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Trade Mark News Bites

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It’s time for some trade mark stories that have caught our attention recently – from misleading invoices to “trademark patents” (What are they?) and audio trade marks in China.

  • It would seem that even though place names cannot be the subject of a trade mark in China, more than 40% of Japanese cities plus wards in Tokyo have been registered – full story here.
  • We have written a couple of times on IPcopy about the problem of misleading IP invoices (see general warning here and case study here). In a small victory for IP rights owners the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against the issuer of a misleading invoice. Not sure if this will change things in the long run as the company in question (Trademark Renewal Service Ltd) can apparently revise the format of their invoice so that it not longer implies it is correspondence from a company affiliated with the IPO.
  • “I only get it for the articles” – The Sun carried an article recently about the musician Rita Ora applying for trade mark protection in respect of her name. It’s always good to see IP stories in the news but it is definetly not good when the article cannot use IP terms correctly. Anyone out there own a “trademark patent”? No, well that’s because they don’t exist! Perhaps this article can also be the subject of our of our IP Hit or Miss posts?
  • An interesting article in Managing IP in the last week or so about the rise of logos being used on their own (i.e. instead of with accompanying text).
  • The Internet registrar GoDaddy has recently had its bid to use a “safe harbour” defence refused. The case involves the registration by GoDaddy of domains which include the unathorised use of trade marks.
  • And finally, we end as we began, back in China. A draft amendment to a Trademark Law bill submitted to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee has proposed that audio trademarks (such as ringtones and advertising jingles) may be registered as trade marks. Currently, trade marks in China must be visual.

Mark Richardson 27 June 2013

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