Playing with fire: user-generated content on Twitter (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 5)
23 June 2017
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.
So for the famous snack brand Walkers to entrust the Twittersphere with the face of its star ambassador, Gary Lineker, and its logo was a huge leap of faith. It is perhaps unsurprising then that some people abused the promotion so the Walkers Twitter feed began spitting out pictures of Lineker posing with Jimmy Saville and other unsavoury individuals.
While Walkers will not have wanted their logo to be placed next to Harold Shipman’s mugshot, the amount of damage actually done to Walkers’ brand is probably negligible. Having your brand’s marketing efforts being the subject of gentle public and media mocking only serves to increase brand recognition. Yes, their marketing team look a bit silly, but they’ve done nothing wrong and the only real criticism that can be levelled against them is a lack of foresight.
But what does this say about brands’ control over their IP? In particular on social media, brands are faced with a tension between engaging with the public (which often involves tolerating some use of its trade marks) and wanting to protect those marks from being tarnished. Creating any tool that allows the public to create materials featuring those trade marks is both more engaging, but also more likely to result in the mark being used in a way that is less than ideal.
To UPC or not UPC – implementation of Unified Patent Court delayed (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 5)23 June 2017
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.
Get me a #covfefe (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 5)23 June 2017
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.
Give me a break…KitKat latest developments (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 5)23 June 2017
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.
Champagne supernova: Cristal brand owner sues cava producer (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 5)23 June 2017
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”.
Clash of the Titans: Google v Uber (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 5)23 June 2017
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.
Public goes nutellay crazy for AI design (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 5)23 June 2017
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.
All hands on deck as creative industries and search engines tackle online piracy (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 5)23 June 2017
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.
Intellectual Property Disputes
Intellectual Property assets are frequently seen as being amongst the most valuable assets of a business and as such the volume of disputes that have arisen in the field has grown substantially and the applicable area of law is frequently changing and often complex.