Smiley Miley, Inc. (‘SMI’), the company owned by American singer Miley Cyrus, has won a six year legal battle to register the trade mark MILEY CYRUS in the EU. The General Court of the European Union (‘the GC’) issued its decisions on 16 June 2021, overturning the refusal of this trade mark application by the EU Intellectual Property Office (‘the EUIPO’).
Concise guide to Brexit and intellectual property
Colours and colour combinations play an important role in branding. In a crowded sector colours have the capacity to function as a powerful visual key, enabling consumers to easily distinguish between different products and brands. Trade mark rights granted for specific colours, or combinations of colours, are, therefore, powerful IP rights. The uncertainty surrounding how similar a colour must be to infringe a colour mark registration works in the favour of the owners of colour trade mark registrations – in extreme cases a colour mark registration may deter competitors from using all shades of that colour on/in relation to the same goods/services. Little surprise then that for some trade mark owners securing registered rights in colour marks has become a key strategic objective.
There were 85 invalidity decisions issued between 1 July 2020 and 30 September 2020. 41 invalidity actions (48%) were successful, meaning that the contested registered Community design was invalidated by the Invalidity Division. 44 invalidity actions (51%) were unsuccessful, meaning that the application for a declaration of invalidity was rejected and the RCD was maintained as registered.
The United Kingdom’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) recently released a report on sectors of the economy which make the most intensive use of intellectual property (IP) rights, and how much these sectors contribute to the UK economy.
The EUIPO is Now a Member of the WIPO Digital Access Service. As of 12 September 2020, the EUIPO is allowing registered Community design applicants to both deposit and retrieve priority documents using the WIPO DAS system. This is a step that has been long awaited by design attorneys given that 98% of registered Community design applications are now filed online.
We consider invalidity decisions issued by the EUIPO during the second quarter of 2020, from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020. Registered Community designs (RCDs) protect the shape and appearance of new products across the whole of the EU. Since national court decisions on RCDs are rare, decisions by the EUIPO’s Invalidity Division help us to understand how the validity of an RCD is interpreted.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen a large amount of government backed funding made available in the UK to promote UK based innovation. In particular, various schemes, competitions, grants and loans have been announced with the aim of helping UK SMEs involved in technology and R&D grow as the Covid-19 disruption dies down. We have reported on a number of these recently. An area that is important for achieving this aim, but is perhaps at risk of being overlooked during this period of widespread disruption and uncertainty, is intellectual property.