In a first-ever INTA visit to Kigali, Rwanda, INTA Representative for Africa and the Middle East Tat Louembe met with Mr. Richard Kayibanda, Registrar General, and Mr. Blaise Ruhima, Manager, IP Division of the Rwanda Intellectual Property Office. They discussed ways in which INTA can partner with the IPO in increasing protection for trademarks and related rights and how the organizations can mutually cooperate, which in turn will expand INTA’s presence in Rwanda.
According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report, Rwanda’s implementation of drastic economic and regulatory reforms has made it easier for businesses to get credit, pay taxes, start a business, and attract foreign investments. Rwanda’s long-term development goals are defined in “Vision 2020,” a strategy that seeks to transform the country from a low-income, agriculture-based economy to a knowledge-based, service-oriented economy with middle-income country status by 2020. In this ambitious national economic strategy, trademarks and IP are a critical factor for the country to achieve its laudable goal of middle income status.
From the key role of trademarks in achieving economic growth to the tremendous efforts of the government of Rwanda to embrace innovation and change, the officials were eager to discuss with Mr. Louembe INTA’s contribution to capacity-building opportunities, the upcoming INTA Annual Meeting in Seattle, and INTA’s growing activities in Africa and beyond. The meeting was also an opportunity for INTA to get a better a grasp of the IP landscape in Rwanda as well as the IP Office’s activities and key role within the Rwandan Development Board (RDB), the mission of which is to fast-track economic development in Rwanda by enabling private sector growth.
With the assistance of the IP Office, Mr. Louembe also met with several stakeholders, including the Revenues Authority (Enforcement Division), the Rwanda Bar Association, and several individual IP practitioners, as well as with officials at the Kigali Special Economic Zones.
Brands and Innovation Conference Co-Chairs Monique Joe (NBC Universal Media, LLC, USA) and Diane Lau (Facebook, Inc., USA) share their thoughts on why brand professionals must keep up with technology, new services, and other innovations.
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A packed container filled with undeclared cosmetics, backpacks, wristwatches, and soccer balls worth more than US $2 million was seized by the Servicio Nacional de Aduanas (Chilean Customs Service) in the northern port city of Iquique.
Ricardo Aceituno, Deputy Director of the Iquique Regional Customs Office, explained that, thanks to the work of the Risk Analysis Unit (UAR) within the Public Health Integrated Inspection Plan (PIF), a container coming from Shanghai was separated for inspection at the Iquique Free Trade Zone (ZOFRI).
Out of 434 declared boxes and bales, a total of 359 of them did not correspond to what was stated in the cargo manifest, meaning that a total of 287,462 smuggled items (including 197,000 counterfeits) worth US $2,259,000 evaded more than US $600,000 in taxes.
Among the products seized were 144,526 sets of exclusive smuggled cosmetics with no corresponding sanitary certificates—thus these cosmetics were potentially harmful to the health and well-being of consumers, since these products are intended to be applied directly to the skin.
According to the Chilean Customs Service, this is the most substantial seizure of smuggled cosmetics and beauty products in recent years. This successful operation also included the seizure of 52,936 units of other consumer goods, such as cell phone chargers, wristwatches, soccer balls, and backpacks sold under different well-known marks. The above-mentioned goods are currently impounded, and the corresponding Chilean Customs Units are initiating further administrative/judicial actions.
During 2017, the collaborative work of all Chilean Regional Customs Offices under the PIF facilitated the seizure of 2,511,064 contraband products deemed potentially hazardous to human health, such as food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, toys, and medical devices.
INTA salutes the success of the Chilean Customs Service and reiterates its willingness to collaborate and expand efforts to keep training customs officials in the region about the dangers of counterfeit goods to economies and to the public health at large.
INTA’s inaugural Asia-Pacific Moot Court Competition took place at Singapore Management University, Singapore, on Friday, February 23 and Saturday, February 24, 2018.
Building upon the success of the Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition in the United States (now in its 27th year), in 2017, the Association announced this new moot court competition to take place in the Asia-Pacific region.
23 teams from 8 counties across the region participated in the two-day competition. The event was an overwhelming success and enjoyed by all.
Congratulations to all the schools, students, and coaches who participated. And the winners are…
- Best Brief: SASTRA University School of Law
- Second Place Brief: Shanghai Jiao Tong University
- Best Oral Argument: SASTRA University School of Law
- Runner Up Oral Argument: National University of Singapore
- Second Place Team Overall: National University of Singapore
- Best Team: National university of Singapore
Thank you to our sponsor, I-WIN IP Services, our host, Singapore Management University, all of the volunteers who served as brief reading and oral argument judges, and to INTA’s International Moot Court Project Team for all their hard work.
A full report of the event will be published in the March 15 INTA Bulletin.
In today’s world, design touches our everyday lives. Design is in just about everything and influences the way we experience life. It is in the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the computers and smartphones we use.
Indeed, with each passing year, good design becomes increasingly more important. It is a key driver behind our purchasing decisions, it is reflected in the rising stock market prices of successful design-driven companies. Good design makes products easier to use and more pleasing to the eye. In the words of Apple Inc. Co-Founder Steve Jobs once said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
As designs become more prevalent, the need to protect them has become more important as well. There has been a sharp rise in the number of infringements as more and more third parties have been simulating successful designs and creating knockoff products at an ever-increasing rate. This is, in part, due to the increased sophistication of many factories and the ease with which infringers and counterfeiters can sell their goods via online selling platforms.
All of these factors make it critical that attorneys practicing in the field of design stay on the cutting edge of how to best protect designs around the world and to understand where and how the framework of design protection is changing. That is exactly what INTA’s 2018 Designs Conference: The Power of Design (February 26–27, 2018, London, UK) is all about. Leading business and legal experts will teach us how to harness the power of designs and navigate the challenges of obtaining valid and enforceable protection. Learn more and register here. Hope to see you there!
INTA Staff during INTA Week
I am truly honored and proud to serve you all as INTA President this year.
My involvement at INTA started 18 years ago. Over the years, I’ve participated on many different committees, project teams, and, eventually, the Board of Directors. These varied experiences have provided me with a strong foundation to lead the Association through its first year with the new 2018–2021 Strategic Plan. In the January 15 INTA Bulletin, I shared with you all my priorities for the year and my vision for our community.
To kick off my year as President, I traveled to the INTA headquarters in New York City for “INTA week.” In a newly established INTA tradition, all of the international staff travel to New York for a week of in-person meetings, team building… and a little fun! This is the third year that all members of the INTA staff have come together for INTA week. It was an extremely busy and productive five days, setting the tone for the year ahead in INTA style! As a newcomer to INTA week, the enthusiasm is contagious. It was like a family reunion in the office with positive energy radiating throughout the hallways.
During this time, I had the opportunity to meet with the various departments, including education, finance and administration, marketing and communication, legal resources, external relations, membership, policy, and our regional representative offices. Talk about information overload—I learned so much! It was humbling to see just how knowledgeable, strategic, and dedicated the staff are. It was also very insightful to learn from staff who oversee the myriad of initiatives we will undertake in 2018 and to hear how they will work with the many member volunteers to implement the goals of our new strategic plan. We’re in good hands!
Of course, we took some breaks from our work too—as part of the team-building program, staff spent time filling backpacks with winter necessities (i.e., hats, gloves, energy bars, etc.) for those in need this winter season in New York City. These have been given to a local charity called Care for the Homeless. It was a great to watch staff come together to give back. This is an Association with heart.
While I learned a lot about the staff and their work, I also took some time to share with them a little bit more about me, which I plan to do over the course of the year with the membership at large. INTA is a community, and I have been fortunate to make so many wonderful friends throughout my many years as a member. For those of you whom I haven’t had the chance to meet, I’d encourage you to stop me in my travels over the next year and introduce yourselves or simply say “hi” in the hallways of INTA’s Annual Meeting in May.
I am your President this year, and I will work to make sure that your voices are heard. I’ll leave you all with my welcome video so that you can learn a bit more about my professional career, my involvement with INTA, and my thoughts on the year ahead.
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The Economic Impacts of Counterfeiting and Piracy, a report commissioned by INTA and ICC-BASCAP, builds on the findings of a 2016 report by the OECD and EUIPO that looked at the scope of counterfeiting and piracy in international trade.
INTA produced the below educational video to promote the study. The video introduces the concept of counterfeiting, explains its negative social and economic impacts, and ends with calls to action for government officials, business leaders, and consumers. The video has also been incorporated into an interactive exhibit on trademark education and counterfeiting the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame in Alexandria, Virginia. Approximately 30,000 visitors are expected to see the display, which runs through May 2019.
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On November 22, 2017, Kenyah Pinnock and Lisa Chin-Forde, legal assistants at HSM IP Ltd., presented INTA’s Unreal Campaign to a class of 20 Creative Media and Business students between 15- and 16-years-old at the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre (“CIFEC”). CIFEC is a school dedicated to offering students continuing opportunities after Year 12 and is committed to inspiring all students to develop the knowledge, skills, and understanding to equip them for success in the wider world.
Kenyah Pinnock started off the presentation by explaining the concepts of trademarks and counterfeiting and providing some background on the Unreal Campaign and its purpose. “I gave the students examples of the different types of trademarks, including words, designs, trade get-ups, and nontraditional marks,” Kenyah said. “I impressed upon the students the importance of trademarks to both consumers and companies. I think that they found it most interesting to hear how under certain circumstances even the shape of a buildings can be registered as a trademark.”
Lisa Chin-Forde delivered the second part of the presentation, which focused on counterfeiting and engaged the students in a lively game of “Real vs. Fake.” The students actively took part in discussions about the concept of counterfeiting and the importance of observing and enforcing trademark and anticounterfeiting legislation. Lisa said, “All in all, we seemed to get through to the students the necessity of making smart purchasing choices as consumers and making sure that they are purchasing real branded goods rather than counterfeit goods. After we had delivered our full presentation, the students and teachers were kind enough to thank us personally for lending our time to educate them on such an important topic. It was a very rewarding experience.”
Owing to its heritage and geographical position, the Cayman Islands enjoys access to a vast number of brands from around the world, including those from the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, and the United States. At HSM, we passionately believe in the importance of IP education, so it was rewarding as well as fun to spend a morning raising awareness of the negative impact of counterfeiting on communities large and small. We look forward to delivering our next Unreal presentation and spreading the message even further!
Thank you to our 2017 sponsors for making this event possible. Learn about the 2018 sponsorship program today!
Sponsored by the law firm of Ladas & Parry LLP, the Ladas Memorial Award Competition was established in memory of the outstanding contributions to international intellectual property law made by the distinguished practitioner and author Stephen P. Ladas. This yearly award for academics, students, and practitioners interested in trademark law is presented in Student and Professional categories for a paper on trademark law or a matter that directly relates to or affects trademark law.
Authors must be enrolled as either full- or part-time law or graduate school students. For students outside the United States, university enrollment is acceptable.
Authors may be legal practitioners, business professionals, and/or academics. No restrictions regarding level of experience or years in practice apply.
Award winners will be announced in March 2018! Student winners receive US $2,500 each and professional winners receive a set of Stephen P. Ladas’ three-volume treatise. Each winner also receives a free registration to INTA’s 2018 Annual Meeting.
To complete an application, to submit your paper(s), and for the official rules, visit www.inta.org/ladasapply.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
A number of amendments to the Common Regulations under the Madrid Agreement and Protocol entered into force on November 1, 2017.
What you need to know
Although the scope of amendments covers a wide range of topics, trademark owners and users of the Madrid System will benefit directly from three key changes:
1. Voluntary description of a mark (Rule 9)
Certain countries (such as the United States and India) require applicants to provide a description of their mark in an international trademark application (Form MM2). This may be the case where the trademark is represented in “non-standard” or non-Latin characters. Applicants who fail to provide the required description can find themselves dealing with an unexpected provisional refusal.
To help avoid the risk of this type of provisional refusal, you now have the opportunity to include a voluntary description of your mark in an international application or subsequent designation.
This means that an international application:
- must include, if required by the office of origin, the same description of the mark contained in the basic application or registration (i.e., in the “basic mark”); and
- may also contain any other description of the mark (a “voluntary description”).
Tip! A voluntary description can be added in a later subsequent designation only if one was not already included in the original international application or a previously recorded subsequent designation.
International application Form MM2 and subsequent designation Form MM4 have been modified to allow you to include up to two descriptions for your trademark. These updates were available as of November 1, 2017.
To about find out more about the requirements for the description of a mark in your target market(s), use the Member Profiles Database
2. Appointment or cancellation of a representative (Rules 3, 25, and 32)
Beginning next month, each time you officially appoint
or cancel a representative for your international trademark registration (i.e., each time a representative is recorded in the International Register in connection with your international trademark registration), WIPO will notify the IP offices in the countries/regions covered by your registration and publish the appointment or cancellation in the WIPO Gazette
3. Cancellation of subsequent designation of the United States caused by irregularities with Form MM18 (Rule 24(5)(c))
Remember: if you use the Madrid System to expand the scope of your international registration to cover the United States, you are required to file an additional form—Form MM18 (Declaration of intention to use the mark)—with your subsequent designation request.
If an irregularity that relates only to Form MM18 is found during WIPO’s examination, and this irregularity is not remedied within three months, only the designation of the United States will be cancelled. Any other countries/regions included in your request will no longer be affected.
The changes outlined above, as well as additional amendments aimed at assisting the IP offices of Madrid System members, will be available in an upcoming Information Notice
Questions or comments?