|Discretion is the better|
part of valour ...
t the World Trade Organization last week, the Dominican Republic lfollowed in the footsteps of the Ukraine (here) and Honduras (here) in challenging Australia's 2011 Tobacco Plain Packaging legislation by formally requesting consultations with Australia – the first step of initiating a dispute under the WTO Dispute Settlement procedures. Under Australia's Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011, all tobacco products sold in Australia after 1 December 2012 will have to be in plain packaging (see image, left).
The WTO challenges of all three countries claim violations of the TRIPS Agreement and the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). In the area of TRIPS, the challenges focus – among others – on claiming violations of
• Article 2.1 (and the incorporated Articles 6quinquies, 7, and 10bis of the Paris Convention) because under the new legislation Australia would no longer provide "as is" protection of trade marks registered outside Australia, not provide effective protection against unfair competition to nationals of other countries of the Union, and create confusion between goods of competitors. • Articles 15 and 16, because the legislation would prevent owners of registered trade marks from enjoying the rights conferred by a trademark; and • Article 20, because plain packaging would constitute an unjustifiable encumbrance on the use of trade marks.
|Next to go?|
Around the weblogs. Following the comment of Judge Birss QC in Samsung v Apple earlier this month that Samsung's not-quite-iPads were not cool like Apple's (discussed by the IPKat here), Class 99 hosted a lengthy analysis of another interface between design law and cool, this time in relation to the design protection of ice bags for keeping wine cool. You can read Joe Cohen's piece on Gimex v The Chillbag Company here. Elsewhere, the jiplp weblog announces that the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (JIPLP) is looking not just for more writers but for more book reviewers too. On the 1709 Blog Iona Harding asks whether New Zealand's 'three strikes' law against file-sharers has resulted in a 50% drop in infringement -- or only in a halving of the rate of detection. SOLO IP speculates about the problems of small and sole IP practitioners getting ripped off at the point of disposing of their practices. Finally, it seems that Australia -- leading the way again -- is contemplating introducing a new art law, as Simone Blakeney explains.
|Not a GTI but definitely distinctive --|
somewhere underneath the fierce facade lurks
a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle
"The General Court infringed European Union law by classing the designation 'GTI' as a descriptive indication of a technical nature, even though that designation is registered as a mark in a number of Member States. It is purely the task of the national authorities to decide on the descriptive meaning of a mark in their respective territories. Only if an application has been made to remove a mark from the register can a body of the European Union take account of the invalidity of a national mark in determining whether there is a likelihood of confusion".The IPKat promises to keep tabs on this case and looks forward to its full-blooded resolution.
Still in March 2012 ... Mottainai is said to be a Japanese term for "a sense of regret concerning waste when the intrinsic value of an object or resource is not properly utilized". This Kat is not sure that there's an equivalent word for it, but the term is much beloved by the UK's Intellectual Property Office, which latched on to it in March of this year (see Katpost here). The word has just popped up again, in "IPO extends indefinitely Mottainai pilot program" (here). In short, the IPO has announced that the Mottainai pilot program, currently trialled as part of the IPO’s Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) agreements with the Japanese Patent Office, the US Patents and Trade Marks Office and the Canadian IPO, has been indefinitely extended. The attraction of this pilot has been that, while PPH agreements have traditionally included restrictions based on both the order of filing and on the countries from which applications initially claim priority, the Mottainai model allows requests for acceleration to be made under a PPH agreement regardless of the order in which the various applications were filed or the original priority claimed by the co-pending applications.