The world of Intellectual Property (IP) moves fast. Blink and you’ll miss updates on major trade mark new stories from around the world.

Here are 5 major trade mark updates on LinkedIn you may not have seen.

Luke Rehbein - blog 1 - Brexit UKIPO

  1. UKIPO shows different views on Brexit preparedness as IP minister quits – World Trademark Review on LinkedIn

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) releases two major reports. The Innovation and Growth Report focuses on how innovative strategies are affecting the work of the IPO. The second, IP Crime and Enforcement Report concentrates on emerging threats from overseas and in the UK.

And when it comes to Brexit, the reports offer different findings about how prepared the Office is to handle IP matters in a no-deal scenario. While confidence appears high in the Innovation and Growth report that the UKIPO is legislatively ready for the UK’s exit in terms of preparing systems to support trade marks, the second report cites UK design legislation as lacking when compared with the EU equivalent.

World Trademark Review (WTR) also points out that the second report says it is concerned regarding reciprocal design protection from the EU. On page 26, it says: “Post-Brexit, designs first disclosed in the UK, while they may well be sufficiently protected here, may not be entitled to sufficient protection in the EU.”

The introduction to both reports was written by the then IP minister, Jo Johnson. Brother to the current Prime Minister, Jo Johnson has now resigned as a Conservative MP as well as all his ministerial positions, including Minister for IP, and has been replaced by his predecessor to the position, Chris Skidmore.

These two reports show the difference in viewpoints within the IP sector regarding the potential consequences of the UK leaving the EU with a no-deal Brexit. WTR says: “For the trade mark community, the wait continues for all outstanding issues to be addressed. But when it comes to Brexit, that is very much the status quo all around.”

Luke Rehbein - blog 1 - KFC
Image Credit: Wolterke-
  1. KFC trade mark dragged into UK politics – World Trademark Review on LinkedIn

The KFC brand has become part of the UK Conservatives campaign against Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition. On 6 September 2019, the official Twitter account for the Conservatives Tweeted directly at KFC UK & Ireland’s account. The message was that the Conservative party has “found an even bigger chicken than you.”

The Tweet included a picture of Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party, dressed as a chicken with a directly copied but altered KFC logo. The logo says: “JFC- Totally Spineless Chicken”.

While the stunt has been broadly condemned by most of the media, and even some of the Conservative party, KFC UK & Ireland responded in kind. The brand Tweeted a response: “This is KFC not LBC don’t @ me.” LBC refers to the UK radio station known for its political punditry.

The brand may not mind being dragged into political campaigns, but WTR points out that brands and trade marks should be careful when allowing themselves to be politicised.

Luke Rehbein - blog 1 - Obama

  1. Obamas apply to cancel e-book trade mark – The Trademark Lawyer Magazine on LinkedIn

Back in April 2019, the former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama were rejected when they applied to trade mark the name of their company. The name of the Obamas’ company, Higher Ground Productions, was rejected because it was deemed “almost identical” to ‘Higher Ground Enterprises’, which is a California-based e-book publisher.

The Obamas are now applying to cancel the trade mark granted to the publisher. Their grounds are “lack of use.”, and they are looking to clear the way for their company to create a range of documentaries and TV programmes for Netflix.

Luke Rehbein - blog 1 - Guns N' Roses

  1. Guns N’ Roses V Guns N’ Rosé trade mark action settled – The Trademark Lawyer Magazine on LinkedIn

Rock giants Guns N’ Roses have settled the trade mark lawsuit they brought against a brewery called Oskar Blues. The brewery sells a beer named Guns ‘N Rosé. The band filed the lawsuit at a federal level in May 2019.

Oskar Blues had tried initially to trade mark the beer’s name but gave up the attempt in 2018 when the rock band objected. However, the brewery went on selling the beer and associated merchandise anyway. The brewery, which is owned by the Canarchy Group, says that the beer does not infringe on the rock band’s trade marks and that Guns N’ Roses do not “… own a trade mark registration for Guns N’ Roses for beer or any alcohol beverages”.

Both parties have now agreed to settle out of court, although the terms of the deal are confidential.

Luke Rehbein - blog 1 - Forever 21 Ariana Grande
Image credit : ink drop –
  1. Ariana Grande sues Forever 21 in trade mark dispute – World IP Review on LinkedIn

Pop singer Ariana Grande is alleging trade mark infringement, copyright infringement and violation of privacy in her law suits against US fashion brand Forever 21.

Grande alleges in the lawsuit that, following her decision to not be part of Forever 21’s high-profile ad campaign, the clothing company simply used a model that looks “strikingly similar” to her. She further alleges that Forever 21 used photos of Grande on social media taken from her videos, and that the fashion brand used audio from her songs.

The lawsuit says that Forever 21’s intention is clear, that is to make it appear that Ariana Grande is promoting their products. Due to Grande’s level of fame, an Instagram plug by her is worth, according to her legal team, “well into the six figures.”