August 12, 2020
The U.S. Supreme Court recently confirmed that a “generic.com” term may be eligible for federal trademark registration in the U.S., in certain circumstances. We will review the relevant decisions, discuss the Canadian legal framework with respect to registration of such mark and consider the implications of seeking registration of a “generic.com” or a “generic.ca” mark in Canada.
The Relevant Decisions
In United States Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com B.V, the travel reservation company Booking.com B.V. (“BBV“) sought to register four marks, each containing the term “Booking.com”, with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO“). BBV offers its travel reservation services under the brand “Booking.com” and operates a website with the same domain name.
July 29, 2020
The Federal Court of Canada (the “FCTD“) recently released Toys “R” Us (Canada) Ltd v Herbs “R” Us Wellness Society, in which it considered whether a cannabis company, Herbs “R” Us Wellness Society (“Herbs R Us“), had breached Sections 20, 7(b) and 22 of Canada’s Trademarks Act (the “Act“) with respect to claims of trademark infringement, passing off and depreciation of goodwill. This is an interesting case in its review and application of Section 22 of the Act. It provides further protection for trademark owners in Canada.
July 22, 2020
“One man’s legally sanctioned privateer is another man’s pirate.”
[James Wadsworth, Global Piracy: A Documentary History of Seaborne Banditry (2019), at p. 8]
We live in a time of contradictions and confusion, and today we aim to explore how some such tensions have manifested themselves in the area of intellectual property law.
July 8, 2020
THE SUPREME COURT CONFIRMED THAT RUSSIAN USERS MAY FILE A LAWSUIT AGAINST AN AMERICAN SOCIAL NETWORK TO A RUSSIAN COURT
The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation reviewed a case initiated by a number of Internet users against the American social network Facebook Inc.
The Russian users filed a lawsuit against Facebook Inc. based on the Terms of Service violations. Moreover, the users also motivated their lawsuit by illegal use of their personal data.
June 10, 2020
On 27 May 2020 WIPO launched new online business service, WIPO PROOF1, that provides tamper-proof evidence of the existence at a point in time of any digital file, including data sets, in any format.
The WIPO PROOF service generates tamper-proof evidence proving that a digital file existed at a specific point in time, and that it has not been altered since that time. An evidence in this case will be a digital WIPO PROOF token which consists of a date- and time-stamped digital fingerprint of the file (or data).
June 3, 2020
For the Patent and Trail Appeal Board (“PTAB”), the PTAB allows a petition for inter parties review (“IPR”) to request cancellation of claims in a U.S. patent. For an inter parties review of a patent, the PTAB institutes review and determines if claims of a patent are unpatentable. Can the PTAB cancel claims based on indefiniteness during an IPR? The answer is NO!
May 6, 2020
Intellectual property rights are – by definition – monopolistic. How, then, can researchers, charities and NGOs collaborate with business in the development of new technologies to control and eradicate COVID-19?
April 30, 2020
In the past several years, the food and beverage space has seen an explosion of innovation—alternative meat products, plant-based dairy and protein alternatives, CBD- and collagen-infused everything, and functional foods and beverages and containing everything from pre/pro/post-biotics to nootropic and adaptogenic herbs, just to name a few. And many of these innovations have led to wildly successful products with household brand recognition (think: Impossible Foods and Vital Proteins).
While many of these brands may be protected by robust trademark portfolios, what role have patents played in defining their territory in the market? Patent protection can add significant value to an emerging brand by keeping competitors at bay, serving as an asset or collateral to secure financing, or as leverage to license across different industries or markets. Yet, the vast majority of conventional foods occupying the shelves of your local grocery store are likely not covered by a utility patent. Which begs the question, are food products patentable?
April 28, 2020
In its unanimous April 23, 2020 opinion in Romag Fasteners v. Fossil, Inc., the Supreme Court made clear once and for all that a successful trademark plaintiff is not required to establish that the defendant’s infringement was willful to be entitled to an award of the infringer’s profits. In other words, profits may be disgorged for less than willful infringement of a trademark.