SUBSCRIBE TODAY!
Subscribing entitles a reader to complete stories on all topics released as they happen, special features, confidential documents and access to the complete, searchable story archive online back to 2004.
IP-Watch Summer Interns

IP-Watch interns talk about their Geneva experience in summer 2013. 2:42.

Inside Views

Submit ideas to info [at] ip-watch [dot] ch!

We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

The Politicization Of The US Patent System

The Washington Post story, How patent reform’s fraught politics have left USPTO still without a boss (July 30), is a vivid account of how patent reform has divided the US economy, preempting a possible replacement for David Kappos who stepped down 18 months ago. The division is even bigger than portrayed. Universities have lined up en masse to oppose reform, while main street businesses that merely use technology argue for reform. Reminiscent of the partisan divide that has paralyzed US politics, this struggle crosses party lines and extends well beyond the usual inter-industry debates. Framed in terms of combating patent trolls through technical legal fixes, there lurks a broader economic concern – to what extent ordinary retailers, bank, restaurants, local banks, motels, realtors, and travel agents should bear the burden of defending against patents as a cost of doing business.


Latest Comments
  • “We want everybody to agree on the science telling... »
  • So this is how we mankind will become extinct? No ... »

  • For IPW Subscribers

    A directory of IP delegates in Geneva. Read more>

    A guide to Geneva-based public health and intellectual property organisations. Read More >


    Monthly Reporter

    The Intellectual Property Watch Monthly Reporter, published from 2004 to January 2011, is a 16-page monthly selection of the most important, updated stories and features, plus the People and News Briefs columns.

    The Intellectual Property Watch Monthly Reporter is available in an online archive on the IP-Watch website, available for IP-Watch Subscribers.

    Access the Monthly Reporter Archive >

    Honduras Requests WTO Panel On Australia Tobacco Law

    Published on 17 October 2012 @ 4:02 pm

    Intellectual Property Watch

    Honduras has submitted a request for the formation of a dispute settlement panel at the World Trade Organization regarding a tobacco plain-packaging law Australia has passed for public health reasons.

    The request will be on the agenda of the next WTO Dispute Settlement Body meeting, scheduled for 19 November, according to WTO sources.

    The 15 October request follows:

     

    Australia – Certain Measures Concerning Trademarks,
    Geographical Indications and other Plain Packaging Requirements Applicable to Tobacco Products and Packaging

     

    Request for the Establishment of a Panel by Honduras


    The following communication, dated 15 october 2012, from the delegation of Honduras to the Chairperson of the Dispute Settlement Body, is circulated pursuant to Article 6.2 of the DSU.

    _______________

    On 4 April 2012, Honduras requested consultations with Australia pursuant to Article 4 of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (the “DSU”), Article 64.1 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the “TRIPs Agreement”), Article 14.1 of the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (the “TBT Agreement”), and Article XXII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (the “GATT 1994″).  This request for consultations concerned certain Australian laws and regulations that impose restrictions on trademarks and geographical restrictions as well as other plain packaging requirements on tobacco products and packaging (the “measures”).

    Consultations were held on 1 May 2012 with a view to reaching a mutually satisfactory solution.  These consultations clarified certain issues pertaining to this matter, but failed to resolve the dispute.  Therefore, as specified below, Honduras requests that the Dispute Settlement Body (the “DSB”) establish a panel to examine this matter.

    A.                 THE MEASURES AT ISSUE

    Australia regulates the appearance of marks and other design features on the retail packaging of tobacco products, as well as on the tobacco products themselves.  It regulates the appearance of the brand, business, company or variant name in a standard form, font size and location. It prescribes the colour and the finish of retail packaging for all tobacco products and also prescribes the requirements for wrappers, inserts and onserts. In particular:

    §  The brand, business or company name on the retail packaging must be printed in Lucida Sans typeface in regular font no larger than 14 points in Pantone Cool Gray 2C. The variant name must meet these requirements but cannot be larger than 10 points.

    §  All retail packaging for tobacco products must have a matt finish and be in drab dark brown (Pantone 448C), with the exception of the health warnings, the text of the brand, business, company or variant name and the relevant legislative warnings.

    Non-cigarette tobacco products, such as cigars, may include a band in Pantone 448C, on which the following marks may appear: the brand, company or business name and variant name, the name of the country in which the cigar was made or produced, and an alphanumeric code.  These marks may each appear only once on the band and must be printed in Lucida Sans typeface, no larger than 10 points in regular font in Pantone Cool Gray 2C.

    Honduras understands that Australia maintains these measures through the following instruments:

    §  Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011, Act No. 148 of 2011, “An Act to discourage the use of tobacco products, and for related purposes”;

    §  The Tobacco Plain Packaging Regulations 2011, Select Legislative Instrument 2011, No. 263 as amended by the Tobacco Plain Packaging Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 1), Select Legislative Instrument 2012, No. 29.  These regulations apply to the retail packaging and appearance of both cigarettes and non-cigarette tobacco products; and,

    §  The Trade Marks Amendment (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Act 2011; Act No. 149 of 2011, “An Act to amend the Trade Marks Act 1995 and for related purposes”.

    In addition to the instruments listed above, this request covers any amendments, extensions, related instruments or practices.

    B.                 LEGAL BASIS OF THE COMPLAINT

    These measures regulating the plain packaging and appearance of tobacco products for retail sale appear to be inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under the following provisions of the TRIPs Agreement, the TBT Agreement and the GATT 1994:

    §  Article 20 of the TRIPs Agreement, because the use of a trademark is unjustifiably encumbered by special requirements, such as (i) use in a special form, for example, the specific font size and colour of the brand, business or company name,  and,  (ii) use in a manner detrimental to the trademark’s capability to distinguish tobacco products of one undertaking from tobacco products of other undertakings;

    §  Article 16.1 of the TRIPs Agreement, because the measures prevent owners of registered trademarks from enjoying the rights conferred by a trademark;

    §  Article 15.4 of the TRIPs Agreement, because the nature of the goods to which a trademark is to be applied forms an obstacle to the registration of the trademark;

    §  Article 2.1 of the TRIPs Agreement, which incorporates provisions of  the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, as amended by the Stockholm Act 1967 (“Paris Convention”), in particular (i) Article 6quinquies of the Paris Convention, because trademarks registered in a country of origin outside Australia are not protected “as is”, and, (ii) Article 10bis of the Paris Convention, because Australia does not provide effective protection against unfair competition to nationals of other countries of the Union and creates confusion between goods of competitors;

    §  Article 24.3 of the TRIPs Agreement, because Australia is diminishing its level of protection for geographical indications as compared with the level of protection that existed prior to 1 January 1995;

     

     

    Comments

    1. Vulcan says:

      Australia regulates the appearance of marks and other design features on the retail packaging of tobacco products, as well as on the tobacco products themselves. It regulates the appearance of the brand, business, company or variant name in a standard form, font size and location. It prescribes the colour and the finish of retail packaging for all tobacco products and also prescribes the requirements for wrappers, inserts and onserts


    Leave a Reply

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
    Your IP address is 54.89.67.228