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Reposted from Law A La Mode 

By: Max Wenger 

Reports in 2013 about online business transactions across EU national borders revealed some disturbing facts. According to the 2013 Flash Eurobarometer reports (nos. 358 and 359, 2013), retailer and consumer attitudes regarding cross-border transactions were similar: only 36 percent of European consumers felt confident enough to make cross-border online purchases, while an alarming 40 percent of retailers felt that compliance with the varying national consumer protection rules would be too costly for business. Accordingly, only 25 percent made any effort to reach out to consumers beyond their national borders.

Continue Reading Understanding the EU Consumers Rights Directive

Reposted from Law A La Mode 

By: Ruth Hoy and Claire Sng

Thomas Pink Ltd v Victoria’s Secret UK Ltd [2014] EWHC 2631 (Ch)

Two particular points for brand owners to take away from the decision:

1. If faced with an invalidity challenge on the grounds of s3(1)(b) or (c) of the Trade Marks Act 1994 (“TMA”) i.e. the mark is devoid of distinctive character and/or for example it designates a characteristic of the goods, you can assert acquired distinctiveness even if you are using your mark in a form different to the registered form, so long as the use does not differ in relation to the distinctive elements of the mark. This ruling in effect re-writes the statute, giving brand owners the same get out of jail free card for use of registered marks in an altered form as provided for explicitly in the statute in relation to revocation under s46(2) TMA.

2. If you are trying to prove actual confusion in relation to a trade mark infringement action – think about obtaining consumer evidence. While it may not be accepted as positively proving actual confusion it can play an important role in preventing a defendant arguing that there was no evidence of actual confusion. Other issues the case touches on include series marks, trade mark classification and specifications, the “without due cause” element of the 10(3)TMA, slogans and use of part of a mark, the list goes on.

The case is well worth a read.

Continue Reading Business Round Up: The News and the Views

Reposted from Law A La Mode 

By: Tamar Duvdevani, Matt Ganas, and Amanda Liverzani  

In the United States, patent protection can be afforded to aesthetic innovation (design patents), and functional innovation (utility patents). Because binding precedent relating to design patents is relatively sparse, practitioners take note any time the Federal Circuit addresses thorny issues of design patent law. This is especially true when the patents-in-suit are directed to products that permeate our everyday lives – in a recent case, athletic uniforms worn by dogs. But the Federal Circuit’s opinion in MRC Innovations, Inc. v. Hunter MFG. LLP, 747 F.3d 1326 (Fed. Cir. 2014) does more than affirm the invalidity of patents claiming the ornamental design of canine sports jerseys. It provides much-needed guidance on obviousness standards applicable to design patents in the garment and apparel context.

Continue Reading Seeing Beyond the Doggie Wear: What MCR Innovations Teaches about the Obviousness of Design Patents in the Garment Industry

Republished from Law A La Mode 

By: Janice Yau Garton and Carly Roberts 

There is little doubt that the continuing shift towards online retailing will have tremendous implications for the Asian real estate market. Over the coming years, physical retailers will have to change the way they use their space, shopping centers will undergo a transformation, and logistics real estate will see a boom, particularly in China.

This year, the Asia-Pacific region is set to overtake North America as the world’s largest e-commerce market, and China is predicted to become the second-largest business-to-consumer e-commerce market by 2017 (with the US remaining the largest). Between 2009 and 2012, e-commerce grew by an annual average of 70 percent in China.

Customers are looking to online retailers for lower prices, wider ranges and more convenience. In Asia in particular, access to the Internet has improved markedly in recent years, and Internet users located in Asia now account for almost 50 percent of all Internet users worldwide.

Continue Reading From Logging on to Logistics: Online Retailing and the Asian Real Estate Market

Reposted from Law A La Mode 

By: Robert Russell and Kerry Barnard 

Opportunity Arises Out of Adversity

The recent global financial crisis has seen consumers tighten their belts and the retail industry as a whole has faced increasing pressure. Profits warnings have peppered the financial pages and fashion retailers, in both the budget and luxury sectors, have been subject to formal insolvency processes.

Continue Reading Insolvency in the Fashion Retail Sector: Understanding and managing the risks of an insolvent acquisition

Republished from Law A La Mode 

By: Carol Umhoefer, Kate Lucente, and Belinda Tang

Online retail presents unparalleled opportunities for reaching new consumer markets and collecting consumer data. With such opportunities, however, come heightened regulatory scrutiny, compounded by high-profile consumer data security breaches in the US, Germany and elsewhere. Not surprisingly, there have long existed specific requirements for the collection and use of consumer data in the context of online retailing, for example in the US. Other countries, notably China, are now also regulating consumer privacy, and there are more changes to come, particularly in the EU.

Continue Reading Consumer Data Protection In Online Retail: On Protecting Privacy in the EU, US and China

Reposted from Law A La Mode 

By: Kai Bodenstedt and Astrid Schnabel

Labor Unions and Collective Bargaining Agreements

As the profits of German online retailers increase, so too do the HR pressures that such businesses face. As electronic retail businesses hire more and more workers, they are increasingly faced with labor law issues. For example, the primary German trade union for the retail sector, ver.di, has tried desperately to get a foot in the door at several online retailers.

Continue Reading Online Retail Business Struggling Its Way Through German Employment Law

Republished from Law A La Mode 

By: Katie Montazeri

The UAE is comprised of seven emirates, and its laws are promulgated at both the federal and emirate level. Federal laws override the laws passed by the individual emirates. There are also various free zones within the UAE with laws which are passed by the relevant emirate, but limited to the area within the free zone. To date, the UAE’s free zones have been successful in attracting a large number of overseas companies and foreign direct investment to the UAE. 

Continue Reading Free Zones in the UAE

Reposted from IPT Italy Blog 

By Giulio Coraggio

Internet of Things technologies are already all around us and with a market that is expected to reach a value of more than $ 14.4 trillion over the next decade with 50 billion connected devices by 2020, the question is whether ad hoc regulations are necessary to govern the Internet of Things sector. 

Continue Reading Right Time for Internet of Things Regulations?

Reposted from Sports, Media and Entertainment Online

By Keitaro Uzawa and Ann Cheung

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (“METI“) recently revised the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading (“Guidelines“), which apply to all online business operations in Japan and clarify how the Civil Code, which governs Japanese commercial contracts, and other relevant laws, such as the Act on Special Provisions to the Civil Code Concerning Electronic Consumer Contracts and Electronic Acceptance Notice (Act No. 95 of 2001) (“Electronic Contract Act“) and the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions (Act No. 57 of 1976), are applied to various legal issues relating to electronic commerce and information property trading.

Continue Reading Japan – Amendments to the METI Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading