Reposted from DLA Piper’s Law à la Mode Edition 4 – Winter 2011

By:  Michael K. Barron, Sarah Phillips and Nadea Taylor (Boston and London)
“AdWords,” the paid, subscription-based Google referencing service which allows users to advertise their companies alongside Google search results, has recently been the subject of much legal scrutiny.  In late September, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a preliminary ruling on questions referred to it by the English High Court in the case between Interflora and Marks & Spencer (“M&S”), regarding the purchase by M&S of the Google AdWord “Interflora” and other similar AdWords. 
In answering the questions referred to it, the ECJ repeated much of the recent jurisprudence in this area, in particular from the Google France case.  Previous cases established that purchasing a third parties’ trademark as an AdWord would only amount to trademark infringement if such use would have an adverse effect on one of the functions of the trademark.  
The ECJ gave the following guidance on how national courts should assess whether the use by a third party of a sign identical with a trademark in relation to identical goods or services has an adverse affect on one of the functions of the trademark:

By: Ann K. Ford, Kiran N. Gore, and Debbie Rosenbaum (New York and Washington DC)

Fashion is an integral part of how consumers construct their personal identities and choose to portray themselves in their everyday lives.  From a societal perspective, we correlate luxury fashion brands with success and exclusiveness.  We notice individuals with red-soled stilettos or LV patterned brown leather purses because we know that while these individuals could have chosen from a variety of options, they chose to identify themselves with expensive emblems of status.  This aura of exclusiveness is the value that luxury brands provide to their consumers: few can have it; the others merely aspire to it.

Social media stands in stark contrast to this image.  Social media platforms are inherently noisy, crowded and easily accessible from a variety of platforms.  This dichotomy begs the question: will using social media tarnish the value of luxury brands by making them too accessible by the masses?


Continue Reading Does Social Media Clash with Luxury Brands?

Reposted from DLA Piper’s Law à la Mode Edition 4 – Winter 2011

By:  Michael K. Barron, Sarah Phillips and Nadea Taylor (Boston and London)
“AdWords,” the paid, subscription-based Google referencing service which allows users to advertise their companies alongside Google search results, has recently been the subject of much legal scrutiny.  In late September, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a preliminary ruling on questions referred to it by the English High Court in the case between Interflora and Marks & Spencer (“M&S”), regarding the purchase by M&S of the Google AdWord “Interflora” and other similar AdWords. 
In answering the questions referred to it, the ECJ repeated much of the recent jurisprudence in this area, in particular from the Google France case.  Previous cases established that purchasing a third parties’ trademark as an AdWord would only amount to trademark infringement if such use would have an adverse effect on one of the functions of the trademark.  
The ECJ gave the following guidance on how national courts should assess whether the use by a third party of a sign identical with a trademark in relation to identical goods or services has an adverse affect on one of the functions of the trademark:

By: Caroline Olstedt Carlström (Stockholm)

The new digital landscape and its embrace by the corporate world create new challenges for all marketing professionals at a pace that has never before been encountered.  In fact, organisational procedures and legal standards are struggling to keep up.  Few jurisdictions have marketing regulations in place that are up-to-date with the latest digital possibilities.  Social media can be an effective tool for marketing and brand awareness, but it also poses great challenges for marketing professionals navigating new issues. 

On September 15th, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) presented its new 2011 Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice (the “Code”). The Code raises the standards for consumer protection globally and also includes new online rules.  It is recognised as the gold standard for self-regulation and now offers best practice guidance across all sectors, technologies and platforms and guides marketing professionals as they deal with many of the most challenging topics, such as Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA), marketing in digital interactive media, privacy protection, environmental claims and marketing to children.  


Continue Reading New Global Rules for Digital Interactive Marketing

Reposted from DLA Piper’s Law à la Mode Edition 4 – Winter 2011

By:  Michael K. Barron, Sarah Phillips and Nadea Taylor (Boston and London)
“AdWords,” the paid, subscription-based Google referencing service which allows users to advertise their companies alongside Google search results, has recently been the subject of much legal scrutiny.  In late September, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a preliminary ruling on questions referred to it by the English High Court in the case between Interflora and Marks & Spencer (“M&S”), regarding the purchase by M&S of the Google AdWord “Interflora” and other similar AdWords. 
In answering the questions referred to it, the ECJ repeated much of the recent jurisprudence in this area, in particular from the Google France case.  Previous cases established that purchasing a third parties’ trademark as an AdWord would only amount to trademark infringement if such use would have an adverse effect on one of the functions of the trademark.  
The ECJ gave the following guidance on how national courts should assess whether the use by a third party of a sign identical with a trademark in relation to identical goods or services has an adverse affect on one of the functions of the trademark:

By: Michelle Schaefer and Alexandra Marzelli (Washington, DC)

In September,  the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) — the consumer protection agency tasked with regulating U.S. advertising practices for consumer goods — warned companies selling apparel and footwear in the U.S. that all health and fitness claims must be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence.  This warning came from the FTC’s lawsuit against Reebok International Lmtd. (“Reebok”), for alleged deceptive practices related to certain footwear including running sneakers, walking sneakers and flip-flops.  Reebok was charged with making “unsubstantiated claims” that the footwear provides extra tone and strength to key muscle groups (including the buttocks, hamstrings and calves) and strengthens various muscle groups by a certain percentage.  Under the settlement, Reebok agreed to pay $25 million in refunds to consumers.  Reebok has stated that the settlement does not indicate agreement with the FTC’s allegations and it will continue to sell the products at issue, but will market them differently.   


Continue Reading No Proof Reebok Shoes Shaping You Up, Says FTC

Reposted from DLA Piper’s Law à la Mode Edition 4 – Winter 2011

By:  Michael K. Barron, Sarah Phillips and Nadea Taylor (Boston and London)
“AdWords,” the paid, subscription-based Google referencing service which allows users to advertise their companies alongside Google search results, has recently been the subject of much legal scrutiny.  In late September, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a preliminary ruling on questions referred to it by the English High Court in the case between Interflora and Marks & Spencer (“M&S”), regarding the purchase by M&S of the Google AdWord “Interflora” and other similar AdWords. 
In answering the questions referred to it, the ECJ repeated much of the recent jurisprudence in this area, in particular from the Google France case.  Previous cases established that purchasing a third parties’ trademark as an AdWord would only amount to trademark infringement if such use would have an adverse effect on one of the functions of the trademark.  
The ECJ gave the following guidance on how national courts should assess whether the use by a third party of a sign identical with a trademark in relation to identical goods or services has an adverse affect on one of the functions of the trademark:

By: Gina Durham and Erin Wright Lothson (Chicago)

Those involved in the fashion and retail industries are well aware of the challenges associated with combating the global proliferation of commercial-scale counterfeiting and piracy.  With legal rights and remedies often varying on a country-by-country basis, enforcement of intellectual property rights on an international scale can often be fraught with unexpected hurdles and inconsistent outcomes.  The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (“ACTA”) aims to change that.

On October 1, 2011, eight countries signed ACTA, namely Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the U.S.  A signing ceremony was held in Tokyo by the Government of Japan.  Representatives of the E.U., Mexico, and Switzerland attended the ceremony and confirmed their continuing support for ACTA.  Those three sovereignties are in the process of finalizing domestic procedures in preparation to sign, and their signatures are expected by May 1, 2013.  Collectively, these eleven countries represent more than half of the world’s trade.


Continue Reading Global Developments Regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

Reposted from DLA Piper’s Law à la Mode Edition 4 – Winter 2011

By:  Michael K. Barron, Sarah Phillips and Nadea Taylor (Boston and London)
“AdWords,” the paid, subscription-based Google referencing service which allows users to advertise their companies alongside Google search results, has recently been the subject of much legal scrutiny.  In late September, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a preliminary ruling on questions referred to it by the English High Court in the case between Interflora and Marks & Spencer (“M&S”), regarding the purchase by M&S of the Google AdWord “Interflora” and other similar AdWords. 
In answering the questions referred to it, the ECJ repeated much of the recent jurisprudence in this area, in particular from the Google France case.  Previous cases established that purchasing a third parties’ trademark as an AdWord would only amount to trademark infringement if such use would have an adverse effect on one of the functions of the trademark.  
The ECJ gave the following guidance on how national courts should assess whether the use by a third party of a sign identical with a trademark in relation to identical goods or services has an adverse affect on one of the functions of the trademark:

By: Stefania Baldazzi and Annalaura Avanzi  (Milan)

In 1967, the well-known Italian fashion designer Elio Fiorucci founded the fashion brand Fiorucci S.p.A.  After more than two decades of success in Italy and around the world, Mr. Fiorucci sold the company and all of its creative assets to the Tokyo Company Edwin Co. Ltd in 1990.  The sale encompassed all the Fiorucci trademarks, including numerous marks containing the element “FIORUCCI.”

In 1999, Edwin Co. registered the mark “ELIO FIORUCCI,” by filing an application with the Office for Harmonization for the Internal Market (OHIM), which is a body of the European Commission, for a broad category of goods, including cosmetics, apparel, footwear and leather products. 


Continue Reading Edwin Co. v. Elio Fiorucci: Designer and Company Share a Name?

Reposted from DLA Piper’s Law à la Mode Edition 4 – Winter 2011

By:  Michael K. Barron, Sarah Phillips and Nadea Taylor (Boston and London)
“AdWords,” the paid, subscription-based Google referencing service which allows users to advertise their companies alongside Google search results, has recently been the subject of much legal scrutiny.  In late September, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a preliminary ruling on questions referred to it by the English High Court in the case between Interflora and Marks & Spencer (“M&S”), regarding the purchase by M&S of the Google AdWord “Interflora” and other similar AdWords. 
In answering the questions referred to it, the ECJ repeated much of the recent jurisprudence in this area, in particular from the Google France case.  Previous cases established that purchasing a third parties’ trademark as an AdWord would only amount to trademark infringement if such use would have an adverse effect on one of the functions of the trademark.  
The ECJ gave the following guidance on how national courts should assess whether the use by a third party of a sign identical with a trademark in relation to identical goods or services has an adverse affect on one of the functions of the trademark:

By: Radiance A. Walters (Washington, DC)

Red-soled stilettos for only $39.99?  French luxury shoe designer Christian Louboutin continues the fight to protect its iconic “Chinese red” soles.  This past August, a U.S. federal district court denied a preliminary injunction against Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) and issued a decision that questioned the validity of Louboutin’s red-sole trademarkOn October 17, 2011, Louboutin’s lawyers appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  Shortly thereafter, premier jeweler Tiffany & Co. filed an amicus brief in support of Louboutin, furthering the fight to protect color as a trademark.  The International Trademark Association (INTA) also filed an amicus brief on November 14, 2011 taking the position that the District Court erred in rejecting the U.S. presumption of validity attendant to Louboutin’s federal trademark registration.  Further, INTA argues that the District Court incorrectly construed the Louboutin’s registration as a broad claim to the color red instead of the narrower claim to “lacquered red sole on footwear,” which is what the registration actually covers.  The Court of Appeals is left with the daunting task of determining whether and when color may function as merely a design element versus a source-identifying trademark.  


Continue Reading For the Love of Red . . . Soles The Louboutin – YSL Shoe Saga Continues

By: Job Seese (New York)

Our Spring 2011 issue discussed a pending U.S. legislative bill that would expand copyright protection to fashion designs – something that generally is not available under existing U.S. law.  Known as the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (IDPPPA), the bill was first introduced in the Senate in August 2010.  However, the bill was never taken up by the full Senate and effectively died at the end of that Congressional session.  Currently, a legislative bill of the same name is pending before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet.  


Continue Reading U.S. Fashion Copyright Protection Still in a State of Limbo

Reposted from DLA Piper’s Law à la Mode Edition 4 – Winter 2011

By:  Michael K. Barron, Sarah Phillips and Nadea Taylor (Boston and London)
“AdWords,” the paid, subscription-based Google referencing service which allows users to advertise their companies alongside Google search results, has recently been the subject of much legal scrutiny.  In late September, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a preliminary ruling on questions referred to it by the English High Court in the case between Interflora and Marks & Spencer (“M&S”), regarding the purchase by M&S of the Google AdWord “Interflora” and other similar AdWords. 
In answering the questions referred to it, the ECJ repeated much of the recent jurisprudence in this area, in particular from the Google France case.  Previous cases established that purchasing a third parties’ trademark as an AdWord would only amount to trademark infringement if such use would have an adverse effect on one of the functions of the trademark.  
The ECJ gave the following guidance on how national courts should assess whether the use by a third party of a sign identical with a trademark in relation to identical goods or services has an adverse affect on one of the functions of the trademark:

By: Bartolome Martin (Madrid)

Some decades ago, the Spanish Tourism Authority’s advertisements across Europe proudly touted that “Spain is different.”  In reality, this may indeed be true.  Spain is an idiosyncratic country where universality and localism are good friends, crisis and luxury seem to have a passionate relationship, and customs from the past walk hand in hand with the latest trends.  This self-contradicting spirit, cultural individuality and inherent diversity are without a doubt reflected in the Spanish fashion market. 

Some decades ago, the Spanish Tourism Authority’s advertisements across Europe proudly touted that “Spain is different.”  In reality, this may indeed be true.  Spain is an idiosyncratic country where universality and localism are good friends, crisis and luxury seem to have a passionate relationship, and customs from the past walk hand in hand with the latest trends.  This self-contradicting spirit, cultural individuality and inherent diversity are without a doubt reflected in the Spanish fashion market. 


Continue Reading Idiosyncrasies of the Spanish Fashion Market

Reposted from DLA Piper’s Law à la Mode Edition 4 – Winter 2011

By:  Michael K. Barron, Sarah Phillips and Nadea Taylor (Boston and London)
“AdWords,” the paid, subscription-based Google referencing service which allows users to advertise their companies alongside Google search results, has recently been the subject of much legal scrutiny.  In late September, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a preliminary ruling on questions referred to it by the English High Court in the case between Interflora and Marks & Spencer (“M&S”), regarding the purchase by M&S of the Google AdWord “Interflora” and other similar AdWords. 
In answering the questions referred to it, the ECJ repeated much of the recent jurisprudence in this area, in particular from the Google France case.  Previous cases established that purchasing a third parties’ trademark as an AdWord would only amount to trademark infringement if such use would have an adverse effect on one of the functions of the trademark.  
The ECJ gave the following guidance on how national courts should assess whether the use by a third party of a sign identical with a trademark in relation to identical goods or services has an adverse affect on one of the functions of the trademark:

By: Tamar Duvdevani (New York)

Aspirin. Thermos. Escalator. Cellophane.  What do all of these items have in common?  If your answer is “objects that MacGyver needs to get out of a sticky situation,” you may be correct, but that is not what we were looking for.

Each of these commonplace, generic terms for the objects that they define were once valuable intellectual property before they lost protection through “genericide,” the  process by which trademark rights are diminished or lost as a result of overuse in the marketplace.  Genericide can happen in a variety of ways.  A trademark owner’s failure to police its mark, for example, can result in widespread use of the term by other sellers, thereby reducing the trademark’s ability to identify source.  In other instances, a term intended by the seller to be a trademark for its novel product is understood by the public to be a generic name because there is no other word in the vernacular to describe the product.  Both of these fates can be avoided by thoughtful branding strategies.


Continue Reading Don’t Let Genericide Happen to You