Category: Consumer & Retail

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U.S. Federal Court rules embedding a Tweet could be copyright infringement
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Change is Coming to Australian Parallel Importation law – What do you Need to Know?
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Sixth Circuit rules knurling pattern on rifle scopes could be nonfunctional trade dress
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EU: Report of the European Commission on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights
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Machines with moral compasses – The ethics of ‘driverless’ cars
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Ferrari “Testarossa” – The great importance for trademark owners of making proper use of trademarks
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Judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court in the case of Dior v PPO (Poland)
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The Louboutin red sole – opinion of the Advocate General (case c-163/16 – recap)
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Jury awards profits for infringing sales in post-Samsung design patent case
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How distinctive can a chocolate bar be? After Kit Kat, now it’s Toblerone’s turn

U.S. Federal Court rules embedding a Tweet could be copyright infringement

A federal district court in New York recently held that embedded tweets could violate the exclusive right to display a copyrighted image. In 2016, Plaintiff Justin Goldman snapped a photo of New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, with Boston Celtics General Manager, Danny Ainge. Goldman then uploaded the photo to his Snapchat Story. The image went viral, making its way onto Twitter, where it was uploaded and re-tweeted by several users. From there, media outlets and blogs published articles which featured the photo by embedding the tweets on their webpages. Goldman sued the media outlets for copyright infringement.

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Change is Coming to Australian Parallel Importation law – What do you Need to Know?

Trade mark holders may need to reassess their commercial and international marketing strategies as the proposed amendments to the parallel importation provisions of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) (Act) take a step closer to enactment by the Australian Parliament.

The proposed amendments to the Act, contained in the draft Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission response Part 1 and other measures) Bill (Draft Bill) will favour parallel importers in Australia.

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Sixth Circuit rules knurling pattern on rifle scopes could be nonfunctional trade dress

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a reasonable jury could find a design pattern on rifle scopes is “nonfunctional” and thus potentially amenable to trade dress protection. Since 2002, Leapers, Inc. has been selling adjustable rifle scopes with knurling on the surface. Knurling is a common manufacturing technique that allows users to grip and fine-tune products more easily.

Leapers asserted “that it uses a unique knurling pattern that is distinctly ‘ornamental’ and by which customers recognize [Leapers] as the source of the product.” Leapers had executed an exclusive manufacturing contract with a Chinese company, but chose to end that relationship in 2011. The manufacturer agreed to cease using all technical specifications and designs, but later a factory manager from the manufacturer formed his own company and began manufacturing scopes allegedly using Leapers’ knurling design.

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EU: Report of the European Commission on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights

Thanks to increased inspection efforts, there has been an uptick in the number of counterfeit goods stopped at the external borders of the European Union. In 2014, the figure was 35.5 million items of a value of EUR 617 million; in 2015, it was 40 million items of a value of EUR 642 million, while it was 41 million items of a value of EUR 672 million in 2016.

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Machines with moral compasses – The ethics of ‘driverless’ cars

Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly permeating our everyday lives from our voice command ‘smart speakers’ (such as Amazon Echo, Siri and Google Home) to the machine learning based recommendations when online shopping or watching Netflix.  As AI becomes increasingly autonomous and accessible, leaders in technology are calling for increased scrutiny and regulatory oversight to ensure society is protected from AI’s implications. Regulatory oversight of AI will need to integrate ethical, moral and legal values in its design process as well as part of the algorithms these systems use. Tech giants are becoming increasingly aware of the need to incorporate ethical principles in the development of AI.  Recently, Amazon, Facebook, McKinsey, Google’s DeepMind division, IBM, and Microsoft have founded a new organisation, the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, to establish best practices in ethical AI.

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Ferrari “Testarossa” – The great importance for trademark owners of making proper use of trademarks

The Düsseldorf first instance district court decided that the trademark of Ferrari has to be cancelled (Decision as of 2 August 2017 – Case no. 2a O 166/16 – juris). However, the decision in not yet final.

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Judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court in the case of Dior v PPO (Poland)

On 4 August 2009, the company Interton sp. z o.o. (“Interton”) applied for the word-figurative trademark “A ADORATION” – goods from class 3 (cosmetics, including eye shadow, lash mascara, lipstick, fluids, makeup foundation, nail polish). The Polish Patent Office granted a protection to the mark (R-235773). Fast forward to 21 June 2017 (and after a number of oppositions and disagreements), the Supreme Administrative Court provided a ruling dismissing the PPO’s decision.

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The Louboutin red sole – opinion of the Advocate General (case c-163/16 – recap)

On 22 June 2017, Advocate General Maciej Szpunar presented an opinion in case C-163/16 concerning a trademark registered for the benefit of the well-known fashion designer Christian Louboutin, in the form of the colour red applied to the sole of a shoe.

In 2010, Louboutin obtained a registration of a Benelux trademark submitted for goods from class 25. This covered shoes (except for orthopaedic shoes), while in 2013, the registration was restricted to high-heeled shoes.

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Jury awards profits for infringing sales in post-Samsung design patent case

On September 29, a jury in California awarded Columbia Sportswear more than US$3.4 million for infringement of its design patent on heat-reflective technology for clothing and outdoor gear.  Columbia accused Seirus Innovative Accessories of infringing its utility and design patents for its wavy lining material, which reflects body heat, but allows for breathability and moisture-wicking. This appears to be the first jury verdict on a design patent after the Supreme Court’s decision in Samsung v. Apple.

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How distinctive can a chocolate bar be? After Kit Kat, now it’s Toblerone’s turn

In newly issued court proceedings, the makers of Toblerone have become the latest confectionary manufacturers to seek to protect the shape of their product via 3D trade mark registrations. Following the recent difficulties Nestlé faced in registering the shape of their Kit-Kat bar, Mondelez have commenced proceedings against Poundland in relation to their newly announced Twin Peaks bar. Twin Peaks bears more than a passing resemblance to a Toblerone, except that each chunk of chocolate features two peaks rather than one.

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