Posts Tagged ‘trademark’
This week in international business news, we discuss Twitter’s lack of patents and implications on its IPO, Hewlett-Packard seeking buyer for its mobile-computing patents, and Mattel suffers a loss in its trademark battle with Zynga over “Scrabble with Friends” in the U.K.
This week in international business news: international trademark issues facing Tesla in its expansion efforts in China, Wells Fargo’s new insurance products to protect policyholder’s interests in intellectual property, and Comcast’s proposal to address illegal downloading.
Beginning March 26, 2013 and for a limited time, owners of national trademark registrations around the world will register their trademarks with the new ICANN Trademark Clearinghouse, enabling them to receive notification if a third party applies to register their mark under the new generic top level domain regime.
- Outsourcing to India Draws Western Lawyers. The legal outsourcing industry has taken off in India as money-conscious U.S. firms are hiring lawyers in India to do tasks such as document review and contract management. Now, to make this process more successful, Indian legal outsourcing firms are actively recruiting lawyers from western countries, such as the U.S. and the U.K. Surprisingly, these lawyers are considering the move since revenue from legal outsourcing firms in India is expected to reach $440 million this year. Outsourcing remains a contentious issue in the U.S. as jobs at home are lost, but experts say the outsourcing of legal jobs that can be done at a more cost-effective price with the potential for western lawyers in India remains an option for U.S. firms and lawyers.
- India Seeks Harsher Punishment for Bhopal Gas-Leak Accused. Officials from the Indian government have filed a petition to seek harsher punishments against U.S.-owned Union Carbide Corp., in its negligence of the 1984 gas leak in Bhopal, India. Amnesty International calculated that the tragedy killed a combined 22,000 people, while Union Carbide estimated only 3,800 deaths. In the 1996 ruling, the charges of culpable homicide were weakened and Union Carbide local unit officials faced only 2 years in prison. Michigan-based Dow Chemical Co., acquired Union Carbide in 1999 and the Indian government said it will pursue the liability case to gain further compensation for victims of the leak. However, a Union Carbide spokesman said the company is not subject to Indian jurisdiction since the operation of the Bhopal plant was under Union Carbide India Ltd.
- How to Sell Online in China. China’s online consumer market is a relatively untapped market that holds great potential for multinational companies who understand the Chinese online population. Chinese use the internet to communicate via instant messaging more than any other country, and this is not only limited to the young population, but to all reaches of the Chinese population. For multinational companies to be successful in the Chinese online market, they must accurately target the right consumers, while still maintaining consumer loyalty. Though many domestic firms have taken advantage of these opportunities, there is still time for foreign entrants. China’s online population is projected to reach 650 million in five years, which leaves sufficient time for foreign companies to find ways to successfully tap into the market.
- CRC Wins U.K. Ruling on Lehman Client Money-Accounts. New York-based CRC Credit Fund Ltd., Lehman Brothers Inc., and Lehman Brothers Finance AG can have claims to billions of dollars that weren’t put in separate accounts with the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s U.K. unit, when Lehman Brother International Europe collapsed in 2008. CRC and Lehman Brothers appealed the ruling that clients whose money was not properly separated into “client money” accounts would be treated as unprotected creditors in the UK insolvency case; leaving clients with only a fraction of the money they were owed. This is a huge step in investor protection, which now means clients whose money was not properly handled by firms, can still be protected, and in this case, included in the pool of accounts that had been separated. Lehman is seeking $3 billion and CRC is seeking $76 million in money that should have been separated, a significant amount for those clients hurt in the 2008 collapse.
- Google Will Sell Brand Names as Keywords in Europe. Google has announced it will change its search policy to allow third-party advertisers to buy trademarked terms. Prior to the March ruling by the European Court of Justice, brands such as Louis Vuitton, could file trademark complaints against Google to prevent third-party advertisers from appearing in results alongside their trademarked names. Though brand owners argued that to protect brand value they should be the only ones allowed to use their trademarked terms, the court ruled that Google had respected trademark law. The companies now will be shown in Google results alongside third-party advertisers selling their products. Though the decision benefits the basis of the internet giant’s revenue, AdWords, it comes as a blow to trademarked brand owners.
Compiled and summarized by Aylin S. Khor
- Boeing Gets Order for Up to 30 Jets From Dubai. Emirates Airline of Dubai, the largest Arab airline, has placed an order for thirty commercial 777 jets from American aviation giant Boeing. The transaction which is estimated to be worth about $7 billion, further bolsters airlines’ confidence in Boeing’s jets and shows the start of the recovery of the airline industry. Airbus, Boeing’s European rival, and Boeing both projected that commercial air traffic will regain its growth over the next couple years. However, this deal proves that this new growth and need for more airplanes will be fastest and strongest in the Middle East and China.
- Google 1, LVMH 0. In a world where technology is continuously advancing, companies are finding themselves faced with intellectual property issues and disputes. Google allows advertisers to bid on small text ad terms, regardless of whether or not the bidders own the trademark. However, LVMH, the French company that owns Louis Vuitton, said that allowing companies to bid on terms containing “Louis Vuitton” was a trademark infringement. The French court initially voted in favor of LVMH, but has now reversed the ruling to be in favor of Google. If the decision had stayed, Google could have faced serious administrative and financial problems.
- European Regulators Go After Google. Skeptical European regulators have always had a fear of “bigness,” which they exemplified in the past anti-trust examinations of Microsoft. Today, however, they are going after the heart of Google, its advertising business of AdWords text. Google has always kept it a secret as to how it decides which advertising strategies to utilize for its services. Now, however, French regulators have sided with a French GPS location company, requiring Google to reactivate the company’s account, which previously had been shut down. This seems to be the beginning of regulators’ attempts to make Google’s advertising system and procedures more transparent.
- New BNY Mellon CEO Seeks More Deals, Hires. Bank of New York Mellon Wealth Management is looking for more deals and hires in various markets across the U.S. and the world. Chief Executive Lawrence Hughes says he intends to expand organically by increasing BNY Mellon’s existing sales force, and to expand through acquisitions in strategic markets. BNY recently acquired the Canadian investment advisor, I(3) Advisors, to further extend global expansion. The company is also seeking to increase hiring in countries where their asset management and investment services are already established, such as Brazil and China. The company has seen 17 consecutive quarters of growth, something Hughes says has been aided by BNY’s expansions over the past 19 years.
- Toyota Settles Infringements Case of Hybrid Patent. Japanese car maker, Toyota Motor Corp., has settled a patent-infringement dispute through an agreement with Paice LLC, as hearings were to begin on a claim against Toyota by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). Alex Severinsky, founder of Paice, said that his 1994 patented system for powering electric hybrid cars was taken and used by Toyota without his permission. The ITC is set up to eliminate unfair trade practices, and when a violation occurs, it can ban the product, a decision that if made would cause severe financial damage to Toyota. On the other hand, the ITC must also see whether Severinsky has the right to protect or be reimbursed for the millions of dollars invested in his patented invention.
Compiled and summarized by Aylin S. Khor
You are a website owner and have just found out that another company has registered a domain name that is nearly identical to your website name. Many of your clients or potential customers are being diverted to this web site when they search for your company’s name on the web in search engines like Google or Yahoo. In fact, it was from one of your customers you found out about this. You believe this party is a “cybersquatter” —that is, the site owner has registered your trademark, or a name similar to it, for the purpose of diverting web traffic away from your site and making a commercial profit to your detriment.
What Can You Do?
Fortunately you are not without options. An organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers was charged with administering domain names on a global basis. ICANN, as it is known, in turn authorizes certain arbitral forums to decide domain name disputes. What is an “arbitral forum”? It is an organization that administers arbitrations, which are proceedings for deciding disputes. Some of the more common arbitral forums are WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organization), based in Switzerland, and NAF (the National Arbitration Forum) here in the U.S.
You have discovered that a web site contains content that uses original text, artwork, photography or software that you created or commissioned. You dutifully do some research (including using a “WHOIS” search on the web) to determine who owns the web site, but the site owner has hired a third party (such as Domains By Proxy) to hold the domain name so that the owner’s identity is not publicly available. There is no other identifying information on the web site and it is therefore impossible as a practical matter to figure out who is responsible for copying your creative content.
What can you do? Fortunately, U.S. copyright law provides a remedy, in the form of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or “DMCA”, as it’s known. The DMCA contains provisions, called “take-down” provisions, which provide a quick and easy remedy to copyright owners of content that is infringed (that is, copied) on the web. Under these provisions, you, as the copyright owner or licensee of copyrighted content, may notify an “Internet Service Provider”, or “ISP”, such as the host of the web site containing the infringing material, of the infringement. You may couple this notification with a demand for “take-down”, that is, removal, of the infringing material.
Globalization affects nearly every business. Companies developing new products or methods have to carefully develop an intellectual property portfolio, including a patent filing strategy, to respond to and compete on an international scale in the global market. For sure, the patent filings start with filings in the companies’ home land, most likely where the inventions were made. But considerations of foreign filings are a must for developing an international filing strategy that is truly in line with globalization. Questions of where the newly developed product will be manufactured should be resolved as part of such strategy. Is the newly developed product or method a candidate for successful distribution or sales abroad? Where or in what part of the world would such sales be expected? In what countries are the competitors situated? Often, the most obvious countries, i.e., the immediate neighboring countries, such as Canada and Mexico for U.S. companies, are not considered in a timely fashion. The company may even wrongly assume that, due to NAFTA agreements, U.S. patent protection would extend into NAFTA states, not realizing that the protection stops at the countries borders. Although the company may have a manufacturing agreement in place with a foreign manufacturer, which may give the company proprietary rights to any pre-manufacturing or manufacturing tools and molds, it is certainly advisable to include the country of manufacture into the foreign filing strategy.