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Nothing evokes fierce national pride or passionate support quite like sports. While there is little in the way of study of the evolution of sports as it relates to our evolutionary biology, it has been suggested that sports evolved as a ‘replacement’ for the hunting and survival skills and activities necessary for early human existence.

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Thousands if not millions of trademarks are registered round the world every year. It would be beyond miraculous if each year there were not a selection of oversights that in retrospect, are just ridiculously funny. I have collated my top three favourites below. Selecting just three was the real challenge here!

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Around the world, there are different rules regarding the award of damages for different aspects of trademark infringement. Most will take into account considerations such as profits from the goods in question and actual losses suffered by the company.

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There are core fundamentals at the heart of every arena of life and trademark law is no exception. For the trademark attorneys who help their clients create and protect strong brands, communicating these core fundamentals is essential to their role. So what might they want you to understand about trademarks?

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Obtaining a clear idea of how much it will cost to register a trademark in the US (or anywhere for that matter!) is difficult because the answer will always be...it depends. Specifically it depends on how many classes you wish to register across, if it is based on use or intended use, whether you will clear the mark yourself or use the services of a clearance vendor and whether you intend to engage the services of an attorney to manage the clearance and/or filing or use the self-service online options at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

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Amid all of the complexities of the intellectual property world, it can often be the simplest, smallest detail that causes unexpected issues often years after the fact. Never is this more pertinent than in the ownership of trademarks (or any intellectual property). Above all else, trademarks are a commercial asset mostly granted on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis. The caveat to that being that they must be ‘used’ by the person or entity whose name is on the registration and that person or entity must have the legal capacity to own a commercial asset. In the birth and evolution of a business, challenges with those two elements arise surprisingly often….and all round the world!

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One of the surprises in the analysis of the trademark applications of the “Top 200 Law Firms in Europe” is the spectacular growth of applications from China since 2010. There seems to have been a shift in the tide in the Chinese perspective and many new developments that are transforming both the attitude to IP protection within China and accessibility of information to those from outside the region. Perhaps this remodelling of the system has inspired and encouraged more Chinese companies to ‘go global’!

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From the outside, the process of a trademark registration is a relatively straightforward one. You create a product. Give it a name. Decide that you need to protect that name. Run some clearance searches. Discover that your name is not quite as original as you thought. Think a bit more about the name. Find one that is protectable. File it using the online services supplied by many Patent & Trademark Offices. Get registered. Renew as appropriate and repeat across as many regions as you require.

In real life, however, as with so many things it is not as simple in practice as it is in theory.

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In an increasingly competitive world, trademarks are an exceptionally popular option to maintain your corporate identity in a global marketplace where counterfeits of your product are almost an indicator of the level of your success. But how much popularity is too much?

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Some believe that the Irish people were born lucky, but you don’t need luck when it comes to trademarks. You need a thorough strategy, a strong brand name and the help of legal technology.

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