Monday, October 31, 2005

Freeeedom! Gotta love the last day of the fiscal year.
Sony Doesn't Play Well with Others. The Big Picture has an article about Sony DRM entitled "DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts." From the article: "As a music consumer, I find this ridiculous. Why I cannot use a legally purchased CD -- because Sony is miffed at Apple for creating the 2000's version of their Walkman -- is beyond absurd. I am very, very annoyed at this." Exam question: Would this constitute copyright misuse?
This is Just too Funny. See for yourself. Via The Trademark Blog. (Which raises the question: Marty - what's up with the generic name for your blog?)
Um, Fascinating? How Appealing has this post about a recent Fed. Circuit decision. I think this says it all: "Callicrate is the owner of several patents on methods and apparatuses for castrating large animals."
Microsoft Loses One. Reuters reports that "Court won't review Microsoft patent case." From the article: "Microsoft sought review of an appeals court ruling that allows the privately held firm Eolas Technologies Inc. and the University of California to seek royalties based on the foreign manufacture and sale of an infringing software-related product." The AP has more.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Who Knew? The BBC reports in "Strawberry smell trademark denied." From the article: "The court took a different view, and smell experts found that instead of just one aroma, strawberries can in fact have up to five different, distinct scents."
Must Be a Slow News Day. TTAB filings aren't ususually fertile fodder for news copy. The AP reports in "Hershey Co. Challenges Milkdudz Name." From the article: "The double meaning may be clever, but The Hershey Co., maker of Milk Duds candy, is trying to stop a California company from using a sound-alike name for a line of clothing designed to make breast-feeding easier."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Who Greenlighted This One? The Boston Globe reports in "Name game ends up in court as two Foley law firms do battle." From the article: "Foley Hoag, the prestigious law firm whose Boston roots date to 1943, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in federal court yesterday against Foley & Lardner, a Milwaukee firm that opened a Boston office in January. The suit contends that Foley & Lardner's rebranding of itself as, simply, 'Foley' (branding and rebranding being trendy things for law firms to do these days) has caused confusion in the marketplace."
Not My Harry, too. E!Online reports in "'Harry,' Pulp & Radiohead's Wyrd World." From the article:
According to the lawyer for the Wyrd Sisters, the band was tipped off that Goblet used the moniker back in June, when Warners offered the trio $5,000 for name rights. The band, which has been together for 15 years, refused. Warners reportedly upped the offer to $50,000. No dice.
The group then launched their lawsuit, seeking $40 million in damages from Warner Bros., as well as Cocker, Greenwood and Selway. The real Wyrds are also asking that the film be blocked from release on Nov. 18.
Helpful For Those Of Us Researching the 19th Century Social Purity Movement. Not so helpful if you're interested in anything a bit more modern. The AP reports that "Microsoft to Start Online Book Searches." From the article: "The Redmond-based software giant said Tuesday that it will sidestep hot-button copyright issues for now by initially focusing mainly on books, academic materials and other publications that are in the public domain." Reuters has an additional report in "Microsoft joins Yahoo on digital library alliance."
Guess He's Not Trying to Make Friends. Reuters reports in "Justice won't stay RIM patent ruling." From the article: "Chief Justice John Roberts rejected a motion by Research In Motion Ltd to stay a lower court's patent infringement ruling while it considers whether to hear an appeal by RIM."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

More Trouble on the Horizon for Apple? The New York Times reports in "Is Imitation Flattery, Theft or Just Coincidence?" From the article: "As such, Mr. Schwartz said, 'we're going to take all the steps we need to protect our rights.'" Via The Trademark Blog (complete with new look).
Someone Finally Sides with Google. reports that "Writers Side With Google in Scrap." From the article: "Marco said she wanted to include excerpts of her book in the search tool, but her publisher, Simon & Schuster, refused to allow it. Adam Rothberg, a spokesman for Simon & Schuster, said many of its authors do participate in Google Print's opt-in program for publishers, and didn't know why Marco's book wasn't included."

Monday, October 24, 2005

Who Says Patent Law is Boring? reports in "Rubber match" (subscription or day pass required). From the article: "But the story doesn't end there. Four years later, PTI renewed its legal quest, this time filing suit in Illinois against Church & Dwight, the consumer products conglomerate that sells Trojan condoms, which had by then concluded a deal with Reddy to sell a third condom, the Twisted Pleasure -- a condom that has two spirals winding around the main chamber. PTI also filed suit against Intellx in Michigan in March 2005, and in August 2005 the company lodged a complaint against all the parties involved before the International Trade Commission, a federal agency with jurisdiction over anything imported into the United States. (Excluding the ITC complaint, the other cases have all been stayed, pending the outcome of a new case in New Jersey, with the same Joseph Greenaway presiding.)"

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Law School Exam Question: What is a Web Site's Liability for the Ads it Carries? Just came across an ad for this product on a political blog that I won't name here. Of course, the information on the legality of Absinthe contained on this web site is incorrect, as Customs prohibits the importation of Absinthe. So what duty does the unnamed political blog have for the content of the web site being advertised on the blog's site? (I note that the ad is not supplied by Google or another service that automatically serves up ads based on the keywords located on that site. Instead, its through the BlogAds service, which claims to allow you to decide which ads appear on your web site.) Does the statement on the ad submission form that "All ads are subject to publisher's approval. If the ad is rejected, your money will be refunded via Paypal." affect the analysis?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Save the Crackberry! Surely the PTO's initial determinations should be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to issue an injunction that would effectively shut down the Blackberry service for all non-governmental workers.... Reuters reports that "RIM ruling risks US Blackberry shutdown." From the article: "He also noted that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently finished reexamining eight NTP patents and issued initial rulings rejecting 100 percent of the claims."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Now That's a Bit of an Overstatement... E!Online reports in "War of Words over Cruise Site." From the article: "'You can't use somebody's trademark, regardless of what you're saying, if you haven't been given permission,' Kobrin said."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I'd Love to See Google's Litigation Budget. Requters reports that "Publishers throw book at Google, again." From the article: "Five major publishers filed suit against Google Inc. in Manhattan's federal court on Wednesday seeking to block plans to scan copyrighted works without permission." From across the pond, the AP reports in "Google Drops 'Gmail' Name in Britain" that "Google Inc. dropped the 'Gmail' tag from the logo and new account addresses of its free e-mail service in Britain on Wednesday, bowing to the demands of a small British company that claims the U.S. giant has infringed its trademark."
And the Guy's Name is Cashier... Reuters reports that "U.S. court orders music site to change its tune." From the article: "MP3DownloadCity led consumers to believe that they would not be sued if they paid $24.95 for the tutorial with claims like 'Rest assured that File-Sharing is 100 percent legal,' the FTC charged."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

So Should I Have a Contest... for people to count the number of times I violate the rules from "Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes" on my front page?
Start Placing Your Bets... as to how long it will take the Dr. Seuss estate to pull down this mashup of Horton Hears a Who and The Tell-Tale Heart. Via BoingBoing.
I Guess They Won't Be Filing Suit in the Ninth Circuit. What with the Barbie cases and all. Donna reports in "Danger, Wil Wheaton." From the article: "'Your Web site depicts a plush Barney toy in a violent manner or position,' Matthew Carlin wrote Tuesday on behalf of Lyons Partnership, which owns the Barney trademark. 'We are writing to request that you remove this violent content toward Barney on your Web site.' [...]"

Friday, October 14, 2005

One Wonders Whether He Has Actual Use... The New York Times reports in "He Doesn't Make Coffee, but He Controls 'Starbucks' in Russia." From the article: "Starbucks registered its trademark in Russia in 1997, but did not open any coffee shops here. In 2002 Mr. Zuykov filed to cancel the chain's trademark because it had not been used in commerce, and registered it in the name of a Moscow company he represents as a lawyer."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Wal-Mart 2.0. Copyfight reports that "Anthropologie Sues Wal-Mart for Stealing Boho Chic." From the article: "In its complaint, Anthropologie claims that Wal-Mart 'has embarked upon a conscious strategy of copying the designs of others as part of its effort to build its 'cheap chic' line.'"

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Watch Out for Their Privacy Policy. There's a new blog on the block, from right down the street. Daniel J. Solove of George Washington University School of Law has started a new privacy law group blog called Concurring Opinions.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Sounds Like We Need a Telecom-Like System. Reuters reports that "Dispute leads to Internet woes for thousands." From the article: "Like other large, wholesale Internet service providers, Cogent and Level 3 handed off traffic from one network to each other free of charge, until Level 3 said that it was handling too much Cogent traffic."
Sounds Like a Good Outcome. The AP reports that "Court Rules in Favor of Anonymous Blogger." From the article: "In a 34-page opinion, the justices said a Superior Court judge should have required Smyrna town councilman Patrick Cahill to make a stronger case that he and his wife, Julia, had been defamed before ordering Comcast Cable Communications to disclose the identities of four anonymous posters to a blog site operated by Independent Newspapers Inc., publisher of the Delaware State News."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Who Files Patent Lawsuits in Kansas City? (No offense meant to those of you from Kansas City...) Reuters reports that "Sprint Nextel sues Vonage over VOIP patents." From the article: "Sprint Nextel, the third-largest U.S. wireless company, claimed Vonage and Voiceglo Holdings Inc., a unit of Inc. had infringed seven patents relating to voice over data packet technology developed by Sprint."
I'm Surprised Charlie Nesson Didn't Come Up With it First. The AP reports that "Online Lawsuits Fuel Debate in France." From the article: "Opponents of the government's plans have also seized on as evidence that a class action law would encourage the kind of 'excesses' that the United States is now trying to curb: ambulance-chasing lawyers, ruinous damages awards and spurious lawsuits used to blackmail companies into settlements."
Disturbing If True. reports in "RIAA Takes Shotgun to Traders." From the article:
Andersen wrote to Rep. David Wu (D-Oregon) and offered to surrender her PC to the RIAA for inspection -- to no avail.
"(The RIAA) says 'We don't care enough about you that we are even going to check,'' said Lory R. Lybeck, Andersen's attorney from Lybeck Murphy of Mercer Island, Washington. "And if ... they have made a mistake, they are not going to apologize or investigate -- they are going to sue you again."