Husch Blackwell’s Caroline Chicoine is the current Vice Chair of the International Trademark Association’s (INTA) Impact Studies committee. Recently, she helped the committee finish the term strong with two important studies regarding Generation Z and the economic impact of trademark-intensive industries in Latin America.

Do Gen Zers make up a big part of your customer base? Gen Zers will make up the largest group of consumers worldwide by 2020. These consumers were born between 1995 and 2010 and are currently between 18 and 23 years of age. If you find your customer base consists of Gen Zers, the International Trademark Association’s Impact Studies committee’s recent study, titled “Gen Z Insights: Brands and Counterfeit Products” is a must-read. The multi-country study investigates the behavior of Gen Zers when it comes to their relationship with brands and attitudes toward counterfeit products. A copy of the Comprehensive Global Report covering ten (10) countries around the world, as well as reports for each country can be found here. For a comprehensive global infographic summarizing the results of the study, see here.
Continue Reading Insight from INTA’s Gen Z Study Brings Expanded Reach for Campaign on Counterfeit Goods

Shanghai ChinaOn Wednesday, Judge Richard Sullivan of the Southern District of New York relieved the Bank of China from an order issuing $50,000 of daily fines for failing to comply with two subpoenas for information on account holders accused of selling goods counterfeit “Gucci” goods. The matter provides an interesting case study of at least one dilemma facing foreign companies doing business in the United States – whether to comply with a US-issued subpoena knowing that compliance  would break foreign law.

Continue Reading Classic Catch 22? Dilemma of Foreign Companies Faced With Comply with US Subpoena and Possible Foreign Sanctions or Violate Subpoena and Possible Domestic Sanctions

3D printer in actionIn Part 1, we addressed the pros and cons of molding your mark directly into your goods in the context of 3D printing. In Part 2 of this series, we evaluated potential benefits and pitfalls that businesses may encounter when applying a mark to products at a later stage in manufacturing (e.g., via sticker or ink-printing). Here, we will look at two counterfeiting scenarios: Case 1, in which your mark has been molded or 3D printed into your product, and Case 2, in which your mark is ink-printed on your product.

In both scenarios, you have no utility patents, design patents, trade dress, or copyrights with which to protect your product. Of course, this addresses a particularly limited situation. However, a great number of businesses find themselves in a similar position. Not all products can be patented. Not all products are proper subjects for trade dress or copyright protection.

In both cases, along comes a so-called “counterfeiter” who obtains a specimen of your product, scans it with a 3D scanner, and starts making copies. In Case 1, the 3D scanner acquires a scan of your mark on your product. The copies made by the counterfeiter in Case 1 therefore also include your mark, leading to clear-cut trademark infringement. However, in Case2, the mark is not detected by the 3D scanner, and is therefore not included on the copies.


Continue Reading 3D Printing & Trademark Counterfeiting Part 3: Break the Mold or Erase the Ink?

3d printer with bright green filamentIn Part 1 of this series, we addressed the impact of 3D printing on companies that mold their marks directly into their goods. Now, in Part 2, we will evaluate potential benefits and pitfalls that businesses may encounter when applying a mark to products at a later stage in manufacturing (e.g., via sticker or ink-printing).

Many companies decide not to mold or 3D print their marks directly into their product. Such a decision may be based on a cost analysis, or on the desire to remain agile in the marketplace. As discussed previously, such costs may fall drastically while agility will greatly improve as 3D printing becomes more widespread. Even so, many companies are simply unable to mold or 3D print their marks directly into their products. The product may be too small to directly bear a trademark at all, or may not have an externally visible surface to serve as a suitable location to display a mark.


Continue Reading 3D Printing & Trademark Counterfeiting Part 2: Break the Mold or Erase the Ink?

smaller version3D printer blue 000034574932In a previous series of posts, we explored several copyright issues as they apply to 3D printing. In this series, we will address the impact of 3D printing on trademark infringement by counterfeiting. Here, we will address the pros and cons of molding your mark directly into your goods in the context of 3D printing and counterfeiting.

In Part 2 of this series, we will evaluate potential benefits and pitfalls that businesses may encounter when applying a mark to products at a later stage in manufacturing (e.g., via sticker or ink-printing).

In Part 3, we will look at some hypothetical “counterfeiting” and trademark enforcement situations, and discuss the impact of 3D printing your mark into your product as compared to ink-printing.
Continue Reading 3D Printing & Trademark Counterfeiting Part 1: Break the Mold or Erase the Ink?