The top 8 IP stories that shaped the first half of 2019

From growing industries to changing trademark laws, the intellectual property landscape is evolving. Here are the top stories that helped shape the first half of 2019.


1. e-Sports: An untapped market for both brands and law firms

By 2022, e-Sports are expected grow into a $1.8 billion market. Yet, many top brands have low levels of trademark protection. The e-Sports market has been flagged as a prime opportunity for IP law firms to offer customized services for an untapped segment.


2. Influential women in IP 2019: Meet the IP industry’s leading women practitioners

World IP Review recently looked at gender equality through the lens of the Intellectual Property industry. What they found were 80 influential lawyers who broke down barriers to diversity while driving change in the industry.


3. Major changes to Canadian trademark law and practice

Canada’s amended Trademarks Act came into force on June 17, 2019. The revised act introduced many changes to trademark law and practice including Canada’s accession to the Madrid Protocol and the introduction of Nice Classification system for all goods and services.


4. Difficulties face cannabis patents, trademarks, and other forms of intellectual property

Last year, the 2018 Farm Bill made certain hemp-based products legal within the United States. Now in 2019, members of the marijuana industry struggle to overcome new challenges in protecting cannabis patents and trademarks.


5. Supreme court strikes down law barring vulgar trademarks

On June 24, the US Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional a federal law barring the registration of immoral or scandalous trademarks. The decision, in the landmark case Iancu v. Brunetti, holds that the Lanham Act’s prohibition of certain marks violated Frist Amendment rights of free speech.


6. Artificial Intelligence and IP

Spending on Artificial Intelligence systems will reach $77.5 billion in 2022. That’s more than triple what the forecast was for 2018. As the AI industry continues to grow, so do the number of patents for AI inventions.

However, the growth of AI isn’t just a matter for patent protection. IP law and practice are also impacted by the surge of smart technology. AI challenges a lawyer’s duty of competence and requires lawyers to understand the implications of AI. This is true for both the technology used by clients to build products and the technology used to run a law firm.


7. USPTO announces new rule requiring foreign-domiciled applicants and registrants to have a U.S.-licensed attorney

A new rule designed to combat fraudulent submissions, was announced by the United States Patent and Trademark Office at the start of July. The rule requires all trademark applicants, registrants, and parties who reside outside of the U.S. to be represented before the USTPO by a U.S. licensed attorney.


8. Protecting against industrial design infringement:

The bad news is that the problem is getting more common. But there’s good news too.

Due to the exponential increase of marks filed each year, brand owners struggle to register unique and meaningful industrial design trademarks without infringing on existing marks. Luckily, advancements in technology may improve the research process, thanks to Artificial Intelligence.


What’s to come in the remainder of 2019?

  • Brazil to join the Madrid Protocol, WIPO’s international trademark system
  • Brexit outcome: deal or no deal exit from the European Union
  • China, US trade talks