Cleveland Scott York
This new title from the long-established Law Review series, dedicated to issues around trademark law. Its objective is an ambitious one: to provide an annual snapshot of the law in this area across a broad range of jurisdictions, not only summarising key legal provisions but also examining recent developments and trends coming from the courts, and identifying areas of expected legal activity and legislative change going forward.
The commercial importance of trademarks to the business community continues to
grow, and the tools available for securing international protection (for example, the European Union Trademark system (EUTM) and international registration under the Madrid Protocol) are still improving and providing businesses with ever broader choices in how to develop effective international protection. For many years, there has been considerable harmonisation of trademark laws and practices across many jurisdictions, most obviously in the EU but also in other countries that have adopted new trademark laws that closely reflect the EU model. While harmonisation continues to be the direction of travel in some quarters, there are still many significant differences in the legal treatment of trademarks when viewed globally.
It goes without saying that the online environment, including social media platforms, continues to grow as a dominant force in the business world. This is reflected in a significant increase in trademark (and related) law suits around the world, whether relating to key word advertising, metatags, ‘traditional’ trademark infringement, unfair competition, copyright or a myriad of other legal issues. At the most fundamental level, the only mechanism for tackling legal issues that arise on the internet is on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis, but this is heavily at odds with the internet operating without reference to geographical borders. So the areas of trademark law that remain far from harmonised can dramatically increase the complexity of tackling determined international infringers. Some of these issues come through in this publication: leaders will note the many references to recent and pending legal actions surrounding the internet and social media, and the different treatment some issues receive in courts across different jurisdictions is clear to see.