This second edition of The Trademarks Law Review seeks to build on the foundations laid in the first edition. The overall objectives remain the same: first, to provide an annual snapshot of trademark law across a broad range of jurisdictions, summarising key legal provisions and also examining recent developments and trends from the courts, and second, to identify areas of expected legal activity and legislative change going forward.
To this end, our panel of leading trademark practitioners, including those from several countries new to the publication, have each been invited to provide a chapter of commentary on their own jurisdiction. The broad structure of each chapter is similar, allowing for clear points of comparison, while leaving enough space for issues of particular relevance in a given country to be explored. Our authors have therefore all struck a balance between conveying the key elements of the trademark landscape in their respective countries, while also giving a flavour of current and commercially active issues in the trademark arena. The former must necessarily be concise – this book does not in any sense aim to provide an exhaustive analysis – but each author has been encouraged to explore the latter with appropriate emphasis depending on what has been happening recently in his or her country.
The commercial importance of trademarks to the business community continues to grow, and the tools available for securing international protection continue to evolve. In Europe, for example, significant changes have been made in the last year to the EU Trade Mark Regulation, the principal legislative foundation for securing unitary trademark protection across the EU. These changes and their impact on national law are addressed in a number of chapters from the perspectives of various EU Member States. Brexit is also a topic that some authors comment on, in particular regarding the impact of the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU on businesses maintaining seamless trademark and registered design protection in the United Kingdom and EU.
Globally, the international trademark registration system under the Madrid Protocol now extends to 118 countries, and continues to grow, enabling businesses to secure trademark protection in any or all of these countries via a single application administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Switzerland. The harmonisation of trademark law and practice around the world continues to be a challenge in some areas, despite the considerable progress that has been, and is being, made in this area, not least through WIPO.
Online and digital infringements, including counterfeits, remain a key aspect of the trademark landscape in a number of jurisdictions, whether in an online retail context, on social media platforms or elsewhere on the internet. Fundamentally, the only mechanism for tackling legal issues that arise online is on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis, but this is heavily at odds with the way the internet operates without reference to geographical borders. Consequently, this is one area where the lack of harmonisation can be felt most acutely, with determined infringers able to achieve their ends by exploiting the worldwide differences in the treatment of legal issues surrounding online infringement. These issues remain as relevant in this second edition as they were in the first.
Our authors have also covered recent or imminent changes to trademark law and practice (of which there are many) in their respective jurisdictions, as well as highlighting the most important trademark decisions (or pending cases) from the past year. These two key areas together complete the snapshot of each country that this publication seeks to deliver. Naturally, the focus of each chapter differs at a granular level to reflect those areas where its author considers legal scrutiny has been most clearly directed. Collectively, however, they cover a broad range of important and current issues.
We hope that readers will consult this new edition regularly, and that its concise nature and clear structure will provide easy access to understanding the essence of what is relevant and current in the world of trademark law.