Monday miscellany

Great idea: shame about the dog ...
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Around the weblogs. First, a couple of words of congratulations. The Afro-IP weblog has passed the 900 mark for email subscribers and the 1709 Blog for copyright enthusiasts has hit the 2,500 mark. Well done!  As for actual blogposts, there's a thoughtful piece from fellow Kat Neil on the IP Finance weblog on the topic of 3D printers: what sort of future do they have and are they suffering now for the hype that accompanied their first foray into our consciousness?  On the SOLO IP blog, Barbara Cookson looks at patent filing strategy for Patents of Unitary Effect (UPPs, as we may find ourselves calling them: UPP = Unitary Patent Protection). The Aistemos blog asks if the death of a patent might not actually be a sign of life of the patent system.  Finally PatLit carries a short note on the extent to which costs might be extracted from an inactive patent owner who takes no part in a European Patent Office opposition.

Logo woe for Toyko. From Katfriend Wendy Uchimura (Sky Translations, Yokohama, Japan) comes news that will disappoint sports lovers and indeed logo lovers everywhere. Wendy explains: 
"there were hopes it would be a distraction from the controversy for a new Olympic Stadium that ended up with expensive plans being scrapped, but the rolling out of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 logo on 24 July now looks as though it was set to cause even more headaches. To begin with, reception of the logo has been mixed, and now allegations of plagiarism have arisen. Belgian designer Olivier Debie of Studio Debie took to Twitter at the end of last month to question the similarities between his logo for Theatre de Liege and the logo designed by Kenjiro Sano. 

Sano and Japanese Government officials are refraining from comment at this point. However, a further allegation has been made by Hey Studio in Spain that the new Olympic logo bears a resemblance to a logo they designed to help support Japan after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Regardless of whether Sano’s logo can be proved original, public reaction could soon see it heading to the scrap heap too".

Late last week, former guest Kat Darren Meale had something to say about the lack of action to tackle confusingly similar lookalike packaging and products in the United Kingdom, citing two episodes in recent times involving retailers Aldi.  His words struck a chord with another eminent personality in the field of European intellectual property, Dr Andreas Lubberger (Lubberger Lehment, Berlin), who writes:
It is interesting to learn that Aldi is forcing even the IP community in the United Kingdom to review the arsenal of legal weapons against copycats. As for Germany I may dare to say that Aldi, Lidl and Co., have achieved a reputation for systematic copying of branded fast-moving consumer goods which has the opposite effect of serving as evidence of the well-known status of the brands in question. In my belief, being copied by Aldi should serve as a rebuttable presumption that the attacked genuine brand product enjoys a leading market position.   
However, if there is a problem in evidencing the taking of unfair advantage or if there is a lack of trade mark protection -- as in the case of Morrocanoil [noted by the IPKat here] -- one may probably address the problem of misleading consumers in regard to product's origin. At least here in Germany (and there is no reason why not likewise in the UK) consumers have adapted the perception that big brand manufacturers secretly sell their products to Aldi as a so-called “second brand”. Consumers already can inform themselves about known cases of this phenomenon through books [of which one is illustrated on the left] and are prepared to believe in a “second brand offer” once they detect a certain similarity to a branded product which they know from the shelves of the regular channels of distribution. 

Market research initiated by the German Trade Mark Association (Markenverband) as long ago as 2004 came to the conclusion that 77% of German consumers were convinced that Aldi offered "second brand" products to a significant share of its whole assortment (26%). In result, one may well complain that Aldi-lookalikes not only take unfair advantage of the repute of branded products but also create a false perception of a second brand character because of their outer similarity. That again justifies the conclusion that there has been an act of an unfair trade practice or of trade mark infringement.
Monday miscellany Monday miscellany Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, August 10, 2015 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. If consumers are of the view that Aldi brands are licensed by the manufacturers of products licenced by Aldi, on the basis that this is often the case, and this is well known, is not the sale to Aldi without a contractual restriction against look alike brands by the manufacture a deliberate choice to cause source confusion to the public?


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