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The week in IP – Record EPO applications, Cronut gets trade mark, Marvin Gaye’s estate in Blurred Lines settlement

A selection of intellectual property stories from around the world that grabbed headlines this week

EPO sees record number of applications

In Europe, the EPO revealed this week that it received more patent applications last year than ever before. More than 265,000 applications passed its examiners’ desks, a 2.8% rise on 2012. Of these, just over one-third originated from the EPO’s 38 member states, almost one-quarter came from the US and one-fifth came from Japan. Applications from China and Korea made up the bulk of the rest, and are growing sharply: applications from these two countries rose by more than 15% last year.

The EPO granted 66,700 patents last year, an increase of 1.7% on the previous year.

Cronut name gets trade mark

The Cronut – the half-croissant, half-doughnut hybrid – this week received a trade mark from the USPTO.

The Cronut is the creation of New York-based chef Dominique Ansel, who unveiled it last May. It has since attained a cult following among New York locals, who wait for hours to get their hands on some.

Ansel’s bakery previously said it decided to trade mark the name “as a protective measure against the type of bullying that is taking place now” and alluded to “malicious attacks against our chef”. A number of similarly named baked goods have appeared since its launch.

The bakery applied for the trade mark in May last year, and this week Cronut appeared on a USPTO registration certificate.

Marvin Gaye’s estate in Blurred Lines settlement

A copyright dispute over one of the biggest hits of last summer was settled this week when Marvin Gaye’s estate and Sony/ATV reached an agreement. A Los Angeles judge granted dismissal of legal action brought by Gaye’s estate, which claimed Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines had similarities to Gaye’s Got To Give It Up. The terms of the settlement were not revealed.

That is not the end of the matter, however. The case will now specifically include Thicke and publishing company EMI April, owned by Sony. EMI manages the copyrights on both songs.

Last year Thicke and co-writers Pharrell Williams and TI preemptively sued Gaye’s estate claiming their song is “starkly different’ from Gaye’s and seeking declaratory relief. Gaye’s estate counter-sued, claiming EMI had not protected Gaye’s music.

Blur bassist applies for Britpop trade mark

Two decade on from Britpop being coined as a term to describe a new wave of music bands in the UK, a member of one of the movements biggest groups is looking to trade mark the term.

Alex James, bass player with Blur, has applied with the UK IPO for the trade mark. The application is for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. James was legendary for his boozing and drug intake at the height of Blur’s popularity. He now lives on a farm in Oxfordshire and runs a cheese business. He already owns a number of trade marks for his cheeses including Little Wallop, Figgy Pudding and Goddess.

Largest LA counterfeiting judgement secured 

The Los Angeles city attorney’s office had a big win this week against a downtown merchant who had committed 1,586 trade mark violations since at least 2009. The $3.9 million judgement and permanent injunction was the largest the city has secured in a counterfeiting case.

Maria Luisa Sanchez was fined $2,500 for each of the counterfeit items she had sold or had for sale, including clothing, jewellery and handbags.

“This judgment is testament to how seriously our Office and the Courts view counterfeiting,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Feuer.

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