International Trademark Community Meets at MARQUES 28th Annual Conference


Last week, the international trademark community came together at MARQUES’ 28th Annual Conference in Copenhagen, with a focus on "Traditional Brands in a Digital Market." Brand owners and practitioners spent four days together, sharing experiences and finding solutions to unique challenges and opportunities presented by doing business in a global, and increasingly digital, marketplace. A number of the presentations focused on the growing trend of "fake" internet sites (sites that appear to be legitimately affiliated with brand owners), and strategies for shutting down sites selling counterfeit goods. Other topics included new business models on the Internet, and while a threat to IP rights, how the Internet is an opportunity to engage with new consumers.

There was also an interesting panel discussion on the legal challenges of using and supporting social media sites and the balance between free speech interests and abuse of IP rights. Panelists included representatives from major brands, including Nestle, Google, and, who addressed the question of whether or not they would take action against an infringer who abuses or misuses their brand on social media. The conclusion seemed to be that there are no hard and fast rules for approaching alleged infringement and that legal, marketing, and outside counsel need to work together to ensure the best course of action.

In addition to covering the array of evolving issues that brand owners face in the digital marketplace, the meeting also featured updates from WIPO and OHIM officials on the latest developments in both organizations. Notably, the Director of Madrid Registry Operations provided an update on the initiatives underway at WIPO to streamline the Madrid filing process and to try to address the issues relating to identification of goods issues. We learned that 33% of all Madrid Filings receive Notice of Irregularity and 7% of them involve classification issues (a substantial portion of which no doubt involve US basis applications!) The conference also included a discussion of trends in trademark enforcement and unfair competition actions in various European jurisdictions and a debate about whether harmonization of available remedies in different EU member states is possible.

Fish is back on the conference circuit next week, when the Pharmaceutical Trade Marks Group convenes in Chicago for its 89th Conference. Check back in on our blog for updates on the latest developments in pharmaceutical brand strategy. #PTMG