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FedEx, LVMH/eBay, TM surveys, universities and Chubby Checker – the week in IP

Settlements between LVMH and eBay and between Chubby Checker and HP, new life for trade mark surveys, Fed Ex in the dock and the universities with the most US patents – some of the IP-related news you may have missed this week

fedex20logo.png FedEx and the fake pharmacies

Courier company Fed Ex will be in court in San Francisco next week, after it was indicted by a Grand Jury on charges of conspiring to traffic in controlled substances and mis-branded prescription drugs on Thursday. It is specifically accused of delivering goods for illegal online pharmacies such as the Chhabra-Smoley Organization and Superior Drugs. said FedEx “now faces upwards of $820 million in fines for their alleged role as a fake online pharmacy courier” while NBC News reported that the company said it “will defend against this attack on the integrity and good name of FedEx and its employees”.

eBay and LVMH settle


A legal battle between luxury goods company LVMH and internet retailer eBay that dates back more than six years has been settled, according to Marketing Magazine. In a short statement, the two companies announced “a cooperative effort to protect IP rights and combat counterfeits in online commerce” promising that consumers will enjoy a safer digital environment.

Details of the agreement were not published. The history of the litigation between the parties up to that point was reported by Managing IP in May 2012.

New life for trade mark surveys


Many thought it was dead, but the survey in UK trade mark litigation may have been saved from extinction, following a judgment this week in a case between Enterprise Holdings and Europcar concerning infringement of a trade mark for a stylised letter E on a green background. After hearing evidence from both sides, Mr Justice Morgan ruled that Enterprise could bring survey evidence in the trial.

On the IP Kat blog, Aaron Wood noted that the judge “made a number of significant comments on the admissibility of survey evidence, as well as making findings on the validity of the survey itself”. However, readers of this blog will recall that Appeal Court judges are even more sceptical about surveys than their junior counterparts are, so if Europcar chooses to appeal then this may not be the end of the story.

Top universities in US

Tsinghua University is the only non-US institution to feature in the top 10 universities granted US patents in 2013, according to figures compiled by the IPO and reported by Kevin Noonan on Patent Docs. The Chinese university ranks third, with 193 patents, behind the University of California (399) and MIT (281). Stanford, the University of Texas, WARF, the California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Georgia Tech and the University of Michigan complete the top 10. Of the top 100, 62 are US universities, and 18 are Chinese.



Finally, we couldn’t complete this week’s roundup without mentioning the settlement of litigation between Chubby Checker (left) and HP. The singer had sued the computer company for using his trade marked name on an app that purported to estimate penis size based on shoe size. HP have agreed not to use his name, likeness or related trademarks, though other details of the settlement are confidential.

The world of IP never ceases to surprise.

Other blog posts published this week:

A tale of sports stars, rappers and lawyers

Brüstle debunked

Real-life lessons in open innovation and IP

Not so influential now – UK replaces IP minister

Also on Managing IP this week (subscription or trial needed for full access):

Demand letters bill last hope for patent reform this Congress

Bombay High Court upholds Nexavar compulsory licence

Fox may be forced to rebrand Glee TV show

IP’s most influential people 2014

Alice already influencing USPTO and Federal Circuit

Ukrainian crash claims NautaDutilh’s John Allen

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

Civil society and industry representatives met in Geneva on Thursday, September 28 to discuss a potential expansion of the TRIPS waiver
Sources say the beta version of the USPTO’s new trademark search tool is a big improvement over the current system but that it isn’t perfect
Canadian counsel weigh in on the IP office’s decision to raise trademark filing fees in 2024 and how they’re preparing clients
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis coverage from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
Shira Perlmutter, US Register of Copyrights, discussed the Copyright Office's role in forming generative AI policy during a House of Representatives hearing
The award marks one of the highest-ever damages received by a foreign company in a trademark infringement suit in China
Two orders denying public access to documents have reignited a debate over a lack of transparency at the new court
Rouse’s new chief of operations and the firm’s CEO tell Managing IP why they think private equity backing will help it conquer Europe
Brian Landry, partner at Saul Ewing, reveals how applicants can prosecute patent applications in the wake of the Federal Circuit's In re Cellect ruling
Ronelle Geldenhuys of Australia’s Foundry IP considers the implications complex computer technologies such as AI have on decision-making