The metaverse and related technologies like virtual goods, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain, represent a fundamental shift in how we interact with the internet, as the distinction between our activity online and in real life begins to blur. These emerging technologies present enormous opportunities for businesses, but bring with them a number of difficult legal challenges.Read More
As we learned to appreciate over the past year or so, virtual goods are intangible assets that can be traded within a virtual economy, worth whatever participants in the virtual market are willing to pay for them. Though a type of virtual good, NFTs have their own unique definition, which can now be found in the Cambridge Dictionary:
An NFT is a unique unit of data (the only one existing of its type) that links to a particular piece of digital art, music, video etc. and that can be bought and sold.Read More
Blockchain technology is considered by many to be one of the most important technologies developed in recent years. It is often misunderstood and its potential has yet to be fully realised and harnessed. Blockchain has been the subject of a large amount of negative press due to volatile price fluctuations of its biggest user, the cryptocurrency, and this has generated a public mistrust.
However, blockchain could hold the answer to two of technology’s greatest challenges: data reliability and security. These two things are particularly important in the healthcare and life sciences sector where veracity of data is a life or death question and the safety of our most intimate data is paramount.Read More
An Act on financial support for audiovisual production was published in the Journal of Laws on 10 January 2019. The Polish Film Institute (PISF) will soon provide financial support for the production of audiovisual works created in Poland.Read More
The United States Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (CAFC) recently vacated a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) ruling that had ordered the cancelation of JobDiva’s JOBDIVA service marks for personnel placement and recruitment services on the basis of abandonment. In re Jobdiva, Inc., No. 2015-1960, 2016 WL 7187434 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 12, 2016).
JobDiva’s software provides a database of employment applications for hiring managers to fill job openings. The software uses automated “harvesters” to find job candidates, reviews resumes, and helps hiring managers directly communicate with job candidates. The product is often delivered on a software-as-a-service or “SaaS” model. With the SaaS format, customers access JobDiva software remotely via the internet, rather than through software downloaded on a personal computer.
JobDiva initially petitioned to cancel the registration for JOBVITE service marks owned by Jobvite, Inc., alleging a likelihood of confusion. But Jobvite counterclaimed and petitioned to cancel JobDiva’s marks, arguing that JobDiva did not actually perform personnel placement and recruitment services, but merely used its marks on software offerings. A registration may be cancelled for abandonment if the mark has not been used for the goods or services specified in the registration. The TTAB agreed with Jobvite, appearing to apply a bright-line rule that required JobDiva to show “it performed the ‘personnel placement and recruitment’ services in a way other than having its software perform those services.”
A three-person panel of the CAFC disagreed. It acknowledged that “the line between services and products sometimes blurs.” But “[e]ven though a service may be performed by a company’s software, the company may well be rendering a service.” To determine whether a mark is used in connection with services described in a registration, a key consideration is user perception. Thus, the ultimate question is whether purchasers would perceive JobDiva’s marks to identify personnel placement and recruitment services, even if the software performs each step of the service. Because consumer perception is a fact-based inquiry determined on a case-by-case basis, and the TTAB applied the wrong legal standard, the opinion below was vacated and remanded. This CAFC opinion rejects a rigid test and states that “careful analysis is required to determine whether web-based offerings, like those JobDiva provides, are products or services….” Rather, a more nuanced assessment, based on consumer perception must be applied. U.S. trademark practitioners should consider this approach in crafting appropriate goods and services and formulating enforcement strategies.
The CAFC opinion can be found here.
The Federal Court of Australia has examined the issue of trade mark infringement by advertisers using competitors’ trade marks as Google AdWords. Advertisers need to ensure they do not use competitors’ marks as a ‘badge of origin’ to avoid trade mark infringement.
Veda Advantage Limited v Malouf Group Enterprises Pty Limited concerned Veda, a financial services company and Malouf, a credit repair business. A “VedaScore” is a number that summarises the information in a person’s credit file and is expressed as a number between 0 and 1200. In simple terms, the higher a person’s VedaScore, the better that person’s credit profile and the more likely that person will receive credit.
Malouf purchased a series of keywords that contained the word “veda”, so when a consumer typed “veda” into Google’s search engine, their search results would include sponsored ad links for Malouf’s services.