On 12 June 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that Christian Louboutin’s red sole trademark was valid (Case C-163/16). The decision comes after years of litigation between Louboutin and Dutch footwear company Van Haren over the scope and validity of Louboutin’s trademark. Continue Reading Court of Justice of the EU: Louboutin’s Red Sole Trademark Is Valid

The 13th People’s National Congress (“NPC”) recently approved the State Council’s proposal to restructure China’s State Intellectual Property Office (“SIPO”). The proposal intends to consolidate the administration of trademarks and patents and to streamline the enforcement of IPR in China. Continue Reading China Unveils Plan to Restructure State Intellectual Property Office

Back in 2015 Constantin Film AG, the production company of the German movie „Fack ju Göhte“, filed an European Union trademark application (“EUTM”) for its movie title „Fack ju Göhte“ with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”). The EUTM application was refused by the EUIPO based on an alleged infringement of public policy and common decency. On top of that, EUIPO was of the opinion that the title of the movie is an offensive insult that would damage the German highly respected writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe posthumously. Constantin Film’s appeal against this decision was also not successful, so that they now brought that case before the General Court of the European Union. Continue Reading The General Court of the European Union Rules on the Immorality of the Movie Title „Fack ju Göhte“

Now that the time of the year has come, it seems like everything is all about finding the perfect gift, decorating your house in the most beautiful Christmas colors, baking Christmas cookies and of course, going to Christmas markets. But even while we are enjoying the peaceful and contemplative atmosphere – and obviously to drink one or the other mulled wines we are not spared from being confronted with the German trademark law. Insofar we would like to conclude this year with  a decision of the German Patent Court which dates back to 2006, but which perfectly fits into the advent and Christmas season. Continue Reading We Wish You a Happy Christmas! Enjoy your time at the Christkindlesmarkt!

Trade marks will not only be associated with the company they origin from, but might also be associated with certain quality or ethical standards. Certain associations are using their trade marks only to license it to producers who fulfill a certain standard. While some jurisdictions recognize such use of a trade mark as sufficient to maintain trademark protection, the European Union Trade Mark Regulation (EUTMR) does only mentioning the term “genuine use” of a trade mark. On 8 June 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has decided whether using a trade mark only to indicate certain quality or ethical standards can be seen as “genuine use”. Continue Reading Court of Justice of The EU Ruled on the Use of Trade Marks as Indication of Quality

On 24 April 2017, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court (“ the Court”) published 18 classic cases concerning trademarks filed in bad faith. One of these cases dealt with a invalidation action filed by Tiffany and company (“Tiffany”), the luxury jeweler.

Tiffany prevailed in the invalidation action brought in 2013 against Chinese trademark registration no. 8009772 for “蒂 凡尼” (pronounced as “Di Fan Ni” in Mandarin) on wallpaper, carpets etc. in Class 27 in the name of Shanghai Zhendi Decoration Materials Co., Ltd. (“Shanghai Zhendi”). After the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (“TRAB”) rejected the registration, Shanghai Zhendi appealed to the Beijing IP Court. Continue Reading Beijing IP Court Rules in Favour of Tiffany Against “Diffany”

Michael Jordan, the legendary NBA star, has finally established his rights in his Chinese name after 5 years of intensive administrative and appeal proceedings in China.
In China, Michael Jordan is more commonly known and addressed by the Chinese name “乔丹” (pronounced as “Qiao Dan” in Mandarin) which resembles the pronunciation of his last name “Jordan”. The present case is another typical example of a foreign brand owner’s name being hijacked by a local Chinese entity. The hijacker used both “乔丹” and “QIAODAN” as trademarks on shirts, sport shoes and apparel manufactured and sold in China since 2000. Michael Jordan had a long and hard fight to get his name back. He is now half way through recovering his Chinese name “乔丹” trademark, whilst the transliteration of his Chinese name “QIAODAN” is still in the hands of third parties. Continue Reading Michael Jordan: “Qiao Dan” is Me! Michael Jordan’s trademark fight in China over his Name Rights

busy Street scene with neon signs in Hong KongIntellectual Property (“IP”) rights are only as strong as the means to enforce them. Arbitration, as a private and confidential procedure, is increasingly being used to resolve disputes involving IP rights, especially when the dispute is between parties located in different jurisdictions. With the introduction of the Arbitration (Amendment) Bill 2016 (“Bill”), the Hong Kong government hopes this will give it an edge over competing arbitral seats in the region. The main effect of the Bill would be that enforcement of an award under Part 10 of the Ordinance would not be refused in Hong Kong under either the arbitrability ground or the public policy ground merely because the award involved IP rights.

The Scope of the Bill

The Bill has been in the pipeline for almost two years. It sets out a broad definition of IP rights to include, inter alia, rights to confidential information, trade secrets or know-how, rights to protect goodwill by way of passing off or similar actions against unfair competition. The bill clarifies that all disputes relating to the subsistence, scope, validity, ownership as well as infringement of IP rights are arbitrable. This includes the right to put the validity of a patent in issue in arbitral proceedings. The Bill includes a provision clarifying that an award relating to IP rights does not cover a licensee (whether or not an exclusive licensee) who is not a party to the arbitral proceedings. A licensee is, however, not prohibited from commencing arbitration proceedings without the owner of the IP being a party to the proceedings

All of the major arbitration centers, such as the International Court of Arbitration, the London Court of International Arbitration and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Center have adapted their arbitration rules to better suit IP disputes. As a result, the number of IP cases being heard by these centres continues to rise.

Conclusion

The international arbitration of IP disputes is on the rise, although it is still not as widely used to resolve disputes compared to other sectors (e.g., construction, energy and oil and gas). Hopefully the introduction of the Bill will reinforce the use of arbitration as a means to resolve IP disputes, as well as help consolidate Hong Kong’s position as an IP international dispute resolution centre.

Click here to read the full Mayer Brown JSM Asia IP & TMT: Quarterly Review (2016 Q4).

 

This article was originally published on AllAboutIP – Mayer Brown’s  blog on relevant developments in the fields of intellectual property and unfair competition law. For intellectual property-themed videos, Mayer Brown has launched a dedicated channel available here.

On 10 November 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that a trademark on the shape of the Rubik’s Cube—supposedly the world’s bestselling toy of all time—is invalid (Case C‑30/15 P). With its judgment, the Court, inter alia, annulled a 2009 decision of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) that initially confirmed registration of the cube as an EU trademark.

The Rubik’s Cube was invented in 1974 by Hungarian architect Ernő Rubik. It was originally named “Magic Cube.” In 1980, the toy was renamed Rubik’s Cube and launched internationally. Continue Reading Court of Justice of the EU: The Shape of the Rubik’s Cube Cannot Be Trademarked

The Olympic Games 2016 which take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 to 21 August are supported by a huge volume of marketing and advertising campaigns. As many countries have done before, Brazil enacted special legislation to protect the Olympic symbols and expressions specific to the games hosted in Rio. The protection offered in these Olympic-special legislations often can go beyond what would normally be available under trademark or copyright protection laws. For example, the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 created a sui generis right of association to prevent the use of any representation that is likely to suggest an association between the London Olympics and goods or services. Continue Reading The Brazilian Olympics and Intellectual Property