Intellectual Property Updates From Around The World

Nov 6, 2015
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Written by Shaun Chung

Adidas is helping to end racially offensive Native American stereotypes

The Washington Redskins, an NFL team, have unsuspectedly started a movement away from using Native American mascots after the trademark of their team name was cancelled for being offensive to Native Americans.

They launched a very interesting appeal last week which included registered trademarks that they deemed more offensive than theirs (most of which we cannot name here, but if you are interested, you can see the full list here). Sports Illustrated reached out to some of these companies for comments, and some have responded.

Adidas has responded by pledging to aid in the movement away from Native American mascots in U.S. high schools by paying for the costs of necessary design changes.

Disney gets special treatment in China

Ramping up to the opening day of the $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort, Disney’s first theme park in China, Chinese authorities are launching a year-long nationwide ‘special action’ to stamp out counterfeit products that infringe on Disney’s trademarks. Previous crackdowns have hardly made a dent in the US$1.08 billion per year industry, but specifically targeting Disney products might make a difference to Disney.

Nautica got beaten by NautiGirl

NautiGirl, a Washington-based retail startup, received a trademark cancellation notice from Nautica, and after a three year legal battle, NautiGirl have prevailed. The US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, this week, ruled that NautiGirl was not similar enough to Nautica, and has refused to cancel the trademark.

Nautica had previously alleged that NautiGirl’s logo and company name, along with the tagline “Dare to be naughty” were too similar to Nautica, and would cause consumer confusion.

Nautica has a track record of consistently seeking to enforce their intellectual property rights, so we can be sure to see more challenges in time.

Bonus: Robots getting legal rights?

The founder of the ROBOLAW.ASIA initiative at Peking University has proposed that robots should be afforded special legal status to regulate human interaction with robots. In justifying his stance, Weng analogises robots with pets. By protecting pets, the law helps humans project empathy when interacting with animals. A similar protection, he argues, is necessary for robots as they get more advanced and intelligent.

A drunk Japanese man abusing Pepper, a cuddly robot that senses human emotion and responses, triggered Weng’s proposal.

Enjoy this gif of Neil deGrasse Tyson hugging Pepper.


Let us know what you think about robots getting legal rights by tagging us @lawpath and/or #lawpath.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us on 1800 LAWPATH and/or [email protected]

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