How Can Intellectual Property Protection Benefit Virtual Businesses?

Due to the continuous technological advancements, virtual businesses have stepped onto the path of tremendous growth. Nowadays, it is common to see people working in a coffee cafe or restaurant; instead of an office as earlier. Well, it is the concept of virtual businesses that makes this happen and lets the people work as freelancers, thus serving them with a new sense of freedom while working. Besides, it enables organizations to get their work done even by the people working in other cities. It is also about letting the employees work remotely. All these facts have made virtual businesses one of the best commerce of the present world.

Undoubtedly, virtual businesses are beneficial in almost every sense, but as the virtual data can be copied, altered, and distributed easily in just a couple of minutes, ensuring the protection of the work associated with the virtual world appears a bit complicated. In these instances, Intellectual Property Protection comes up as the most effective shield to prevent the unlawful copying and use of any material accessible over the internet without seeking the permission of the original creator.

Why Is Intellectual Property Protection Vital for Virtual Businesses?

Virtual businesses often operate on working models focused on their online presence. Hence, the assets like website, app, or other that influence one’s online presence are of great importance. Unfortunately, the Internet and rapidly advancing technology have made the theft and imitation of such online assets just a matter of some clicks, thus generating a crucial need for a robust shield to safeguard them. No doubt that there are several ways to keep the online data secure, but what could be more effective than intellectual property protection. It bestows you with the Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) that are beneficial in not just preventing replication or misuse of your IP but also making the infringer pay for the damages to your business due to the infringement.

Who Can Own the IPRs on a Website?

A website, which acts as a foremost tool to promote the business for sales generation, is the biggest asset of any company. As this imperative tool generally includes several elements provided by different people like designers, content developers, etc., it is not necessary that a site owner owns exclusive rights on every component. Therefore, it is essential to determine what rights a site owner can own, along with how to protect them.

In general, the right to enjoy the exclusivity remains with the employer instead of the employees who are employed to develop the website. However, as the Intellectual Property Law varies from nation to nation, this right may also change as per the country. So whenever you decide to obtain legal ownership over your website, it will be in your best interest to consult an IP Attorney.

What Elements of Your Website Can You Protect?

The intellectual property industry has multiple heads to ensure the protection of various elements of your website. Technical tools and software can be protected by Patent Registration. However, the website’s design, which is the expression behind the idea of creating a site, can be secured under Copyright Protection. Copyrights are applicable also for the security of the website’s content, including images, blog posts, and more. Software that includes text-based HTML codes can obtain the protection under Patent Law or Copyright Act, depending upon the nation where the website is functioning. Trademark Law protects the website’s name, logo, products, and other unique signs visible to the viewer. Computer-generated graphic symbols, user interfaces, displays, & even webpages need to be protected under Industrial Design Law. Trade Secrets Law, as the name depicts, is available to safeguard the site’s hidden or confidential aspects, whose disclosure may lead to secrecy violation of the particular firm.

Wrapping Up

As mentioned earlier, the virtual business industry is one of the most rapidly growing sectors. While dealing in such a continually advancing and competitive industry, it is not uncommon for you to find your work violated by someone. Besides, there are possibilities that you may unknowingly infringe others’ IP. IP protection helps you in not just evading such issues but also ensuring safer online transactions in your business. So, if you are planning to come up with a website, make sure to secure it with suitable IPRs. Hopefully, the aforementioned information will prove helpful to you. However, if you are looking for additional information related to the IP industry and virtual businesses, it is better to consult an experienced IP Lawyer or IP Law Firm. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Indian Government Eases Rules for Patent Filed By Women & Many Others

 

Recently, the Indian government has simplified the rules set in the nation’s Patent Law for patents filed by women, government agencies, and small entities. It has also incentivized Indian companies to obtain Patent Protection abroad. DPIIT, the Department for promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, has announced the further rules amending the Patents Rules, 2003. Besides, it has also facilitated the testing of patents in cases wherein the applicant is a startup, small entity, or an organization, either founded under a Central, Provincial, or State Act or controlled, owned, or financed (wholly or substantially) by the government. An expert on Intellectual Property Rights said that they expedited the testing of patents to foster creativity amongst startups, women, and small companies, and to aid the Indian government for commercializing its patents by charging a royalty. The government has also fostered Indian companies for filing patents abroad. It has put an end to the charge needed to be paid for filing the electronic international application with the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the transmission via the World Intellectual Property Organisation, abbreviated as WIPO and created to incentivize creativity and encourage the protection of Intellectual Property (IP) worldwide. Moreover, the department has drafted guidelines concerning the protection of IPRs in educational institutions like schools, universities, and colleges. These guidelines have revealed that an academic institution can enjoy the long-lasting patent rights if any of its student, staff member, or researcher has utilized its funds and resources for the development of a useful asset. In other words, if an institution associated with education works as per this condition, the patent rights will rest with it. It is predicted that this move of the government and relevant legal teams will prove to be beneficial for all, facing challenges in dealing with the rapidly increasing competition in the present competitive market. However, the recent amendments in Filing a Patent Application to get a patent in India and overseas demand investment of some time and efforts of Indians but it would serve them with more benefits and better opportunities. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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How Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents Differ?

Intellectual Property Rights

A common question whether Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents are the same or different often hovers over our minds. The main difference between these three common forms of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is that they protect different assets. In today’s competitive era, clear information about copyright, trademark, and patent, and how these differ from each other is essential for protecting your business from infringement issues.

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a type of IP protection that includes the right to secure your original work, including content, images, and everything you put online, on paper, or elsewhere. Copyright encompasses the right to:

  • Reproduce the work,
  • Produce derivative works,
  • Distribute and advertise copies,
  • Represent and perform the work publicly.

Copyright Registration will bestow you with full control over how your assets are made available to others. To ensure complete protection of your copyright, you must register it with the government. Otherwise, you will be unable to sue people or companies for Copyright Infringement.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark refers to a word, symbol, phrase, or logo that recognizes and distinguishes the source of one product or service from others. Trademarks have goodwill associated with the products and services, which further helps the customers in finding their desired products.

Examples of some common trademarks are as follows:

  • Words such as Nike
  • Logos such as the swoosh
  • Slogans such as Just Do It

Apart from giving the ability to sue the unauthorized user, Trademark Protection empowers you to grant permission to others for using your Intellectual Property.

What is a Patent?

A patent is a limited duration IP right that safeguards your inventions by not allowing others to use them.

Patent Law encapsulates:

  • New and useful industrial processes,
  • Machines,
  • Manufactured products,
  • Chemical compositions,
  • Developments in assets.

A patent right gives you the complete authority to prevent others from using or selling your invention. All the responsibilities from implementing the patent law on discovering any infringement to bring the defendant in a lawsuit lie with you.

How Copyrights, Patents, and Trademarks are Different?

i) Assets Protected 

  1. Copyrights protect the original material of the owner, for example – books, images, blogs, etc.
  2. Trademarks secure words, symbols, or phrases that distinguish a company’s assets from others.
  3. Patents ensure the protection of inventions, including processes, manufactures, machines, compositions, and improvements.

ii) Requirements

  1. For attaining Copyright Protection, you should provide original and creative work.
  2. To get your Trademark Application registered, you need to ensure that the mark identifies the source of your product.
  3. While applying for a patent, you should make sure that your invention is new, non-obvious, and valuable.

iii) Terms of Protection

Terms of Protection for intellectual property rights are country-specific. For example, in India:

  1. Copyright rights are valid for the duration, including your (owner’s) life followed by sixty additional years.
  2. Trademark Protection extends for 10 years from the date of application.
  3. Patents last for 20 years.

iv) Rights Granted

  1. Copyrights grant the license to use, disseminate, and publicly display your copyrighted material.
  2. Trademark grants the license to prevent businesses or people from creating confusion because of using marks similar to an already existing trademark.
  3. Patents grant the license to prevent others from using, selling, or importing your invention.

Conclusion

Due to rapid technological advancements, not just the businesses are developing but also the issues like infringement and fraud are increasing. Hence, there is a dire need to protect your intellectual property, which is possible with proper knowledge regarding all types of IP. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com/

Louis Vuitton Sues two Chinese Shoe Companies for Copyright Infringement

Louis Vuitton Sues two Chinese Shoe Companies for Copyright InfringementFrench fashion house and luxury retail company, Louis Vuitton is suing two subsidiaries of China’s footwear giant, Belle International for allegedly copying the design of a pair of HK$8,950, famous Archlight sneakers.

As per the intellectual property high court of Hong Kong, the fashion brand Louis Vuitton has accused Belle International (China) and Best Able Footwear – both subsidiaries of Chinese shoe giant Belle International of manufacturing and selling a product that looks substantially similar to a product from its spring and summer, 2018 – the LV Archlight trainers. As a result of copying and selling these products, the two Hong Kong registered companies have damaged LV’s brand name and business reputation.

Undoubtedly, LV has acquired a distinctive reputation and goodwill for their trainers not only in Hong Kong, but across the globe as well; therefore the customers would always associate the product purely with the French brand.

According to the documents, the defendants first began selling its alleged replica in July last year. Belle International runs an array of retail chains in Macau, Hong Kong, and mainland China, including Jipi Japa, Staccato, Joyce & Peace to name a few, mainly focusing on women’s collection.

The fashion label Louis Vuitton has now asked the court to make sure that all the similar products are removed from the markets and the companies’ platforms. It has demanded the firms to cease all copyright infringements, and hand over or destroy the existing alleged copies. LV is also seeking for monetary damages of a sum to be determined at trial.

The officials have stated that the copyright law of Hong Kong will respect the freedom of expression and take a decision accordingly. The trial date has yet to be scheduled. More Visit: http://trademarkmaldives.com/

Victoria’s Secret threw shade at Budding Rival ThirdLove

Victoria’s Secret threw shade at Budding Rival ThirdLoveVictoria’s Secret, an American designer, manufacturer and marketer of women’s lingerie, women wear, and beauty products, has energized a prolonged and bitter quarrel with ThirdLove, an American company producing and selling bras, underwear and lounge wear, by the means of sedate US trademark applications. While ThirdLove might interrupt or distort the lingerie business, the global lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret strongly believes it still is customers’ “first love”.

The US Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) has officially agreed to the company’s trademark application, thereby attaching the phrase “first love” to a line of its personal care products. Although Victoria’s Secret has succeeded in acquiring its beauty products’ rights, it couldn’t trademark the phrase in association with its apparel and lingerie as the USPTO stated that “Victoria’s Secret First Love” is confusingly similar to “First Love,” an existing trademark registered for the same type of product, namely, women’s clothing.

Despite Victoria’s Secret recent ups and downs on the fashion runway, the lingerie giant remains the queen of lingerie. However, it is a matter of fact that yes; Victoria’s Secret has lost around 3.8 million customers over the past two years and has delivered a formal public statement on its plans to close 53 stores this year as opposed to its annual average of 15.

Coming to ThirdLove, the company had secured a $55 million fundraising round from a group of investors consisting of Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, and Anne Wojcicki, CEO and co-founder of 23andMe, genetic testing company. Also, ThirdLove is now generating $100 million annual revenue and has become famous among women as its online “Fit Finder Tool” is being used by many customers to find their bra size.

Ed Razek, the senior creative at Victoria’s Secret said in an interview with Vogue that “We’re nobody’s third love, we’re their first love. Victoria’s Secret has been women’s first love from the beginning”.

When ThirdLove was questioned on whether they had opposed Victoria’s Secret application to trademark “first love”, the online lingerie retailer, Zac, refused to give a statement by focusing attention to their open letter which was published as a full-page ad in the New York Times in 2018 which read in one part, “Your show may be a “fantasy” but we live in reality”.

Nevertheless, it is not an end for Victoria’s Secret as still has time till June this year to make the required justifications in support of the trademark application’s registration. More Visit: http://trademarkmaldives.com/

 

Apple’s ‘Think different’ trademark dispute

Apple’s ‘Think different’ trademark dispute

Apple, an American multinational technology company lost a legal trademark dispute against Swatch, a Swiss watchmaker, twice in recent weeks. The Cupertino-based company claimed in a lawsuit that Swatch’s “Tick different” logo strongly resembles its well-known “Think different” slogan.

In 2015, Swatch had registered “Tick different” as a trademark (word/figurative mark) along with the famous half-sentence “One more thing” (word mark), with which, Apple’s founder Steve Jobs usually introduced an innovative product at the end of his presentations. Apple found it to be a copy of its slogan, to which, Swatch defended itself by giving an even older reference of the slogan “One more thing” – the well-known television detective, Columbo, who on numerous occasions said “Only one  more thing”- that perfectly fits in the way how Swatch promoted and advertised its NFC – capable watch.

In early April, the Swiss court ruled in Swatch’s favor over the use of its “Tick different” logo. Apparently, the court stated that the company didn’t have any legal documents which could prove Apple’s allegations against Swatch. During the end of the month, Apple lost another battle against Swatch in Australia where the Australian Trademark Office firmly believed that Apple never used the wording in connection with certain goods or services but only in presentations.

Apple is now taking strict actions against this trademark registration in several countries although it has already lost two battles against the Swatch watchmaker in the last few weeks. Of course, Swatch would not stand a chance in the US where the “Think different” advertising slogan is quite famous in the company’s campaigning records. More Visit: http://trademarkmaldives.com/

UKIPO rejects Kellogg’s ‘Fruit Loop’ opposition

UKIPO rejects Kellogg’s ‘Fruit Loop’ opposition

Britain’s fuller’s brewery achieved victory when the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) discarded a trademark opposition put forward by the American multi-national food manufacturing company, Kellogg. On May 2, 2019, Thursday, the UKIPO gave a verdict  in favor of the brewery, stating that Kellogg’s couldn’t demonstrate the image and  reputation of its ‘Froot Loops’ brand in the UK.

In June, 2018, Kellogg’s filed an opposition against Fuller’s ‘fruit loop’ mark for a seasonal summer beer, which according to the food manufacturer infringed its EU trademark (EU number 145325) for the breakfast cereal brand. The company even asserted that Fuller’s mark would gain an undue advantage from its cereal product’s reputation and would defame the brand by its use with respect to an alcoholic beverage. On the other hand, Fuller’s argued by claiming that the beer and cereal products had almost nothing in common with respect to the taste and flavor to be placed next to each other in markets.

The UKIPO, after hearing all the justifications and claims, declared that the marks were similar to a very low degree, keeping in mind the other attributes in Fuller’s mark and the alcohol content label. It also stated that Kellogg’s didn’t have much distinctiveness in the UK due to which it couldn’t provide any sales figures except for the marketing figures in relation to a special edition of Unicorn Froot Loops.

Fuller’s has been awarded costs of US $ 3,413 by the UKIPO. More Visit: http://trademarkmaldives.com/

Chinese Trademark Law’s fourth amendment

Chinese Trademark Law’s fourth amendmentOn April 23, 2019, a fourth amendment of the Chinese Trademark Law was passed at the 10th Session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress. The new law will be in effect from November 1, 2019, which has been earlier amended thrice, in 1993, 2001 and 2003 respectively

This fourth amendment consists of six articles, concentrating on two important aspects, which are as follows:

  1. Increasing the content against bad-faith registration for the purpose of regulating the acts of bad-faith applications and hoarding registrations.
  2. Reinforcing the penalties for infringement on the exclusive right to use a trademark.

 

ASPECT – 1

AGAINST BAD-FAITH REGISTRATION

(Changes are highlighted in red)

Article 4 (Paragraph 1) is amended to:

Any natural person, legal person or other organization that needs to obtain the exclusive right to use a trademark for its goods or services during production and business operations shall apply for trademark registration with the Trademark Office.

The application of trademark for registration, which is made in bad faith and not for the use purpose, shall be rejected.

Article 19 (Paragraph 3) is amended to:

A trademark agency shall not accept the entrustment of a principal if it knows or should have known that the trademark application entrusted by the principal for registration falls under any of the circumstances prescribed by Article 4, Article 15 and Article 32 of this Law.

Article 33 is amended to:

If a holder of prior right or an interested party holds that the trademark preliminarily approved is in violation of the second or third paragraph of Article 13, Article 15, the first paragraph of Article 16, Article 30, Article 31, or Article 32 of this Law, he may, within three months from the date of publication, file an opposition to the Trademark Office. Any party that is of the opinion that the aforesaid trademark is in violation of Article 4, Article 10, Article 11, Article 12 or the fourth paragraph of Article 19 of this Law may file an opposition to the Trademark Office within the same three-month period. If no opposition is filed within the specified period, the Trademark Office shall approve the application for registration, issue the certificate of trademark registration, and make an announcement thereon.

Article 44 (Paragraph 1) is amended to:

A registered trademark shall be declared invalid by the Trademark Office if it is in violation of Article 4, Article 10, Article 11, Article 12 or the fourth paragraph of Article 19 of this Law, or its registration is obtained by fraudulent or other illegitimate means. Other entities or individuals may request the trademark review and adjudication board to declare the aforesaid registered trademark invalid.

Article 68 

(Paragraph 1) is amended to:

A trademark agency that commits any of the following acts shall be ordered to make correction within a time limit by the Administrative Department for Industry and Commerce, be given a warning, and be fined not less than RMB 10,000 yuan but not more than RMB 100,000 yuan; the persons in charge who are directly responsible and other persons directly responsible shall be given a warning and be fined not less than RMB 5,000 yuan but not more than RMB 50,000 yuan; where a crime is constituted, criminal liabilities shall be investigated in accordance with the law:

  1. Fabricating or tampering with legal documents, seals or signatures, or using fabricated or tempered legal documents, seals or signatures during the handling of trademark-related matters;
  2. Soliciting trademark agency business by defaming other trademark agencies, or disrupting the order of the trademark agency market by other unjust means; or
  3. Violating the provisions of Article 4 or the third or fourth paragraph of Article 19 of this Law.

(Paragraph 4) is added as:

For making the application of trademark for registration in bad faith, the administrative penalties including warning or fine shall be given according to the circumstances; for bringing the trademark lawsuit mala fide, the people’s court shall punish in accordance with the law.

ASPECT – 2

INCREASING PENALTIES FOR INFRINGEMENT

(Changes are highlighted in red)

Article 63

(Paragraph 1) is amended to:

The amount of damages for infringement on the exclusive right to use a trademark shall be determined based on the actual loss suffered by the right holder as a result of the infringement; if it is difficult to determine the actual loss, the amount of damages may be determined according to the profits gained from there by the infringer, if it is difficult to determine both the loss of the right holder and the profits gained by the infringer, the amount of damages may be reasonably determined in reference to the multiples of the trademark for royalties. Where an infringer maliciously infringes upon another party’s exclusive right to use a trademark and falls under serious circumstances, the amount of damages may be determined as not less than one time but not more than five times the amount that is determined according to the aforesaid methods. The amount of damages shall cover the reasonable expenses paid by the right holder for stopping the infringing act.

(Paragraph 3) is amended to:

Where it is difficult to determine the actual loss suffered by the right holder as a result of the infringement, the profits gained by the infringer from the infringement or the royalties of the registered trademark concerned, the people’s court shall render a judgment awarding damages in an amount not more than RMB five million yuan based on the circumstances of the infringing acts.

(Paragraph 4) is added as:

When hearing a trademark dispute case, the people’s court shall, except in exceptional circumstances, order to destroy the goods bearing counterfeit registered trademarks at the request made by the right holder; and shall order to destroy the materials and instruments which are mainly used to manufacture the goods bearing counterfeit registered trademarks without compensation; or in exceptional circumstances, the court shall order the prohibition of the aforesaid materials and instruments from entering the commercial channels without compensation.

(Paragraph 5) is added as:

The goods bearing counterfeit registered trademarks shall not enter the market after merely being removed of counterfeit registered trademarks.

COMMENTS

Last year in China, there were many trademark applications for registration. These applications faced several practical problems of extensive bad-faith trademark squatting, trademark hoarding and continuous trademark infringement. The fourth amendment to the Chinese Trademark Law is a solution to all these problems. The Trademark Office is now allowed to refuse the trademark applications for registration which are in bad-faith. The trademark applicants can also include “bad-faith application/registration not for the use purpose” as a legal basis in filing the trademark opposition. In a nutshell, all the amendments made would be helpful for the real trademark proprietors.

Cadbury loses two battles over a shade of purple

Trademark Registration

Cadbury, the second largest confectionary brand in the world, has used the purple packaging as its trademark for the “Dairy Milk” chocolate since 1995. Despite Cadbury’s official rights in the Registered Trademark of the shade Pantone 2685C, there has been a long-running “candy war” with their top competitor and rival Nestle over its purple packaging trademark rights. Nestle protested against the trademark claiming that the trademark application failed to adhere to durability requirements and the sample color on the document could fade over time and discredit the accuracy of the trademark. It also stated that Cadbury’s trademark was imprecise and generated ambiguity. In April 2019, The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) rendered a decision favoring Nestle by rejecting two of Cadbury UK Limited’s more recent trade mark applications corresponding to the purple shade as applied to its chocolate products.

Cadbury has so far failed to amend description of their 1995 registration, considered to provide limited protection for the color with respect to the chocolate in a tablet form even after making several attempts in the past for their Trademark Protection by following the decision to allow their description under UK no. 3019362 stated as “the color purple (Pantone 2685C) as shown in the form of application, applied to the whole visible surface of the packaging of goods”.

The loss in the court of appeal has put Cadbury in an uncertain place, leading a way for rivals to further challenge them. More Visit: http://trademarkmaldives.com/

Pepsico lays down arms against Indian farmers

Intellectual Property Rights

Pepsico concedes defeat against the Indian farmers they had sued of Intellectual Property Rights infringement of illegally growing its registered potatoes. The officials of Pesico had initially sought damages of Rs 1.05 crore each from the farmers. Over 190 activists supported the Indian farmers and urged the union government to ask Pepsico India to draw out its “false” cases due to which the company has finally agreed to withdraw its cases against the farmers after discussions with the Indian government. Initially, Pepsico wanted to settle with the farmers by asking them either to sell their crops to Pepsi or stop growing them. But then, there was a huge social media criticism and repeated attacks by the political parties that led to pressure from its New York and Dubai offices to resolve the issue at the earliest. A Pepsico India spokesperson added in an emailed statement, “We are relying on the said discussions to find a long-term and amicable resolution of all issues around seed protection.”

Activists are now soliciting the Indian government to give more encouragement to the farmers that they can grow crops according to their needs and wishes. The Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) also stated, “The government should put into clear mechanisms to avoid repetition of this episode in future and Pepsico should have apologized for the intimidation and harassment of farmers in this case.” Moreover, the Indian political parties like Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress also supported the farmers by tweeting against the company’s brazenly wrong decision to sue the farmers. Pepsico gave a statement saying that it had spent many years working with thousands of Indian farmers and was eventually impelled by the Indian government to withdraw its case against the farmers unregistered to grow its potato variety.More Visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com/