Posts Tagged: "INTA"

INTA Asks Second Circuit to Limit Rogers’ Definition of ‘Expressive Work’ to Prevent Application of Test on Ordinary Consumer Products

On June 24, the International Trademark Association (INTA) filed an amicus brief in Vans, Inc. v. MSCHF Product Studio, Inc., a case currently on appeal from the Eastern District of New York to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In the brief, INTA urges the Second Circuit to clarify the kinds of “expressive works” to which the Rogers test may be applied, and in such a way that the use of Vans trade dress on sneakers sold by MSCHF Product Studio would be actionable for infringement and not protected by the First Amendment simply because MSCHF claims the sneakers are works of art.

Tax, Metaverse, and Sustainability in Focus at INTA Annual Meeting—Plus Speeches by Tang and Vidal

An understanding of tax issues is increasingly important for trademark practitioners—and a new report by the International Trademark Association (INTA) focusing on the European Union, Switzerland and the United Kingdom aims to help them achieve that. The “Report on the Taxation of Trademarks and Complementary Rights in Europe” was unveiled at the 144th INTA Annual Meeting Live+, which was held in Washington, D.C. and online from April 30 to May 3. There were more than 6,700 registrants from 130 countries.

IP in the Crosshairs: Government Agencies Terminate Relationships with Russian IP Entities as Kremlin Sanctions IP Theft

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced last week that it will terminate engagement with the Russian IP Office (Rospatent) as well as the Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO) and the IP Office of Belarus, which has been cooperating with Russia in the lead-up to and during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The USPTO also said on Wednesday that, effective March 11, it is no longer granting requests to participate in the Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH) at the USPTO when those requests are based on work performed by Rospatent as an Office of Earlier Examination. And, in pending cases where the Office granted special status under the GPPH to applications based on work performed by Rospatent, “the USPTO will remove that status and return those applications to the regular processing and examination queue, meaning that they will no longer be treated as GPPH applications at the USPTO,” said a USPTO statement. “Like so many, we are deeply saddened by the events unfolding in Ukraine,” said the USPTO. “We hope for the restoration of peace and human dignity.”

INTA Weighs in at CJEU on EU Parallel Imports Case

The International Trademark Association (INTA) has made an amicus submission before the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) in a case concerning parallel imports and EU trademark law. (Case C-175/21 Harman International Industries, Inc. v. AB SA.) In the case at hand, Harman, which makes audiovisual equipment, brought trademark infringement proceedings in Poland against AB, a distributor. AB had put on the market goods featuring Harman’s trademarks, which it had obtained from a third party. Europe operates a system of regional exhaustion, as set out in Article 15(1) of the EUTM Regulation, and in parallel imports cases national courts have referred to “goods which have not been put on the market within the European Economic Area (EEA) by the right holder or with his consent.” (Gender-neutral language has not yet become established in EU jurisprudence). In this case, Harman argued that the goods had been imported into Poland and had not been put on the market within the EEA by Harman or with its consent. AB claimed it had received assurances when it bought the goods that the trademark rights were exhausted.

INTA Brief to CJEU Says Locally Significant Unregistered Trade Names Can Co-Exist with Later Registered National Trademarks

The International Trademark Association (INTA) last week submitted an amicus brief to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) providing its input on the topic of whether earlier unregistered rights of local significance, like trade names, can coexist with later registered national trademarks. The case was referred by the Dutch Supreme Court.

Amici Ask SCOTUS to Correct Third Circuit’s ‘Overly Simplistic’ Formulation of Trademark Functionality in Ezaki Glico

On July 29, several IP organizations and one global snack conglomerate filed amicus briefs at the U.S. Supreme Court asking the nation’s highest court to grant a petition for writ of certiorari to take up Ezaki Glico Kabushiki Kaisha v. Lotte International America Corp. At issue in the appeal is a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit regarding the definition of “functionality” in trademark law. In finding the stick-shaped, chocolate-covered Pocky cookies sold by Ezaki Glico to be “functional” because of the usefulness of their design, amici argue that the Third Circuit erred in its application of functionality doctrine in a way that threatens trade dress protections for any product when any part of the product’s design provides some usefulness.

INTA Submits Comments to CJEU on Non-Challenge Clauses

Filing a request for revocation of a trademark, despite a non-challenge clause in a trademark agreement, constitutes an act of bad faith—according to an amicus submission filed by INTA in a case pending before the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). The German Federal Supreme Court has referred two questions to the CJEU in a dispute between two formerly related companies. (Case C-62/21, Leinfelder Uhren München.) They had signed agreements in which the defendants in this case undertook not to attack the plaintiff’s trademark, nor to assist a third party to do so. However, a lawyer acting on behalf of the defendants subsequently filed revocation actions for non-use against the plaintiff’s EU trademarks. In response, the plaintiff asked the German courts for an order requiring the defendants to instruct the lawyer to withdraw the revocation actions, and also for damages.

On World Anti-Counterfeiting Day, Organizations Highlight Proliferation of Online Fakes Amid Pandemic and Offer Solutions

Yesterday was World Anti-Counterfeiting Day (though there’s not much available online to prove it). Of course, counterfeits have proliferated over the last year, as people stayed home and shopped online more than ever before. A January 2021 report by Digital Commerce 360 found that U.S. ecommerce sales grew by 44% last year over 2019—” the highest annual U.S. ecommerce growth in at least two decades.” As part of a report released yesterday on how to address the sale of counterfeits online, the International Trademark Association (INTA) said that—even in more normal times—a 2020 Department of Homeland Security report found that “e-commerce year-over-year retail sales grew by 13.3 percent in the second quarter of 2019 while total retail sales increased by only 3.2 percent as brick-and-mortar retail continued its relative decline.”

INTA Urges EUIPO Grand Board to Provide Guidance on Similarity Between Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages

The International Trademark Association (INTA) submitted observations in a trademark case before the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) Grand Board of Appeal on April 1. The case concerns the similarity of goods in Class 32 (non-alcoholic beverages, including flavored carbonated beverages, waters and vitamin-enriched sparkling water, as well as beers) and goods in Class 33 (alcoholic beverages except beers, including wines, spirits, liqueurs, and alcoholic preparations for making beverages). The dispute arose after the owner of the mark VIÑA ZORAYA, registered in Class 33, filed an opposition to an EUTM application for ZORAYA in Class 32 based on Article 8(1)(b) EUTMR. The opposition was rejected on the basis that the goods were dissimilar.

Is Litigation Threatening to Burst the [Red]bubble? Courts Weigh in On IP Implications of Redbubble’s Unique Online Marketplace

With brick-and-mortar stores closing at rapid paces and online sales surging, marketers are developing new models to facilitate sales through innovative online platforms. One of those new business models is Redbubble’s hybrid “print-on-demand” service. Two recent Court of Appeals decisions – from the Sixth and Ninth Circuits – consider important questions about when these new approaches to online sales gives rise to liability for trademark infringement, trademark counterfeiting, and right of publicity violations.

INTA Comments in George Orwell EUTM Cases on Names and Titles

The International Trademark Association (INTA) last week filed amicus briefs before the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) Grand Board of Appeal in three cases concerning applications to register EU trademarks (EUTMs) for the words GEORGE ORWELL, ANIMAL FARM and 1984. The  briefs concern the registration of trademarks for names of historical persons/famous authors (the GEORGE ORWELL case) and titles of literary or artistic works (the ANIMAL FARM and 1984 cases). All of the applications were filed in 2018 by The Estate of the Late Sonia Bronwell Orwell (George Orwell’s second wife, who survived him and died in 1980) without evidence of acquired distinctiveness through use.

U.S. and EU Copyright Law Developments Reviewed at INTA Annual Meeting

Last week, during the International Trademark Association’s (INTA’s) all-virtual 2020 Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting, panelists Naomi Jane Gray, Axel Nordemann and Catherine Zaller Rowland discussed perspectives in Copyright Law in a session titled “Hot Topics in Copyright: The New and Controversial Landscape.” In particular, the panelists discussed United States and European perspectives on 1) mash-ups, politics and parody, 2) Liability for Platforms and Service Providers, and 3) Useful Articles.

Panelists Address Growing Threat from ‘Brand Restrictions’ at Virtual INTA Annual Meeting

Restrictions on the use of branding symbols are a growing and serious threat to IP rights, according to a panel of trademark specialists speaking at the online INTA Annual Meeting this week, which has been combined this year with the Association’s Leadership Meeting and is being held virtually. About 3,340 people from 110 countries are registered to attend. The moderator of the panel, former INTA President Ronald van Tuijl of JT International S.A., said there is “a very strong case against brand restrictions” arguing that: “In a market where all products look alike, the products become commoditized. Premium brands lose market share or are even delisted. That results in less consumer choice ultimately.”

USPTO Publishes Final Rule Codifying Significant Trademark Fee Increases

The USPTO recently published a Final Rule setting new fees for trademark filings and TTAB proceedings, which will be effective January 2, 2021. The last time trademark fees were adjusted was about three years ago. The increases range from modest to fairly substantial. To file an application using the TEAS Plus option, the fee has increased from $225 per class to $250 per class, and the processing fee for failing to meet the TEAS Plus requirements has been reduced from $125 per class to $100 per class. However, the fee for TEAS Standard per class has jumped $75, from $275 to $350, which many trademark owners who commented found unreasonable.

Will SCOTUS Tell Bad Spaniels to Roll Over?

Sometimes a dog toy is just a dog toy. Maybe that’s how Sigmund Freud would have put it; certainly, that’s the message from our client, the International Trademark Association (INTA), to the U.S. Supreme Court. At issue is a Ninth Circuit decision that extends First Amendment protection to ordinary commercial goods like dog toys, at the expense of trademark rights. INTA, Jack Daniel’s competitors, alcohol beverage industry associations, and other trademark advocates this week asked SCOTUS to step in and reverse.