There are a record 777 people
registered for this year’s MARQUES Conference.
This represents a riposte from northern Europe to those who
predicted that the Danish capital could not compete with sunny,
exotic Monte Carlo where last year’s conference
was held. That had just 720 registrations.
The last time MARQUES was held in Copenhagen, incidentally,
was in 1993, when less than 300 people attended. A handful of
this year’s attendees were also here back then: a
highlight, apparently, was the Carlsberg brewery tour.
Opera open house
The opening reception consisted of a boat tour to see
Copenhagen’s architectural highlights, followed by
a reception at the Opera House. One of the bits of trivia
conveyed by the boat guides was that the
building’s architect, Henning Larsen,
wasn’t happy with the finished product and refused
to attend the opening. Cue discussions among lawyers attending
about copyright and moral rights.
Disappointingly, a CTM application for
Operaen København, filed in 2003, was withdrawn in
The power of parody
first session featured a debate between representatives of
Google, Nestlé and King.com (maker of Candy Crush) on
online enforcement and when to take action. It’s a
highly topical issue given the recent Vlaams Belang copyright
ruling from the CJEU and the fact that parody is set to be
mentioned as a defence to trade mark infringement in EU
The panel discussed various real examples of cases that
tread the line between parody and brand abuse, including a
video titled "Psychos around the world are counting on Scotch
Blue", a picture of Adolf Hitler drinking coffee and a social
media user who calls herself "Purina".
Refreshingly, the panel did not always agree on when it was
appropriate to take action. But there was consensus that it can
be better to use online forms provided by platforms, rather
than going straight in with a legal letter, and that platforms
will generally follow the law in the countries where they
operate (if only because their employees can be threatened with
jail if they don’t).
Disharmony in Europe
It’s an old story on this blog that EU member
states lack harmonisation. A new perspective on this emerged
today in a panel discussion on trade marks and unfair
competition law. Given that unfair competition laws in the EU
are diverse and likely to remain so, what are your best chances
Gregor Vos from the Netherlands argued that copyright may be
your best friend, though others in the room were sceptical
about this. The German participants in particular preferred to
stick to unfair competition remedies. This is an argument that
will run and run.
Eat my brand
The theme of this year’s conference is
Traditional Brands in a Digital Market and inevitably there is
a lot of discussion about social media: the best place to keep
up to date is, inevitably, twitter – and the hashtag
The host hotel, meanwhile, was going for more traditional
branding on its white chocolate cheesecake (see right).