FRIDAY, 29 FEBRUARY 2008
Most times I smile when a new WIPO Magazine appears (downloadable in colour from WIPO's website). This year's No. 1 cover shows a nice picture of a girl swinging some twenty hula-hoops, a trade mark of Wham-O, whose 60 years history is highlighted in the cover story 'Sixty Years of Wham-O': 'The Hula-Hoop sold 100 million in two years. it was patentable, but the must-have trademark kept the dollars rolling in.'
Furthermore an interesting article on design law in the European fashion sector, with the following remarkable conclusion on design v trade mark protection: 'In conclusion, design registration tends to be appropriate primarely for protecting exceptional designs or features, or those which might be expected to become long lasting icons. However, if a design is counterfeited, the endless numbers of designs on the market make it hard to detect violations. Instead of design protection, most fashion designers rely much more on their fashion labels, apllied directly on their products and often protected under trade mark law. Fashion labels make it easier for designers to detect imitations and help fashion users to identify preferred items. Fashion houses invest large amounts in advertisements to promote the attributes of their trademarks in order to attract fashion users. But it is no surprise that counterfeiters also try to free-ride on the sales-promotional effects on the sales-promotional effects of trademarks by copying both the designs and the corresponding labels. For this reason, major fashion designers incorporate special treated yarn or other security elements into their labels, so facilitating the distinction between originals and imitations.'
And last but not least a happy birthday to Toblerone, that celabrates its 100 birthday: 'A triangular shaped bar with a white, honey and almond centrer enveloped in rich milk chocolate - Theodor Tobler and Emil Baumann came up with the ' secret recipe' for the first Toblerone in 1908. They registered the name - a play on the words Tobler and torrone, the Italian word for nougat - as and trademark in 1909.' And with regard to the shape: 'Tobler created the shape to resemble the Matterhorn mountain pictured on the packaging. Each chocolate triangle in the Toblerone is known as an Alp.' And a small nice surprise in a patent story: a picture of the wonderful Zai Spada Ski, with a core in which granite from the Swiss Alps is used.