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Trademark Infringement in Colour

Colour plays an important role in the lifecycle and promotion of brands, making them an instantly recognisable identifier of source that transcends language and cultural difficulties globally. Consequently, the attraction of colours as part of your logo, or indeed as an identifier in their own right, is increasing. However, the registration of a particular colour for your brand is fraught with challenges and even more so on an international stage.

In recent times, brands have struggled to establish or maintain their colour trademarks on both sides of the pond with the US and Europe taking disparate views on the criteria to establish the validity for a colour to act as a trademark for any particular company. A viewpoint largely held in common across many regions is that the registration of any particular colour as an identifier for any particular company in a particular industry or field will necessarily limit the ability of other companies to use colours to distinguish themselves in the marketplace. It is not widely held that the greater interest is served by freely perpetuating this restriction.

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How Much Can Trademark Infringement Cost You?

A recent report from Compumark released the results of a survey of C-Level executives regarding their concerns about trademark infringement. Over the past 5 years, the level of concern has risen significantly with 80% of executives at C-Level now citing it as a problematic area. Trademark Attorneys have frequently stated that client education around the value of IP to a company and the need to properly clear and protect their trademarks has been an issue. Those two, previously disparate, points of view are increasingly aligned.

There are obvious aspects to a trademark infringement case that can damage a company - the loss of a brand, accompanying loss of sales, delays in getting your product back out into the marketplace and the oftentimes significant cost of a re-brand. However, there are other satellite issues which can arise and they can take the price of getting it wrong to dizzy new heights. Factors such as negative publicity in a social media world and legal fees can carry a heavy price tag.

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Breaking The (Nice) Class Barrier

2016 marked the 125th anniversary of the Madrid System of application for International trademarks and as though in celebration, the number of applications exceeded 50,000 for the first time last year. According to the Madrid Yearly Review 2017, this growth of 7.2% in applications is the largest yet recorded. The trend towards positive figures continued as provisional refusals also fell by 1.2% for the first time since 2011, although a significant number of applications still fall at the first hurdle.

One of the major contributing factors to difficulties with international trademark applications is the indication of goods and services. In March of this year, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) released a guide to clarify the international standards for indicating goods and services and how they are viewed during the examination process. Some of the difficulty arises where the requirements for a domestic application differ significantly from that required under the Madrid examination. 

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What A Month For Independence!

The start of July sees the celebrations of the anniversaries of independence of two neighbouring countries - Canada and the USA. In celebration, we take a quick look at the history of these celebrations and the ensuing development of intellectual property law in both countries. 

United States of America

The United States of America is 241 years old today as it celebrates signing the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. The first attempt to create formal intellectual property rights in the independent country came some 94 years later in 1870 but was struck down by the Supreme Court later that same decade. A new Trademark Act was passed in 1881 and revised again in 1905. Finally, in 1946, the Lanham Act was passed and remains (with amendments) as the key law provision as it relates to trademarks.

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Tobacco Trademarks, Legal Technology & Business Intelligence

Life in the Information Age is driven by data. Lots and lots of data. Arden Manning says that if all the data created in a single day were to be encoded onto discs and piled up, they would reach the moon twice over. There is no doubt that data is valuable. Companies dedicate an incredible amount of time and resources to collecting it. Hackers seem to spend an equally incredible amount of time and energy devising ways to steal it, delete it or hold it to ransom.

Information is power as the saying goes and for many companies trying to plan strategically against a background of strong competition for market share, changing and often more stringent legislation and a tumultuous political environment, what information will actually help you? The benefits of the growing use of artificial intelligence in the practice of law is well established but how does that assist your business intelligence strategy?

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Happy Birthday TrademarkNow!

TrademarkNow is a company focused on transforming the working lives of professionals in the industry by virtue of creating the possibility of instant access to information about trademarks and their owners all over the globe. We envision a world in which search and watch reports contain not only comprehensive results but are ranked in order of threat level to permit speed in an industry in which faster responses are increasingly critical. We are committed to the mission of providing the kind of access to the key data that our clients, colleagues and professionals would have dreamed of - if they had thought it was possible.

As we celebrate the 5th Birthday of TrademarkNow, we take a look back at the inspiration and history behind TrademarkNow. Our CEO, Mikael Kolehmainen, explains how and why he and the other founders developed the platform.

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Does The Advance of AI Herald A 'Golden Age' for Legal Practice?

In 2013 and in the first edition of 'Tomorrow's Lawyers', Richard Susskind predicted that the practice of law would experience greater evolution in the next 20 years than it had in the past 200. 4 years on and the next edition states that the first one is already out of date! One of the major sources of change mentioned in the book and indeed between professionals in the industry, is the use of technology in the field of law.

Here is where we need to stop and challenge some of our assumptions. Is the use of technology in the field of law a change? Or is it a response to change?

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Does ‘Covfefe’ Spell Out The Future of Legal Tech and IP Offices?

The POTUS published a tweet containing the mysterious 'covfefe' at 12:06 am on Wednesday, 31st May and predictably enough, a flood of applications to trademark the not-a-word began flooding in shortly thereafter.

More knowledgeable commentators than I have discussed the merits of the various applications and which, if any, will succeed. These discussions, for the most part, have focused on the applications submitted to the USPTO. A cursory glance at ExaMatch shows no fewer than 13 applications from 4 different countries with a filing date of 31st May.

The first US trademark application was filed at 8:46 am (EST) for the mark ‘COVFEFE COFFEE’ in Classes 30 (for coffee and coffee substitutes) and 40 (coffee-house and snack-bar services). But was it the first trademark application filed for ‘COVFEFE’?

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How Many Lawyers Are Using Artificial Intelligence Right Now?

Much of the conversation around artificial intelligence and legal technology has it's sights very firmly focused on the future and rarely touches on the here and now. In our personal lives, AI of one kind (and there are many) or another has quietly arrived without much in the way of fanfare at all. For some people, a combination of the burgeoning Internet of Things and AI will mean that their coffee machine can remind their fridge to order more milk. It has the potential to quietly solve many problems...like finally ending the rows about who put the empty carton back in the fridge.

In much the same way, AI and machine learning have already arrived in many law firms and legal departments. But do we know how many and to what extent?

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How to Accelerate Your EUTM Trademark Search Process

Sometimes even simple questions can be difficult to answer.

Such is the case with the questions trademark attorneys face daily. Questions like, “Has someone already obtained rights to a similar mark in this market?”

Non-legal professionals, who are accustomed to quickly finding the information they need via Google searches, would probably be shocked to learn just how cumbersome the EUTM trademark search process can be.

Your organization likely spends several hours shuffling from database to database, trying to determine if a trademark candidate is worth the cost of a full EUTM search.

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