13 Feb

Your Choice of Brands May Signal Your Ideology

Do you prefer established brands to new ones? You do? Then perhaps you are conservative.

A research published in Psychological Science suggests that people’s choice of brands is influenced by their political ideology. Conservative people, for instance, tend to respect tradition and be skeptic to unconventional new ideas, and this has a reflection in many areas of their lives, including choice of brands.
As discussed in the research paper, data suggests that conservative ideology “may be associated with reliance on established national brands.”
You can read more about that research here [eurekalert]
13 Feb

If You Are not Happy With Your ROAD RUNNER, You Can Try RACECAR

If you are not happy with your ROAD RUNNER, you can now try RACECAR.

DISH Network has filed a federal trademark application to register the trademark RACECAR for use with a broadband Internet service.
So if your Time Warner Cable Road Runner Internet service is not running fast enough, you can give a try to RACECAR. 
The Application was assigned Serial No. 85/842,709 and can be viewed here: USPTO.
13 Feb

Avoiding Trademark Infringement While Marketing Content

How content marketers can avoid trademark infringement – ideas from a digital marketing company. This article is far from a comprehensive advice and is mostly designed to promote a certain company, but you can still find a couple of useful points…[fortmilltimes.com]

13 Feb

Lebanon Modernizes Its Trademark Filing Process

The Trademark Office of Lebanon has launched an online trademark registration portal, which is supposed to modernize the trademark application process in the country by making it easier and more efficient.

A searchable national online trademark database will be part of the portal as well, though the database does not seem to be quite operational just yet. 
12 Feb

How Fashion Brands Protect Their Trademarks

Each fashion brand has its own strategy for brand management and dealing with actual or potential infringers. Louis Vuitton, for example, is known for taking aggressive steps against anyone who comes even close to using any of its Intellectual Property. Ralph Lauren focuses more on identifying and fighting sales of counterfeit products as opposed to sales of competing products that may represent trademark infringement. Other companies, like Marc Ecko, actually encourage use of their marks by certain fans….

Fashion brand owners share their experience at a seminar at Fashion Law Institute for New York Fashion Week.  [crainsnewyork.com]
08 Feb

Corruption in China is Not Always a Bad Thing…If You Make Luxury Watches

I read an article in New Yorker which I found quite interesting. 

It is no secret that corruption in China presents a significant problem for companies that are trying to do business in the world's most populous country.  But interestingly enough (and this is what the New Yorker’s article is about), corruption in China seems to be a good thing for manufacturers of certain luxury goods.
In fact, when China recently cracked down on corruption, it seems that sales of expensive watches and other luxury goods in the republic went down significantly. Why? Because it appears that up to 40% of all sales of such goods in the country represent bribes to government officials. Forty percent! Fascinating...
 You can read the whole article here: [New Yorker]
08 Feb

Staying Out of Legal Trouble While Using Online Images

If you are an online entrepreneur developing your own website or a blogger writing an article, you will need to use images. But where to find images and how not to get in trouble using them? After all, penalties for copyright infringement are significant. 

A natural inclination for many of those who are inexperienced in intellectual property matters is to simply do a Google search and copy whatever images they like. Surely, this is a fast way to find good images for your website or blog, but this approach will probably get you into trouble just as fast. You see, Google does not usually own the images its search engine displays, and you cannot acquire any legal rights by searching on Google and copying those images. If the rightful owner of the copied images finds out about your actions (and there are many technological tools to do it), you may be liable for copyright infringement. To avoid finding yourself in hot water, there are several simple rules you can follow:
First, if you want to use an image you found on Google or elsewhere, try to figure out who owns the image and what rights they claim. It is usually not so difficult to do, but if after your research you are still in doubt as to ownership and rights – err on the side of caution. That will be cheaper for you in the long term, trust me.
You can also try to determine if an image was created under the “Creative Commons” license (which is a form of protection similar to copyright but less restrictive and which usually allows copying and most use). You can also utilize the collection of “Creative Commons” images by searching in this database:  http://search.creativecommons.org
Another option is to use one of the “stock photos” websites, but those are usually fee-based. There are many of such websites, but I will not name any of them here - I have no intention to be perceived as promoting anything.  You can easily find those websites if you simply search for “stock photos” on Google. 
The “stock photos” websites usually provide very clear guidance as to how you can use their photographs and imagery. As long as you comply with that guidance, you should be fine.  Of course, you will have to pay to get most of the photos and images from such website (I did mention such websites are fee-based, did not I?) but those fees are typically rather affordable (a few cents to a few dollars), so they should not break even a very small budget. 
Of course, there are many websites that claim to provide free images and photographs, but you should be careful about those. There is usually no free lunch, and “free” images may come with a catch, sometimes if the form of a Trojan virus or something just as bad.  If you decide to copy images from such a website, make sure you do your diligence and proceed with caution. 
Those are just a few things you should keep in mind – they will help to stay out of legal trouble. Also, I came across a guidance written by MIT regarding use of online images. I found it useful, so you might want to check that as well: [MIT]
06 Feb

ICANN Will Delegate New gTLDs By the End of 2013; What Brand Owners Need to Know

ICANN is expected to begin delegating the long-awaited new general top level domains sometime by the end of 2013.  

The new gTLDs present a number of potential issues for brand owners and their attorneys.  Thomson Reuters explains more. [Reuters]

06 Feb

Apple Is About to Lose TM Rights to iPhone in Brazil

On February 13, 2013 the Brazilian Institute of Intellectual Property will reportedly announce its decision to take rights to the iPhone trademark away from Apple in favor of a local company Gradiente Eletronica SA, which apparently registered the mark in Brazil back in 2000, way before Apple.  [Reuters]

Considering the size of the Brazilian market, though, I would expect that Apple will make some kind of deal with Gradiente now.
06 Feb

What Type of Intellectual Property is Most Popular?

Patents, trademarks and copyrights are the three main forms of intellectual property protection.  But when people think about intellectual property, which of these three forms do they think about more?  Do people spend more time thinking about patents compared to trademarks? How do trademarks and patents compare to copyrights? And how those preferences have changed over time?

Although there is no way we can know what exactly people think, we can at least make some inferences based on the keywords people use for their Internet searches.  The logic is simple: if you like football more than tennis, there is a chance you will spend more time on the Internet searching for things related to football, and vice versa.  I know this methodology has many flows, but at the most primitive level it should give us at least some idea about what form of intellectual property protection people have more interest in. 
With that in mind, I pulled Google trends, which show which of the keywords (patent, trademark or copyright) is most utilized by users.  The first diagram below shows results for Internet users worldwide, while the second diagram is for the U.S. only.
I am a trademark person, but my little experiment shows that the keyword "patent" is the clear winner of this contest.  People search for patent related topics way more compared to the searches for trademark or copyright subjects. 
Copyrights came in second (although a few times they even took the lead over patents).  
As to trademarks, they came in third, but curiously enough, interest in trademark topics has remained pretty steady over time, in contrast to the wild fluctuations in the interest towards patents and copyrights.