Category:Trademarks

1
Rules on Suspension of CNIPA Trademark Proceedings
2
Just Because the Court can, Doesn’t Mean it will: The Difficulty in Seeking to Avoid an Injunction Following a Finding of Copyright Infringement in the UK
3
Supreme Court Limits Foreign Reach of U.S. Trademark Law
4
U.S. Supreme Court Vacates Dog Toy Company’s Win in Jack Daniel’s Parody Trademark Dispute
5
U.S. Supreme Court to Review “Trump Too Small” Trademark Refusal
6
Honey, I Lost the Trade Mark: MANUKA HONEY Declared not Exclusive to New Zealand
7
The One That Got Away: Popstar Katy Perry Outperformed by Australian Dark Horse in Longstanding David and Goliath Trade Mark Dispute in Australia
8
A Lidl Decision with big Implications – UK High Court Finds that Tesco’s Clubcard Logo Infringes Lidl’s logo
9
Proposed PTAB Rules up for Comment
10
Nothing more than Empty Words: The Difficulty with Registering Slogans as Trade Marks in the EU

Rules on Suspension of CNIPA Trademark Proceedings

Recently the China National Intellectual Property Administration (“CNIPA”) released Interpretation of Rules on Suspension of CNIPA Trademark Proceedings (“Suspension Rules”). The Suspension Rules provides clear guidance on the circumstances under which a CNIPA trademark proceeding shall be or may be suspended.

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Just Because the Court can, Doesn’t Mean it will: The Difficulty in Seeking to Avoid an Injunction Following a Finding of Copyright Infringement in the UK

As reported previously in our blog post here, earlier this year the High Court of England and Wales found in Lidl’s favour regarding allegations of trade mark infringement, passing off and copyright infringement by Tesco. However, Tesco has suffered a further loss following a supplementary hearing focused on what the most appropriate form of relief was for copyright infringement (although it was agreed by the parties that Lidl was entitled to an injunction in light of findings of trade mark infringement and passing off).

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Supreme Court Limits Foreign Reach of U.S. Trademark Law

In a fractured decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held on June 28, 2023 that two key provisions of the Lanham Act that prohibit trademark infringement do not extend to conduct that occurs outside the United States. Although all nine justices agreed that the Lanham Act does not apply extraterritorially, the Justices split five-to-four on the proper extraterritoriality framework. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito stated that extending the Lanham Act to conduct that occurs outside the United States is “wrong,” even if the conduct creates a likelihood of confusion in the United States, and that the contrary rule “would give the Lanham Act an untenably broad reach that undermines our extraterritoriality framework.” In contrast, Justice Sonia Sotomayor argued in an opinion concurring in the judgment that the majority decision “significantly waters down protections for U.S. trademark owners”, and called for “Congress to correct the Court’s limited reading of the Act.” Abitron Austria GmbH v. Hetronic Int’l, Inc., 600 U.S. _ (2023).

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U.S. Supreme Court Vacates Dog Toy Company’s Win in Jack Daniel’s Parody Trademark Dispute

By David J. Byer and Eric W. Lee

A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court held on June 8, 2023, that a dog toy company’s “parody” chew toy that mimics Jack Daniel’s widely recognized whiskey bottle does not escape trademark liability merely because the toy has “expressive content” or because it parodies Jack Daniel’s. Justice Kagan delivered the narrow opinion, writing that because the dog toy company, VIP Products LLC (“VIP”), used Jack Daniel’s trademarks as a designation of source for VIP’s own goods – i.e. using another’s trademark as a trademark – there is no special threshold First Amendment inquiry. The Supreme Court vacated the prior Ninth Circuit opinion that VIP’s use was protected under the First Amendment and the so-called Rogers test for “expressive” works, and remanded for consideration of whether VIP’s use is likely to cause consumer confusion. The Supreme Court expressly did not evaluate whether or how the well-known Rogers test may or may not apply in other contexts. Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. v. VIP Products LLC, 599 U.S. ___ (2023).

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U.S. Supreme Court to Review “Trump Too Small” Trademark Refusal

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider if the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) refusal to register the trademark “Trump too small” violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.

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Honey, I Lost the Trade Mark: MANUKA HONEY Declared not Exclusive to New Zealand

An attempt to trade mark the term MANUKA HONEY in New Zealand has come to a sticky end. Assistant Commissioner of Trade Marks Natasha Alley found that the term MANUKA HONEY was descriptive of the goods it claimed and MHAS had “fallen short of establishing the necessary distinctiveness, both inherent and acquired”.1

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The One That Got Away: Popstar Katy Perry Outperformed by Australian Dark Horse in Longstanding David and Goliath Trade Mark Dispute in Australia

In the recent Australian Federal Court decision of Taylor v Killer Queen, LLC (No 5) [2023] FCA 364, Justice Markovic aptly explained “a tale of two women, two teenage dreams and one name” and held that international popstar Katy Perry infringed Australian clothing designer Katie Taylor’s registered trade mark for KATIE PERRY by selling clothing merchandise in Australia branded with her Katy Perry stage name.

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A Lidl Decision with big Implications – UK High Court Finds that Tesco’s Clubcard Logo Infringes Lidl’s logo

In a recent decision, the High Court of England and Wales has found that Tesco’s use of the yellow and blue Tesco Clubcard logos (reproduced below) infringed Lidl’s trade marks (see the relevant Lidl marks below) and also gave rise to copyright infringement and passing off.

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Proposed PTAB Rules up for Comment

The USPTO on April 21, 2023 proposed a variety of changes to the pre-institution requirements and briefing process for post-grant proceedings, including both IPRs and PGRs. Among the proposed changes are broad amendments to the discretionary denial frameworks, which are intended to provide clarity, curb abusive litigation tactics, and generally align procedure with the objectives of the AIA. The deadline for submitting comments and suggestions related to these rules is June 20, 2023. The proposed rules provide valuable insight into the future of post-grant proceedings before the PTAB. An overview of these changes is outlined below, and additional details follow.

  • Parallel Proceedings – The USPTO is considering changes to the Fintiv framework, including the elimination of current factors 1, 2, and 5, a requirement for a Sotera stipulation, and a grace period that would exempt petitions filed within 6 months of service of the complaint from being discretionarily denied under this rule.
  • 325(d) Framework – The USPTO is considering a rule that would reign in the application of discretionary denial under 325(d) by limiting its application to art or arguments that had been “previously addressed,” or actually evaluated by the patent office as articulated on the record, such as in a rejection, notice of allowance, or examiner interview. Mere citation in an IDS will no longer meet the standard. Prior art will only be considered “substantially the same” where it contains the same teaching relied upon in the petition, and that teaching was addressed by the patent office. 
  • Serial Petitions – The USPTO is considering replacing the existing framework for serial petitions with a rule that will deny any serial or follow-on IPR petition filed by: (1) the same petitioner; (2) a real party in interest to that petitioner; (3) a party with a significant relationship to that  petitioner; or (4) a party who previously joined an instituted IPR filed by that petitioner. There will be an exception where the earlier petition was not resolved on the merits of the petition, or where exceptional circumstances are shown.
  • Prior Adjudications – The USPTO is contemplating stricter requirements where a prior final adjudication by a district court or in a post-grant proceeding upheld the validity of claims that substantially overlap the challenged claims, essentially requiring the petitioner (1) either has standing to challenge the validity of the patent in district court or intends to pursue commercialization, (2) was not a real party in interest to the party who unsuccessfully challenged the claims, and (3) meets the heightened burden of compelling merits.
  • Micro and Small Entities – The USPTO is mulling changes that would protect under-resourced entities by denying institution where the patent owner (1) claimed micro or small entity status at the time of filing; (2) did not exceed a gross income cap in the calendar year preceding filing of the petition; and (3) was commercializing a product covered by the challenged claim at the time of filing.
  • For-Profit Entities – The USPTO is contemplating a rule that would deny any IPR or PGR petition by a for-profit entity that has not been sued or threatened with infringement of the challenged patent, is not otherwise practicing in the field of the challenged patent, and is not in “substantial relationship” with an entity to which the rule would not apply.

The USPTO has also proposed changes to the disclosure requirements, what constitutes compelling merits, and termination by settlement filing requirements. An in-depth discussion of each suggested change is included below.

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Nothing more than Empty Words: The Difficulty with Registering Slogans as Trade Marks in the EU

Companies continue to face difficulties in achieving EU trade mark protection for their slogans. In separate recent decisions of the EU General Court, two trade mark applications relating to advertising slogans were rejected on the grounds that the marks lacked the ‘distinctive character’ required to be registerable under Article 7(1)(b) of Regulation 2017/1001. These two decisions join a long list of case law rejecting similar applications.

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