Batman may be a superhero but it is the General Court who has come to the rescue following an invalidation action bought against DC Comics, a Warner Bros subsidiary, by Commerciale Italiana Srl, a wholesale retailer of costumes. In 2019, the Italian company applied for the invalidation of the well-known Batman logo (EUTM 000038158) for some of the goods in classes 25 and 28 (including clothing, footwear, and costumes), based on lack of distinctive character.Read More
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).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
Singer Ed Sheeran is currently giving evidence in a three week High Court copyright trial over his 2017 chart-topping hit “Shape of You.”
Sheeran has been accused by two musicians, Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue, that his hit song, “Shape of You” plagiarises “particular lines and phrases” of their 2015 composition, “Oh Why.” The two songs in question share a similar melody.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
The UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has found that an influencer’s Instagram reel and story breached the advertising regulations. All advertising made by influencers must make it clear that it is an advert, otherwise brands, even if they have no control, will be held jointly responsible.Read More
In this internet age, where a brand can be damaged by a single, negative review going viral, never has it been more important for a brand owner to protect its image and reputation. The pandemic forced all shopping online for some periods and has dramatically changed consumer buying habits, increasing the risks of unauthorised and poor quality online selling for high-quality brands without appropriate measures in place.
How can you stop a third party selling your genuine goods in a manner that damages your brand? Be it poor customer service, bait and switch practices, long delivery times, substandard internet sites or poor returns policies, issues such as these, the prevalence of which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, can create negative consumer associations with a brand. The answer – through an effective selective distribution strategy.Read More
On 21 April 2021, the General Court of the European Union refused Hasbro’s appeal to overturn a decision that partially invalidated its EU trade mark for MONOPOLY on the ground of acting in bad faith when filing the application. The judgement by the General Court has ramifications for brand owners in both the law of bad faith but also in the practice of evergreening (repeatedly filing for an identical mark covering a broad specification of classes as the period of protection for the mark draws to an end).Read More
On 24 February 2021, the UK High Court found that a number of Oh Polly dress designs had infringed the unregistered design rights of its competitor, House of CB. This recent decision confirms the risk of additional damages being awarded if infringers flagrantly copy third party designs, whilst also confirming the difficulties brand owners face in bringing passing off actions based solely on copycat designs.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