ARGOS aggro: UK infringement issues arising from US advertising site

The Court of Appeal for England and Wales was asked to consider a case where 2 companies were using the same name in different territories, both legitimately, but one decided to exploit traffic mistakenly hitting its website by using targeted ads[1]

The dispute involved two businesses who shared the “Argos” name, but on different sides of the Atlantic. Argos Limited (AUK) operates a very well-known catalogue and online UK consumer goods retailer under the “Argos” brand.   Argos Systems Inc. (AUSA) is a US business which provides computer aided manufacturing services for the construction of buildings to customers in North and South America. Each are long-standing businesses who had traded under the same brand in their respective territories without problem.

In 1992 AUSA registered the domain name and it set up a website to promote its American business. Continue Reading


Recreational cannabis became legal in Canada under the Canadian Cannabis Act on October 17, 2018 and sales have begun. Prior thereto, only medical marijuana was available in Canada.

The Canadian Trademarks Act has not been amended in any way in respect of the sale and promotion of recreational cannabis in Canada. The law regarding registration remains the same for marks for such cannabis products and services, as for other products and services. Many companies have filed trademark applications for trademarks for use in association with recreational cannabis products and services.  They are moving through the usual application process. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Establishes New Test for Trade-Dress Secondary Meaning

The United States Federal Circuit recently issued a precedential opinion addressing trade dress secondary meaning.  The decision establishes a six-factor test to determine whether trade-dress acquired secondary meaning and clarifies a variety of other, related matters.

Converse appealed a final determination of the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) that Converse’s U.S. trademark number 4,398,753 (“the ‘753 mark”) was invalid.  The ITC also determined that Converse could not establish the existence of common law trademark rights. Continue Reading

Some Important Recent Developments Make Korea Friendlier to Foreign Companies Utilizing the Korean Patent System

Korean Court Makes Efforts to Create a More Patent-Friendly Environment.

Although Korea has been very active in the development of intellectual property, Korea has a reputation for being relatively unfriendly to foreigners utilizing the Korean patent system. Korean courts have been trying to rectify this situation by changing the environment for patent protection and patent litigation.  Specifically, they have implemented an improved discovery process and they have established international panels that will provide more foreigner-friendly patent litigation procedures. Continue Reading

“Liquor Before Beer, You’re In The Clear… Beer Before Wine, You’ll Be Fine,” and So On: “Confusing” Advice For The Reveling Tippler & Registering Trademarks

The relationship of wine, beer, and spirits has often proved complicated and confusing for the tippler, regardless of country.  There are old saws that many repeat, and report on, that say things like “Beer Before Liquor, Never Sicker; Liquor Before Beer, You’re In The Clear” and “Wine Before Beer Leaves You Queer, But Beer Before Wine Leaves You Fine.”  One also hears such advice as one travels, with sayings like “Bier auf Wein, lass das sein; Wein auf Bier, das rat’ ich dir” in Germany (which you can hear here and which I am told essentially means “Beer after wine is to be avoided; wine after beer is advised”), and “sörre bor, jó gyomor, borra sör, meggyötör” in Hungary (which you can also hear here and which has been roughly translated for me as “beer then wine leaves a good stomach; wine then beer leaves it [i.e. the stomach] tormented”), as others are quick to mention. And, of course, there are many, many other bits of drinking doggerel that are a bit difficult to remember and keep straight.   Continue Reading

Sufficiency of Drawings in Design Patent Applications

Suppose that you want to file a design patent application for an article that is three-dimensional.  What views of the article will you need for the design patent application that will be sufficient to support your claim?  The answer is a sufficient number of views to constitute a complete disclosure of the appearance of the design.

35 U.S.C. 112 states

  • The specification shall contain a written description of the invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same, and shall set forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor or joint inventor of carrying out the invention.
  • The specification shall conclude with one or more claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which the inventor or a joint inventor regards as the invention.

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The present article constitutes an amendment of my article “The New Legal Framework in Greece about Cash Rebates for the Production of Audiovisual Works” dated 16.04.2018 (available here), which provided a brief and general outline of the legal framework in Greece about the state aid scheme for the production of audiovisual works in Greece based on the incentive of a cash rebate of a percentage of the eligible costs of the production incurred within the Greek territory.

The present amendment is essential, as the new law 4563/2018 (published in Government’s Gazette vol. Αno. 169/20.09.2018), makes several important changes in order to make the investments in audiovisual works in Greece more attractive. Continue Reading

Street Art, Copyright Infringement, and De Minimis Use

The legal protections afforded to graffiti and “street art” artists have gained increased visibility in recent months. But while street art may be entitled to certain protections under the law, not every use of street art without permission will violate an artist’s rights. A recent decision from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York highlights this, finding that de minimis use of graffiti in a television production without the artist’s permission did not give rise to liability under the Copyright Act.

Legal Protection for Graffiti and Street Art

Graffiti and street art can be protected by the law like any other art form. For example, in a widely publicized decision earlier this year, a federal court in the Eastern District of New York found that street art painted on the famous “5Pointz” in Long Island City, Queens, was entitled to protection under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990.

Graffiti and street art may also be protected from infringement under the Copyright Act. The Copyright Act protects “original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression.” Street art that takes the form of a painted mural can be easily understood to meet this standard. Moreover, even distinctive graffiti-style lettering can, in certain circumstances, be protected under the Copyright Act. Generally, typeface alone will not be entitled to copyright protection. However, at least one court has found that stylized lettering in graffiti art was protectable. Likewise, the court found that a street artist’s choice of color and background imagery could be protectable elements of a graffiti design. Continue Reading


In a recent precedential decision, a split Federal Circuit (Judges Dyk and Taranto in the majority, Judge Newman, dissenting) issued a lengthy, 53-page decision, regarding the obviousness doctrine.  Judge Taranto, writing for the majority, engaged in a fact-intensive analysis to determine that a ‘blocking patent’ mooted evidence of objective indicia of non-obviousness and found the patents-in-suit invalid on obviousness grounds.

Acorda owned four patents (the “Acorda patents”) listed in the FDA’s Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations (“Orange Book”) for Ampyra®, a multiple sclerosis (“MS”) medication containing the active ingredient 4-aminopyridine (“4-AP”).  Importantly, Acorda listed a fifth patent, U.S. Patent Number 5,540,938 (the “Elan patent”), in the Orange Book for Ampyra.  Acorda is the exclusive licensee for the Elan Patent.  The Elan patent predates the Acorda patents and broadly claims administering a sustained-release formulation of 4-AP to individuals with multiple sclerosis.  The Acorda patents further claimed that such a drug must be administered (1) in a 10 mg dose twice a day (2) at that stable dose for the entire treatment period of at least two weeks (3) to achieve 4-AP serum levels of 15–35 ng/ml and (4) to improve walking. Continue Reading

Russian IP Court compelled domain name registrars to remove illegal content reported by trademark holders

On 4 July 2018, Russian IP Court rendered a landmark judgment in case No. A40-132026/2017.

Under the merits of the case, LLC Azbuka Vkusa (trademark holder) sued LLC Registrator R01 (prominent domain registrar) seeking to cease delegation of the disputed domain name. It was apparent that the claimant’s trademark AZBUKA VKUSA was infringed in the domain name and website content.
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