Top 6 Trademark Events 2010
As the year is coming to an end, it is not without a certain nostalgia that we remember the months and the news passed.
Fret not, friends!
I’ve compiled a list of the best trademark events of 2010! To maximize excitement and tension they are listed in the order worst-to-best. Enjoy:
Runner-up 6: FIFA cracks down on pirate footballs:
It is long known that pirates strike where you least expect it. In the case of football world cups it is not, as you would assume, during the game but in making infringing merchandise. FIFA has been increasing their anti-counterfeiting budget at least once per tournament since the middle of the 1990s, and fortunately that budget must now be considerably larger than the budget for telling the players you’re not actually allowed to use your hands in football.
An Australian tourist was fined US$1450 by Italian authorities for having purchased a counterfeited Louis Vitton bag. Consumers are, as reported by IPKitten in august, an increasingly bigger problem for trademark owners. In many cases they knowingly and willingly buy infringing products, and what worse is, they don’t even feel remorse. This creates huge economic losses for the creative, witty and entrepreneurial people making bags with a bottoms, wrinkles and handles. Italy and France are, to the joy of all, at the forefront of combatting this nefarious behaviour.
Runner-up 4: Large-scale Belgian DVD falsification unveiled
In this horrendous episode the Belgian police uncovered an illegit Molenbeek operation for pirate copying DVDs in large numbers. Three men denied their involvement in the enterprise before the police had had time to ask them if the equipment was theirs.
Runner-up 3: 130000 counterfeited books seized in Argentina
In one of the largest and most important raids against pirates ever made by Argentinian authorities, keen readers have been saved from 130000 popular books with false labels. Apparently the books have been provided with the logos of well-known publishing houses without authorisation and afterwards put in warehouses all over Buenos Aires. It is assumed there was an intention to sell the books to unknowing book lovers as if they’d been legitimately printed.
Normally, retained infringing goods have to be destroyed by the retaining authority, but since book burning is usually frowned upon by the learnéd one can assume the document shredders of the Buenos Aires police forces have ran non-stop since November.
Pencils for an estimated value of three hundred thousand(!!) US dollars have been seized by Kenyan anti-counterfeiting authorities in a heroic act for the safety of Kenyan consumers.
The presumably hexagonal, yellow pencils with a length of approximately 20 cm were brought to the attention of Kenyan authorities by the German company Staedtler who were worried not about protecting their brand name, but the shape, colour and form of their products which consumers, apparently, associate not with grade school but with excellent quality.
Best of trademarks 2010: You say vuvuzela, I say lepatata
As the World Cup signature sound was reverberating over the planet, a British entrepreneur decided to trademark the word vuvuzela. Importing companies and domestic manufacturers were to risk law suits, he declared briskly.
The word vuvuzela, however, doesn’t seem to be descriptive word for this plastic musical horn with a capacity of dangerous decibels. In the African Bantu language Tswana it is also perfectly alright to say lepatata.
Normally it’s of course not possible to trademark a word that the public is already associating with an object rather than a product manufactured by a specific enterprise. I find the registration about as stupid as the attempt to reintroduce the Jeep brandname in Sweden, even though everybody know jeep is a generic name for a car with big wheels and an overdimensioned cowcatchers. The problem would be, though, that the mark has to go to court before it can be declared invalid. Until that time, people who can’t afford justice may find themselves in need of paying royalties.
In these perilous times it’s important to remember that all counterfeiters, be they producers, consumers or warehousers storing pencils, are condemnable. ”These are not cheeky chappies, these are hardened criminals.”