By John Wilks and Charles Harvey

UK IP legislation is changing.

First, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (which received Royal Assent on 25 April 2013), has just been published, and modifies UK copyright law (though not as drastically as some would have liked).

Secondly, the Government announced in the Queen’s Speech that it will be introducing an Intellectual Property Bill to make changes to the law of design and patents.


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Last night, we attended a DC Bar fashion law panel discussion, “For the Love of Fashion: Protect Yourself,” at Baker Hostetler in Washington DC. It was a very informative and comprehensive discussion from in-house and outside counsel, including DLA Piper’s Lisa Norton, who is Of Counsel in the Patent Prosecution group, on trademark, copyright, and patent protection as well as current hot-button developments in fashion law and anti-counterfeiting.


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By Ed Chatterton

Unlike many countries, it is not possible to register trademarks for retail services in China. This position has recently changed with the implementation on January 1, 2013 of the revised Chinese Trademark Office (CTMO) trademark classification which now recognizes retail and wholesale services, albeit in a limited way. The CTMO’s revised classification now recognizes seven new items of services in Class 3509 covering “retail and wholesale services for pharmaceutical, veterinary and hygienic preparations and goods for pharmaceutical purposes.” These new service specifications will protect the sale of pharmaceutical, veterinary, and hygienic preparations across all points of sale, including traditional “brick and mortar” stores as well as online retailers.


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By James Stewart

In an exciting development for the international trademark field, the Thai Parliament has issued its approval to move forward with Thailand’s proposed admission to the Madrid Protocol. The Thai Parliament must now amend its trademark laws to conform with the Madrid Protocol. Thailand’s Trademark Office has drafted these amendments which are currently under review. Upon completion of the review period, these revisions must be approved by the legislature. This revision and approval process will take approximately six months.


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By James Stewart

While New York has Fashion Week, September has proved to be Fashion Month in the Senate. On September 10, 2012, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduced S.3523 the “Innovative Design Protection Act of 2012” (“the Bill”).  The Bill, aimed at extending intellectual property protection to fashion designs, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 20, 2012.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR FASHION DESIGNERS?  

It is no secret that intellectual property protection for fashion designs has been a heavily debated issue in the legislature since 2006.  While one would think the fashion community would be ecstatic about protection for original designs and creativity, in an industry with diverse stake holders, many are concerned about the potential implications of this Bill and its effects on fashion designers’ rights.

Although exceptional limits exist in each of the methods fashion designers may use to try to protect their designs, fashion designers today rely primarily on trademark, patent, and anti-counterfeiting laws as the main sources of protection for their intellectual property.  Additionally, fashion designers are afforded very limited protection under the current iteration of the Copyright Act.  Trademarks are used to protect the integrity of the designers’ brands.  Patents are useful for some fashion designs, although due to the lengthy application and registration process, the need for a patent is often obsolete by season’s end.

The proposed pieces of legislation to-date have tried to provide protection for fashion design under the Copyright Act, calling for a three year term of protection for original articles of apparel.  Under these proposed bills, the standard for copyright infringement would be articles which are “substantially similar” containing only minor or trivial differences. 

This standard has caused concerned across a wide spectrum of fashion designers, from innovative designers to the more conservative designers, for its practical challenges in enforcement.  Fashion is a collective effort of designers who receive inspiration from all aspects of their daily lives, generations past, and other designers.  An essential element in fashion is recycling and renovating.  Therefore, designers are not only concerned about protecting their own designs, but also the risks associated with their own designs in the future.  


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Reposted from DLA Piper’s Media Intelligence Bulletin

Editorial Team: Nick Fitzpatrick, Duncan Calow and Patrick Mitchell

The Department of Justice has published a landmark legal opinion that could pave the way for internet gambling in the United States.

On 20 September 2011, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel reached its decision on whether the proposals by the states of Illinois and New York to use the internet and out-of-state transaction processors to sell lottery tickets to in-state citizens would violate the Wire Act 1961 (the “Wire Act”). The Wire Act prohibits wagering over telecommunications systems that cross state or national borders, therefore preventing use of the internet by states to sell lottery tickets even to adults within their own borders.


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