IP news


Good morning everyone. We hope you are all doing good, enjoying the warmth. For today’s news.

Puma vs. Nike

Nike has been developing and is currently debuting a number of “smart” shoes, such as its self-lacing sneakers or the ones that can be tightened or loosened via your smartphone. Part of its strategy for smart shoes led Nike to file in march 2019 a trade mark application for registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the word “footware” (not footwear). The trade mark was filed for use in connection with sneaker-specific “computer hardware modules for receiving, processing, and transmitting data in the Internet of things electronic devices; electronic devices and computer software that allow users to remotely interact with other smart devices for monitoring and controlling automated systems,”.

This did not sit well with Puma who, after sending a letter of protest in March 2019, has now taken further action. Indeed, a week ago, Puma filed an opposition before the USPTO on the basis that footware is a merely descriptive term for technology-driven footwear designs. Although it is true that Nike did not include class 25 (a class that includes mainly clothing, footwear and headwear for human beings), Puma considers that footware is phonetically equivalent to and a misspelling of the word “footwear”, therefore, a generic term for products sold in commerce (footwear) and not an indicator of the source of goods/service.

In addition, Puma argues that Nike is not the only brand selling products that incorporate hardware or software technologies (Puma, Under Armour, Altra or Samsung are just but a few examples of companies offering smart shoes). Because of the rise in the offering of smart shoes and the fact that customers are now used to purchase these products, Puma considers that footware is now used to generally describe a combination of foot products with software technologies and not to identify one particular retailer.

Amazon announces a “Counterfeit Crimes Unit”

In a constant search to improve its platform and attract both luxury brands and customers, Amazon has announced that it will launch its own Counterfeit Crimes Unit. This unit made by former federal prosecutors, investigators and data analysts has the objective to bring counterfeiter to justice and investigate cases where sellers acting in bad faith have attempted to evade Amazon’s system and listed a counterfeit item.

You can read Amazon’s full statement here.

Arthur Conan Doyle estate sues Netflix over copyright infringement

This might not seem unusual, but the reasons behind the copyright infringement claim might be. Indeed, according to ACD estate, Enola Holmes (new Netflix show) violates Doyle’s copyright because… The movie depicts a Sherlock Holmes character that has emotions and respects women.

Because this new show is based on a series of Novels, the Estate is also suing the author, the publisher and the film production company. Apparently, the stories that are still protected by copyright depict a Sherlock Holmes that is cold and analytical and, although this has changed as the character developed and as Doyle starts to recover from the horrors of WWI, the character needs to remain coherent and keep the personality he was originally designed with in these stories.

What are your thoughts?

This is all for this week. Be safe and see you next week!