Issue 050
  February 2015
Contents:
 

Five takeaways from the recent MARQUES-WIPO meeting

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United States and Japan join the Hague System

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Planning the future for geographical indications

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TM5 agree ID List Project and dedicated search tool

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Harmonised Database of Goods and Services update

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Field Notes: Gesture trade marks

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Upcoming MARQUES events

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MARQUES Media Roundup

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Disclaimer:
The views expressed by contributors to this newsletter are their own and do not necessarily reflect the policy and/or opinions of MARQUES and/or its membership.  Information is published only as a guide and not as a comprehensive authority on any of the subjects covered.  While every effort has been made to ensure the information given is accurate and not misleading neither MARQUES nor the contributors can accept any responsibility for any loss or liability perceived to have arisen from the use or application of any such information or for errors and omissions.  Readers are strongly advised to follow up articles of interest with quoted sources and specialist advisors.
 

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Five takeaways from the recent MARQUES-WIPO meeting

Uwe Over of Henkel, First Vice-Chair of the MARQUES Council, has described a recent meeting between MARQUES representatives and WIPO officials as “very fruitful and satisfying”, and set out five topics for future work.

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United States and Japan join the Hague System

The United States of America and Japan have joined the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs, bringing membership in the Hague System to 64 contracting parties. Members of the MARQUES Designs Team welcome the news.

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Planning the future for geographical indications

A recent conference looked at the lessons learned from a consultation on geographical indications for non-agricultural products. Miguel Angel Medina, outgoing Chair of the GI Team and a member of the MARQUES Council, attended the meeting and provides a report.

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TM5 agree ID List Project and dedicated search tool


The TM5 partners reached agreement on several trade mark and design initiatives at their meeting held in Japan last December.

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Harmonised Database of Goods and Services update

All EU IP offices have now joined the Harmonised Database of Goods and Services, after France’s INPI signed up on 2nd February.

Read More >>
Field Notes: Gesture trade marks

Gesture trade marks have appealed to everyone from banks to sports stars. Sasha Mandakovic Falconi files the latest Field Notes report from the IP Outer Borders Team


It is almost 20 years since the British financial institution Nationwide Building Society obtained a trade mark registration for the gesture “made by a person by tapping one side of his/her nose with an extended finger, normally the index finger of the hand on the side of the nose being tapped” (see  http://www.ipo.gov.uk/tmcase/Results/1/UK00002012603).  It seems an ingenious message given by the trade mark to a financial institution’s clients:  The smell of a good business opportunity!

The above trade mark registration certainly did not start a trend in the financial sector, but Nationwide’s initiative seems many years later being followed by an unlikely successor: sports celebrities.

Australian tennis player Lleyton Hewitt obtained several trade mark registrations for the graphic representation of a gesture he became known for when scoring a point accompanied by shouting “C’mon” in Australia (for example, trade mark numbers 1212274 and 1212276), but not for gesture trade marks per se

He was followed by the New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow who made famous the gesture consisting on what his fans call “Tebowing”, which is dropping to one knee with a fist to your forehead as if praying. As was the case with Hewitt, Tebow does not seem to have tried to protect his gesture as a non-traditional trade mark, but he did obtain trade mark registrations for the word mark  “Tebowing” in several international classes at the USPTO.

Following this trend, famous football player Gareth Bale protected his goal celebration and this time it was actually a gesture trade mark. The registration, which was obtained at the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (see http://www.ipo.gov.uk/tmcase/Results/1/UK00002657917), consists in a heart-shaped hand gesture that he uses after scoring a goal and has his shirt number 11 at the centre of the gesture. This gesture is known as the “Eleven of Hearts”.

The purpose of a sports celebrity registering his signature move is generally to exploit merchandising opportunities and this is reflected by Bale’s trade mark registration, which broadly covers jewellery, leather goods and clothing.

Football being as popular as it is, an important match can be viewed by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of individuals on TV. Seizing the opportunity to position a trade mark by way of celebrating a goal seems a smart way to obtain a commercial benefit without the cost of paid advertising. Or does it?  Bale’s UK trade mark registration is reported as “surrendered”: maybe, at the end of the day, he did not smell a good business opportunity after all.

Sasha Mandakovic Falconi is a lawyer with Falconi Puig Abogados and a member of the IP Outer Borders Team

 

Upcoming MARQUES events

 

MARQUES Media Roundup

Events are scheduled in Buenos Aires, Zurich, Vienna and The Hague. Which ones will you attend?

 

Recent posts on the MARQUES blogs include a recent design decision in The Hague, a BOIP ruling on national costume and an (im)possible dispute in Finland.

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