One of the effects of Brexit was that the UK introduced a requirement for a UK based representative for all UK national trade marks, patents and designs and international registrations designating the UK in January 2021. However, there was a grace period for comparable trade marks or re-registered designs deriving from an EU national trade mark or international registration designating the EU.Read More
In June 2021, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) began naming and shaming certain influencers for “consistently failing to disclose ads on their Instagram accounts, despite repeated warnings and help and guidance on sticking to the rules” on their website (see here).
The name and shame list was created as a result of the ASA Influencer Monitoring report, which found inconsistent ad disclosure by influencers on Instagram through Stories, posts and Reels, with the disclosure rules being followed only 35% of the time (see here). The influencers listed on the webpage are subject to enhanced monitoring and remain on there for a minimum of three months.Read More
On Friday 29 October, the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (the “UKIPO”) launched a consultation entitled “Artificial Intelligence and IP: copyright and patents” (see here), which closes 11:45pm on 7 January 2022 (London time). The consultation forms part of the UK government’s ‘National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy’ (the “Strategy”), which followed the government’s 2017 Industrial Strategy publication.
The aim of the consultation is to determine the right incentives for Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) development and innovation, while continuing to promote human creativity and innovation.Read More
An £8,000 Instagram giveaway promoted by Love Island contestant Molly-Mae Hague, breached the UK Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) promotion rules, a recent decision of the ASA has determined.
In September 2020, Ms Hague (who has more than 5 million followers on Instagram, and 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube), offered one of her followers the chance to win approximately £8,000 worth of luxury designer goods, including handbags, a laptop and products from her fake tan range. To enter, her followers were asked to like the Instagram post, tag a friend and follow her personal Instagram page, the Instagram page of her tanning brand and to subscribe to her YouTube channel.
The Instagram post in question was liked close to 1.2 million times and attracted almost 3 million comments.
After the giveaway, the ASA received 12 complaints from individuals who believed that not all of the entrants were included in the ‘final draw’ and so did not have an equal and fair chance of winning. The complainants challenged whether: (i) the prize was awarded in accordance with the laws of chance; and (ii) the promotion was administered fairly.Read More
On 19 November 2020, the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) in the UK handed down its judgment in the case of Freddy SPA v Hugz Clothing Ltd & Ors  EWHC 3032, which ran for an unusually long time for the IPEC (three days).
The decision was a rare occurrence of a passing off claim, together with other IP causes of action, succeeding in the get-up of a functional item, being “bum enhancing jeans”. Ordinarily, such cases, particularly with respect to fashion items, fail as the get-up is seen as merely design elements or ornamental, or the circumstances of the use lead to a conclusion that other trade marks (e.g. brand names and logos) dominate consumer perception.
This case could embolden brand owners in relation to enforcement of the look and feel of their clothing as it creates the possibility of confusion ‘post-sale’ in addition to the point of sale.Read More
Despite the UK having officially left the European Union on 31 January 2020, the Brexit transition period has been in place maintaining the status quo until 31 December 2020. However, with the end of transition period just around the corner, there are a number of important factors for businesses to be considering including the potential impact on .EU domain names.
Importantly, from 1 January 2021, UK Registrants will no longer be eligible to hold a .EU domain name. Each of the following would be classed as UK Registrants:
- UK undertakings or organisations established in the UK but not otherwise in the EU;
- UK citizens who are not resident of an EU member state; and
- UK residents who are not EU citizens.
A TikTok post on an Emily Canham’s account, a beauty blogger and YouTube star, is the first TikTok video found to be in breach of the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) requirement for disclosure in the UK (see here).
The post, which featured a video of Emily Canham using a branded hairdryer and straighteners, included a caption alongside the video stated:
“hiii just a lil psa there’s 20% off the [Brand] website TODAY ONLY with the code EMILY … #fyp #foryourpage“.
The brand in question had entered into an agreement with Ms Canham, which required Ms Canham to post a number of social media posts while at a music festival. The music festival was cancelled as a result of COVID-19. However, the contract was varied and still required several social media posts featuring a certain promotional code.
It was submitted to the ASA that the TikTok was created without the oversight or approval of the brand, and did not form part of Ms Canham’s contract. Additionally, both Ms Canham and the brand pointed to the fact that she had not been compensated for the promotional code featured in the TikTok video.Read More
On 11 June 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed down its decision in the referral from the Belgium Companies Court (Tribunal de l’entreprise de Liège) arising from copyright infringement proceedings by Brompton Bicycle Ltd (Brompton) against a Korean company Get2Get Chedech (Get2Get) relating to its folding bike.
The decision is good news for designers and creative businesses as it lays a foundation for new opportunities for copyright protection and enforcement in Europe. This evolving area of law now requires a low threshold for protection, with a suggestion from the CJEU that minor creative choices in products will be sufficient for a finding of copyright protection.Read More
The expansion of the UK Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (the “IPEC”) has continued with claims now able to be issued in seven new locations outside of London.Read More
To the interest of many a scouser and football fan alike, Liverpool Football Club’s attempt to register as a UK trademark LIVERPOOL has been rejected by the UKIPO on the grounds that the word is of “geographical significance” to the city. Liverpool FC had filed its application in regards to various goods in relation to football and the filing had attracted significant public attention.
Other English football clubs (Everton, Chelsea and Tottenham) have managed to register several trade marks for each of their respective area names. In addition Southampton Football Club has managed to register SOUTHAMPTON as an EU trade mark. As a result, it is not surprising that Liverpool FC would seek to register a similar mark to help protect its valuable brand.
However, as a result of the filing the club received significant backlash from the people of Liverpool, including their own supporters, and – probably in a related move – Liverpool FC has said that it does not plan to appeal the refusal and it has withdrawn the application. An additional trade mark application for LIVERPOOL with different claims has also been withdrawn.
The matter presents a great case study for brand owners on balancing the need to protect their brand whilst being considerate of the potential adverse PR that will come with the application for certain trade marks.Read More