1) Trademark Payoff: BharatPe versus PhonePe

BharatPe’s Postpe has approached the Delhi High Court with six cancellation actions against multiple registrations held by USA’s Walmart-owned PhonePe. The cancellation actions are for the ‘Pe’ trademark in the Devanagri script. BharatPe had recently ventured into the “buy now pay later” segment by launching an app under the trademark “Postpe”.

“By taking on a trademark for the “PE” device mark in Devanagari Script in classes relating to payment services in a country like India, where Hindi is the primary language of the masses, PhonePe has acted against the larger public interest, and Resilient is committed to undoing this.” a BharatPe spokesperson said in a statement. PhonePe, on the other hand, has been asserting its registrations (Pe) as being equivalent to the English word “Pay.”

2) Apple loses legal battle against Huawei’ MatePod’ trademark

Apple has lost the legal battle against Huawei to block its use of the “MatePod” name for its earbuds device. Apple argued at the trademark office of the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) that Huawei “maliciously copied” its trademarks, “which could have a negative impact on society.” However, the trademark authority stated that there was “insufficient evidence” that proved Huawei’s applications to be copied. According to the report, Huawei has also been granted the MatePod trademark while retaining Apple’s right to file for an additional appeal to the China National Intellectual Property Administration to go back on this decision.

3) Prosecco v. Prošek: Italy and Croatia battle over wine branding

A recent application made by Croatia to the European Commission has reignited its battle over wine branding against Italy. The Croatian application seeks its traditional premium wine Prošek to be granted special status under the EU’s Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) rules. The status of Protected Designation Origin grants strong protection within the EU and allows power to prevent the use and registration of such names, which could confuse consumers. The premium dessert wine is made from white grapes grown mainly in the southern region of Dalmatia using a traditional process that involves sun-drying them on straw mats before they are pressed and is claimed to be part of the Balkan country’s heritage dating back to before Roman times. However, this sparks Italian fury protective of its internationally renowned dry sparkling wine Prosecco, which has enjoyed special status granted by the EU since 2009. Objections by Italy find basis in the contention that Prošek is a mere translation of the name Prosecco in Croatian and has the potential to confuse consumers about the true origin of the wine.

4) Fashion media giant Condé Nast sued by 44 models over pervasive image misuse

An alliance of 44 models is suing media giant Condé Nast and fashion pre-sale site Moda Operandi. The models, backed by Next Management, have filed a suit for intentional trading of their “fame and notoriety” to promote fashion products. The dispute arose from publishing photographs of the models backstage at fashion shows and the runway in Vogue and modaoperandi.com. The models contend that their image, persona, face, and physical attributes are the basis of their livelihood, and their images promote and advertise the sale of products or services. It was argued that such unauthorized publication of images confuses and deceives the public into believing that the models had provided their sponsorships to the services of Vogue and Moda Operandi. The models are reported to have demanded exemplary damages against the unauthorized use of their images for commercial profit.

5) It Looks Like Trump Is Trying To Trademark’ Truthing,’ ‘Retruth’ And ‘Follow The Truth’

Former US President Donald Trump has been trying to obtain trademarks for his newly launched Social media network – “Truth Social.” The recent sets of applications were filed for the words “truthing,” “post a truth,” “retruth,” and “follow the truth.”

Donald Trump is known to have had a history of filing hundreds of trademark applications, a few of which are “Trump Class,” “Trumpnet,” “Tour de Trump,” etc. Applications have been made for “TMTG,” and “TMTG+” (Trump Media and Technology Group), and the same is expected to be launched soon as a news and streaming services venture worth $1.7 billion. As per reports, the company Trump Media and Technology Group is expected to host “non-woke” versions of Netflix and Disney+.

6) Trademark infringement on the rise due to weak law enforcement

In a period of just three months, the Department of Industry in Kathmandu, Nepal, has received over 54 complaints related to Trademark Infringement. Steadily on the rise, there has been an increase of over 20% in the number of such complaints filed every year.

Counterfeit and unauthentic products often confuse consumers and might lead to issues such as health complications on consumption. The department claims that the issue is not in the law or the lack of complaints, but primarily with the law enforcement agencies that drag their feet in taking action. Political influence from business people is allegedly widespread in the system and contributes to this issue.

7) UK government launches consultation on AI in patents and copyright

Led by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), the government of the United Kingdom has launched an open consultation to discuss the effect of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the patents and copyrights systems. The outcomes of a previous consultation on the topic were published in March 2021.

The government wishes to address the issues raised last time around related to IP involvement in AI use and development, seek views and evidence on implementing changes to the existing system while preserving the role of Intellectual Property in promoting human creativity and innovation. The goal out of these consultations is to cement the UK’s place as a global AI superpower.

8) Dogecoin Foundation is fighting for Dogecoin Trademark

Dogecoin is a dog-themed cryptocurrency released on December 6, 2013, as a joke, gained popularity through Elon Musk’s endorsement, and is now in the center of a trademark war between several institutions, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Dogecoin Foundation is a Colorado-based non-profit organization co-founded by Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer, the co-creators of Dogecoin. They filed an official claim with the US Patent and Trademark Office in September 2021. The foundation remains worried about “trademark trolling.” the practice of registering a trademark without intending to use it. There are a dozen other applications filed at the Trademark office, who, too, are in the race to claim the exclusive rights of the Dogecoin brand.

Image sources:

  1. Christiann Koepke on Unsplash
  2. Laurenz Heymann on Unsplash
  3. the_moment on Wikimedia
  4. Lara Chouette on Unsplash
  5. Trump Media & Technology Group on Wikimedia Commons
  6. File image in The Kathmandu Post
  7. Possessed Photography on Unsplash
  8.  Executium on Unsplash