Courtesy of our friend David Copland, a trademark lawyer based in Dresden, Germany:
Amendments to the Trademark Rules of Practice published in the U.S. Federal Register of July 2, 2019 require as of August 3, 2019 all foreign trademark applicants, registrants, and parties to a TTAB proceeding are required to use a U.S.-licensed attorney for filing any trademark-related submissions to the U.S. Trademark Office.
Previously all trademark filings could be made directly by a foreign individual, or by a member of a foreign limited corporation, a partner of a foreign partnership, or an officer of a foreign corporation. Under the prior rules, foreign counsel could “ghost write” filings which foreign trademark owners could submit directly. This will no longer be possible.
The Madrid system does not allow for designation of a U.S. attorney for applications submitted through WIPO’s International Bureau. Consequently, initial applications filed through the Madrid system need not be filed by a U.S.-licensed attorney. However, any further submissions to the U.S. Trademark Office related to a Madrid application, such as responses to office actions or registration maintenance filings, will require the foreign trademark owner to have a U.S. attorney.
Other than an initial application filed under the Madrid system, foreign trademark owners must be represented by a U.S.-licensed attorney for all U.S. trademark filings after August 3.
For more information see the USPTO Website or give us (or David) a shout.
A German appeals court has decided that the Facebook account belonging to a deceased minor cannot be accessed by the deceased minor’s parents, according to German business website Handelsblatt. A couple in Berlin sued for access to the Facebook records of their daughter after she was killed by a subway train in Berlin, hoping to find clues as to the events leading up to her death. They were particularly interested in the chat records, which they thought might provide clues as to whether the daughter’s death might have been a suicide.
The lower court decided for the parents, determining that the Facebook account was part of the deceased minor’s estate. In deciding to appeal, Facebook, the subject of much criticism in Germany for its handling of data privacy, found itself in the unusual position of defending those same rights. The appellate court decided against the parents, and refused access. It appears likely that the parents will appeal the decision.
In the United States, Facebook generally does not allow parents access to a child’s account, deceased or not. Facebook does allow parents to request that the account be terminated, rather than leaving it online in “memorialized” mode, and in rare instances Facebook will honor requests for account data by parents or other authorized individuals.
Munich (but not the appellate court)
Advertisers don’t much like adblockers, and publishers in particular see them as a drain on revenue necessary for the production of content.
One of the most popular ad-blocking plugins is the not-so-cleverly-named Adblock, by the more cleverly named German company Eyeo GmbH, based in Cologne. According to a recent report by German IT news portal heise online, a recent attempt by three German media outfits to take Adblock offline has met with skepticism by Munich’s appellate court. The plaintiffs (which include my “other” hometown newspaper, the Süddeutsche Zeitung, threw everything they could at Eyeo, from copyright infringement to antitrust, but the court doesn’t seem to have bought into it. At issue, among other things, is the “whitelisting” process which allows Eyeo to make money on blocked ads.
This decision may vindicate Eyeo’s partial loss against Axel Springer, and follows a win in Hamburg against Spiegel Online. Either way, it looks as though efforts to block the adblocker will make their way to Germany’s Supreme Court in Karlsruhe sometime next year. Having failed in the courts before, however, German media isn’t putting all of their eggs in one basket. In addition to technical measures, the industry group for German newspapers is also pursuing the legislative route to see off Adblock.
Efforts to block Eyeo in France also seem to have faded, and in the US there has been little in the way of legal action against ad blocking software, probably due to different antitrust and competition laws. Thus far Eyeo has won more of these battles than it has lost, so adblocking will remain a thorn in advertisers’ sides for some time to come.