Seminar - The Protection of Non-Traditional Trademarks


L-R: Professor Susanna Leong (Vice Provost (Lifelong Education), NUS), Professor Irene Calboli (Texas A&M University School of Law), Professor David Tan (Vice Dean (Academic Affairs), NUS Law) and Ms Constance Lee (Principal Trade Mark Examiner, Intellectual Property Office of Singapore)

Organised by the EW Barker Centre for Law & Business, the seminar on "The Protection of Non-Traditional Trademarks" took place on 3 May 2019, with more than 100 people attending the seminar held in the Moot Court at NUS Law (Bukit Timah Campus).

Professor David Tan (Vice Dean (Academic Affairs), NUS Law) chaired the seminar which featured presentations by Professor Ng-Loy Wee Loon (NUS Law), Professor Susanna Leong (Vice Provost (Lifelong Education), NUS), Professor Irene Calboli (Texas A&M University School of Law) and Ms Constance Lee (Principal Trade Mark Examiner, Intellectual Property Office of Singapore).

Professor Calboli is also co-editor with Professor Martin Senftleben (VU Amsterdam) of the edited volume The Protection of Non-Traditional Trademarks published by Oxford University Press. The open access book is available for download here.

In the past decades, the type of signs that can be registered as marks has grown exponentially. Today, non-traditional marks - that is, signs that comprise of shapes, colours, sounds, smells, and tastes - have found their way into many trademark registers worldwide. Hence, the protection of these signs creates a wide variety of issues - ranging from legal-doctrinal to competition-based and cultural concerns. The book that is at the centre of this panel presentation addresses several of these issues. In particular, it maps how this expansion of trademark protection can affect other types of intellectual property rights and the intellectual property system as a whole. Trademark offices and courts across the world have increasingly encountered these issues as well, and the results were different, which highlights the importance of a comparative analysis of existing approaches to non-traditional marks. Providing a comprehensive overview of the status quo in different jurisdictions, the book discussed by this panel offers the first comprehensive discussion of the legal problems and solutions in this field. The analysis, however, goes far beyond specific questions of trademark law and practice, and expands in the broader context of fundamental rights, in particular freedom of competition and freedom of expression.



Professor David Tan (Vice Dean (Academic Affairs), NUS Law) kicking off the seminar introducing the Lindt chocolate rabbit shape mark and the Christian Louboutin red sole mark


Professor Irene Calboli (Texas A&M University School of Law) introducing the themes in her edited book


Professor Ng-Loy Wee Loon (NUS Law) explaining the issues regarding registering shape marks


Professor Susanna Leong (Vice Provost (Lifelong Education), NUS) expressing her views on the registration of non-traditional marks


Ms Constance Lee (Principal Trade Mark Examiner, Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS)) sharing some statistics and policy positions of IPOS


The panel is engaged in an animated discussion


Questions from an audience member during Question and Answer session


Ms Isabelle Tan (Director (Registry of Trade Marks), IPOS) chatting with Professor Susanna Leong



 

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