To register or not to register… that is the question (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)
28 March 2016
Just because you can register your intellectual property, it doesn’t mean that you should. Sometimes attempts to register can have unintended consequences, as YouTube stars, the Fine Brothers, recently found out.
The Fine Brothers gained fame for their ‘reaction’ format video channels on YouTube. The brothers created a series of different videos featuring various different groups of people ‘reacting’ to certain events/scenarios/videos. The format proved extremely popular. Thinking they were onto a winner, the Fine Brothers made a number of trade mark
applications for phrases such as ‘Kids React’, ‘Adults React’ and even ‘React’ itself, with the intention of licensing out the marks to other video makers. Fans were not impressed. The Fine Brothers lost hundreds of thousands of valuable subscribers in just a few days. The pair subsequently withdrew their applications and apologised to their fans.
Swift off the mark
The Fine Brothers are not the first celebrities to face negative publicity for trade mark applications. Taylor Swift was criticised for her overzealous approach to trade marks after she issued multiple trade mark applications for her song lyrics. She faced particular criticism for the wide range of products which included, among other things, typewriters, knitting implements, and pot holders. Perhaps what drew most attention was her application for marks covering whips, harness and saddlery.
It is easy to assume that no one will notice or even care about trade mark applications you make, but this is not always the case. Particularly in the creative industries, fans do
not want to feel unreasonably restricted in their ability to creatively support their favourite artists and bloggers. When considering what to trade mark, don’t forget to consider the publicity aspects too.
The lesser spotted shape mark (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)28 March 2016
A picture says a 1000 words or so the saying goes. So what about a shape? Several recent decisions have underlined the difficulties that can arise in trying to use shapes to protect a brand.
‘Glee’ less than happy after trade mark strife (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)28 March 2016
We’re all familiar with the classic trade markdispute. But can you sue for trade markinfringement if the brand using your name is actually more famous than your own? In February, the Court of Appeal said you could.
Trading secrets safely in Europe (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)28 March 2016
In December 2015, while most of us were busy wrapping presents and eating mince pies, the representatives of the European Parliament and Council agreed the text of the Trade Secrets Directive.
Stop monkeying around (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)28 March 2016
A judge in California has put a stop to all the monkey business surrounding the idea that animals can own copyright, in California at least.
Play those bars again and end up behind… bars (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)28 March 2016
The High Court has handed down a custodial sentence of 28 days for breach of an injunction against copyright infringement, albeit suspended for a period of 18 months. Two points rang out.
Kylie v Kylie (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)28 March 2016
It isn’t often that trade mark oppositions receive mainstream media attention. Kylie Minogue has bucked that trend by filing an opposition to reality TV star Kylie Jenner’s trade mark application for ‘Kylie’ in the US.
But we settled that! (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)28 March 2016
Parties will understandably often be relieved to sign on the dotted line of that “full and final” settlement agreement. But two decisions of the High Court earlier this year may give pause for thought. What is the practical effect of such a settlement and is it really what the parties want?