not the case for the KitKat shape. The mere fact that consumers reco... Read More

Good name, bad product

New product development is exciting – and costly. In addition to the essential R&D, market research and marketing initiatives, all products require a name which is (ideally) distinctive and available. Finding the right name in itself is a costly business that involves many steps: name & logo creation, trademark research, brand validation & strategy, trademark filing and protection). Depending on where you plan to launch and therefore protect your product name will define the co... Read More

What is the appropriate way to deal with inappropriate content on the internet?

The internet is a great place to find content of all sorts. Videos of cats doing crazy stunts, memes, thought provoking lifestyle messages. But this rich availability means ease of access to a wide variety of inappropriate content. Inappropriate content means any material that is disturbing, improper, and just wrong. It can be images of real or simulated violence or of a sexually explicit nature. Recently there have been concerns raised around disturbing YouTube videos. These strongly resemble v... Read More

Alibaba’s use of technology to fight counterfeit reaps first rewards

In December 2016 Alibaba was placed on a US blacklist for fakes. A US industry watchdog called the company’s Taobao website (the world’s largest e-commerce platform) a “notorious” market for counterfeiting and piracy. Now Alibaba is diligently combatting this label. Via a program called Operation “Cloud Sword” big data technology such as advanced algorithms, machine learning, optical character recognition (OCR), and mapping technologies, is used to generate clues to help identify and take down ... Read More

Has President Trump’s executive order on ‘Public Safety’ killed off Privacy Shield?

Governments rightly accord great attention to the importance of privacy and human rights but are also cognisant that there are situations where public authorities require access to the content of electronic communications. Three decades of negotiations and agreements on what constitutes acceptable levels of sharing of personal data and communications between the US and Europe resulted at the start of 2016 in the Privacy Shield agreement which provided obligations to protect and monitor the shar... Read More