IN THE HEADLINES
WHAT TO WATCH
SCOTUS on Fashion Copyrights
The U.S. Supreme Court, ruling on the copyright case Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, found that elements of design in apparel (e.g., chevrons, stripes) are protected by the Copyright Act of 1976. Congress has failed to provide such protections in recent attempts to expand copyright law. This ruling is significant and adds to the IP tools of trademarks and patents as a means of enforcing creative rights in goods such as apparel.
New IP Czar Nominated by President Trump
President Trump has named Michigander Vishal Amin to serve as Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. Amin will succeed Danny Marti (who discussed the office and its issues in the December 2016 edition of the BPP). Amin was previously the Senior Counsel on the House Judiciary Committee. He also served under former President George W. Bush as associate director for domestic policy at the White House and special assistant and associate director for policy in the Office of the Secretary of Commerce.
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5-Hour Energy Defendant Sentenced
One of the defendants in the first U.S. criminal prosecution of a counterfeiter was sentenced to seven years in prison for counterfeiting the popular energy drink 5-Hour Energy. This sentence is in addition to a $10 million civil judgment previously awarded and an order to pay nearly $600,000 in criminal restitution.
WHAT TO WATCH
UK “Snap” General Election
The loss of Prime Minister May’s majority in this month’s UK election may lead to uncertainty in Brexit talks. May had sought the election to build a stronger coalition in the House of Commons as she leads the UK in Brexit negotiations, but instead lost seats and now must rely on another party to retain control of Parliament.
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See BPP 3rd Edition Cover Story “What Could Brexit Mean for Brand Protection”
Executive Order on Counterfeiting and Next Steps
President Trump has signed an Executive Order outlining actions to recover funds from import violations and ensure Customs and Border Protection shares information on detentions with brand owners to facilitate seizures. The Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Homeland Security are to take appropriate steps by the end of July to enforce this order.
New Director General of OAPI
The African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI) will see a leadership change this month: Paulin Edou Edou will step down as director general, and Denis Loukou Bohoussou, the current director general of the Ivory Coast’s IP Office, will succeed him. Under Edou Edou, the OAPI acceded to the Madrid Protocol. A coalition of attorneys challenged this accession, claiming the OAPI did not have the mandate to ratify a treaty on behalf of member states. Whether this challenge, which had led to firm firings and the suspension of some members of the coalition leading it, will be revived is unclear.
THE BRAND PROTECTION PROFESSIONAL | JUNE 2017 | VOLUME 2 NUMBER 2
2017 COPYRIGHT MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES