Intellectual Property News Updates 6TH December 2020
On Tuesday, Instagram, LLC filed an opposition before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board against Instagoods Pty Ltd’s application for the INSTAGOODS trademark, citing that it will be harmed by the likelihood of consumer confusion and the dilution of its INSTAGRAM mark.
According to the opposition, the applicant seeks to register the INSTAGOODS mark in International Class 9 for “Downloadable mobile applications for purchasing a wide variety of consumer goods and obtaining information on designers, influencers, shopping events and promotions” as well as in International Class 35, which covers “On-line retail store services featuring a wide variety of consumer goods of others; Retail store services featuring a wide variety of consumer goods of others.”
Instagram asserted that since Oct. 2010, when its photo-sharing and social networking platform launched, it has continuously used the INSTAGRAM trademark in interstate commerce in the U.S. in connection with its goods and services. Accordingly, Instagram claimed that its marks cover a variety of goods and services, such as: “Shopping and payment services, including providing online facilities for connecting sellers with buyers and providing online marketplaces”; “Providing use of online temporary non-downloadable software for enabling transmission of images and audiovisual and video content”; among other things.
Instagram contended that its INSTAGRAM mark has priority over the applicant’s May 2020 application; Instagram also proffered that the INSTAGOODS mark “creates a similar commercial impression” as the INSTAGRAM mark. Furthermore, Instagram claimed that its goods and services and those offered and claimed by the applicant in the application are similar and/or related. Consequently, Instagram alleged that the INSTAGOODS mark “is deceptively similar to the INSTAGRAM Mark so as to cause confusion, or to cause mistake or to deceive the public as to the origin of Applicant’s goods and services offered under Applicant’s Mark.”
In particular, Instagram contended that the similarity will likely cause the public to incorrectly believe that there is an affiliation or connection between the parties and their goods and services covered by their respective marks. Additionally, Instagram claimed that because of the widespread use of the INSTAGRAM mark ad publicity, there is a high degree of consumer recognition of the mark in connection with Instagram’s goods and services. Therefore, Instagram added that its mark is famous and the INSTAGOODS mark will dilute the distinctive quality of its mark and harm the reputation of the opposer’s mark.
In sum, Instagram has based its opposition on the likelihood of consumer confusion and the dilution of its mark. Instagram has sought for its opposition to be sustained and for the registration of the INSTAGOODS mark to be refused. Instagram is represented by Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.
UAE allows 100% ownership of businesses for foreign nationals from December 1, 2020
The UAE has scrapped the need to have UAE nationals as sponsors, thus allowing expatriate investors 100 per cent ownership with effect from December 1, 2020. The move is in line with a federal law issued by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and which amends Law No. 2 of 2015 on companies and their shareholding.
The long-awaited 100 per cent ownership by foreign nationals of companies licensed and registered in the UAE is allowed as per Cabinet Resolution No. 16 of 2020. In recent years, individual emirates allowed foreign national owned companies to acquire the remaining stakes on a case by case basis. The latest amendment thus extends the scope of that significantly.
The new law amended 51 articles and added new ones, mostly focusing on the regulation of provisions of establishing companies with limited liability shareholding. The amendments exempt expatriate investors from the minimum percentage ownership of UAE nationals.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the amendments to the law, noting that the UAE now enjoys a fertile legislative environment for the establishment of businesses in order to enhance the UAE’s competitiveness.
A key update
As per the Commercial Companies Law, Law No. 2 of 2015, foreign shareholders were limited to owning a maximum 49 per cent in a ‘limited liability company’ (LLC) operating as an onshore UAE business. This requires an Emirati individual or 100 per cent Emirati-owned company to hold the balance 51 per cent share as a local sponsor.
The amended law allows natural and legal persons to establish companies without the need for a specific nationality. The law, however, will not apply to some companies that are excluded based on decisions by the Cabinet and those that are either wholly-owned by federal or local governments or their subsidiaries
KEY INITIATIVES* The new amendments allow non-joint stock companies to engage in investment activities on behalf of third-parties if laws governing these activities allow it.* The amendments included some provisions for organising the business of a company with limited liability and also one-person entities.
Minister welcomes move
Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy, said the new decree is an additional step in a series of efforts that the UAE is taking to raise the readiness of the national economy and prepare for the future by developing commercial and investment opportunities and increasing the competitiveness of the business environment, in line with the rapid economic changes and developments taking place in the global economy.
Google Strikes Copyright Payment Deal With Some French Media Groups
Google said Thursday that it had signed “some individual agreements” on copyright payments with French newspapers and magazines after months of wrangling over the sharing of revenues from the display of news in search results.
Signatories to the deal included top French dailies Le Monde, Le Figaro and Liberation, as well as magazines like L’Express, L’Obs and Courrier International.
In a statement, Google France chief Sebastien Missoffe said talks with other media groups were continuing, with a goal of reaching “a framework agreement by the end of the year.”
The announcement came after a Paris appeals court ruled last month that the US giant must continue to negotiate with French news publishers over a new European law on so-called “neighbouring rights,” which calls for payment for showing news content with Internet searches.
News outlets struggling with dwindling print subscriptions have long been seething at Google’s failure to give them a cut of the millions it makes from ads displayed alongside news search results.
With the COVID-19 crisis crimping sales even further, several top French publications are expected to report huge losses this year.
But Google had refused to comply with the digital copyright law, which France was the first in the EU to enact, saying media groups already benefit by receiving millions of visits to their websites.
Financial specifics were not disclosed, but Missoffe said payments would be based on criteria including daily publication volumes, monthly Internet traffic, and “the publisher’s contribution to political and general information”.
Agence France-Presse, which along with other media groups has lodged complaints against Google with France’s competition regulator, did not sign the accord.
But AFP chief executive Fabrice Fries said he was “optimistic” about improved relations with Google and other Internet giants such as Facebook and Apple.
“We get a sense that attitudes have shifted over the past few months,” Fries told a media conference in Paris on Thursday, saying he aimed to double the agency’s revenues from Internet platforms from around EUR 10 million (roughly Rs. 88 crores) a year currently.“We get a sense that attitudes have shifted over the past few months,” Fries told a media conference in Paris on Thursday, saying he aimed to double the agency’s revenues from Internet platforms from around EUR 10 million (roughly Rs. 88 crores) a year currently.
Google has clashed repeatedly with publishers over its reluctance to pay for displaying articles, videos and other content in its search results, which have become a vital path for reaching viewers as print subscriptions fade.
After the EU’s neighbouring rights law came into effect, it warned that associated content would be shown in search results only if media groups consented to let Google use them at no cost.
News publishers cried foul over an ultimatum that would almost certainly result in their losing visibility and potential advertisement revenues.
But Google argued that besides encouraging millions of people to click through to media sites, it has also spent millions to support media groups in other ways, including emergency funding during the COVID-19 crisis.
Missoffe said Thursday that since 2013, Google had invested some EUR 85 million (roughly Rs. 750 crores) in France’s media landscape, to promote shifts to digital platforms as well as training programmes.
Last month, Google announced plans to invest $1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,315 crores) in partnerships with news publishers worldwide to develop a Showcase app to highlight their reporting packages.
But among the nearly 200 publications Google said had signed up from several countries, its list lacked any from France or the United States.
Isabelle da Silva, head of France’s competition authority, told the Paris media conference that her agency “will be extremely vigilant that the contracts explicitly recognise neighbouring rights, and pay for them.”