Issue 12 - March 2022

Retail Scanner

Welcome to the Spring edition of the Retail Scanner. Technology and sustainability are the focus of this edition, looking into NFTs, and the recent MetaBirkins case, together with patents and developments around sustainable packaging and self-scanning technology. We also consider the recent UK consultation on exhaustion and some recent EU case law regarding the scope of “retail services” in trade mark filings.

NFTs – what are they and what do they mean for retailers and their IP?

By Lauren Somers

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital tokens stored on the blockchain. In contrast to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, NFTs are often compared to art works or trading cards. In the same way you couldn’t trade one baseball or Pokémon card for another – it wouldn’t be exactly the same and one may be considered to be more valuable than the other…

Hermès and the MetaBirkin: As NFTs herald an advance in technology, can IP law keep up?

By Rachel Platts

The arrival of the metaverse brings yet further challenges for brand owners in a virtual and digital landscape. In the metaverse it is possible to purchase and trade various items and this area is becoming increasingly important for brand owners to explore and monitor…

Sustainable packaging – examples of innovation in the retail sector

By Dr Jennifer Unsworth

The drive to reduce the amount of packaging that is produced, as well as to increase the reliance on packaging which can be re-used and recycled as part of the circular economy has led to significant innovation in the packaging sector…

Self-scanning technology

By Marie Walsh

The food & drink industry is devoting huge resources in the drive towards a circular economy and sustainability in packaging and processes. An extensive study by the EPO study revealed that Europe and US together account for an incredible 60% of all patenting activity worldwide related to plastic recycling and bioplastic technologies…

Are your retail trade marks at risk?

By Kasper Radstake & Susanne Bilderbeek

The EUIPO is taking the view that the retail services, offered by single-brand stores, should not be considered as genuine use of “retail services” as registered in Class 35 of the Nice Classification. Trade mark owners operating single-brand stores are therefore no longer able to enforce their current Class 35 registrations as soon as these registrations are older than five years…

The exhaustion of rights regime and the recent update from the Government

By Rebecca Field & Melissa Buamah

Since 1973 when the UK joined the then European Common Market, the UK has followed an exhaustion of IP rights regime which has enabled the secondary sale and movement of goods within the European Economic Area (‘EEA’). Obviously until the end of December 2020 the UK was part of the EEA…