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Brands and IP newsnotes - issue 5

27 June 2017

Welcome to the 5th edition of our Brands & IP newsnotes put together to bring you the latest, and most interesting legal developments affecting intellectual property law. In this issue we cover; the potential pitfalls of social media, design by artificial intelligence, interesting trade mark applications and cases, an update on the UPC, and the importance of protecting trade secrets.

Playing with fire: user-generated content on Twitter

The strange world of Twitter, where brands engage with their customers at their peril. The main lesson learned from the recent #WalkersWave Twitter promotion is one that brands have heard before: the British public love nothing more than a piss-take.

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Public goes nutellay crazy for AI design

Nutella hit the headlines in February this year after using an algorithm to produce millions of unique labels in Italy. The jars flew off the shelves with customers keen to get their hands on a one-of-a kind jar. Each label design was completely unique with only the Nutella logo remaining the same.

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Get me a #covfefe

In case you missed it, the 45th President of the United States recently took his habit of late night tweeting to a new low. Presumably meaning to rail against the ‘mainstream media’ coverage, Trump instead complained of “negative press covfefe” and trailed off mid-sentence. Cue ridicule and the hashtag #covfefe trending on Twitter.

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To UPC or not UPC – implementation of Unified Patent Court delayed

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is intended to provide a regional forum resolve patent disputes. At the moment, parties have to litigate patent disputes on a country by country basis across Europe, which is time-consuming, expensive and can lead to differing decisions in some countries. UPC decisions will have effect in all 25 states participating in the UPC, providing a single forum to resolve these disputes.

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Give me a break…KitKat latest developments:

Last month the Court of Appeal gave us the latest decision in the long running battle between Nestle and Cadbury. Interestingly, whilst agreeing that the well-known four- fingered chocolate snack should not be registered as a 3D trade mark, all three Lord Justices chose to give their own judgment. And for Nestle, this one might just take the biscuit.

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Champagne supernova: Cristal brand owner sues cava producer

Do you know your Champagne from your Cava? Quite possibly, but a High Court judge held in late 2015 that a Spanish cava producer trading under the brand name, “Cristalino” had used a confusingly similar sign to that of the famous tipple preferred by rappers and the like, “Cristal”. The result of the case was perhaps unsurprising, especially given that the Defendants had not bothered to turn up for trial.

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All hands on deck as creative industries and search engines tackle online piracy

The UK Government, through the UKIPO, Ofcom and DMCS, has helped broker an agreement between Google, Bing, the BPI and Motion Picture Association over a new voluntary code of practice. Under the new code, Google and Bing will cooperate with the creative industries to demote links to infringing content all the way down to Davey Jones’ Locker.

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Clash of the Titans: Google v Uber

In February, Waymo, part of Google’s parent company, sued Uber for theft of confidential information. Allegedly, a former employee of Waymo, who had been a key part of Google’s driverless car initiative, took 14,000 files and then shortly jumped ship to start up his own autonomous vehicle company. A short time later, Uber acquired the start-up for $680 million.

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