Report highlights global disparities in trademark law (Inside Counsel)

Protecting intellectual property rights on an international scale is a constant focus for government entities and businesses alike as trademark laws vary widely from country to country. The disparate nature of global intellectual property laws makes a tricky-to-navigate environment for businesses doing work with foreign firms. The Trademark Working Group has released its 2015 Global Trademark Report Card in addition to its Special 301 submission to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative meant to highlight data about countries that are failing to adequately protect U.S. intellectual property rights.
The Report Card’s summary cites a few countries in particular that have a negative track record when it comes to protecting foreign IP: China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and Canada are among the highly cited. The Group remarks on Canada’s newly proposed trademark law:
“Many trademark owners are concerned that Canada’s proposed new law will allow trademark pirates to register the marks of others, permit a vast number of registrations for marks that will not be used, and otherwise contribute considerable ‘deadwood’ to the Canadian registry.”
China was prominently featured as a country whose trademark laws can present problems for U.S. owners — especially concerning given the amount of business done between China and the U.S. But the Group made mention of a few other countries that have room for improvement on that front:
“Like China, there are a number of nations that continue to require a host of formalities that are overly burdensome on trademark owners. These include legalizations required by nations such as Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Egypt, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.”
Paul Kilmer, Washington, D.C.-based partner at Holland & Knight and founder of The Trademark Working Group stated:
“China’s 2014 trademark law has not created a system that adequately protects the rights of foreign trademark owners. India and Brazil, along with other nations, suffer from what can best be described as the ‘slows’ in their handling of trademark matters, including disputes against local infringers that drag on for years…Other practices by foreign governments allow trademark pirates to take advantage of brands developed at great expense and effort by U.S. trademark owners. We hope that USTR and the other federal agencies charged with responsibility for ensuring the international protection of trademark rights will step up to the challenges highlight in our report.”
Perhaps with such data from the Trademark Working Group, new proposals will arise to create more protective measures for intellectual property and trademark processes.
Further reading:
Trademark trends
Supreme Court says juries are favored over judges to decide trademark-tacking cases