LVMH Launches First Blockchain-Based Product Tracking

LVMH Launches First Blockchain-Based Product Tracking

The luxury group LVMH, Microsoft, and the Blockchain services provider startup ConsenSys have officially launched a blockchain-based product tracking system, known as “AURA”. This system is exclusively designed and developed to serve the luxury industry across the world with powerful and robust tracking and tracing services which will verify and uphold the proof of authenticity and product history of luxury goods. Operating on a consortium model, AURA allows any luxury firm to use it to offer real-time tracking services to its customers. LVMH brands like Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton are already currently involved in this project and advanced discussions are still going on to onboard other brands from the LVMH group and other luxury groups across the globe.

APP-BASED DIGITAL TRACKING

Based on Ethereum blockchain technology and using Microsoft’s Azure infrastructure, this decentralized system is set-up to create a unique identifier for every product, tracking its source of origin from raw materials to point of sale, all the way to second-hand markets. AURA uses digital tracking which allows customers to use the brand’s app while purchasing a luxury item to receive a digital certificate consisting of blockchain-based product information and details about every product’s origin, care instructions, after sales and warranty services. With this platform, purchasers can also track the life-cycle of its products including the design, raw materials, manufacturing, and distribution. While protecting creative intellectual property and identifying unique information about every product stored on a shared ledger, this technology will also hold back advertising fraud. AURA will also offer tailored-made services to build-up customer loyalty and to ensure a brand’s protection from potentially low-quality counterfeits.

CONCLUSION

Nowadays, extravagant brands are rapidly turning to blockchain platforms to confirm the provenance of their luxury good items, and AURA is undoubtedly a great innovation for the entire luxury industry which shall help in protecting the interests, integrity, and privacy of every brand. The team behind AURA is hopeful about its use by rival luxury brands too by offering them the flexibility to customize the system according to their needs. For More Visit:  https://www.trademarkmaldives.com/

 

Gentle Monster Sues Malik Yusef for Allegedly Scamming Eyewear Brand

Gentle Monster Sues Malik Yusef for Allegedly Scamming Eyewear BrandA Korean-based fashion brand widely known for its eyewear — Gentle Monster has sued Kanye West’s collaborator Malik Yusef for allegedly forging Ye’s signature on contracts in addition to faking invoices and making an enormous amount of money in the process. This year in February, the South Korean eyewear brand, Gentle Monster had promoted and released a video known as “13 Music” that supposedly featured a track written and produced by Yusef and Kanye West. Post its release, Kim Kardashian had tweeted that, “Kanye is not involved and didn’t produce this song.” Furthermore, Gentle Monster had taken down “13 Music” and all the promotions associated with it.

In the lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles Country Superior Court against Malik Yusef and others, Gentle Monster has asserted that Yusef had taken an undue advantage of his seemingly close relationship with Kanye West to swindle Gentle Monster into believing that he could bring some of the world’s most famous and reputed artists together to compose and produce a number of videos which could easily increase Gentle Monster’s brand name and recognition globally. As per the report, Yusef had successfully arranged a meeting between Kanye West and Won Lee, who is the CEO of Gentle Monster US, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. After the meeting, the suit claims that Yusef had given Won Lee a notarized Universal Music Publishing Group song agreement which authorized the release of a new track entitled “New Angels” for Gentle Monster’s campaign. The agreement came into sight along with West’s forged signature and a copy of his driver’s license which according to the lawyers of Gentle Monster was procured by Yusef without Kanye’s consent.

Gentle Monster has reportedly admitted that out of $2.5 million, it had sent $500,000 to a social agency which Gentle Monster had considered as Kanye’s West charity.

In a nutshell, Gentle Monster is now suing Malik Yusef along with his manager and business partner Burundi Partlow, and Sonja Nutall, who had introduced Won Lee to Yusef, on claims of fraud, breach of contract, and many more. The eyewear brand is also seeking damages of a sum to be determined at trial. For More Visit:  https://www.trademarkmaldives.com/

Ariana Grande Sued by Photographer for Posting Pictures of Herself

 

Ariana Grande Sued by Photographer for Posting Pictures of HerselfThe American singer, songwriter, and actress, Ariana Grande has been accused of violating the copyright law by a paparazzi photographer, Robert Barbera. The New York-based photographer, Robert has filed a lawsuit against the pop star Ariana Grande at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by claiming that the actress has posted two pictures of herself which were clicked by him without his permission and license.

It is the latest occurrence of a celebrity going through allegations of copyright infringement on account of the pictures they post on various social media platforms. Khloe Kardashian, Gigi Hadid, Odell Beckham Jr., Jessica Simpson, and Jennifer Lopez, have also been affected and sued for similar cases.

Although the post which showed Grande in two side-by-side images wearing an oversized gray sweatshirt and thigh-high boots while carrying a clear bag with the word “Sweetener” on it has been deleted, its screenshot was presented as legal evidence to the court.

According to the lawsuit, “[Grande] is not, and has never been, licensed or otherwise authorized to reproduce, publically display, distribute and/or use the Photographs.”

Robert is now demanding either $25,000 for every unauthorized picture that Grande has posted or the profits which must have been generated after posting the pictures to her followers of more than 154 million in number on Instagram. Prior to being taken down, the post had garnered more than three million likes. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com/

US Judge dismisses legal proceeding of ‘Pooey Puitton’ against Louis Vuitton

US Judge Sides with Louis Vuitton over Pooey Puitton “Parody” Case

Louis Vuitton (LV), a France fashion house and luxury retail company has succeeded in dismissing the legal proceedings initiated by MGA Entertainment, the maker of “Pooey Puitton” toy purses. John Walter, the US District Judge in Los Angeles, asserted that MGA Entertainment Inc’s lawsuit didn’t show any “actual and present controversy” between the two companies due to which the case didn’t really belong in the federal court.

Last year in December, MGA had filed a carefully-worded, harsh declaratory judgment action against LV, accusing it of attempting to interfere with its sales of a poop-shaped toy purse for children known as “Pooey Puitton”. The company was actually in a fear that the French brand was waiting to fire them with a lawsuit over intellectual property rights. In its lawsuit filed, MGA also pointed to Louis Vuitton’s “history of not respecting parody rights in the US and filing vexatious lawsuits against such protected parody.” However, Judge Walter approved the dismissal of the lawsuit in its entirety with prejudice by noting in his judgment that, “The court need look only to the fact that Louis Vuitton has not sued MGA based on its trademark rights in the US, while it has initiated proceedings in France.” Walter also mentioned that MGA’s attempt to refer to a number of earlier cases against the fashion brand Louis Vuitton is not simply persuasive.

MGA has affirmed that a rational person would never misinterpret Pooey Puitton, which retailed for $59.99, for expensive and high-priced bags by Louis Vuitton. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com/

Embedded Instagram Post of Bieber at the center of the Latest Copyright Case

Embedded Instagram Post of Bieber at the center of the Latest Copyright Case

In the past few days, a photo of Justin Bieber who is a Canadian pop-star has been at the center of the latest lawsuit that closely mirrors one involving a photo of Tom Brady. A New York-based paparazzi photographer, Robert Barbera has filed a lawsuit of copyright infringement against CBS which is an American mass media company, for allegedly violating his rights in a picture of Justin Bieber by displaying it publicly in their document of “most liked Instagram pics”. As mentioned by Robert, CBS had neither licensed the photograph from him nor taken any legal permission to publish the photograph in their article.

The media giant CBS had only embedded the Instagram post of Justin Bieber as a part of their article than taking its screenshot. The courts have also largely agreed upon this by mentioning that CBS had only embedded a photo in their article without actually producing a copy of the image because of which there is not any new display of the picture which could actually lead to violating the copyrights of Robert Barbera.

In general, the court also believes that an alleged infringer in the case of embedding never really stores an image or develops a replica and therefore can’t violate the copyright law. 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.