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.
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.
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.
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.
Lawmakers appear to be backing away from the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the wake of this week’s widespread Internet protest.
As previously reported, a number of the
Undoubtedly today’s widespread Internet protest, which has darkened web sites ranging from Wikipedia to reddit to Flickr, has raised public awareness of the looming legislative and public relations battles associated with the Stop Internet Piracy Act (“SOPA”) and the Protect IP Act (“PIPA”), which are currently under consideration in the House and Senate, respectively. While the debate over the merits of these largely similar bills is still heating up (a vote on PIPA is expected as early as January 24), Congressman Darrell Issa (R) of California has announced plans to introduce competing legislation in the form of the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (“OPEN Act”).
As you may have noticed, today some of the most-visited websites on the Internet are blacked out, unavailable, or otherwise focusing on protesting currently-pending legislation in the United States that may impact many businesses and how they operate on the Internet. Specifically, popular sites such as Wikipedia, Craigslist, and BoingBoing are wholly unavailable, and others, such as Google, WordPress, and Amazon, are prominently featuring commentary on the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which are currently pending in the Senate and House, respectively.
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.
by Jean-Louis Kerrels and Julie De Bruyn (Brussels)
On June 23, the European Parliament adopted the Consumer Rights Directive.* Among the changes is a 14 day EU-wide right for consumers to change their mind about their online purchases, as well as new information requirements.
by Emma Greenow (Brussels)
With what can seem to be an overwhelming increase in the quantity and complexity of EU regulation facing the fashion industry, understanding and taking action in this area can seem as if you are navigating a tangled web of issues and stakeholders.
The recent EU regulatory agenda has included policy reviews in relation to the intellectual property framework, the Digital Agenda, Online Behavioural Advertising, Consumer Rights and redress amongst others. Each of these developments has a direct impact on business activities in the fashion industry in Europe and, for this reason, interaction from rightsholders into the creation of the regulatory framework is essential.