Wednesday whimsies

Happy new year!  In the unlikely event that you haven't noticed, the IPKat and Merpel respectfully remind readers that we are moving from the calendar year 2014 to the next numbered year in the sequence, 2015.  In the olden days when everyone used cheques as a way of making payments, errors were common during the first few weeks of the year when people dated January cheques with the year immediately past, since it was common practice for banks to refuse to honour cheques that bore an instruction to pay that was dated more than six months earlier than the date on which they were presented for payment.  Nowadays that's not so much of a problem, but do take care when filling in forms online and selecting the year from a draw-down menu -- particularly if it involves something that might cost you money!

Earlier this month, this weblog hosted a reader's appeal for suggestions for a good read in the area of franchising law. Some readers were kindly able to help.  This Kat has also now received a handsome bound volume of The Franchise Law Review for 2014, edited by his old friend Mark Abell (Bird & Bird). Published by Law Business Research [haven't heard of them? Nor has this Kat], it runs to over 600 pages and, following some good introductory chapters on business format franchising law and strategy, covers over 30 jurisdictions and then adds a couple of bonuses -- a case study and a dispute resolution index -- for good measure. The authors include a number of friends and fellow bloggers too.  High class vanity publishing or valuable source of information? It might be one or the other but, so far as this Kat can tell, it looks like both.  You can check this volume out for yourself here,

Around the weblogs.  There really isn't much to report over the past couple of days, unless you are into supplementary protection certificates for patents in the European Union, in which case The SPC Blog reports that the prolific Mike Snodin has written another article, which you can access from this link, on the Seattle Genetics case and what question the Court of Justice of the European Union should really be answering.  Design law practitioners may by now have discovered that Ireland and South Korea have made their design data more accessible by joining up to OHIM's DesignView service. Pick of the week, though, is fellow Kat Neil's post for IP Finance on the afterlife of the copyright-infringing Aereo business model and why some very big companies are taking such an interest in the disposal of its insolvent assets.

Buzkashi: doesn't take as long as negotiating
WTO entry, and is loads more fun ...
Kazakhstan comes in from the cold.  While the average daily temperature in Kazakhstan's capital Almaty is around minus one degree celsius, the former Soviet satellite state is coming in from the cold in terms of international trade.  According to the latest Petosevic IP News Eastern Europe, the World Trade Organization is expected to announce Kazakhstan's admission to WTO membership at the beginning of 2015.  With WTO membership comes a commitment to the Agreement on Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights, a.k.a. TRIPS.  It has so far taken 18 years for negotiations to reach this stage, which just goes to show that there are some things that take longer than trade mark opposition proceedings in Ireland ...

Putting the boot in?  From Rob White (Avidity IP, katpat!) comes this link to "New Balance sues Converse over trademark actions", the tale of a legal action brought by New Balance on the basis that Converse was being a bit over-vigorous in its efforts to protect the latter's Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers. Back in October, trade mark owner Converse -- which is owned by Nike -- initiated International Trade Commission proceedings against Walmart, Kmart, Skechers and dozens of other parties for allegedly promoting knock-off copies of its Chuck Taylor design. Says New Balance, which was not on Converse's original litigation hit-list, when it sought assurances that no attempt was being made to sue its own "PF Flyers" sneakers, Converse refused to reassure it and threatened to add it to the list.

When attack is the best form
of defence, bovver boots are
heartily recommended
Converse's "Chucks" go back to the 1940s, displaying a distinctive rubber toe cap and striped midsole. Converse was granted a trade mark on the shoe in 2013. New Balance is now challenging the validity of Converse's mark, which is said to include ornamental or functional features that are not unique to Chuck Taylor sneakers but are common within the trade and could therefore be applied to any number of shoes, including its own ones. Adds New Balance: Converse's “Chucks” and its own allegedly infringing "PF Flyers" are sufficiently different for consumers not to confuse them. What's more, it submits, the PF Flyers brand dates from the 1940s and was even briefly owned by Converse in the 1970s. While he doesn't know the chain of transactions that brought "PF Flyers" from Converse to New Balance in the first place, the thing that interests this Kat is the possibility that, in infringement or declaratory proceedings, New Balance might be able to argue a defence of consent, estoppel or derogation from grant on the bases -- assuming that they can be proved -- that Converse sold "PF Flyers" to New Balance in the first place and that what was sold was sufficiently similar to the "Chucks" to support an infringement claim.
Wednesday whimsies Wednesday whimsies Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, December 31, 2014 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. Not exactly about IP, just getting facts right: Almaty, although biggest city of Kazakhstan, isn't its capital for more that 15 years (i.e. since 1997). Kazakhstan's capital is Astana.


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