Sex & the City shoe designer Manolo Blahnik victory in 22-year legal fight over China trademark.

The decision comes after the recent victory of Sex & the City shoe designer Manolo Blahnik who won a 22-year legal fight over China trademark.

 

Manolo Blahnik, Spanish fashion designer and founder of the eponymous high-end shoe brand, won the right to use his name in China for the first time, paving the way for the brand’s expansion.

Monolo Blahnik started his business in London in 1971 and became a household name through HBO’s Sex and the City.

The Supreme People’s Court of China, China’s highest court, cancelled a trademark incorporating the Manolo Blahnik name that has been owned by Chinese businessman Fang Yuzhou.

Manolo Blahnik is now able to sell his brand in the world’s fastest-growing luxury market.

“This is a meaningful victory for my uncle, our family and our team and I want to express gratitude to the Supreme People’s Court of China for its thorough and careful consideration of our long-standing case,” Chief Executive Kristina Blahnik, the niece of founder Manolo Blahnik, said.

China has a “first to file” trademark system which has meant that several foreign companies have found that their names have already been registered in China by companies looking to sell trademarks when those businesses enter China. Intellectual property theft has long been an issue between China and its trade partners. China’s “first to file” jurisdiction meant Fang’s claim to the Manolo Blahnik name as the first person to trademark it in the China market in 1999 was long found to be stronger under Chinese law.

Amendments designed to strengthen trademark legislation were implemented in China in November 2019 taking aim at so-called “bad faith” filings. This has led to some high profile wins for international brands in recent years.

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On your marks – handbags at dawn: Michael Kors fails to stop ‘Micarel Kmor’ Trademark

  • Michael Kors fails to stop ‘Micarel Kmor’ trademark
  • UK IP Office holds there is no likelihood of confusion
  • Case comes after Sex & the City shoe designer Manolo Blahnikwins 22-year legal fight over China trademark

Michael Kors (Switzerland) International GmbH, the luxury brand, has failed in its attempt to invalidate the trademark “Micarel Kmor”.

Hong Kong company, UK MK INT’L LIMITED, registered the words “MACAREL KMOR” in various classes including for cosmetics and perfumes (Class 3), jewellery (Class 14) and bags; fur; trimmings of leather for furniture; umbrellas; walking sticks; leather leashes; school bags; travelling trunks; handbags; business card cases (Class 18)

Michael Kors, the luxury brand, sort to have UK MK INT’L LIMITED’s Trade Mark declared invalid.

 

Michael Kors claimed that that “there is a likelihood of confusion because the marks are visually and phonetically similar, and the goods are identical or highly similar.”

UK MK INT’L LIMITED filed a counterstatement denying the claims that the marks are similar but admitted that the goods of their trade mark are all either highly similar or identical to the goods of Michael Kors’ earlier trade mark.

The U.K. Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) ruled that visual similarities between “Michael Kors” and “Micarel Kmor” were not sufficient to confuse customers.

 

The UKIPO considered that these two words, together, will be recognised as a first name and surname and “…as a general rule, surnames are more distinctive than forenames and that the surname KORS appears to be more unusual than the forename MICHAEL. However, it is also true that the consumer tends to pay more attention to the beginning of marks. Therefore….the overall impression of the mark lies in the combination of these elements.”

The UKIPO pointed out that confusion can be direct or indirect. “Direct confusion involves the average consumer mistaking one mark for the other, while indirect confusion is where the average consumer realises the marks are not the same but puts the similarity that exists between the marks and the goods down to the responsible undertakings being the same or related.”

 

The ruling further points out that “there is no scientific formula to apply in determining whether there is a likelihood of confusion; rather, it is a global assessment where a number of factors need to be borne in mind. The first is the interdependency principle i.e. a lesser degree of similarity between the respective trade marks may be offset by a greater degree of similarity between the respective goods and vice versa. It is necessary.. to keep in mind the distinctive character of the earlier mark, the average consumer for the goods and the nature of the purchasing process. In doing so, I must be alive to the fact that the average consumer rarely has the opportunity to make direct comparisons between trade marks and must instead rely upon the imperfect picture of them that he has retained in his mind”.

 

The UKIPO went on to hold: “…the marks are unlikely to be mistakenly recalled or misremembered as each other. I do not consider that the average consumer would overlook the differing letters in the middle of the marks, especially as the effect is to change invented words to a full name (or vice versa), which creates a clear conceptual hook in which to differentiate the marks. Consequently, I do not consider there to be a likelihood of direct confusion.

Having noticed that the competing trade marks are different, I see no reason why the average consumer would assume that they come from the same or economically linked undertakings. I do not consider that the average consumer would think the applicant’s trade mark was connected with the proprietor or vice versa. They are not  natural variants or brand extensions of each other. Consequently, I consider there is no likelihood of indirect confusion.”

 

The UKIPO accordingly dismissed Michael Kors’ challenge and ordered the fashion brand to pay UK MK Int’l Ltd’s legal costs.

 

https://www.ipo.gov.uk/t-challenge-decision-results/o81322.pdf

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Gordon Ramsay’s Gin Ad Banned – It’s not Gordon’s !

  • Failure to comply with Advertising Standards Authority
  • Claims regarding nutritional benefits in breach of rules

An advertising campaign for Ramsay’s Gin, a collaboration between Gordon Ramsay and Eden Mill St Andrews, has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority. Eden Mill describes its Ramsay’s Gin as sustainably sourced with ingredients from the Scottish coastline.

A social media post stated that honeyberries grown in fields a few miles away from the Eden Mill distillery near St Andrews formed the botanical foundations of Ramsay’s Gin. The ad went on to suggest that there were nutritional benefits: ” Here, the farmer follows a philosophy of natural growth meaning the Honeyberries retain the rich flavours and micro-nutrients that come from Scotland’s wonderful terroir. With more antioxidants than blueberries, more potassium than bananas, more vitamin C than oranges and a flavour like a mixture of blueberry, plum and grape, these might be the tastiest Honeyberries in the world.”

Under The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) code, the only permitted nutrition claims that can be made in relation to alcohol are “low alcohol”, “reduced al

cohol” and “reduced energy”.  Eden Mill Distillery deleted the ads and said they would not be used again in any form or across any channel.

The ASA pointed ou

t: “while we welcomed the action Ramsay’s Gin had taken to withdraw the ads because the claims ‘retain … micro-nutrients’ and ‘more antioxidants than blueberries, more potassium than bananas, more vitamin C than oranges’ were nutrition claims that were not permitted for alcoholic drinks, we concluded the ads breached the Code.”

The ASA went on to say: “we told Eden Mill Distillery trading as Ramsay’s Gin not to make non-permitted nutrition claims about alcoholic drinks.”

Eden Mill acknowledged the error and said: “we have apologised to the ASA and take full responsibility. The content was posted on our Instagram and Facebook and was immediately removed on raising by the ASA.”

Cheers !

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Andrew believes that there are many injustices which do not get the media attention they deserve, or indeed desperately need the oxygen of
publicity for their cause.  This is where Andrew hopes to help.  By focusing on the injustice and assisting to promote, Andrew is keen to
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© Andrew Eborn 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trumped up charges? Donald Trump and family face fraud allegations

Trumped up charges? Donald Trump and family face fraud allegations

  • Trump and family face civil fraud suit brought by NY Attorney General
  • Allegation that Trump’s net worth inflated by billions
  • Allegation of numerous acts of fraud
  • NY State seeking return of US$250m
  • Trump claims it is a racist witch hunt

Former US President, Donald Trump and three of his children face a civil fraud lawsuit. The suit has been filed by New York Attorney General, Letitia James.

The lawsuit follows a 3 year civil investigation into the Trump Organization and claims that the Trumps inflated their net worth by billions of Dollars.

New York Attorney General, Letitia James, the state’s most senior lawyer, wants $250m she claims was illegally obtained to be returned.

Donald Trump has dismissed the civil lawsuit as “another witch hunt”.

Donald Trump’s eldest children, Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric Trump, have also been named as defendants together with Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney, two executives at the Trump Organization.

Letitia James alleges: “with the help of his children and senior executives at the Trump Organization, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and cheat the system”.

The properties concerned include Trump’s own apartment in Trump Tower which had been valued at $327m.

Letitia James claims “no apartment in New York City has ever sold for close to that amount”.

The apartment’s “wildly overstated” size was tripled and given an “unreasonable” price per square foot. The record sale in the entire Trump Tower was $16.5m.

It is also claimed that the Mar-a-Lago club in Florida was valued at $739m by the Trump Organization when according to The Attorney General’s office the real value was closer to $75m with the club generating less than $25m per year.

The claim is set out in a 222 page document and alleges:

– Donald Trump and three of his children inflated the value of hotels, golf courses and other assets to secure better loans and lower tax rates
– Between 2011 and 2O21 Donald Trump and his family committed numerous acts of fraud including more than 200 false or misleading valuations on financial statements
– Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr, or former Trump Organization financial executive Allen Weisselberg personally certified each statement as being accurate
– As a result of the inflated values the Trump family benefited by at least $250m.

– NY State wants to recover that money

Letitia James pointed out “white collar financial crime is not a victimless crime…when the well-connected break the law to take in more money than they are entitled to, it reduces resources available to working people, to regular people, to small businesses and to all tax payers.”

In addition to return of the US$250m the Attorney General is seeking to bar Donald Trump and his children from serving as officers or directors in any New York business and for the Trump Organization to be banned for 5 years from engaging in real estate transactions.

Letitia James is a Democrat running for re-election in November. She apparently rejected at least one offer to settle the civil investigation.

Donald Trump accused Letitia James of “weaponising her office to go after her political opponents.”

He claimed that this is: “another witch hunt by a racist Attorney General, Letitia James, who failed in her run for Governor, getting almost zero support from the public”. Letitia James is black.

Letitia James’ office does not have the power to file criminal charges. The allegations of criminal wrongdoing have therefore been referred to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and federal prosecutors.

Donald Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

Other cases against Donald Trump

  1. E. Jean Carroll Defamation and Federal Tort Claims Act Litigation. Carroll is suing Trump for defamation after he publicly accused her of fabricating a rape allegation against him.
  2. Summer Zervos Defamation Suit (CLOSED)
  3. Mary Trump Fraud Litigation. Mary Trump is accusing Donald Trump of defrauding her out of millions of dollars in an inheritance dispute.
  4. Panama Hotel Fraud and Tax Litigation (CLOSED)
  5. Doe v. The Trump Corporation Class Action. A group of anonymous plaintiffs have filed a class action against the Trump family and their business, alleging that the Trumps used their brand to scam investors into paying for worthless business opportunities.
  6. DC Civil Suit over Misuse of 2017 Inauguration Funds (CLOSED)
  7. Reps. Karen Bass et al. Incitement Suit for Jan. 6 Capitol Attack. Ten members of the House of Representatives, represented by the NAACP, are suing Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and two right wing militia groups for conspiring to forcibly prevent Congress from counting the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6.
  8. Eric Swalwell Incitement Suit for Jan. 6 Riots. On Mar. 5, 2021, Representative Eric Swalwell sued Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump Jr., and Congressman Mo Brooks in federal court over the Jan. 6 riots.
  9. Capitol Police Suit for Jan. 6 Riots. Two Capitol Police officers–both on duty during the Jan. 6 insurrection–sued Donald Trump for injuries they sustained while protecting the Capitol.
  10. Second Capitol Police Suit for Jan. 6 Riots. A second group of Capitol Police officers filed suit against Trump, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and other affiliates involved in allegedly planning and executing the Jan. 6 riots.
  11. Third Capitol Police Suit over the Jan. 6 Riots. A third suit was filed by a Capitol Police officer alleging that physical and emotional injuries he suffered were caused by Trump’s inciting the Jan. 6 riot.
  12. Metropolitan Police Suit over the Jan. 6 Riots. Two Metropolitan Police Officers filed suit alleging that physical and emotional injuries they suffered were caused by Trump’s inciting the Jan. 6 riot.
  13. NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund Voting Rights Case for Post-Election Actions. The LDF is suing Trump, the Trump Campaign, and the RNC for their efforts to overturn the 2020 election in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the Ku Klux Klan Act.
  14. New York Attorney General’s Civil and Criminal Investigations. Since March 2019, New York Attorney General Letitia James has been investigating allegations that the Trump Organization altered property values to avoid tax liabilities. Civil Lawsuit filed 21 09 22 ( see above)
  15. Scotland Unexplained Wealth Orders. In February 2021, the Scottish Parliament voted to reject an investigation into unexplained cash transactions executed by the Trump Organization’s Scottish golf courses. A non-profit group is now challenging that decision in Scottish court.
  16. Trump Tower Assault Suit. A group of six protesters are suing Trump over allegations that Trump’s security guards assaulted them outside Trump Tower in 2015. The case is pending in New York state court.
  17. Michael Cohen Retaliatory Imprisonment Suit. Michael Cohen–Donald Trump’s former attorney who served a three-year sentence for Trump-related crimes–is suing Trump, the US government, and other officials for allegedly retaliating against Cohen after he announced a tell-all book detailing his years of legal work for Trump.
  18. Criminal Investigations into Trump’s Finances. During his presidency, the Manhattan District Attorney investigated Trump’s finances. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance recently gained access to Trump’s tax information in the course of a criminal investigation into potential tax crimes, insurance fraud, and other financial crimes under state law. Criminal charges have not been filed.
  19. DC AG Incitement Criminal Investigation The DC Attorney General, Karl Racine announced a criminal investigation into Trump’s alleged role in provoking the Jan. 6th riots.
  20. Fulton County, Georgia Criminal Election Influence Investigation The Fulton County DA’s Office has opened a criminal investigation into attempted election interference by Trump.
  21. Westchester, New York Criminal Investigation of Trump Organization Golf Course. Investigation as to whether the Trump Organization misled local officials on the property values of its golf course in order to reduce its taxes.
  22. National Archives Investigation: Mishandled Classified Material

The National Archives has reportedly asked the DOJ to examine whether Trump mishandled classified White House records in violation of the Presidential Records Act. The Archives recovered the classified materials when it retrieved fifteen boxes of official records from Trump’s Florida residence.

Update-1: On May 12, 2022, the New York Times reported that the Justice Department has started a “grand jury investigation into whether classified White House documents that ended up at former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida home were mishandled,” and that the grand jury has issued at least one subpoena. That subpoena is to the National Archives to obtain the classified documents.

Update-2: On Aug. 8, 2022, FBI agents searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. The agents were reportedly searching for evidence of missing classified and other government documents that Trump allegedly took with him after leaving office. On Aug. 11, Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed in public remarks that he had personally approved the search.

The US Department of Justice says releasing details about the warrant used to raid Donald Trump’s Florida home could cause “irreparable damage” to its investigation.

  • FBI agents searched Mar-a-Lago to find out if Mr Trump improperly handled government records when he left office. Eleven sets of classified files were recovered from the search.
  • Will Cain on Fox News quoted Richard Nixon: “When it comes to classified documents, famously, President Nixon said, that if the president does it, that it is not illegal. Is that not truly the standard when it comes to classified documents? The president has the ability to at any time declassify anything.” However, he also said “there’s a procedure that the president must follow.”
  • When President Nixon resigned over Watergate in 1974, he wanted to take his documents to his home in California, including his tape recordings.
  • Congress realized it would not have access to that material, and they also feared it could be destroyed. So, legislators passed the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act, which made all of Nixon’s material public property.
  • In 1978, Congress passed the more sweeping Presidential Records Act that has been the standard ever since.
  • Before Nixon, a president could take home whatever document they wanted.

“Every president, when they leave office, those records that have been created by the president and his staff are presidential records that go to the National Archives,” said Jason R. Baron, former director of litigation at the National Archives. “The owner is the American people.”

Donald Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

  • ANDREW EBORN – RIGHTING WRONGS
    GET IN TOUCHAndrew believes that there are many injustices which do not get the
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    focusing on the injustice and assisting to promote, Andrew is keen to
    give an initial helping hand in any way he can make possible.If there are particular issues you would like Andrew Eborn to
    investigate please provide information here so he may be able to
    assess if he can provide you with help.
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© Andrew Eborn 2022