Tuesday, September 3, 2013

This blog has moved

For new posts, please visit our new blog location.
We've found a home on the website of Freeman IP.

Thanks for your interest.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

a brand-free zone

Very happy that the folks over at the IPCopy blog invited me back for another guest blog post.

You can read about what Australia and Cuba have in common here.

Monday, October 29, 2012

the baby blues...

Back in February 2012, this blog reported  on the birth of Baby Blue Ivy, first daughter of Jay-Z and Beyoncé. Recently, there has been a bit of hysterical - and misleading - crowing in the press, saying that the celebrity couple's bid to register their baby's name as a trademark has been "rejected". Much of the crowing seems to have come from a person running a wedding planning business in the US, who has achieved her own registration based on prior use of BLUE IVY for her business.

"Jay-Z and Beyoncé lose bid to trademark daughter's name" yelled the Guardian. The shrill words of Ms Alexander, the wedding planning person, were repeated:
Money doesn't buy everything... If this [hadn't worked], I'd go after both of them...There's no way by way of being a celebrity they should have entitlement [to the name]. Shame on them.
"Beyoncé and husband Jay-Z have lost a battle to trademark the name of their baby daughter Blue Ivy", exclaimed the Telegraph.  Thence followed this piece of mis-information:

But the pair have lost out on trade marking their daughter's name to a small wedding planner based in Boston who had called her company Blue Ivy in 2009. The ruling from the US Patent and Trademark Office means Beyoncé and Jay-Z have no legal right to keep the name to themselves.
Any trademarks attorney reading these press reports would be immediately sceptical. The parents of 'Blue Ivy Carter' (not identical, note, to 'Blue Ivy') are not, presumably, interested in the services of wedding planning, but rather baby goods and entertainment -- a check of their application (made through a company, BGK Trademark, of which Beyonce is the director), shows a long list of claimed goods and services, with plenty of room to distinguish the wedding planner's services.

This simple check also shows that the parents' application to register BLUE IVY CARTER is in fact still pending. It woud surely have taken five minutes to check this, journalists, before repeating whatever rubbish came over the wire about this case.

Luckily, the good folks over at the IPCopy blog have taken a closer look at the matter. As they report, the parents' application has - as do many applications - been back and forth with the USPTO, tweaking the goods and services claimed to differentiate it from other prior marks. An acceptable statement of goods and services seems to have been reached. The next step will be for the application to be advertised for opposition. I wonder if the wedding planning lady will want to "go after them"...

As IPCopy also report:
It is interesting to note that BGK Trademark’s own application also received an objection on the basis that the name would falsely suggest a connection between the applicant and Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s daughter.  However, they were able to overcome the objection by explaining the relationship between BGK Trademark, Beyoncé and Blue Ivy Carter, adding that Beyoncé had her daughter’s consent  to the registration of her own name on record (presumably in the form of a messy handprint).
Perhaps embarrassed by the dodgy reporting earlier, the Guardian Law Blog has now come up with a much more thoughtful analysis of what is going on - and the information that BLUE IVY CARTER has been accepted for registration in the EU as  Community Trade Mark.

Friday, October 26, 2012

a light touch

How much is that doggie in the window?

Very happy to contribute another guest post over at the IPCopy blog.

You can read "A light touch" here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

gone phishing

In the murky underworld of online scams, the phish are dangerous. The phrase ‘phishing’ refers to electronic communications, usually emails, which look like they come from a trustworthy source, but are in fact attempts to acquire information such as credit card details or passwords. We’re all sadly familiar with the dodgy email bearing our bank’s genuine logo, asking us to “click the link” to “update our details”. We know enough - at least, I hope we all do - to delete immediately.

But the phishermen are trying to target bigger phish. ‘Whale phishing’ or ‘spear phishing’ refers to the scenario where a scammer targets an organisation and sends personalised emails to either a group of employees or a specific executive officer or senior manager. 
The emails refer to fake but critical business matters, such as a legal subpoenas or customer complaints. They appear to have been sent from a trustworthy source, such as an employee or staff member within the organisation. The email addresses used may be similar (but not identical) to an address with which the recipient is familiar.

The scammer’s aim is to convince the recipient to follow a link to a fake website or open a malware-infected attachment. When the fake but convincing website is visited, it will ask you to do one or more of the following:

• enter confidential company information and passwords
• provide financial details or enter them when making a payment for a fake software download.

If financial details are provided, the scammer will use them to commit fraud.

Alternatively, if an email attachment is opened it will download malware onto your  computer. Malware can record your key strokes, passwords and other company information, allowing the scammer to access it when you go online.

The waters are dangerous. Be careful while swimming, or even wading. Don’t take the bait.

Sunday, October 14, 2012