Use of Microchips to Fight Counterfeits Growing Across Brands

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Wednesday, 20 April, 2016

As we’re interested in all things that advance brand protection, we wanted to highlight one of the innovative ways that brands are fighting the increase in knock-off merchandise.

The same radio frequency identification (RFID) chips that are used by many retailers like Wal-Mart and Zara at fulfillment centers to track and manage inventory and fight against theft are being used more and more by brands to authenticate their products in the fight against counterfeits. Salvatore Ferragamo first embedded RFID chips in the soles of its women’s shoes during its pre- fall 2014 season, and more recently extended their usage into small leather goods, bags/luggage, and men's shoes. Marks & Spencer first used RFID technology for inventory tracking in 2003 and, according to RFID Journal, last year announced plans to tag all of its merchandise by 2017.

Luxury brand Moncler recently announced that all of its products will contain RFID chips, which users can scan on their smartphones or through the company website to authenticate the products they have purchased/or are about to purchase. The company has set up a website — code.moncler.com — where purchasers can register and verify that their merchandise is authentic.

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Topics: Brand protection

Indian Student Makes $700 in Domain Sale to Facebook Founder

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Tuesday, 19 April, 2016

Although Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is worth almost $50 billion, according to Forbes, he did some bargain shopping recently.

A 21-year-old engineering student in Kochi, India, Amal Augustine, had registered the domain name maxchanzuckerberg.org following the birth of the Facebook founder and his wife Priscilla Chan’s daughter, Maxima Chan Zuckerberg, late last year. Augustine says he registers domain names regularly, but this is the first time anyone has approached him to buy one, according to The Asian Age.

Augustine received an email request from domain registrar GoDaddy asking whether he was interested in selling the domain name and at what price. He responded that he’d be willing to part with the domain name for $700, assuming that he’d get at least $500 out of the deal. He didn’t realize that the buyer of the domain was Facebook until he heard from Sara Chapel, manager of Iconiq Capital, the company that handles Zuckerberg’s financial transactions.

"When the letter came officially mentioning the change of registration, I noticed the FB letterhead. But since it's not legal to negotiate, I just went ahead and closed the deal in seven days," Augustine said. On his Facebook page, Augustine said he was “feeling lucky” and in interviews he said he has no regrets.

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Topics: domains

Disney Tops “Authentic” Brands Ranking

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Friday, 15 April, 2016

A new report released by PR company Cohn & Wolfe names Disney as the world’s most “authentic” brand. The Disney brand is followed by BMW, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple in the Top 5. Rounding out the bottom of the “Authentic 100” list are HSBC, Pirelli, British Airways, Converse, and Bacardi.

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Topics: brands

Moonshiner and University in Fight Over "Kentucky" Trademark

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Wednesday, 13 April, 2016

A front-page New York Times story shared the details of a trademark dispute that erupted after an Appalachian former coal miner decided to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather’s bootlegging moonshine business by creating a craft moonshine distillery in a small eastern Kentucky town. This career move made by Colin Fultz seemed promising, as he subsequently started up a moonshine bar and was ultimately backed by the once-dry town council. 

But then Fultz decided to trademark “Kentucky Mist Moonshine” and the University of Kentucky opposed the USPTO application, arguing that it owns the rights to “Kentucky.” The University claims it was most worried that the moonshiner would try to advertise its name in blue-and-white on t-shirts and baseball caps.

The moonshiner is taking the university to court. The university is claiming immunity from lawsuits as an “arm of the state.” Working against the university is the fact that it had never opposed other larger entities, like Kentucky Fried Chicken from using “Kentucky.” 

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Topics: trademarks

New Report Accelerates EUIPO Article 28(8) Filing Research

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Monday, 11 April, 2016

New procedural rules surrounding the scope of EUTM (formerly CTM) specifications of goods and services (Article 28(8)) came into effect March 28, 2016. Class headings are now treated like any other terms and do not extend to all goods or services in a given class.

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Topics: trademarks

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