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For most of us, the presence of the internet and social media in our lives represents a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it has brought people together in a way that was never possible before. Your nearest and dearest are near even when they are thousands of miles away. You can talk to anyone, anywhere at any time. On the other hand, such access is not without its drawbacks. As time has gone by, we have all become aware of problems previously unthought of - privacy issues amongst them. How we use the power of the internet and social media is worthy of thought and careful consideration.

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“It Depends” - Towards Achieving Consistency in International Trademark Infringement Cases

Of all the perennially hot topics in the trademark world, somewhat understandably, trademark infringement tops the list. That, after all, is the working end of the business and consumes the most time and energy of any trademark professional. Much of the time is dedicated to avoiding infringement or finding infringement. And having found it, rather more crucially, proving it.

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Top Three Funny Trademark Oversights

Thousands if not millions of trademarks are registered round the world every year. It would be beyond miraculous if each year there were not a selection of oversights that in retrospect, are just ridiculously funny. I have collated my top three favourites below. Selecting just three was the real challenge here!

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The Price Of Trademark Infringement Is Rising

Around the world, there are different rules regarding the award of damages for different aspects of trademark infringement. Most will take into account considerations such as profits from the goods in question and actual losses suffered by the company.

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Congestion, Infringement & Success Rates at the EUIPO

In an increasingly competitive world, trademarks are an exceptionally popular option to maintain your corporate identity in a global marketplace where counterfeits of your product are almost an indicator of the level of your success. But how much popularity is too much?

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The Dog Days of Trademarks Are….Far From Over!

Next week on August 26th we celebrate National Dog Day which was established in 2004 in the US by Colleen Paige to celebrate the long-standing and special relationships that we have with our canine friends. Despite the strength of the relationship and the love between many pups and their human families, there are thousands more dogs around the world in need of rescue. National Dog Day encourages people to interact with and support their local rescue centres and other facilities that seek to improve the lives of dogs in distress. You can visit the website to discover some of the ways you can help to celebrate our devoted companions and assistance dogs and join the mission to create a better world for them all.

It is truly impossible to determine the scope of our involvement with dogs in any meaningful way, or indeed animals in general. What is clear is that for very many of us, there is something about them that speaks to our very soul. As a stalwart and lifelong dog lover, it comes as no surprise to me that our canine companions play a strong role in the creation of brands that hit us right where we live. Much like the overall interactions between humans and dogs, these relationships don't always run smoothly either.

Below we bring you just a few of the canine trademark infringements cases that have made it to the courtroom...and we doubt they will be the last!

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Can That "Taste Of Home" Cause Trademark Infringement?

Recessions, globalisation, romantic liaisons and a thirst for adventure are only a few of the reasons why so many of us have family members inhabiting various corners of the globe. No matter what reasons might have taken them to far-flung places in the first place, there is always a hankering for at least some parts of home. In many cases, these yearnings revolve around foodstuffs that are the taste of our childhood or contribute to your national identity.

For many years, this led to desperate missives home to send care parcels stuffed with the most critical foodstuffs. Pleas from abroad for Barry's teabags, packets of Tayto crisps, Cadbury chocolate and even loaves of Brennan's bread were a familiar routine in Ireland as the younger populace moved abroad in order to find work.

Increasingly though, these kind of circumstances have led to the development of specialist shops to cater to this clientele with many more regular shops acquiring goods from overseas. While this is fantastic for the end recipients and in some cases, good for local business - it can create headaches for the companies that produce those goods.

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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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