IP Around The World: Recent Global Intellectual Property Developments

Air New Zealand’s Attempt of Trademarking “Kia Ora” Under Fire

Air New Zealand’s attempt of registering a logo of the Maori phrase “kia ora” as their trademark, has come under fire. Maori (also known as “te reo”) is a language spoken by the indigenous Maori community in New Zealand. “Kia Ora” which translates literally to “be well” is commonly used across New Zealand to say “hello”. Air New Zealand is making efforts to trademark a logo of that phrase, which is also the name of its in-flight magazine. The New Zealand Maori Council remarked that the application was an “insult to New Zealanders” and that the airline should not be allowed to trademark Maori words.[1]

Metallica Emerges Victorious in Chilean Trademark Fight.

Heavy metal rock band Metallica has much to celebrate after winning a decade long trademark fight in Chile. A Chilean businessman had registered a logo identical to that of Metallica’s for clothing and footwear products. Metallica was able to successfully argue that the businessman’s decision of registering an identical brand was not mere coincidence, which was evident from the fact that he was using the registration to sell band-branded merchandise. Metallica attempted to oppose the trademark registration in 2012 and lost the case but the Chilean Supreme Court has now annulled the decision.[2]

Battle of the Sneakers: Nike v Sketchers

Surprise, surprise - Nike and Sketchers are at it again. The two American sportswear giants have been embroiled in legal battles since 2014. This time around, Nike has dragged Sketchers to court, alleging that Sketchers attempted to copy its “VaporMax” and “AirMax 270” designs. Nike claimed the allegedly infringing shoes were Skechers’ Skech-Air Atlas and Skech-Air 92 as well as the Skech-Air Stratus and Skech-Air Blast. Nike seeks damages as well as a permanent injunction for the allegedly rip off designs.[3] Nike already has two lawsuits pending against Sketchers, one filed in 2014 and the other in 2016 – clearly, they take their designs seriously.

North Korea Signs Global Intellectual Property Treaty

North Korea (officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) has deposited its instrument of accession to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications. The Lisbon Agreement establishes an International Register of Appellations of Origin, run by the World Intellectual Property Organization. It also lays down the criteria for the appellation of origin and protection measures. The instrument of accession was deposited with WIPO Director General Francis Gurry by Mr. Chang Min KIM, Secretary-General, National Coordination Committee for WIPO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.[4]

ElonMusk: NASA Can Share SpaceX IP with ‘Anyone It Wants’.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk provided an update on the commercial crew launch program that the company is working on with NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).  Musk shared information about the current status of the program and future steps that will be taken. While speaking about the program, Musk remarked that NASA is free to share the intellectual property being developed for the program.[5]

Uber Wins Over ChefUber

Global ride-sharing giant Uber has won an opposition in the UK against the trademark application of ‘ChefUber’. The application was applied in class 35 – recruitment services in the catering trade. Uber claimed that several of its earlier trademarks for the same class including UberEats is used for food delivery services. The Patent Office found that services between the trademarks are similar.[6]

AUTHOR: Shubham Kshirsagar, BA. LL.B from Indian Law Society (ILS), Pune, Intern at Global Patent Filing. In case of any queries please contact/write back to us at support@globalpatentfiling.com.

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