“Liz, I think I can see a growth opportunity in Canada”

As businesses grow, so do the scale of challenges they face.

The rewards for overcoming these challenges – also grow exponentially.

It’s what makes business exciting, no matter how big or small you are.

One such exciting time in growth is when a business is set to establish an international foothold.

Taking a business to the global stage can feel like strapping it to a rocket.

Whether its: fresh markets and talent pools to tap into; or the consolidation of the business as a world-wide player. There’s lots of out there to get excited about.

But before the excitement. there are many key decisions to make sure that this rocket does what it’s supposed to do.

It’s important to get them all correct; as mistakes can be very costly (just ask Elon Musk!)

So, for businesses looking to make that move – what are the main things to consider before the big countdown?

1. Getting the details right

International expansion is all about the details.

Every single aspect of the move needs to be pored over to make sure that your launch is as successful as can be.

Things you should look closely at include:

  • Setting up an international entity
    For many businesses expanding overseas, it makes sense to set up an international entity to manage their business in that jurisdiction. This offers inherent advantages by: operating in fluency with domestic law, situating the associated risk in the international entity rather than the business at home – and many others.
  • Setting up your HR requirements
    Managing a comprehensive HR system is, itself, a challenging task. When a company begins to operate abroad a number of new considerations come into play. This includes things like: labour regulations, employee rights, benefits requirements and governmental stance.
  • How to deal with paying employees, accounting, tax and financial compliance
    As with the above, different jurisdictions have different laws in place relating to financial compliance. Something as simple as having a payroll of employees, can become incredibly more complicated when transposed to a new country when all things are considered.

In each case, you’ll need to be up to date with the latest know-how to make sure that you don’t experience any last minute technical issues.

2. Keeping your key players in the game

People are what truly make businesses tick.

As a result, it’s no surprise when a business is set to expand into new territories; they earmark some of their best people to guide the process.

Having your key players in the game can be the difference between a good move and a runaway success.

For individuals the culture shock that comes with moving to a new country can be difficult as it is – and it’s something that they have to contend with alongside ensuring business success.

Things you might need to consider include:

  • Making sure employees have accommodation and assistance with their move
  • Helping top employees to adapt to their new local culture
  • Finding schools for employees’ children who are along for the ride

There are many other such issues (some of which you might not pre-empt) that might impact your employees when a big move is in the offing.

It’s important to do everything you can to make sure that your key players are ready to make the jump!

3. IP can be a bridge

Intellectual property is perhaps at it’s most valuable when it comes to international expansion.

When a range of different things are all in flux behind the scenes (see above); intellectual property is perhaps what remains the most consistent.

Brands, inventions, creativity and designs – if well looked after – can present a familiar appearance in the fresh market enticing new customers and hires to jump aboard.

The key point here is that IP does need to be looked after in this process, and should be a serious consideration when a company enters into a new space.

Things to consider include:

  • Making sure that your trade marks are registered in the new jurisdiction (and that translated versions are too!)
  • Reviewing your business critical IP and creating the relevant structures to protect it in new territories (e.g trade secrets management)
  • Setting up the relevant licensing agreements for using IP held at home, in the international entity
  • And much more

The effort in doing so is worth it – as setting up a business abroad with an established trove of IP can seriously boost your growth.

How to Expand a Business Globally: Countdown

There are many things that come into play when a business expands beyond its original territory, and each of these challenges require both time, attention and know-how.

So for those companies dreaming of world-wide expansion and success – remember it’s important to keep your feet on the ground whilst you work it out.

Making Your International Expansion a Success

For those looking to take their business to the next level, Virtuoso Legal are delighted to announce an event in conjunction with Blueback Global and LSS Relocation taking place in London on the 14th of June.

The theme, of the event (if you haven’t already guessed) is Making Your International Expansion a Success and FREE tickets are available on Eventbrite using the link below.

Top experts from each company will cover, in more detail, the points made above – including our very own Philip Partington in relation to harnessing IP during a big move.

There will also be the opportunity to network with other businesses attending the event who are looking to go global.

For more information, and to reserve a FREE ticket, click the link below.

Reserve Your Place

We look forward to seeing some of you at the event.

Please subscribe to our newsletter below to receive updates from our IP experts directly to your inbox.

How to Expand a Business Globally: 3 Key Considerations was written by Dr. Martin Douglas Hendry

The post How to Expand a Business Globally: 3 Key Considerations appeared first on .

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Virtuoso Legal Newsletter April – One Day…!


Isn’t incredible how time flies? With May’s arrival we’re 1/3 of the way through 2018 in the blink of an eye.

It also means that GDPR is at the door – and by the time you receive our next newsletter we will all be operating under a new data protection regime.

For IP and data protection geeks like us this is very exciting (but equally uninteresting, we understand, for those less so inclined!)

Looking back on April – it was a busy month, with a score of highlights. So without further ado – we’ll get started.

Virtuoso Legal is 11 Years Old!

One day, eleven years ago I founded Virtuoso Legal. I did this as a response to the lack of specialist service in larger law firms for IP.

We set out to do more than simply register peoples trade marks and ideas – which always seemed to be an afterthought in large commercial firms.

Instead we aimed to work closely with businesses to help them create, grow and protect what it was that made them truly unique. In doing so we’ve seen some incredible successes – some of whom will be reading this newsletter right now.

It’s been incredibly validating to how the firm has gone from strength to strength – and in the process how the industry at large is catching up in offering more tailored and personal service. (But we’ll still always look to be one step ahead!

Here’s to the next 11 years!

No Newsletter is Complete Without Mentioning GDPR

(And it might pop up a couple more times, I’m afraid!)

If you’ve not been made aware so far – new EU regulations come into effect on the 25th of May concerning the protection of personal data.

It’s called the GDPR and there are a number of things that businesses need to think about and do to be compliant. (We won’t bore you with the details here. as I’m sure you’re more than familiar now! Check out the blog below.)

If you would like to talk to one of our team about this click the button, drop Martin an email and we’ll do what we can to help.

Updates and Blogs from March

April had a few articles for your next coffee break…

(GDPR): What Do You Need to Do
Part 4: Contracts, Documentation and Accountability

In the fourth part of our GDPR mega-post Dr. Martin goes over the general guidance that has been offered in relation to contracts that need to be in place between businesses and partners – as well as documentation and accountability you should look to have in place.

This is really the “business end”, as it were, of GDPR. It’s important to get it right. We would be more than happy to help if you have any questions.

Read More

Brand Breakdown 001 Under Armour

The biggest brands in the world are built upon some of the best trade marks.

In this new series of “Brand Breakdowns” Dr. Martin analyses businesses’ key trade marks and how a business’ registered IP can truly become their “brand bedrock”.

In this first edition, Under Armour’s resolute brand falls under the microscope.

Read More

Talking International Trade, Brexit and more with the UK200

2018 is very much a year of change, (as you can probably tell by now)! No one is perhaps more challenged by these impending changes than exporters who will not only have to think about changes in IP because of Brexit – but also data protection when it comes to overseas partners!

Not to panic! Plenty to be done, but as my conversation with the guys at UK200 concludes – it’s all about getting hands dirty when it comes to your priorities.

Read More

[Webinar] Kirsten and Martin Discuss GDPR and Brexit Open to Export

In tandem with the above my right-hand Kirsten and Dr. Martin presented a webinar in and around the same area for our good friends at Open to Export.

In the webinar, Kirsten and Martin go into a lot more depth about it all. So for those that prefer the advanced “podcast” version – this is your port of call!

Read More

Virtuoso’s World of IP Round Up April 2018World IP Day

Finally, there’s all of the IP news from around the web in our monthly World of IP Round Up! Lots of interesting tales here, from KitKats to Monkey Selfies (don’t ask!)

However, what was most significant for me this month was World IP Day, which this year was themed around supporting women in gaining access to innovation and creativity through IP.

Not only was it fantastic to see so many events and celebrations around IP; but doubly so focused on how it can genuinely secure and empower women. It really gave pause for thought (even if it was only for one day!)

One day, we will celebrate this everyday. It’s something the team at Virtuoso Legal will strive toward as we move into the future. Truly inspirational.

Read More

Thanks. Dr. Martin for the updates!

And without further ado – that’s it!

Bye for now!

You can call me on:

0113 237 9900

or email me at:


Look forward to hearing from you!

– Liz

To receive this update earlier and directly directly to your inbox, sign up below.

Virtuoso Legal Newsletter April – One Day…! was written by Liz Ward

The post Virtuoso Legal Newsletter April – One Day…! appeared first on .

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Many contemporary businesses are built upon an idea which emerged out of it’s own “eureka” moment.

Coming up with a revolutionary idea is hard; but even harder is the task that follows – protecting and nurturing this idea as the foundation of a business.

Virtuoso Legal’s principal, Liz Ward, appeared in Elite Business Magazine alongside other experts within the field to offer some illuminating insights in this regard.

To read the article, click the link below.

Read the Article

To contact our team of intellectual property solicitors please call:


 0113 237 9900

Please subscribe to our newsletter below to receive updates from our IP experts directly to your inbox.

[Update] Liz discusses how to Protect Business Ideas in Elite Business Magazine was written by Dr. Martin Douglas Hendry

The post [Update] Liz discusses how to Protect Business Ideas in Elite Business Magazine appeared first on .

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With World IP Day at the back end of the month, and a host of news over the past 30 days – April was another interesting month for IP aficionados around the globe.

With an eye on all the IP news from across the web, without further ado – here is April’s World of IP Round Up.

World of IP Round Up: The Big Ones World IP Day: A World-wide Celebration of Female Innovators

Thursday the 26th of April was World IP Day, which saw a range of celebrations showing how trade marks, designs, copyright and patents impact everyday life.

This year’s theme was “Powering Change: Women in Innovation and Creativity” – looking specifically how female excellence, creativity and IP have gone (and continue to go) hand-in-hand.

This included a host of events around the globe, and the landmark announcement that the UK has ratified the United Patent Court agreement. This agreement, should the UPC be finalized, will ensure that invention in the UK and Europe is supported and safeguarded for years to come. (And that more pressingly, the frustrating and time-expensive process of protecting inventions via the EPO becomes a thing of the past).

WIPO director Francis Gurry delivered a message encouraging more support for women in innovation and creativity

The UK ratifies the United Patent Court Agreement

Nestlé Can’t Catch a Break!

One of the most interesting areas in trade mark law concerns the protection of non-traditional types of signs.

Whether it’s the unique smell found in a store, or a colour synonymous with a brand like Cadbury’s distinctive purple hue – each have an interesting story to tell when it comes to enforcement.

Nestlé executives will have probably turned a similar shade of purple this month as Mondelez’s complaint concerning the four-fingered Kit-Kit shape mark was upheld by the European Court of Justice. The decision has, once and for all, undermined the trade mark (registered in 2006) which will now likely be declared invalid. Mondelez will be delighted with this result, which many see as the riposte to Nestlé’s previous attempt to invalidate Cadbury’s aforementioned colour mark.

Reuters UK detail the outcome of Nestle’s Appeal to the European Court of Justice

No riding off into the sunset for this trade mark infringer…

There is trade mark infringement; and then there is trade mark infringement. In a quite remarkable ruling, Harley-Davidson won in its largest ever trade mark claim against Michigan based SunFrog.com. Sun Frog are a company that allow customers to print: on-demand t-shirts, mugs and other customisable items. With the ability to print custom items comes the capacity for massive copyright infringement. It would appear that Sun Frog were not forthcoming in limiting Harley Davidson’s damage as widespread infringement was found to be occurring even Sun Frog had opposed a preliminary injunction on grounds that they had stopped infringing. It would appear that this rebellious attitude to infringement comes at a great cost – as Sun Frog now face a permanent injunction against selling infringing designs and a bill for £19.2 million in damages for wilful counterfeiting.

Ride Apart take the lead on this mammoth case

Closure, finally(?): Naruto the Monkey, PETA, and The Photographer

Can a monkey own copyright in a image it has taken of itself? Surprisingly, as a consequence of PETA’s determination to assert Naruto the Monkey’s perceived rights, this is a question that has been causing consternation in legal circles for many years. Finally, however the question may have found its answer as a judgment made by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco establishes a precedent in US law that: humans can hold copyright, and animals can’t. Of particular note was the Judge’s comment upon PETA’s attempt to dismiss the case – where the organization was criticised for appearing to abandon Naruto’s claims in favour of public image self-preservation. (Say that fast three times!) It remains to be seen whether PETA will appeal the ruling.

Petapixel pick apart PETA’s perceived petulance

World of IP Round Up: The Best of the Rest Technology

Alibaba files trademark lawsuit against Dubai firm behind ‘Alibabacoin’ | @Reuters https://buff.ly/2JeWnSG

“Alibabacoin” Denies Trademark Infringement | @ETHNews_  https://buff.ly/2qk6cXs

Creepy, or convenient? Amazon Echo and Google Home patents show how they could compromise your privacy | @techradar https://buff.ly/2IpTltp

USA: TiVo v. Comcast: Round II | @IPBrief https://buff.ly/2uJWq5I

Microsoft Pledges to Let Joint Venture Partners Keep the Patents | @technology  https://buff.ly/2q7BAYl

Will the Shutdown of 123Movies Change Piracy? | https://buff.ly/2qhAGIW

Google Patents a ‘Digital Babysitter’ | https://buff.ly/2IADRTw

Yes, These Chickens Are on the Blockchain! Food trace-ability solution derived from the emerging technology | @businesshttps://buff.ly/2JwU25x

PUBG creator continues to protect its runaway hit by filed suit against NetEase for copyright and trademark violations | @AndroidPolice  https://buff.ly/2qhOHYa

VirnetX Awarded $502.6 Million in Fourth Jury Trial against Apple, as Exchange Continues | @ipwatchdog https://buff.ly/2JAbh6h

Microsoft Outlines Their Approach to IP | @ComputerWeekly https://buff.ly/2JKceZP

Are Telegram Turning a Blind Eye to Piracy? | @AndroidPolicehttps://buff.ly/2IUMEQv

Blocking Entire App Stores Would be the Most Dramatic Anti-piracy Act Yet | @BGR https://buff.ly/2JPSt2S

5 New Registered Trademarks for Apple in the US including: Animoji, Today at Apple, more | @PatentlyApple https://buff.ly/2EVh4jd

Apple Wins Patents for Devices with Foldable Displays and more | @PatentlyApple https://buff.ly/2vsP0UY

Samsung Patents its first “iPhone X clone” | @cultofmac https://buff.ly/2voO7ge

Facebook Recover Key Domains after Dispute | @IPProTIhttps://buff.ly/2JZfVuK

Oracle Own the Trade Mark to “JavaScript”, and They’re Not Afraid to Enforce it. | @TechRepublic https://buff.ly/2qIZI46

German FCJ declares AdBlock Plus Legal | @ipkat https://buff.ly/2JdFYgj

Susman Takes on Cisco Over Network Automation Patents | @TheRecorderNews https://buff.ly/2HezcXd

What Apple’s Curved iPhone Could Look Like In Concept Renders | @DesignTAXI https://buff.ly/2HikHBB

Apple’s Internal Memo Warning Employees Against Leaking Secrets Gets… Leaked | @designtaxi https://buff.ly/2JhinLP

Unstoppable Exploit in Nintendo Switch Opens door to Homebrew and Piracy | @TechCrunch https://buff.ly/2KaE2a3

Scientists Plan Huge European AI hub to Compete with US | @guardian  https://buff.ly/2Hm0yyO

Ford Looking to Patent a Car with Built-in Electric Motorcycle | @DigitalTrends https://buff.ly/2Km4gq9


Nasdaq Options Trading Patents Challenged by Rival MIAX Exchange | @business https://buff.ly/2q3VsM2

Lufthansa Lands Successfully in UDRP dispute | @IPProTI  https://buff.ly/2qona6h

MillerCoors Respond to Stone Brewing’s lawsuit, labelling case as ‘Meritless’ | Brewbound.com https://buff.ly/2v7c1fR

Acrimonious split between Chef and Restaurant Chain Rumbles on in the Courts | @grubstreet https://buff.ly/2HaMZ4v

Trade Mark Company told to stop calling itself ‘Number One’ |  @LawSocietyGazet https://buff.ly/2JGRj9T


China Tightens Up Control over IP being Transferred out of the Country | @OpenGov_Asia https://buff.ly/2JjN2ZM

China launches WTO challenge against US Intellectual Property Tariffs | @ChannelNewsAsia https://buff.ly/2JZfNvg

China Drives International Patent Applications into Overdrive; Demand also Rising for Trademark and Industrial Design Protection | @WIPO https://buff.ly/2JoM1yM

China to Adopt System of Punitive Damages for Intellectual Property Rights Infringements | @usnews https://buff.ly/2qrDzYC

Why China is a Leader in Intellectual Property: an Excellent Run Down from BRINK | @BRINKNewsNow https://buff.ly/2vElUBW

15 specialised IP Tribunals Now Open for Business in China | LimeGreenIP News https://buff.ly/2KabrBo

Why is the U.S. accusing China of Stealing Intellectual Property? | @MarketWatch https://buff.ly/2qbEM5z

BlackBerry CEO predicts China will increase IP protections as it develops more of its own | @cnbc https://buff.ly/2uWfoX7

Shenzhen court issues written Judgment in Huawei v Samsung case | @Ipkat https://buff.ly/2JpRRAd

China’s Top Court Rules in Favour of Dior in Trade Mark Case https://buff.ly/2I0yuQS

European Commission Wants to Kill Off Thousands of .EU Web Domains due to Brexit | https://buff.ly/2GOgvJH

Protecting Trade Secrets in Europe | @ipwatchdog https://buff.ly/2IXVugf

Opinion: European Copyright Law Isn’t Great. It Could Soon Get a Lot Worse | @EFF https://buff.ly/2HpSeut

Brexit – European Commission Notice regarding .EU domain names | https://buff.ly/2K8agCy

Monsanto loses Indian legal battle over GM cotton patents | @stltodayhttps://buff.ly/2HfgcLn

In China, IP can be the difference between a rich writer and a poor writer | @ipkat https://buff.ly/2JE0WpT

“BLACK FRIDAY”: No longer a Trade Mark in Germany, Just a day for Special Shopping Deals | https://buff.ly/2qRBDbg

Canada’s new IP strategy Wisely Tackles Abuse of Patents and Trademarks | @globeandmail https://buff.ly/2I3cceY

At Home

UK Government Urged to Protect Intellectual Property Rights after Brexit | @Independent_ie https://buff.ly/2qjNKgY

IP and the British Digital Games Industry | @The_IPO https://buff.ly/2GzA38Q

What was the 1st ever UK patent? – https://buff.ly/2H5njqr

Protecting Design Post-Brexit – Some Small Steps in the Right Direction? | @Lexology https://buff.ly/2HUDpCY


Versace Being Sued by an Indie British Brand Over Persistent “Pattern of Copying” | @TheFashionLaw https://buff.ly/2pNa2Ym

What is Really Going on in that Alleged Yeezy Trademark Battle | @TheFashionLaw https://buff.ly/2pyeg6F

Kendall, Kylie Jenner Vintage T-shirt Case Reaches Mediation | @TheFashionLaw https://buff.ly/2qb1Eln

“Off-White” Files Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit against Counterfeiters | @TheFashionLaw https://buff.ly/2qczGpp

Virgil Abloh’s Off-White and the Power (and Problems) of a Ubiquitous Logo | @TheFashionLaw https://buff.ly/2EA19qd

Forever 21 Gets Flak For Possibly Copying Designer’s Typographic T-Shirt | @designtaxi https://buff.ly/2GHTufI

Levi Strauss sues Kenzo for trade mark infringement | @TheFashionLaw https://buff.ly/2qgiY8T

UGG manufacturer awarded $5m in design patent infringement case |  @WorldIPReview https://buff.ly/2qwfsZ1

Following the “Coty vs. Amazon” decision, another Luxury Brand has won a case against a Retailer, Stopping it from being Sold in their Store | @thefashionlaw https://buff.ly/2HMFQrk

The Relationship Between Luxury Resale and Luxury Brands is Rocky | @TheFashionLaw https://buff.ly/2v7B5U5

Almost 10 Years Later, Gucci and Guess Make Peace in Global Legal War | @TheFashionLaw https://buff.ly/2JZo0jd

Oregon Man Sentenced for Nike counterfeits, Selling Fakes Amongst Authentic Rare Shoes | @ipproTI https://buff.ly/2HnlRjy

Amazon Slapped with *Another* Counterfeiting Lawsuit Over Look-Alike, Sound-Alike Private Label https://buff.ly/2HhGMjZ

Bible Reference can’t save TM applicant in Under Armour Opposition | @WorldIPReview https://buff.ly/2qXkBt7

PopSugar Allegedly Stole, Tried to Monetize Millions of Influencer Photos | @TheFashionLaw https://buff.ly/2JQsUP8


Free Masterclass Has Apple Logo Designer Rob Janoff | @designtaxi https://buff.ly/2pT3bNI

How do you Brand that which is “Brandless”? | @TheFashionLaw https://buff.ly/2EAsBV1

How The Coca-Cola Bottle Got Its Trademark Curvy Design | @designtaxi https://buff.ly/2HoOLMM

The Typefaces Behind Iconic Brands | @designtaxi https://buff.ly/2v78pdL


A Landslide of Classic Art Is About to Enter the Public Domain | @TheAtlantic https://buff.ly/2GHWggF

“The Man from Earth: Holocene” Producers Made $45,000 from Self-Pirating their Movie | @Variety https://buff.ly/2GKh8s1

Cleveland Indians to Stop Using Chief Wahoo Logo in 2019 | @ipwatchdoghttps://buff.ly/2Iry7vB

Behind its Laid-back Image, Coachella Aggressively Protects its Trademark | @latimes https://buff.ly/2v6xkhA

In-N-Out burgers sues Sydney upstart over name | @smh https://buff.ly/2qFm7z1

Amazon Charges Ahead With Priciest US $1 Billion ‘Lord Of The Rings’ Series | @designtaxi https://buff.ly/2qHfY5n

DJ Khaled is Trying to Trademark his Son’s Name | @NME https://buff.ly/2Hap5md

Nintendo’s New Patent Describes A Joyfully Weird Multi-Screen Game System | @FortuneMagazine https://buff.ly/2H20Er7

Sony sues Knee Deep Brewing Co. over ‘Breaking Bad’-inspired Beer | @sacbee_news https://buff.ly/2JTQfQ6

Everything Else

La Liga assist Belgian Pro League in their Goal to Defend against Piracy |@tbotweets https://buff.ly/2It0Ek2

Baseball-related Patents from more than a Century Ago | @BostonGlobehttps://buff.ly/2GPwMSY

Liverpool FC sues American Soccer Academy Red Slopes Soccer | @IPProTI https://buff.ly/2vlppNx

Fearless Girl to be Moved due to … Viability Concerns; Following a History of Copyright Complaints from the “Charging Bull” artist | @IPKat https://buff.ly/2qPR9VI

Craig Cosby: The Man America Needs to Stop The Counterfeiters? | @Forbes https://buff.ly/2qTlLG3

Inspired by Nature! Inventors look to Humpback Whales to make a more Efficient Wind Turbine | @ipwatchdog https://buff.ly/2HlC08V

Can you Protect a Tattoo with IP? | https://buff.ly/2HFbmHN

Piracy 3.0: The Good, the Bad and Kodi | @variety  https://buff.ly/2KcsoLF

Neil deGrasse Tyson Asks Court to End Ex-Business Partner’s Copyright Lawsuit | @THRhttps://buff.ly/2K0GYFY

Lionel Messi Scores Trademark Goal at EU Court | @businesshttps://buff.ly/2vQbNKo #WorldIPDay

LeBron James’ Company Sued for Trademark Infringement | https://buff.ly/2HRKXX5

We will see you for next month’s World of IP Round-Up.

To contact our team of intellectual property..

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Brand Breakdown 001 Under Armour image via MarylandGovPics on Flickr

A registered trade mark (or indeed, set of registered trademarks) is the bedrock of each of the world’s biggest brands. Whether it’s a logo, slogan or other brand assets – these trade marks let people know what a brand promises.

In this ongoing series, our intellectual property specialists look at how some of the world’s most innovative businesses have built world-beating brands upon registered trade marks.

Brand Breakdown 001 Under Armour

In 1996 Under Armour Inc. was founded in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Under Armour have since become known for producing sports apparel, as well as shoes, technology and associated services.

The company began when its founder Kevin Plank had become frustrated with the performance of cotton-based shirts as an American football player. This led to the invention of Under Armour’s first t-shirt using a new fabric that Plank engineered to make athletes more comfortable during exercise.

Specifically, the clothing was worn as a layer underneath athletic outerwear and was designed to help remove sweat from the body. Calling this product “Under Armour”, Plank avoided potential negative connotations associated with its utility – instead focusing on its positive aspect, positing the product as a unique protective layer under athletic clothing.

Under Armour’s offering has since expanded considerably – covering a range of outerwear more generally, and apparel and equipment for a range of different sports.

Since being founded, the brand has risen to a market capitalisation of around $7 billion as a publicly listed company.

The Trade Marks

The centrifuge of this brand in the UK consists of three registered trade marks. These are the word mark “UNDER ARMOUR” (mark UK00002537474 in class 18, 25 and 28), it’s logo (mark UK00002527477 in class 18, 25 and 28) and “HOVR” (mark UK00003261002 in class 25).[1]

The first two marks protect Under Armour’s principal identity assets in; leather goods and sports bags (Class 18); the wider category of clothing, footwear and sporting apparel (Class 25); and sporting equipment and apparatuses (Class 28).

Registered mark “HOVR”, on the other hand, is only registered in Class 18, covering solely footwear. HOVR being a range of footwear produced by Under Armour that include a range of technology (e.g. air pockets in the sole to reduce impact, and Under Armour’s material technology).


Analysis: Messages, Meanings and Markets

When looking at a brand a distinction should be made between:

  • the products and services offered under a mark; and,
  • the broader meanings the brand promises customers for buying these products and services

Many successful brands in the past have refer to higher-order meanings to achieve this effect.

For example – Apple did not talk about the specifics of their computers, but instead encouraged its patrons to: “Think Different”, and celebrate the “Crazy Ones”. “Apple” as a brand and logo originally references Isaac Newton’s “Apple” that led him to the discovery of gravity. There is also a biblical inference there too.

You get the computer, but then you also become an Apple person – someone who shares the same creative and pioneering attitudes as those the brand proposes. In this way, what we buy says a lot about who we are: to others, and to ourselves.


As previously stated, “Under Armour” had initially simply described the utility of the marquee product – but now, as a trade mark, the name encompasses the entire brand offering.

This expanded offering has, furthermore, been supported by the growth of Under Armour’s patent library – critically examined by PatSnap, here – covering a range of cutting-edge innovations applied to their products.

When the meanings associated with Under Armour (aside from their products) are considered in this way, the registered trade mark can be viewed as an asset that is unique amongst its peers.

Crucially, where other brands had previously placed emphasis on increased athletic output; “Under Armour” stands apart – positioning its meanings were associated instead with increased resilience.

“Armour” does not help you go first or attack with more strength. Instead, it better protects you from damage – helping you resist harm. This meaning is then supported by the utility of the product.

This represented a whole new semantic territory for this section of the market. The rising popularity of personal health activities and combat sports where resilience is essential was the perfect environment for Under Armour to capitalize on this untapped meaning. As such, it is no surprise to see Under Armour gain ground in sporting areas where resilience and strength (both physically and psychologically) are key.

The “Under Armour” logo mark, as registered with the UKIPO


Under Armour’s logo similarly signifies the meaning outlined above. The logo can be perceived in three different ways – in order of abstraction:

  1. two identical interlinked curves that form a “U” and an “A” – the initials of the brand
  2. a “chain-link”, as seen in a suit of armour
  3. (very abstractly) as a human figure with arms and legs in a “lifting”, or “celebratory” position

In each case, the mark figuratively supports the meanings described above, in tandem with the “UNDER ARMOUR” word mark.

Across (a), (b) and (c) – there is a visual sense of balance as well as inward pressure and strength. Furthermore, (b) has a denotative meaning of strength and fortitude by visually referencing chain-link armour. And, in its most abstract (and tenuous) sense in (c), the mark references weight-lifting, or a human figure in a celebratory pose – the consequence of the resilience the product provides.

Crucially, as with the word mark, these meanings are high-order enough to adapt to the progression of Under Armour from a company offering a singular specialist product to once that fortifies its patrons with cutting-edge products across the board.[2]



From a quick review, it becomes clear that – in its two principle registered trade marks – Under Armour has ample bedrock for an innovative athletic apparel brand.

To achieve brand consistency – these core assets would then be followed-up (and not undermined) through a range of other touch-points. This might include things such as:

Amongst a host of other brand touch points.

For the sake of brevity, these other touch points will not be analysed at this time – but will be explored in further entries to this series.

It tends to be that the world’s most successful brands employ a high degree of consistency across the entirety of their activities and spend a lot of resources doing so. Ultimately, the focus is on creating a brand that is so coherent that they are instantly recognised and trusted – on a world-wide basis.

The key to ensure this activity is successful; is that it is harmonious with the key brand assets – the trade marks. Furthermore, as these are predicated upon registered trade marks – the brand is then strongly protected by intellectual property rights.

In this case, Under Armour’s registered trade marks are a set of brand assets which are as resilient as the meanings they promise to their consumers.

To talk to our intellectual property specialists about registering your trade marks, please call:

0113 237 9900

[1] In the US the company has 109 trade mark records to their name, representing a range of live and dead marks in individual classifications.

[2] This flexibility may be reason why many brands now tend to avoid overly decorative logos – preferring more “generic” logos – as they are better capable to adapt to changes in the business. (For example, consider the old Google logo, and the new redesign. It would seem implausible for all of Google’s services to fall under its prior visual identity.)

Brand Breakdown 001 Under Armour was written by Dr. Martin Douglas Hendry

The post Brand Breakdown 001 Under Armour appeared first on .

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Virtuoso Legal Newsletter, March 2018: Something for a Rainy Day


March was a busy month for Virtuoso Legal. (Although it must be said, busy months have somewhat become somewhat the norm around here!)

We hope that you’ve been able to enjoy a similar gathering of momentum this year. As always, if there’s anything we can do to help, let us know.

With that being said, here’s a quick run through of our main updates this month.

A Big Thank You!

I would just like to extend a massive thank you to everyone who came to our meet and greet last Monday at the new office.

Moving has been quite the odyssey; and now our new signs are up, Northside Business Park finally feels like home!

If you were unable to make it on Monday, and would be interested in catching up – don’t hesitate to get in touch. It would be great to touch base.

GDPR Reminder (Just Around the Corner)

With April well and truly here, the world has roughly a month and a half to prepare for GDPR. This involves gaining a solid understanding of the data that your business collects and uses – and making sure that everything you do is lawful under the new rules on the 25th of May.

If you need any assistance or guidance, give Martin an email, and he will let you know how we can help you.

Email Martin

Updates and Blogs from March

March had a few articles for your next coffee break.

GDPR: What Do You Need to Do, Part 3 – The Rights of Individuals

One of the most important and eye-opening parts of the GDPR are the rights of data subjects.

Simply put, people now have more rights, and the ones they had in the past are much stronger than they were before.

This update to our GDPR “megapost” runs you through each one – helping you understand what your new responsibilities are.

Read More

Virtuoso Legal Secure Judgment for Zaap Restaurants

In March, Virtuoso Legal successfully secured judgment for Zaap restaurants in relation to a unique design right infringement.

Virtuoso Legal are delighted to work alongside innovative and unique businesses like Zaap to protect the big ideas that set them apart. We look forward to sharing more selected work highlights like this in the future.

Read More

Virtuoso Legal Attend the Lexis Nexis Legal Awards 2018

Virtuoso Legal’s team attended the Lexis Nexis Legal Awards this month, where they were nominated for the Customer Focus Award.

Whilst, sadly, we did not leave with the prize this time, the team was very pleased and contemplative about our nomination.

Read More

Virtuoso Legal Awarded Twice in the Acquisition International IP Excellence Awards 2018

We did however take two plaudits in the AI Global IP Excellence Awards.

The IP Protect team were recognised as Best IP Disputes Firm – UK and Brand Protection IP Solicitor of the Year – England.

Again, thoughts and feelings from the team can be read in the article.

Read More

Virtuoso’s World of IP Round Up | March 2017

Finally, March was a massive month for IP around the world. A couple of landmark judgments for adidas and Crocs (only one of which walk away with a spring in their step) – and the rumblings of a “trade war” between the US and China rooted in IP theft.

Lots of other updates, besides, highlight just how much IP really underpins the modern economy. Who knows what else will happen this year?

Read More

Thanks. Dr. Martin as always for keeping us updated!

Bye for now!

And with that, March’s Virtuoso Legal newsletter draws to a swift conclusion.

Do remember my door is always open – and Virtuoso Legal are always ready to fight your corner!

Whilst April will have its fair share of rainy days we will do whatever we can to help the sun shine on your business. Until next time!

You can call me on:


0113 237 9900


or email me at:


Look forward to hearing from you!

– Liz

Virtuoso Legal Newsletter March – Something for a Rainy Day was written by Liz Ward

The post Virtuoso Legal Newsletter March – Something for a Rainy Day appeared first on .

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World of IP Round Up: March 2018 | The US and China Square Off Over IP

In the World of IP, a lot can happen in a month.

March was no exception, with the a couple of big clashes and a trade war seemingly averted over the course month.

Without further ado, here’s all the news from the World of IP.

World of IP Round Up: The Big Ones The US and China Square off Over IP

The biggest story of the month was the continuation of tensions rising between the United States of America and China. In recent times, China have demonstrated an pro-active attitude toward IP and have been rapidly accelerating their progress in a number of key areas of innovation. In tandem with this sharp progress has been long-standing accusations of state-sponsored intellectual property theft via a number of means. Over the course of March, the United States (coinciding with a number of more assertive stances on trade) appeared to take the view that this unfair activity could be addressed by implementing strong tariffs against Chinese imports. At the end of the month it now appears that this potential trade war has been averted, with China offering a range of assurances to the wider community to redress the balance. Although, nothing is certain…

  1. Read the Coindesk report explaining how Chinese universities are actively pursuing a range of blockchain patents
  2. QZ report that China have also made strides past the US in relation to deep-learning patents
  3. Business Insider UK report on the importance of IP, in particular, in the emerging dispute between the US and China
  4. CNN Money produce a detailed report on alleged Chinese IP theft in the US
  5. Bloomberg View reported that unilateral actions against China for their IP practices could backfire on the US
  6. Read the Reuters report detailing Chinas’ statement on improving intellectual property protection in light of these claims
  7. The Lowy Institute offered an in-depth review of the position of the US and China in relation to Intellectual Property
As Brexit Rumbles on, the UK’s position on IP draws attention and concern

It’s a bit of a worn drum to state that the one thing about Brexit that is certain, is nothing is certain. Nonetheless as the UK’s exit from the EU approaches, the material conditions for IP are becoming an ever more urgent concern for businesses. However, this month offered some reassuring overtures and results from the government who not only addressed IP directly in recent speeches, but also agreed strong protectons in principle moving forward. In particular, there is good news in relation to trade mark and design protections registered in the EU – which (it looks) will still offer coverage in the UK after Brexit.

  1. Many have been concerned that the UK government have been overlooking IP protection post-Brexit
  2. CityAM suggest that Brexit might be the opportunity the UK needs to thrive on it’s R+D culture
  3. CITMA happily report that IP was a central feature of the Government’s Recent Brexit Speech
  4. World IP Review reports on the positive agreements made in Brexit negotiations for designs and trade marks
Adidas walk away with incredible protection over their “three stripes” mark whereas Crocs’ registered design kicked to the curb

In less auspicious news – the world of shoes was rocked with two IP judgements. Firstly, adidas found themselves receiving a favourable judgment in relation to their iconic “three stripe” mark. Namely, in a case brought against a company who had applied two stripes to their shoes, adidas were found to be correct in their charge of trade mark infringement. As a result adidas might now be able to strongly pressure anyone who deigns to affix any number of stripes on their shoes!

During the same month, the protection around the equally iconic “Croc” has been been revoked, on account of it being in use prior to it being registered. What might this mean for Crocs? Will we see thousands of new legitimate imitators, or will Crocs release a new and innovative design? It remains to be seen.

  1. The New York Times report on adidas’ win in the “Three Stripes” case
  2. World Trade Mark Review Magazine ask, does adidas enjoy “hyperprotection” over stripes on shoes as a consequence of this win?
  3. The General Court confirm the cancellation of Crocs’ registered design.
World of IP Round Up: The Best of the Rest

American companies decry EU geographical marks like “GI Parmigiano Reggiano” from stopping US brands selling products under those names | @ipwatch https://buff.ly/2FAdHmd

When launching a website, there are a few IP pitfalls to avoid | https://buff.ly/2oK61mT

Nintendo Files A New Trademark On Animal Crossing – new game on the way? | @bleedingcool https://buff.ly/2HWxLgX

Your Company’s Real Value Is Hiding in Plain Sight. Here’s How to Find It | @inc https://buff.ly/2Fe30p8

Start-up raises $10m to make video piracy impossible, launching legitimate torrent network | @FinancialReview https://buff.ly/2FeHNYU

Flaunting Logos Is Making A Fashion Comeback | @Forbes  https://buff.ly/2Fogj6l

Lacoste Replaces Its Iconic Alligator Logo To Shed Light On Endangered Species | @designtaxi https://buff.ly/2FTH68B

Tommy Hilfiger blocks “Tommy Heritage” from being registered at the UKIPO | @WorldIPReview https://buff.ly/2FgnOZT

Aussie brewer trademarks the colour of beer. Serious precedent or marketing stunt? | @smh https://buff.ly/2tnrmYS

Dating app Tinder patents it’s unique mechanics amongst rumours of Bumble aquisition | @axios https://buff.ly/2FtpC5a

Then, Tinder suing Bumble in the US for patent infringement, trade mark infringement, and trade dress | @WorldIPReview https://buff.ly/2GLdJFR

Innovative use of a trade mark – McDonalds directing traffic to their outlets using their Golden Arches | @designtaxi https://buff.ly/2FhWDxQ

Vivienne Westwood makes startling admission after copying independent designers | @WorldIPReview https://buff.ly/2FiAIGL

BlackBerry sues Facebook for violating messaging patents | @engadgethttps://buff.ly/2G5bLQw

PepsiCo knock out Teng Yun International UK’s similar mark | @WorldIPReview https://buff.ly/2FiYyGx

Fair play? Owners of Dulwich Hamlet ground kick the team out of their 125 year old home – then register trade marks to stop the team using their name! | @Independent https://buff.ly/2Flw2Uw

A Samsung Galaxy phone with a foldable design? This patent suggests it could be on the way | @valuewalk https://buff.ly/2oNPrTM

US Federal investigators find an increasing number of popular products sold by Walmart and Amazon are counterfeit | @CBSNewshttps://buff.ly/2FCVowB

Woman in Spain arrested for selling a large array of counterfeit Harry Potter goods | @WorldIPReview https://buff.ly/2FvTLxz

Amazon stop selling “Google Chromecast” and then appear to offer copycat alternatives | @WTRmagazine https://buff.ly/2G3Fhpz

Eddie Van Halen Files to Halt Sale of Unreleased Studio Footage | @Loudwire https://buff.ly/2G9MOU0

Free-wheeling inventor learns the hard way about protecting patents | @thecolumbian https://buff.ly/2GhzRY7

POW Entertainment Tries to Register ‘Stan Lee’ Trademark Again |@bleedingcool https://buff.ly/2Gh5ktI

Patent reveals Paypal might expand in to cryptocurrencies | @PatentLawyerMaghttps://buff.ly/2DjPb3u

Amazon respond to claims of being ‘complicit’ to counterfeit goods | @TBOtweetshttps://buff.ly/2FtEfWV

Owner of Blue Ivy trade mark proposed selling mark and business to Beyoncé for $10million. | @DailyMail https://buff.ly/2tySAf2

H&M files complaint for declaratory judgment against graffiti artist, whose work was used in their campaign | @WorldIPReview https://buff.ly/2HvXYBJ

Copycat products: ‘living dangerously’ with intellectual property | @ConversationUK https://buff.ly/2pczbfF

Orange or Orange? The importance of trade mark protection | @Lexology https://buff.ly/2tHpFWr

UK to allow ‘moving image’ trade marks | https://buff.ly/2tDoUgQ

Snap Interactive, quietly settling with Snap over trademark infringement, changes name to PeerStream | @techcrunch https://buff.ly/2HzCbJM

Blockchain For Lawyers – how would it work? | @ArtificialLawya https://buff.ly/2ph5klt

Handbags at dawn! Case between Cult Gaia and Steve Madden hots up in US | @TheFashionLaw https://buff.ly/2pcKgw8

Can you hear the drums, Fernandos? Independent Chicken shop draws ire from Nandos for close resemblance. Shop pleads the “take me out” defence. | @standardnews https://buff.ly/2tNgmUH

Alphabet’s 186 Health Care Patents suggest, giant behind Google is making serious moves into the wellness arena | @Forbes https://buff.ly/2pb1JGh

Walmart’s new patents hint at future where drones tend the farms | @reuters https://buff.ly/2Gw3eWI

A $1.6 billion Spotify lawsuit is based on a law made for player pianos | @verge https://t.co/FdA8UX5E0q

Big Pun’s Widow Is Suing Walmart and Others Over Trademark Infringement | @Complex https://buff.ly/2GtoVa7

Pharrell secures ‘Girl’ trademark’ for clothing. Fashion line likely on the way | @tmlawyermag https://buff.ly/2FFenHF

UK ratifies Hague Agreement for industrial designs | @WorldIPReview https://buff.ly/2FBRsNs

GTA Online to see new life with new trade marks outlining new content to come | @gamespot https://buff.ly/2FJMOcq

MicroLED patents nearly double in a year in South Korea – could be the next big follow-up in screen display technology | @ZDNet https://buff.ly/2u2BBC6

Does this painting infringe this photograph? | @Ipkat https://buff.ly/2HN8THA

B&M brands Kylie Minogue legal claim “greedy” amid trademark battle | @retailgazette https://buff.ly/2FZlvuQ

Millennial Women Are Shunning Fakes More than their Predecessors | @TheFashionLaw https://buff.ly/2G9P8wH

McDonald’s Devices Don’t Infringe Digital Rights Management Patents | @ipwatchdog https://buff.ly/2DIZNcj

123movies shuts down: warns users to stop piracy | https://buff.ly/2DJJJaa

Adidas patent infringement claim against Asics, relating to fitness tracking, is dismissed | @WorldIPReview https://buff.ly/2GP9IQL

Epic Games registers a number of trade marks for hit video game Fortnite | https://buff.ly/2FPjd5s

How blockchain might be used to mitigate the counterfeits | @tbotweetshttps://buff.ly/2FQH9oO

Do you need a .com domain as a new business? | @forbes https://buff.ly/2HV6wT1

H&M Calls Foul on “Vandal” Graffiti Artist’s Threat of Lawsuit | @TheFashionLaw https://buff.ly/2G08YqU

Music piracy up 14% – but signs suggest it may be on the decline overall | @billboard https://buff.ly/2FSwJFa

What Happened To Limewire | @Forbes https://buff.ly/2GTrd2E

Just in case: Amazon patents delivery drones that can react to people screaming and flailing https://buff.ly/2pz4W2F

New patent could hint at the next generation of the Apple pencil | @DigitalTrends https://buff.ly/2G20YFS

Is Kanye West going to lose the trade mark right to “Yeezy”? | @TheFashionLaw https://buff.ly/2pyeg6F

Jamaican songwriter says Miley Cyrus stole ‘We Can’t Stop,’ seeking $300 million | @Reutershttps://buff.ly/2DqRce5

Marvin Gaye’s family wins $5.3m ‘Blurred Lines’ appeal, setting precedent in copyright in music |@worldipreview https://buff.ly/2G2O2PY

First they came for tobacco branding… | @TrademarkNowhttps://buff.ly/2G5SlhI

Bumble ‘swipes left’ on Tinder owner | @BBCNews https://buff.ly/2pJC3Qe

Does this image infringe the second one? |@ipkat https://buff.ly/2pCe5Yg

What’s next for Snapchat? Patents suggest 3D models and mapping of emotions | @digitaltrends https://buff.ly/2FUOQts

“Qiaodan” now Curiously Countersuing Nike For Trademark Infringement | @nicekicks https://buff.ly/2IRow1P

Amazon chases counterfeiters on its platform | @CNET  https://buff.ly/2DxpI6F

Dubai destroys Dh1.19 billions worth counterfeit goods in crack down | @GulfNewsWorld https://buff.ly/2unmdk7

Some tips about international trade mark registrations from Turkey, Russia and Brazil| @_citma https://buff.ly/2I7WgXV

Trademark row over Iceland football chant, T-Shirt producer runs foul of TM owner | @BBCNews https://buff.ly/2GtaZ24

How does the high street get away with close copies of designers work? |@designtaxi https://buff.ly/2I6oS3r

When a new sports star emerges, so do new opportunities for trade marks, merchandise (and unfortunately, copycats!) | @forbes https://buff.ly/2G7JdsG

Match Group Sues Bumble Over Patents and Trade Secrets | @ipwatchdog https://buff.ly/2pMsXCo

The IPO offer a number of case studies of businesses thriving through use of IP | @The_IPO https://buff.ly/2pKMvHq

Injunctive relief for trade mark infringement across social media? | @Ipkat https://buff.ly/2GilToi

US Federal Court find that Google’s Android OS use of Java API packages runs foul of copyright | @ipwatchdog https://buff.ly/2IbHsY9

Analysis: WHOIS blackout “likely” following GDPR enforcement date in May | @WTRmagazine https://buff.ly/2J5bzl4

The Shape of a Lawsuit? | @Ipkat https://buff.ly/2GSDXGr

5 tips for guarding your company against intellectual property threats | @TechRepublic https://buff.ly/2utvkzF

Air Max: how IP forms the foundation of a runaway success | @thefashionlaw https://buff.ly/2GwH0Xh

Chaplain “Sister Jean” lets Loyola-Chicago license her name and image, on the back of basketball success | @espn https://buff.ly/2pOw39a

Nonprofit says Forever 21 used trademark without permission | @kob4 https://buff.ly/2J32ZDF

We will see you for next month’s World of IP Round-Up.

To contact our team of intellectual property solicitors please call:

0113 237 9900

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World of IP Round Up: March 2018 | The US and China Square Off Over IP was written by Dr. Martin Douglas Hendry

The post World of IP Round Up: March 2018 | The US and China Square Off Over IP appeared first on .

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