Posts by: Hanna Hansson | (4) posts

Protecting the FIFA brands

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup coming up in Brazil times are busy for organizer The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, FIFA. FIFA continuously takes action against ambush marketers, advertising or promoting around the World Cup without authorization.

The preparations of the 2014 FIFA World Cup were initiated several years ago and an important part thereof has been the work with trademarks. FIFA has developed and protected an assortment of words, logotypes, titles, symbols and other trademarks, for example FIFA, WORLD CUP, COPA 2014 and BRAZIL 2014. FIFA recognizes the commercial rights to the FIFA World Cup as its greatest commercial asset and the fact that it is essential that they protect the integrity of the event’s brand for several reasons. The fact that FIFA would not be able to stage the event without the support of commercial affiliates is one of the main reasons for protecting an exclusive use of the trademarks.

In order not to risk losing its legal rights to the exclusive use of the trademarks FIFA therefore continuously work against any unauthorized use of its trademarks and had already by June 2013 taken action against 100 ambush marketers somehow trying to take advantage of the interest and profile of the event by creating a commercial association or seeking promotional exposure without the authorization of FIFA. Also, counterfeit products bearing FIFA’s official trademarks without the required license such as footballs, keychains and toys is a problem which FIFA needs to deal with.

FIFA works with brand protection in three steps. The first step is communication, meaning that FIFA in order to avoid accidental unauthorized use communicate the regulations through awareness campaigns. The next step and important element in the brand protection work is surveillance in order to identify trademark infringements. An example thereof is the enactment of Commercial Restriction Areas (CRAs) around the stadiums and other official sites. The CRA is an imaginary line wherein local laws provide additional legal protection against prohibited marketing activities without limiting any commercial activities not specifically targeting the FIFA event. Enforcement is the third step in the brand protection. When detecting an infringing situation FIFA’s brand protection team assesses the most effective way to bring the situation to an end, without having to resort to disproportionate enforcement actions. In more serious situations where the intention to take a free ride on the goodwill of the FIFA trademarks is clear, FIFA may need to engage in court proceedings to put the infringement to an end and to seek financial compensation. However, according to FIFA their approach to brand protection still focuses rather on education and guidance. The results thereof will be well visible this summer.

Hanna Hansson, Attorney at Law

Awapatent at Enterprise Day

On April 18, Awapatent joined the Student Association at the Stockholm School of Economics as a premium partner at the Enterprise Day.

Enterprise Day is an annual fair with the aim to inspire and encourage entrepreneurship amongst the students. According to the Student Association at the Stockholm School of Economics the vision for the day was through various lectures, workshops and an exhibition, inspire creativity and novel thinking amongst the students.

Awapatent had a well-attended exhibition stand at the fair and the delegates Hanna Nilsson, Fredrik Liljegren, Linn Berggren and Åsa Hagström were asked questions regarding all aspects of IP. Awapatent was also given the opportunity to hold a lecture on the matter. It seemed that most of the audience had given good thought on how IP can help turn innovations into successful business and they were very curious and inquisitive. Many of them visited the exhibition stand after the lecture to continue discussing IP-matters. Awapatent was very impressed by the students and look forward to continue helping them to achieve the most of their ideas and innovations.

Hanna Nilsson, Attorney at Law

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Controlling the EUROVISION trademark

The amazingly talented Swedish artist Loreen succeeded in bringing the Eurovision Song Contest to Sweden and Malmö, the hometown of AWAPATENT. Malmö has now been all glammed up and is more than ready to welcome Europe.

For those of you who aren´t already die-hard fans of the Eurovision Song Contest, the ESC, here is some background information. The European Broadcasting Union, the EBU, was founded in 1950 by 23 broadcasting organizations and is today an alliance of public service media organizations with members in 56 countries in and outside of Europe. Marcel Bezençon, an employee of the EBU, popped the brilliant idea of the Eurovision Song Contest during a meeting in 1955 and the first Eurovision Song Contest was broadcasted in 1956. The rest is, as you say, history and the ESC has been an annual event since. On its 50th birthday in 2005, Swedish Eurovision winner ABBA, with their song Waterloo, was voted Best ever ESC song by viewers.

The ESC is produced by the national public broadcaster of the winning country of the year before and even with this travelling circus the EBU still seem able to control the use of their IP-rights. The EBU seemingly works on keeping a close legal control over the competition, for example all broadcasting and other rights to the ESC shows are exclusively owned by the EBU and managed centrally by EBU on behalf of the participating broadcasters.

The trademark EUROVISION and the Eurovision logotype, among other trademarks, are owned by the EBU and the Eurovision Standard Terms and Conditions constitute that the EBU have absolute discretion over the development and exploitation of these trademarks. The Eurovision Song Contest Rules clearly state how the shows are allowed to be titled, any deviations is to be approved by the EBU. Also, the EBU is in close collaboration with the hosting national public broadcaster in organizing the contest and managing the brand.

But no need to worry that the ESC will get stuffy and out-dated, the EBU has initiated a Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group which are responsible for important tasks such as the development and future format of the competition and modernizing the brand. All you need to worry about is voting for your favorite on Saturday and keeping your fingers crossed!

Sources and further reading: 

Hanna Nilsson, Attorney at Law

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Counterfeit pharmaceuticals case settled without main hearing

Counterfeit pharmaceuticals case settled without main hearing

In April 2010 Eli Lilly and Company (“Lilly”), the manufacturer of the erectile dysfunction pharmaceutical Cialis, was informed that the Swedish customs had ceased a consignment of products marked and/or shaped in such a way that it was suspected to infringe the intellectual property rights of Lilly. The consignment was addressed to an individual, herein named G.N.

Lilly instituted action against G.N. before the Stockholm District Court, demanding that the packages, bottles of pills and brochures marked with the CIALIS and LILLY trademarks as well as the pills shaped as and marked with the trademarks should be destroyed on the expense of G.N. Further, Lilly demanded that G.N. was to be prohibited under penalty of a fine of SEK 300 000 to import, market, distribute and keep the products in stock. As basis for their action Lilly referred to several trademark registrations and presented excerpts thereof as evidence, as well as photographs of the ceased products.

Considering the material at hand and since no party requested it, the case was settled without a main hearing. The court found that G.N. has, without the permission of Lilly, brought the packages, bottles of pills, brochures and pills marked with the CIALIS and LILLY trademarks from a country outside of the EEA. The products marked are such goods for which the trademarks owned by Lilly are registered and the marks are practically identical to those owned by Lilly. The actions of G.N. constitute an infringement in the trademark rights of Lilly. The circumstance that G.N. never received or actually handled the products does not affect this judgment. Neither does it affect the possibility of imposing a prohibition under penalty of a fine. Due to Lilly´s interest of preventing further infringements in their trademark rights and considering the fact that it is imperative from a health perspective that pharmaceutical products are not put on the market without supervision the fine was decided to SEK 300 000. The products were also to be destroyed. However if G.N. cannot bear the costs of destruction, it may be Lilly who has to bear the costs.

Hanna Nilsson, Associate, Awapatent