By Melinda Upton and Claire Kermond (Sydney)

In the retail and fashion industries, names and marks are a key element of the marketing strategies and longevity of brands.  Using generic marks or names can land retailers and fashion designers in trouble when it comes to successfully trademarking and protecting their brand.
Continue Reading WHAT’S IN A NAME? ISSUES FACING GENERIC NAMES AND MARKS

By Tamar Duvdevani

On March 22, 2017, in a 6-2 decision authored by Justice Thomas, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the designs on Varsity Brands’ cheerleading uniforms are eligible for copyright protection.  The crux of this decision relates to the fact that the United States Copyright Act treats the copyrightability of “useful articles” differently than “pure” works of art.  Specifically, the Act states that: “The design of a useful article, as defined in this section, shall be considered a pictorial, graphic or sculptural work only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.”  17 U.S.C. § 101.
Continue Reading UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT SIDES WITH COPYRIGHT OWNER IN STAR ATHLETICA CASE

By: Ming Lok Lam* and Susheela Rivers* (Hong Kong)

In Hong Kong, reports have shown that the retail market is beginning to revive in the second half of 2016. This is unsurprising given the undeniable fact that Hong Kong is unique in real estate given that space is scarce and demand rarely decreases.
Continue Reading THE HONG KONG RETAIL REAL ESTATE MARKET: CURRENT STATE AND FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES

By James Clark (Leeds)

Most of us are familiar with the many ways in which customer activity can be tracked in the online space. Customer accounts, cookies, web beacons and tracking pixels are familiar tools in the e-commerce arsenal, and all come with familiar challenges from a privacy and data protection perspective. Increasingly, retailers are expanding tracking technologies into the physical space through the use of Wi-Fi location analytics. As the benefits of tracking translate into the real world, so too do the compliance obligations.
Continue Reading IN-STORE ANALYTICS – TRACKING CUSTOMERS IN PHYSICAL RETAIL SPACE

By Alexandra Kamerling and Marianna Kinsella (London)

Background

The European Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy was designed to put Europe at the forefront of the digital economy. To achieve this, the European Commission has recognised


Continue Reading PRELIMINARY REPORT ON THE E-COMMERCE SECTOR INQUIRY FOCUS ON E-COMMERCE OF CONSUMER GOODS

By Sandra Bell (Washington, DC)

Your latest shipment of imports is detained at the border. You are told that your goods are not being allowed admission to the US because they were produced, in whole or in part, with forced labor. But these are the same products you’ve been importing, in pretty much the same way, for years. What is happening? Is this even possible?
Continue Reading US PROHIBITS IMPORTS MADE WITH FORCED LABOR: NEW LAW IS A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH

By: Richard Taylor and Alasdair Muller (United Kingdom)

The English Court of Appeal has confirmed that, in the UK, the sale or distribution of trade mark goods outside an authority granted by the trade mark holder can constitute a criminal offence (R v C and others, applying Trade Marks Act 1994 (the “Act”) s92(1)*).  Possession with a view to sell/distribute such goods is also a criminal offence. 
Continue Reading THE LAW IN BLACK AND WHITE – IN THE UK THE DISTRIBUTION AND SALE OF “GREY” GOODS CAN BE A CRIMINAL OFFENCE