IP Law Watch

Legal issues, law and regulations concerning the world of IP.

 

1
The MetaBirkins Battle
2
Are Medical Diagnostic Methods Patent Ineligible by Convention?: CareDx, Inc. v. Natera, Inc. and Eurofins Viracor, Inc.
3
Public Consultation Underway for Australian Copyright Enforcement Regime
4
If You Want It, You Should Have Done a Search On It: Why Trademark Searches are Essential Before Settling Down With a New Brand
5
The Battle of the Supermarkets Vol. 2 – GINgle Bells, GINgle Bells, GIN All the Way
6
Trademark Applications and Infringements in Germany: The Importance of Potential Revocation and Non-Use
7
New Guidance for Digital Content Creators’ Metadata from the U.S. Court of Appeals
8
The ‘Standard’ of Use Evidence in the EU – Advertising and Promotion Can be Enough to Show Genuine Use of a Service Without That Service Actually Crossing the Pond
9
The Battle of the Supermarkets – Evergreening of Trade Marks and Potential Bad Faith
10
Old Lady Shows Her Youth With Win in Significant Trade Mark Ruling Concerning NFTs

The MetaBirkins Battle

In 2021, artist Mason Rothschild launched metabirkins.com and announced that he would be selling non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) called MetaBirkins. The MetaBirkins offering consisted of 100 NFTs depicted as fury purses that resembled the well-known Birkin bag. Hermѐs, owner of the BIRKIN trademark as well as the BIRKIN trade dress, took issue with Rothschild’s MetaBirkins NFTs and sent a cease and desist letter. Despite Hermѐs’ demands, Rothschild refused to discontinue the sale of the MetaBirkins NFTs.

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Are Medical Diagnostic Methods Patent Ineligible by Convention?: CareDx, Inc. v. Natera, Inc. and Eurofins Viracor, Inc.

In CareDx, Inc. v. Natera, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that CareDx’s patent claims to methods of detecting organ transplant rejection were invalid as patent ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101.1 Affirming the district court, the Federal Circuit determined that CareDx’s claims “are directed to a natural law together with conventional steps to detect or quantify the manifestation of that law,”2 relying on “admissions” in the patents themselves that the claims recited only “conventional” techniques.’

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Public Consultation Underway for Australian Copyright Enforcement Regime

On 24 November 2022, the Australian Attorney-General the Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP announced the Attorney-General’s Department intention to release an issues paper for public consultation, as the first stage of a review into Australia’s current copyright enforcement regime. The broad aim of the review is to understand:

  • Current and emerging copyright enforcement priorities and challenges;
  • Whether Australia’s copyright enforcement regime remains relevant, effective and proportionate; and
  • Whether existing enforcement mechanisms need to be strengthened, and if so, how this could be done without imposing unreasonable administrative or economic burdens.
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If You Want It, You Should Have Done a Search On It: Why Trademark Searches are Essential Before Settling Down With a New Brand

Have you chosen a brand only to learn months later that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is refusing to register it due to someone else’s prior trademark registration or pending application? The USPTO’s most recent Q4 2022 data indicates that it takes 8 months or more for a trademark application to be reviewed—and ideally approved—by an examiner. Given that prolonged timeline, any issues with the application, such as a similar third-party mark that could prevent your own registration, may not surface until you or your company has already invested heavily in the mark.

This raises the question: what can be done for brands eager to launch but that want some measure of comfort that their trademark will be valid?

The answer: Searching.

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The Battle of the Supermarkets Vol. 2 – GINgle Bells, GINgle Bells, GIN All the Way

It is beGINning to look a lot like a legal disputes saga between supermarkets in the UK. We have recently covered an ongoing dispute between Lidl and Tesco (see here), which relates to an alleged trade mark infringement. This time, Marks & Spencer (M&S) are suing the largest Europe’s discount grocery chain Aldi for copying their registered designs of the light-up Christmas gin bottles. This is the second legal case in recent times brought by M&S against Aldi, with the first one involving the famous Colin the Caterpillar cake, which has since been settled. Notably, the case at hand in relation to gin bottles demonstrates the benefits of registering designs in the UK, especially if such design is unique and has a significant value to the brand, and the brand would like to protect it against any copycats.

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Trademark Applications and Infringements in Germany: The Importance of Potential Revocation and Non-Use

Hamburg, Germany – Not only known for its famous seafood and the third largest European seaport for goods and cargo handling1, but also a considerable and noteworthy jurisdiction when it comes to the protection and enforcement of trade mark rights in preliminary proceedings.

The Higher Regional Court of Hamburg found in a recent trade mark dispute in preliminary injunction proceedings (Decision of 29 September 2022 – 5 U 91/21) between the “Deutsche Telekom” (“Claimant”) and the Spanish telecommunication company “Telefónica” and its German subsidiary (together “Defendants”), that the application and use of a “T” consisting of five dots in combination with various Telefónica company symbols (e.g. shown below left and middle) (“Contested Signs”) constitute an infringement of the well-known “T-brand” (shown below right) (EUTM 215194 ; DE 39529531) of Deutsche Telekom (“T-Trade Mark”).

Telefónica company symbol (Contested Sign (1))
Telefónica company symbol (Contested Sign (2))
Deutsche Telekom “T-Trade Mark”

The Court found that there was a likelihood of confusion between the opposing signs, confirmed that the “T”-brand has a reputation within the meaning of Art. 9 (2) lit. c) of the EU Trade Mark Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2017/1001), and therefore concluded that the defendant’s trade mark infringes the claimant’s trade mark rights resulting in the grant of a preliminary injunction (“PI”).

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The ‘Standard’ of Use Evidence in the EU – Advertising and Promotion Can be Enough to Show Genuine Use of a Service Without That Service Actually Crossing the Pond

Does evidence showing booking, advertising and selling services in the EU constitute genuine use if the service actually registered takes place abroad?

This was the question contemplated by a recent decision of the General Court. The case T-768/20 (Standard International Management LLC v EUIPO) addresses the use of trade marks in the EU where the relevant brand operates hotel and leisure facilities outside the jurisdiction.

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The Battle of the Supermarkets – Evergreening of Trade Marks and Potential Bad Faith

Two well-known grocery stores, Tesco and Lidl, are involved in an ongoing trade mark dispute (Lidl Great Britain Limited v Tesco Stores Limited [2022] EWHC 1434 (Ch)). While the trial is set to take place in 2023, the recent developments in relation to arguments of bad faith are noteworthy, especially for brands engaged in trade mark refiling, or ‘evergreening’.

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Old Lady Shows Her Youth With Win in Significant Trade Mark Ruling Concerning NFTs

Juventus FC (affectionately nicknamed the “Old Lady”) has won a noteworthy ruling in its case of trade mark infringement brought against the non-fungible token (“NFT“) producer Blockeras s.r.l (“Blockeras”). The Rome Court of First Instance, on 20 July 2022, ruled that the unauthorised minting, advertising and sale of NFTs1 can infringe the trade mark rights of the relevant owner.

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