Wednesday, December 13, 2006

But Does He Care About Black People? Reuters reports that "Evel Knievel sues rapper Kanye West over video." From the article: "The lawsuit claims West, his Roc-A-Fella Records label and the video's director infringed on Knievel's trademark-protected name and likeness by depicting West as a stunt performer named 'Evel Kanyevel,' who dresses in a star-spangled, 'V'-striped white jumpsuit like the one Knievel is famous for wearing."
RIM Back In Court. Reuters reports that "RIM sues for infringement over Samsung's BlackJack." From the article: "In the suit filed December 8 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, RIM alleges Samsung has decided to name one of its handheld devices the BlackJack to ride on the coattails of success enjoyed by RIM's BlackBerry line of smartphones."

Friday, November 10, 2006

Now That's a New One. The AP reports that "Andy Griffith sues Andy Griffith." From the article: "The lawsuit says the former Fenrick changed his name for the 'sole purpose of taking advantage of Griffith's notoriety in an attempt to gain votes' and asks the court to order Fenrick to go back to his original name." I must say, I can't imagine how there's any copyright infringement here, and this doesn't sound like true trademark usage...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It's All About IP. The National Journal reports on what we can expect under a Democratic Congress in "What If: Judiciary." From the article: "In the House, Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., would take over the chairmanship of the Judiciary Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property Subcommittee. He would look to protect his nearby Hollywood interests by cracking down on piracy and protecting against copyright infringement of TV, music and movie productions."

Monday, November 06, 2006

Do People Still Use Palms? (And yes, that's a joke. No need for irate Treo users to write in.) InternetNews.com reports that "NTP Sues Palm Over Wireless Patents." From the article: "NTP, a Richmond, Va.-based owner of intellectual property patents concerning wireless e-mail and other technologies, filed suit alleging that the handheld devices and services Palm uses in its wireless e-mail systems infringes NTP patents in the United States."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Did their Lawyers Review the Press Release? Because language like this begs for a functionality claim. "Wenger Corp. Successful in Trade Dress Protection Lawsuit." From the release: "Because proper posture and a polished presentation are the foundations of good music rehearsal and performance, Wenger Corporation introduced its unique Posture Chair design in 1978, to comfortably support and encourage correct posture, and bring a uniform, attractive appearance to the music chair. The Wenger Posture Chairs are engineered to minimize fatigue and stand up to years of heavy use. In particular, the look and quality of the Student Posture Chair and the entire Wenger Posture Chair line are what music educators across North America have come to consider as the ‘industry standard’ for their programs for almost 30 years." HT Marty.
ARGH! Copyright is Not the Same as Trademark. CatererSearch reports that "Starbucks in copyright spat with Ethiopia." From the article: "According to charity Oxfam, the Ethiopian government last year filed copyright applications to trademark the coffee names in a move that would have increased its annual export earnings from coffee by 25%. However, the charity said that Starbucks blocked the country’s application, effectively denying it up to £47m of earnings a year."
Last Time... You Cannot Copyright a Slogan. (Ok, I'm going to stop this now.) The AP reports that "Candidate pulls endorsement letter in dispute over copyright." From the article: "A one-time national president of Western Kentucky University's Alumni Association said he will pull a political endorsement letter from nine alumni because of a dispute over using the university's registered trademark and copyrighted slogan." (Of course, if it *were* copyrighted, courts would likely consider this to be protected free speech.)
So What Material Would You Like to See Made Freely Available? PC World reports that "Wikipedia Mulls Copyright Purchase Plan." From the article: "Two weeks ago, the Wikipedia community received from Wales an e-mail called 'Dream a little...,' which asked users to send suggestions of copyright material that could be freely distributed after its purchase."
I've Never Seen Someone Interpret Filing a Patent as Being Worried About Competitiveness Before... TMCnet reports in"Apple Files iPod Patent: Fear of Competition or Exposure?" From the article: "The events that have led to the filing of a patent application still remain unknown; however it should give an indication that Apple fears its dominance in the market is threatened. This is interesting given the reasons for the iPod’s success in the first place." (While the article doesn't say this, I'm assuming they're basing the report on a patent application that has been recently published by the PTO, since I wouldn't expect Apple to issue a press release whenever they file a patent application. If I'm correct, that seems to pull the bottom out from under TMCnet's theory that the filing is a response to anticipated competitive pressure from Zune...)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Give me a Break. Sorry, but I'm firmly in Google's camp on this one, and I fully support efforts to demote sites that are nothing but link farms, even if such demotion sends the implicit message that such sites aren't worth visiting. After all, truth is a defense to a defamation claim. (Although it would be nice if Google removed link farms from its sponsored results program, as well.) Reuters reports that "Judge mulls if site demoted by Google was defamed." From the article: "KinderStart argues the site's sudden demotion in March 2005 to a 'zero' ranking in Google's search system has severely harmed its business. It seeks class action status on behalf of what is says are many other sites that have suffered the same fate as Google regularly fine-tunes its rankings."
This Ruling Has the Potential to be Quite Interesting... Reuters reports that "Cablevision sets up special litigation committee." From the article: "Cablevision, which has more than 3 million subscribers in the New York area, is involved in a dispute with several media companies including News Corp, CBS Corp, and Walt Disney Co. over its plans to launch a remote digital video recorder service. The case is to be heard on Monday at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan." (Full disclosure: News Corp and Walt Disney Co. are firm clients, and I do intellectual property work for News Corp, although I'm not involved in this case.)
This Barely Passes the Laugh Test. The AP reports that "Judge: 50 Cent no two-bit song stealer." From the article: "The lawsuit, filed by attorney Richard C. Wolfe, said 50 Cent only changed one word from the opening line of Campbell's song from 'It's Your Birthday.' After repeating the word 'go' several times, 'Sheila' becomes 'shorty' in the line, 'Go shorty, it's your birthday.'"

Friday, October 27, 2006

Supreme Court Stepping into the Patent Fray Again. Reuters reports that "Supreme Court to review Microsoft patent case." From the article: "At issue is a ruling last year which upheld a lower court decision that Microsoft was liable for infringing an AT&T patent for converting speech into computer code in copies of Windows sold overseas."
Sounds Familiar. Law.com reports that "Jimi Hendrix Steals Show at Ocean Tomo's IP Auction." From the article: "The air seemed to seep out of the room when the trademarks and brand names came up for sale. Only two of 16 lots were sold. One buyer paid $1.2 million for a group of trademarks to the term 1-800-YELLOWPAGES. Meanwhile, the term 'OTI.com,' sold by IBM, brought in a measly $15,000."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

But are They as Cute as Wenty? The AP reports that "Brothers say Fox stole ‘Prison Break’ story." From the article: "“Prison Break,” in its second season, is set in contemporary time. But the Hughes brothers say they’ve noted more than 30 places, names or events that are strikingly similar to those of their manuscript."

Monday, October 23, 2006

Tables Turned on Amazon? The AP reports that "IBM sues Amazon for patent infringement." From the article: "Amazon is accused of infringing on five IBM patents, including technologies that govern how the site recommends products to customers, serves up advertising and stores data."

Friday, October 13, 2006

Not Exactly... It's a bit disingenuous to say that URRP arbitration is "mandatory." The Daytona Beach News Journal reports in "Domain woes pain in the head." From the article: "'The MyFlorida.com trademark and domain name, as well as the MyFlorida portal are all important state assets,' said Tiffany Koenigkramer from the state's Department of Management Services. She explained that, while the department's general counsel is reviewing Kolesinski's request for mediation, 'in domain disputes, similar to Mr. Kolesinksi's situation, there is a special mandatory arbitration process . . . administered by the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers to handle such disputes.' The arbitration process is called the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. Information can be found at icann.org/udrp." HT Marty.
I Can't Believe these Still Make News. Reuters reports that "Rooney latest soccer star to win cybersquat case." From the article: "Marshall, a Welsh actor and fan of Rooney's first club Everton, claimed he had recognized the young striker's 'star properties' early on. He had wanted to set up a non-commercial fan site but lost interest when Rooney moved to Manchester."
Somehow, I Doubt We'll be Seeing Paul McCartney Chicken in the Grocery Store. Sounds more like the typical European practice of covering a broad array of goods in the application. (Which has the potential for untold mischief in the U.S. under Medinol.) Reuters reports that "Paul McCartney seeks to register name as trademark." From the article: "In addition to vegetarian items, he is also seeking permission for the name on meat, fish, poultry and game."

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Wonder Why the ALJ Decided Against an Exclusion Order... Reuters reports that "Judge does not ban phones with Qualcomm chips." From the article: "An administrative law judge on Tuesday said Qualcomm Inc. had infringed a Broadcom Corp. patent, but he stopped short of banning U.S. sales of cell phones equipped with Qualcomm chips."

Friday, October 06, 2006

MedImmune has its Day in Court. The Washington Post reports in "MedImmune Asks For Right to Sue." From the article: "'At some point, either in this case or some later case, we may have to address the question of whether or not such a provision is enforceable,' Justice Anthony M. Kennedy noted. 'If it is, we may not be talking about much. It's just going to be boilerplate in every license agreement, and that's the end of it.'"

Thursday, October 05, 2006

So Where's the Trademark Usage? I predict another verdict similar to the one involving Slip 'n' Slide. E!Online reports in ""Heroes" Lawsuit Down the Drain." From the article: "Emerson, obviously concerned that the series' 14.1 million viewers last week were busy looking at the disposal brand instead of Claire the cheerleader's bloody hand, claimed in its petition that NBC Universal Television Studios didn't have the right to show the St. Louis-area company's In-Sink-Erator product and is looking to prohibit any further use by the network of the Emerson trademark."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Another One Bites the Dust. E!Online reports in "Beyonce Tunes Out Lawsuit." From the article:
Armour, a Minneapolis singer-songwriter, filed the suit in Houston last July, claiming the 25-year-old superstar stole the chart-topping single's lyrics and hooks from "Got a Little Bit of Love For You," a song Armour had written and shopped around in the months preceding the hit's release.
The suit claimed the B'Day girl got a hold of the Armour song after her former manager sent out a demo to several music biz heavyweights. Among the studio recipients were Columbia Records and Atlantic Recording Corporations, the label homes of Knowles and reggae star Sean Paul, who is featured on the track.
However, on Monday, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit after comparing the two songs and finding that they were "substantially dissimilar."
Patent Cases in the News. Who knew so many people cared? Law.com reports that "High Court Patent Case May Have Profound Business Impact." From the article: "The high stakes are reflected by the amicus parties in the case. The Bush administration, generic drug makers, and environmental groups who believe the decision could have impact beyond the patent field, are among those supporting MedImmune. Supporters of Genentech include leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, colleges and universities, and the American Intellectual Property Law Association."
So Does a Retailer Have a Duty to Investigate? CNNMoney.com reports that "Coach sues Target for $1M for allegedly selling fake bag." From the article: "Target, the No. 2 discounter after Wal-Mart, responded in the filing that it believed the bag was a genuine Coach product."
I'd be Interested to See the Ad in Question... If it's really as described, I'm surprised Miller's lawyers didn't raise a red flag. E!Online reports in "Weezer: The Beer Lawsuit." From the article: "According to the alt-rock quartet's complaint, the three ads that showed up in 2004 on the pages of Rolling Stone misappropriated the band's name and image by stating that Weezer--along with 'other bands and musical performers with whom [Weezer] do not wish to be associated in any advertisement'--endorsed Miller products."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

So is that a Record... for quickest copyright infringement suit after the launch of a new network? Reuters reports that "'Game' author sues CW over similarities." From the article: "The suit, filed September 14 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, claims Robinson gave a manuscript of the novel to 'Game' executive producer Mara Brock Akil in 2001, when she interviewed for a writers assistant post at Kelsey Grammer's Grammnet Prods. Akil and Grammnet are named as defendants in the suit, along with CW and its owners, CBS and Warner Bros."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Interesting Limitation. Reuters reports that "Judge orders made-for-TV band to change name." From the article: "But U.S. District Judge John Houston ruled on Wednesday that his court order does not apply to the CBS network's reality show 'Rock Star: Supernova,' which concluded that night when Toronto native Lukas Rossi was plucked from obscurity to become the new band's lead singer."

Monday, September 11, 2006

So Should Stars Do Global Clearance Searches for Nicknames? E!Online reports that "Combs Must Get Riddy of Diddy." From the article: "Britain's Diddy sued the American version after the latter changed his stage name four-plus years ago. Combs, who had originally called himself Puffy, then Puff Daddy, then P. Daddy and then P. Diddy before abandoning the P altogether, was targeted in a lawsuit by his namesame across the pond, who claimed the British music market wasn't big enough for two similarly named artists. "

Friday, September 08, 2006

An Interesting One to Watch. Law.com reports in "No Happy Ending for Net Movie Renters." From the article: "Netflix argues that it has patents covering its many online features, including allowing subscribers to keep DVDs for as long as they want without incurring a late fee, obtaining new DVDs upon return of those already watched and prioritizing their own personal movie list."

Monday, August 28, 2006

Interesting New Patent Fight. The AP reports that "Patent fight rattles academic computing." From the article: "Critics say the patent claims nothing less than Blackboard's ownership of the very idea of e-learning. If allowed to stand, they say, it could quash the cooperation between academia and the private sector that has characterized e-learning for years and explains why virtual classrooms are so much better than they used to be."
That Would be Evidence that You Don't Want to Have at Trial... Law.com reports that "Bar Prep Co. Ordered to Pay $11.9M for Copying Multistate Exam Questions." From the article: "In one ad, a student is quoted as saying that 'dozens of nearly identical questions appeared on the actual exam,' and another says he 'breezed through the exam because I recognized so many of the questions from PMBR.'"

Thursday, August 24, 2006

So is it Normal for a Judge Accused of Bias to be on the Panel that Decides the Accusation? Law.com reports that "9th Circuit Rejects Claim That Judge Had Conflict in Trademark Cases." From the article: "A company called M2 Software Inc. had sought to vacate the rulings, but the 9th Circuit issued an order Tuesday denying the petitions, and Pregerson, who again sat on the panel, attached a concurrence noting that his financial interest in both suits is 'remote in nature' and that his impartiality should not be questioned."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

That's an Interesting Settlement Term. CNet reports that "Apple settles with Creative for $100 million." From the article: "Apple can get back some of the $100 million payment if Creative is able to secure licensing deals with other MP3 player manufacturers, said Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesman. He declined to specify exactly how much Apple could recoup or how many deals it would take to trigger the payments."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

So Are We Going to See Internet Companies Opting Out of Operating in France? Reuters reports that "French firms target eBay in anti-counterfeit drive." From the article:
In addition, it is asking the French government to revise its laws on electronic commerce to make online auctioneers 'co-responsible' for the goods that are sold on their sites, Jamet said.

Unifab believes its case has been strengthened by a Paris court's decision in June to fine online search engine Google 300,000 euros ($385,000) over advertisements for counterfeit goods generated by its sites. Google had based its defense partly on the existing French e-commerce law.

Friday, August 18, 2006

No! Don't Take My DVR! Reuters reports that "EchoStar must disable DVRs, judge rules." From the article: "Thursday's ruling from U.S. District Judge David Folsom in Marshall, Texas, demands that within 30 days EchoStar must basically render useless all but 192,708 of the DVR units it has deployed." Should we start a pool as to when the settlement is announced?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Today's Funny.
Did Their Lawyers Clear This? Counterfeit Chic reports in "Oxes Gored?" From the post: "A Baltimore punk band, Oxes, claims the kitschy clothing chain owned by Gap Inc. ripped off one of its concert fliers to use on a T-shirt sold in Old Navy stores." Hat tip Marty.
Sounds Like a Multiple-Choice Exam Question. The WSJ reports in "Law Blog Rocker of the Day: Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz." From the article: "Wentz's father advised his son against using the song title, for fear that the group would be sued. Did the younger Wentz listen? 'No, because he was my dad. He advised me against a lot of things that I do,' he said with a playful hint of mischief in his voice. According to Wentz the Younger, the band's lawyers also told them they'd be slapped with a hefty lawsuit, and offered up a few options - they could sign a waiver; include a reference to Ruffin in the song (which somehow would shield against a lawsuit); or change the name of the song. Fall Out Boy went with the third option. Says Wentz: 'We just decided it was a good idea not to get sued.'" Hat tip Marty.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

So How Much Did Foley & Lardner Waste on its Rebranding?. Law.com reports that "Law Firms' Trademark Dispute Over 'Foley' Name Is Put on Hold." From the article: "Foley & Lardner, which has its largest office in Milwaukee, is mulling changes, according to the firm's general counsel, Jim Clark."

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I've Clearly Been Out of the Loop. I just noticed this post over at Bag and Baggage. Denise's post has generated quite a large number of posts around the blogosphere, a few of which are rounded up by Dennis Kennedy here and here. Julie Fleming Brown points to a few particularly, uh, enlightening responses here. (Compare and contrast: Tom Collins' The Work/Life Balance Issue Continues to Damage the Legal Profession and Work Life Balance in Law Firms. Both spoken by a non-attorney.)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

So That's Who We Have to Blame... E!Online reports in "You, Me, Dupree & Steely Dan's Wrath." From the article: "In a profanity-laced mock-angry letter posted on the band's Website, Becker and Fagen suggest that the film character of Dupree rips off their song, which tells the tale of a slacker--named Dupree, of course--who is staying on his aunt's couch and starts lusting after his cousin."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

So Do You Have a Duty to Mitigate Your Own Copyright Damages? ZDNet reports that "YouTube sued over copyright infringement." From the article: "Since learning of Tur's suit, YouTube has removed his clip, the company said in its statement. Tur didn't ask that the company remove the clip prior to filing his suit, YouTube said."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Break Out the Champagne The TTAB Blog reports that TTAB Sanctions Leo Stoller: Vacates All Extensions Granted Since November 2005." From the order: "'... the exhibits from your website do not demonstrate your offering for sale any goods or services, other than the 'rental' of the marks themselves, nor do the website exhibits demonstrate the use of any of the asserted terms as trademarks. These excerpts from your website, rather than evidencing support of any purported claim for damage, reinforce the conclusion that you are holding up thousands of applications in an attempt to coerce applicants to license, i.e., 'rent,' trademarks to which you have not demonstrated any proprietary right.'"

Thursday, July 13, 2006

What Is This Mysterious Thing They Call the Internet? I still don't understand why run-of-the-mill UDRP complaints are still considered newsworthy. Is it a slow news day? Reuters reports that "Goldman challenges Goldmansex.com." From the article: "Goldman Sachs last week submitted a complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) arguing the Internet domain name goldmansex.com would cause confusion and contained links to objectionable 'adult' material. The NAF mediates corporate disputes including those over Internet domain names."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

So How Often Are Circuit Court Judges Accused of Conflicts? Law.com reports that "Stock Conflict Cited in 9th Circuit Judge's Trademark Rulings." From the article: "The motion to vacate the 2005 rulings in M2 Software v. Madacy Entertainment and M2 Software v. M2 Communications was filed Friday. M2 Software, which makes online billing software for Internet music downloads, alleged that Pregerson violated judicial ethics rules in failing to recuse himself from the multimillion-dollar trademark infringement suits."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Interesting. A friend sent me a link to this new game for the Nintendo DS that's set to come out in September: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Amazingly, it has mostly positive reviews. Somehow I just can't see teenagers spending hours pouring over court records...

Monday, July 10, 2006

So Sanitizing isn't Fair Use. Reuters reports that "Hollywood wins legal fight against sanitized DVDs." From the article: "Senior U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch came down squarely on the side of the Directors Guild of America and the major studios in his ruling that the companies must immediately cease all production, sale and rentals of edited videos. The summary judgment issued Thursday requires the companies -- Utah-based CleanFlicks, CleanFilms and Play It Clean Video, Arizona-based Family Flix USA and the separate entity CleanFlicks of Colorado -- to turn over all existing copies of their edited movies to lawyers for the studios for destruction within five days of the ruling."

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Someone Clearly has too Much Time on their Hands. From Jerusalem, Israel we have Yehuda Berlinger's "Board Games and Gaming Blog." Yehuda has written the entire U.S. Copyright code in verse. A sample:
204

Copyright ownership
Is transferred in writing
And not by pinkie fingers
Or elephant biting

Friday, July 07, 2006

Are We Going to See Social Networking Patent Wars? Red Herring reports that " Friendster Wins Patent." From the article: "The new Friendster patent covers the basic steps involved in joining a social network: entering a personal description and relationships to other users, mapping relationships and degrees of separation, and connecting to others through these friends."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Gotta Be Second-Guessing That Decision. Internet.com reports that "Microsoft Loses Another Round in Excel Patent Case." From the article: "The patent, owned by inventor and businessman Armando Amado, covers linking a spreadsheet to a database. He first developed the method in 1990, then offered to license it to Microsoft in 1992 for use in Excel. Microsoft declined the offer."
Yet Another Failed Copyright Suit. E!Online reports in "Judge: 'Syriana' Isn't the Same." From the article: "The judge ruled that the two stories, though both about the CIA and oil company intrigue in the Persian Gulf, were 'obviously different' and that any overlap was coincidental. (Most likely there are enough sordid tales about the oil industry to go around.) He also said that Vergniault failed to accurately prove her claim that she had sent her script to a Canadian production company that supposedly had close ties to Warner Bros."

Monday, June 19, 2006

Seems Like the Telecoms are Duking it Out in Court The AP reports that "Verizon accuses Vonage of infringement." From the article: "Verizon charged that Vonage is infringing on at least seven of its patents regarding Internet phone service, a technology known as voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP. The patents include inventions related to gateway interfaces between a packet-switched and circuit-switched network, billing and fraud detection, call services such as call forwarding and voicemail and methods related to Wi-Fi handset use in a VoIP network, the lawsuit said."

Friday, June 16, 2006

Interesting Application of eBay. Law.com reports that "Microsoft Wins Patent Case With 'eBay' Argument." From the article: "'Z4 does not fit the traditional definition of a patent troll. It is a company that is in the market and making a product and trying to compete with Microsoft, so now it looks like every defendant can use the eBay logic against all companies, regardless of whether they're trolls or not,' McElhinny said."

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Today's a Busy Day for Patent Claims... Reuters reports that "Video technology firm sues cable operators over VOD." From the article: "The Old Lyme, Connecticut-based company said it sued Time Warner Inc., Cox Communications Inc., Charter Communications Inc., and Comcast Corp., alleging the cable operators violated its patent with their video-on-demand services offered to subscribers."
Wasn't It Kinda Obvious After American Idol? E!Online reports in "'So You Think' It's a Copycat?" From the article:
Some of the supposed similarities between the Fox show and the plaintiffs' original idea listed in the lawsuit include:

It's a 60-minute show.
It recruits contestants from around the country.
A panel of professional judges--including a snarky British guy--evaluate the contestants. (That's not exactly how the complaint read, actually?)
Non-competition scenes, such as practice sessions, are woven in with the performance sequences.
The competition involves pairs dancing, as well.

Actually, it's starting to sound a lot like Dancing with the Stars.
Texas, Again. Reuters reports that "C2 files patent suit against US phone giants." From the article: "C2, a patent licensing company, said the suit. filed in a Texas court against AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications, BellSouth Corp, Qwest Communications International Inc, Sprint Nextel Corp Level 3 Communications Inc and Global Crossing Ltd."
When Partnerships Go Bad. Law.com reports on the aftermath of a named partner leaving a firm in "Lawyer's Name Not Entitled to Trademark Protection." From the article: "'The recognition of individual lawyers' names as trademarks without a strong showing of secondary meaning could hinder the creation of new law firms (since, unlike other businesses, law firms are traditionally identified by personal names and not fanciful trade names) and the ability of individuals to practice law in their chosen field without changing their names,' Shapiro wrote."

Monday, June 12, 2006

They're At it Again. Reuters reports that "Qualcomm and Nokia fight over patents again." From the article: "Qualcomm's complaint to the United States International Trade Commission asked for a ban on the import and sale of some Nokia products, which it said included technology that infringed its patents." The AP has more.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Venue Hopscotch. The Washington Post reports that "Patent Claims Over Apple's IPod Escalate." From the article:

Singapore-based Creative, the No. 2 seller of digital music players in the world, last month sued Apple in U.S. District Court in Northern California, claiming patent infringement. At the same time, the company asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to bar Apple from importing portable digital media players that Creative claims infringe on its intellectual property.

Apple filed a counterclaim in U.S. District Court for Western Wisconsin and followed that up June 1 with a claim in U.S. District Court for Eastern Texas. In its latest suit, Apple says Creative infringed a number of its patents relating to the software and systems on its mobile music player.

Of course, technically, the claim filed in Wisconsin isn't a counterclaim...

Friday, June 02, 2006

eBay's Going to be Back in Court. The AP reports that "Skype accused of patent infringement." From the article: "Net2Phone sued Skype and its parent company, eBay Inc., charging that Net2Phone has lost an unspecified amount of money as a result. Net2Phone, a unit of Newark-based IDT Corp., sued Thursday in U.S. District Court in Newark."
Does Anyone Really Expect a Different Appeals Decision? E! Online News reports in "Ludacris and Kanye's 'Stand Up' Victory." From the article: "Sachs told reporters that an expert witness he had been planning to call to dispute the idea that both songs' use of the phrase 'like that' was more than coincidental would have helped their side. Instead, U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel excluded the musical expert's testimony."

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Now I Wish I Had Heard the RHCP Song... Page Six reports that "Chili Tune Called Petty Theft." From the article: "'The single 'Dani California' [currently No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart] is a huge hit - but there is a major problem,' one source claimed. 'The song has the same chord progression, melody and tempo of Petty's 'Mary Jane's Last Dance.' The song even has a similar lyrical theme.' "

Friday, May 26, 2006

So it's Not Just Modern Americans that are Litigious. Reuters reports that "Bronte rewrote "Jane Eyre" over libel threat." From the article: "According to the letters, the description upset headmaster Reverend William Carus-Wilson, who wrote to his former pupil Bronte and threatened her with legal action after recognizing himself and his school from her description of Lowood."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Interesting Twist in Residual Goodwill Case. The Sacramento Bee reports that "Dispute heats up over use of Lucky." From the article:
More than six years after stripping the Lucky name from its supermarkets -- and watching someone else use it -- Albertson's Inc. is trying to revive the brand itself.

In the latest twist to an increasingly nasty fight that began in Rocklin, a federal judge has blocked Albertson's from converting five of its stores into Lucky stores.
This Has Got to be a First. A company is actually issuing a press release to announce that it has filed trademark applications with the USPTO. From the release: "Unique Pizza and Subs Corporation a Delaware Corporation, has taken a significant step to establish its brand nationally. Trademark applications have been filed for Unique Pizza and Subs' signature line 'Anything But Ordinary.' The line appears in marketing and promotional materials being used nationwide. The line was developed as part of the Delaware Corporation's bold effort to position itself as one of the industry's most successful concepts."
Anyone Remember Whether DeBeers Was Well-Known in 1981? Rapaport News reports that "De Beers to Defend Trademark in NYC." From the article: "[The Defendant] Rosenblatt incorporated DeBeers Diamond Syndicate in the state of Delaware September 10, 1981. In December 2001 he registered nearly three dozen domain names, and filed (as a trademark) in January 2002 the words: DeBeers Diamond Syndicate."
Interesting Case. The Metropolitan News-Enterprise reports that "Tort Claims of Artist Whose Work Was Used for Lopez Song Held Preempted by Copyright Act." From the article: "However, the judge said, 'Sony obtained a license to use Laws’s recording itself. Sony was not imitating "Very Special" as Laws might have sung it. Rather, it used a portion of "Very Special" as sung by Debra Laws. … [W]e think it is clear that federal copyright law preempts a claim alleging misappropriation of one’s voice when the entirety of the allegedly misappropriated vocal performance is contained within a copyrighted medium.'"
Dish Network is Getting Hammered... TheStreet.com reports in"EchoStar Copyright Setback." From the article: "In a unanimous ruling, the three judges of the appeals court late Tuesday hammered EchoStar for its lack of compliance and "pattern" and 'practice' of 'violating the Act in everyway imaginable' and says the Copyright Act instructs that when such practices are found, a court 'shall order a permanent injunction' barring the secondary transmission by the satellite carrier. It is unclear when an injunction might be ordered."
I Certainly Hope There's More to it Than That... The AP reports that "Ludacris denies infringing song." From the article: "At issue in the trial are the words 'like that,' which Sachs said were repeated more than 80 times in each song. Ludacris testified that he believes the words are repeated fewer than 80 times in his song." Sohh.com has more on the case here.
No! Don't Take My DVR... Reuters reports that "TiVo says ruling will not affect EchoStar case." From the article: "Separately, TiVo said it has asked the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to halt sales of EchoStar products that infringed its patent, recall its existing DVRs and disable the DVR functionality in most of the infringing units already placed with customers."
Here We Go Again. Reuters reports that "Cablevision sued over planned digital service." From the article: "The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, says Cablevision would run afoul of copyright law with its plan to allow subscribers to store and play back TV programs through computer servers controlled by the cable TV operator."

Friday, May 19, 2006

A New Form of Consumer Complaint? The AP reports that "U.S. Agency Re-Examines Amazon.com Patent." From the article: "The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is re-examining Amazon.com Inc.'s patent for 'one-click' online shopping at the request of a New Zealand actor who says he's upset over slow book delivery."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Betamax 2.0? Reuters reports that "Record labels sue XM over portable device." From the article: "While the labels are asserting the device has transformed radio broadcasts into a download service, XM said the device does not allow consumers to transfer recorded content. XM also said that content recorded from radio broadcasts like XM's is not on demand, in contrast to the content people buy from online music stores like Apple Computer Inc.'s popular iTunes service." The AP has more. Full disclosure: my firm represents XM on unrelated matters.
Interesting New ITC Case. Reuters reports that "Apple suit seen hurting Creative in long run." From the article: "Creative Technology Ltd., the world's number-two MP3 player maker, whose Nomad and Zen players compete with Apple Computer Inc.'s market-leading iPod, filed patent complaints against Apple in federal court and with a U.S. trade agency on Monday." This BusinessWeek Online article from August 2005 gives more background on the patent at issue.

Monday, May 15, 2006

You Can Almost Hear the Patent Lawyers Across the Country Firing Up Their Word Processors. So how many "client updates" do you think the average company will receive? Reuters reports that "US high court sets aside eBay patent ruling." From the article:
The high court unanimously reversed an appeals court ruling in favor of MercExchange, a developer of e-commerce technology that sued eBay for patent infringement, saying an appeals court had failed to apply the proper legal test in deciding whether MercExchange should be granted an injunction barring eBay from using its technology.

However, the justices also rejected a crucial argument advanced by eBay, and embraced by a U.S. District Court that handled the case, that companies lose some of their right to an injunction if they have agreed to license out their technology or are not using it to make a product themselves.

The AP has more.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Why Companies Should Choose Their Trademarks Wisely. The AP reports that "Court allows Galileo name for satellite." From the article:
In addition, the court said that "in choosing the Galileo name to designate their brands, products and services, the plaintiff could not ignore that they were inspired by the first name of the famous Italian mathematician, physician and astronomer, one of the largest personalities in European scientific culture."

The plaintiffs "exposed themselves to the risk" of a trademark dispute, the court concluded.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Potentially Interesting Interaction with the Trademark Laws. What happens when the trademark is owned by someone that was not an original member of the band? Reuters reports that "Supremes' Wilson aims to knock out the knockoffs." From the article:
The singer wants once and for all to protect the legacies -- and livelihoods -- of the Supremes, Platters and other legendary groups from their knockoff counterparts. To date, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and North Dakota have passed into law the Truth in Music Advertising Act that Wilson promotes as chairwoman of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame's artist board.

The act stipulates that if a performer was not part of the original recording group, that person is prohibited from booking and performing concerts and club appearances under that name. Authorities can issue fines of up to $50,000.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Interesting Choice. Reuters reports that "Apple Computer wins trademark dispute vs Beatles." From the article: "The trial in the High Court's usually staid courtrooms was marked by the incongruous playing of the disco hit 'Le Freak' by the Apple Corps legal team, who were demonstrating the iTunes software for the judge." The AP has more.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Crackberry Can't Catch a Break. CNNMoney.com reports that "RIM put on patent defensive again by Visto.": "Visto filed the suit immediately after a victory in a patent case in Texas federal court over mobile email service provider Seven Networks." Didn't Visto invest in NTP, or something along those lines?

Sunday, April 30, 2006

This is Why Cybersquatting is Never Going Away. The Washington Post reports in "The Web's Million-Dollar Typos." From the article: "Jackson said he has bought 6,600 domains and uses several different ad services to earn revenue on them. "I know quite a few guys making over a million dollars a year from advertising on their domains," he said. 'It's like a 24-hour money-printing machine.'"

Given the amounts to be made off of such practices, UDRP complaints are unlikely to be a deterrent. Yet few clients are willing to spend the money to bring a lawsuit under the ACPA. I still maintain that this (as well as the Stoller situation) is ripe for the trademark owner's equivalent of a class action lawsuit.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Get Drunk With Your Favorite Bloggers. As Marty writes, a number of IP bloggers are having a happy hour during INTA. I plan to stop by for a while.

Details: Tuesday night, May 9, 9:30 - ?
BeerBistro
18 King Street East (at Yonge Street)
Toronto, Ontario M5C 1C4

(Bets on who will be first to dance on a table?)
Mystery Solved. Reuters reports that "Da Vinci judge's secret code revealed." From the article: "'The message reveals a significant but now overlooked event that occurred virtually 100 years to the day of the start of the trial,' he said in a statement."

Thursday, April 27, 2006

So Who Can Figure it Out? Reuters reports in "Latest Da Vinci mystery: judge's own secret code." From the article: "He said Smith told him to look back at the first paragraphs. The italicized letters scattered throughout the judgment spell out: 'smithcodeJaeiextostpsacgreamqwfkadpmqz.'"

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More Work for Copyright Lawyers. Reuters reports that "Bill seeks music royalties for satellite downloads." From the article:
"The birth of the digital music place has been a boon for businesses and consumers. However, these new technologies and business models have become so advanced that the clear lines between a listening service and a distribution service have been blurred," Feinstein said. "I believe that the PERFORM Act would help strike a balance between fostering the development of new technologies and ensuring that songwriters and performers continue to be fairly compensated for their works."

Record industry executives want so-called "parity" among the different download platforms. They argue that the new devices XM Radio is bringing to the market that allow customers to save songs on the receivers without paying for the download rip off the copyright holder.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ugh. Some spammers have been spoofing this domain name to send out stock spam, and my inbox is filling with bounce-backs. So far, I'm having only minimal luck shutting it down (why, oh why can't mail delivery programs provide the full header information with a bounce-back?). So, if you've come here because you received a message from someone at nerdlaw.org, please know that it was not sent by me.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Here We Go Again. C-Net reports that "Congress readies broad new digital copyright bill." From the article:
For the last few years, a coalition of technology companies, academics and computer programmers has been trying to persuade Congress to scale back the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Now Congress is preparing to do precisely the opposite. A proposed copyright law seen by CNET News.com would expand the DMCA's restrictions on software that can bypass copy protections and grant federal police more wiretapping and enforcement powers.
Aren't Patents Territorial Like Trademarks? Reuters reports that "Top court seeks US view in Microsoft patent case." From the article: "The Supreme Court asked the Justice Department to submit its opinion on whether the court should grant a petition by Microsoft to review an appeals court ruling that held AT&T could seek royalties based on the foreign manufacture and sale of an infringing software product."

Thursday, April 20, 2006

But Can They Force Me to Stay in the Room? The AP reports that "New Technology May Force TV Ad Viewing." From the article: "Philips acknowledged, however, that the anti-channel changing technology might not sit well with consumers and suggested in its patent filing that consumers be allowed to avoid the feature if they paid broadcasters a fee."

Monday, April 17, 2006

Is There Such a Thing as Frequent Defendant Miles? E!Online reports in "A 'Da Vinci' Disclaimer?." From the article:
Per the London Times, Mikhail Anikin, a Russian art historian, has accused Brown of stealing several theories contained in his 2000 book, Leonardo da Vinci: Theology in Paint. The book claims the Mona Lisa is an allegory for the Christian Church.

Anikin is giving Brown one month to formally apologize and fork over half of the profits from the bestseller, otherwise he's vowed to take legal action in both Russia and the U.S. That would be at least the third such lawsuit Brown has faced; so far, he's two-for-two.
Good News for TiVo. Reuters reports that "TiVo shares jump to 2-year high after court win." From the article: "TiVo shares vaulted in early Nasdaq trade to $9.49, their highest level since April 2004, on the first trading day after a Texas jury ruled EchoStar infringed on TiVo's patents for digital video recorders. The jury on Thursday awarded TiVo some $73 million for lost profits and reasonable royalties."

Monday, April 10, 2006

Guess Dolby Isn't a K-Fed Fan. E!Online reports that "K-Fed: Blinded with Sampling?" From the article: "Federline's latest song, 'America's Most Hated,' was recently released through the aspiring rapper's MySpace page and seems to sample Mobb Deep's 'Got It Twisted,' which in turn had (legally) sampled a riff from Dolby's smash single."

Friday, April 07, 2006

Sounds Like the Perfect Exam Question. E!Online reports in "'Smallville,' Big Stakes." Fact pattern: The copyright to the character Superman is owned by Warner Brothers. The copyright to the character Superboy, i.e., the teenaged Superman, is owned by the family of the creator (after reclamation). Warner Brothers creates a television show based on the high school and college years of Superman. Is the resulting series a derivative work of the Superman character, or the Superboy character, or both? Even more interesting question from the article: "Freiman wondered whether the Superboy copyright issue would come into play 'anytime you have a young Clark Kent--which isn't just Smallville. [It could] affect anytime you have a Clark Kent flashback.'"
And Clients Think Litigation in the U.S. is Expensive. Reuters reports that "Brown vindicated in 'Da Vinci Code' court case." From the article: "Baigent and Leigh were denied leave to appeal and face a legal bill of over 1 million pounds ($1.75 million), although an increase in sales of their own book as a result of the publicity surrounding the case may ease the pain."

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I Want My FiOS. Reuters reports that "US House panel backs help for telcos on TV service." From the article: "The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet voted 27-4 to allow companies to apply for a nationwide license to offer video service, instead of the current process in which they must negotiate with thousands of cities for individual licenses."
So What do You Think? The Marin Independent Journal reports that "Marin olive oil maker sues Safeway." Despite what the photo caption says, the suit involves trade dress and trademark infringement, not copyright infringement. So, what do you think?


Via Marty.
This is Patentable? Reuters reports that "Netflix may face tough fight in Blockbuster patent suit." From the article:
Netflix on Tuesday sued Blockbuster in federal court in San Francisco, seeking an injunction to stop Blockbuster from infringing on two patents that protect Netflix's business method.

The patents cover Netflix's practice of having subscribers prioritize 'queues,' or lists of titles they want to rent, on Netflix's Web site, and of automatically replacing each DVD that is returned for the next title on the subscriber's queue.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Interesting Article on Uncovering Anonymous Bloggers. Law.com discusses "How to Unmask an Anonymous Blogger." From the article: "This question is becoming increasingly important with the proliferation of blogs and Web postings for corporate criticism -- from wakeupwalmart.com to www.googlereallysucks.blogspot.com. And whether companies and their in-house counsel pursue actions against bloggers in these cases involves more than the usual assessment of opportunity costs and the pure business interests of the company. There are limits to the rights of companies to compel an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to reveal the name of its customer, particularly when the ISP customer wishes to remain anonymous. This article explores what the courts are requiring companies to show before they will call for an ISP to divulge a blogger's identity and provides some guidelines in evaluating whether to pursue such a strategy." Via Marty.
All Eyes on Texas. Reuters reports that "TiVo's future may hinge on EchoStar patent case." From the article: "Some industry observers have put TiVo's chance of victory at 70% or more and see EchoStar paying TiVo damages of $95 million-$300 million. Possibly more important for TiVo, a ruling instantly would strengthen its hand in negotiating what have been very elusive licensing deals with cable TV companies that have been selling their own less-expensive DVRs and cutting TiVo out of the loop."

Friday, March 31, 2006

So Was Google The Only One to Challenge the Subpoenas? The AP reports that "U.S. Demands Files From ISPs, Tech Firms." From the article: "InformationWeek magazine unearthed subpoenas that show the government also demanded information from at least 34 other companies, including Internet service providers such as Comcast Corp. and EarthLink Inc., security software firms and other technology companies."
More on the Apple Flap. The AP reports in "Lawyer: Apple trademark claim silly." From the article: "Attorney Anthony Grabiner said 'even a moron in a hurry' could distinguish between the computer company's iTunes online music business and a record company like Apple Corps." Reuters has more.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Watch as a Good Faith Defense Materializes Before Your Eyes... Reuters reports that "YouTube.com cracks down on copyrighted video." From the article: "The popular online video site YouTube.com, which lets users upload clips and share them with others, is blocking pirated TV and movies by limiting videos to no more than 10 minutes."
It's Unclear From the Article... but I wonder if one of the trademarks she assigned was her signature. If not, I'm not sure this ruling makes sense. Reuters reports that "Princess Diana's dressmaker loses fight over name." From the article: "In 1999, she launched a fight to get her name back after the company that bought her trademark started selling clothes under her signature. Media reports quoted her as saying she was heartbroken that people thought she had designed the garments."
Coverage of MercExchange Hearing. Law.com reports that "Justices Seem Divided Over eBay Patent Injunction Case." From the article: "One problem on the horizon for the case before the Court, noted several times by Roberts, is the fact that on review, the Patent and Trademark Office has invalidated all of MercExchange's patents involved in the case." Reuters has more.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Even More on MercExchange. The AP reports that "High Court Weighs in on EBay Patent Fight." From the article: "The case is one of several high-profile disputes that are calling attention to the nation's patent laws, which some critics - including Amazon.com, Yahoo! and Xerox Corp. - say need updating to keep up with rapidly changing technology."
How Did I Not Know About This Before Getting Dish Network? The AP reports that "Trial Over TiVo Patent Begins in Texas." From the article: "If TiVo wins [its case against Dish Network], it could collect millions in damages to boost its sagging financial performance and gain leverage to force cable operators to pay royalties for offering customers TiVo-like service. Analysts say the outcome also will affect the price of TiVo stock, which is up 38 percent so far this year." And something else I didn't know: the Rocket Docket has competition. From the article: "It was no accident that TiVo chose to file its lawsuit in an East Texas city of about 24,000 residents. The federal courts in Marshall and other East Texas cities are known for handling patent cases quickly — a boon to plaintiffs."
I Just Don't See the Likelihood of Confusion... Reuters reports that "The Beatles and Apple face off in court." From the article: "'Apple Computer can go into the recorded music business in any way they want. What they cannot do is use Apple (trade)marks to do it,' Apple Corps counsel Geoffrey Vos said in his opening presentation." The AP has more.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I Didn't Know this Case Was Still Going On. The AP reports that "It's Apple Vs. Apple in British Court." From the article: "Two legendary companies in the music industry are to meet Wednesday in a London courtroom to fight it out over what might be the world's most recognizable logo: A simple piece of fruit."
More on the MercExchange Case. Reuters reports that "High court to hear landmark eBay patent case." From the article: "The case is being closely watched to see if the high court will scale back the right of patent holders to get an injunction barring infringers from using their technologies."
More on the MercExchange Case. Reuters reports that "High court to hear landmark eBay patent case." From the article: "The case is being closely watched to see if the high court will scale back the right of patent holders to get an injunction barring infringers from using their technologies."

Monday, March 27, 2006

That's Got to be a Really Thin Copyright. USA Today reports that "Christian group backs off case against blog parody." From the article: "Exodus International initially claimed the altered image of one of its billboards by Justin Watt infringed its copyright. But Exodus is no longer pursuing the matter after Watt stopped using its 'watermark' logo, Exodus President Alan Chambers said." You can see the images at issue over at Marty's.
Seems Like a Loophole in eBay's VERO Program. If the IP holder doesn't respond to counternotices, should such notices actually count against the user? CNet reports that "'Warcraft' maker sued for blocking sales of unofficial guide." From the article: "Kopp filed counternotices protesting the infringement claims. Because the companies did not respond to the documents within 14 days, eBay was free under the DMCA to reinstate his auctions, which it did. But by November, eBay had accumulated enough takedown warnings from the companies to warrant suspending Kopp's account. He restarted his sales under a new username, which quickly earned suspension, too." Marty has links to the complaint and his thoughts on the case here.
Um, wow. The AP reports that "NSA Might Listen to Lawyer Calls." From the article: "'Because collecting foreign intelligence information without a warrant does not violate the Fourth Amendment and because the Terrorist Surveillance Program is lawful, there appears to be no legal barrier against introducing this evidence in a criminal prosecution,' the department said in responses to questions from lawmakers released Friday evening."
Cybersquatters Always Trying to Stay One Step Ahead. Wired.com reports that "Cybersquatters Try New Tactics." From the article: "These days, cybersquatters seek to register a star's domain before that person becomes famous, and then develop a business relationship with the new celebrity, offering website hosting or design work."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

There is Such a Thing? The AP reports that "Jay Leno Wins Round in Photo Lawsuit." From the article: "The appeals court cited an exception to the law regarding use of photos for comedic purposes."

Friday, March 24, 2006

Is this Yahoo!'s Response to Different European Standards Regarding the Sale of Keywords? Otherwise, it doesn't really make sense... BoingBoing reports in "Yahoo: if you use our ads, you have to block non-US visitors." From the article: "When I spoke with a Yahoo rep on their Publisher Support line, they said I could block either the ads or the pages, but said over and over again that they 'couldn't and wouldn't' give me any information on how to accomplish such a task. The rep finally told me that I should just firewall or block off 'everything but the US' to keep the Yahoo ads from being seen by anyone outside the US. I'm sure their intent is to block only the ads, but they wouldn't hazard even a suggestion as to the best way to do this. Their 'solution' was basically to block off the rest of the world."

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My Money's on Remand. Law.com reports that "Supreme Court Tackles Patentability of Scientific Phenomena." From the article: "'What was made by man here?' Justice Antonin Scalia asked repeatedly, referring to the Metabolite patent at issue in the case. The patent is for a test that signals serious vitamin B deficiencies in patients by measuring levels of homocysteine, an amino acid, in body fluids. But the patent also covers the basic correlation in nature between elevated levels of homocysteine and the vitamin B deficiency that makes the test effective." (Full disclosure: my firm is involved in this case.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Odd to Put this Provision in a Copyright Bill. Rather than an antitrust bill. Bloomberg reports that "France's Parliament Approves Copyright Bill, Open Music Formats." From the article: "France's parliament voted in a copyright bill that would be Europe's first legislation forcing companies such as Apple Computer Inc. and Microsoft Corp. to make music downloads playable on all portable digital players."
An Interesting Question. A friend passed this along. The New York Times asks "Why Do So Few Women Reach the Top of Big Law Firms?" From the article: "Although women certainly leave firms to become more actively involved in child-rearing, recent detailed studies indicate that female lawyers often feel pushed into that choice and would prefer to maintain their careers and a family if a structure existed that allowed them to do so. Some analysts and many women who practice law say that having children isn't the primary reason most women leave law firms anyhow; most, they say, depart for other careers or for different ways to practice law."
Does the Federal Circuit Need Chemistry Majors? Howard asks "[i]s the determination of whether a thing is a salt or an acid a question of law, or a question of fact?" in his post on a recent Federal Circuit opinion here.
Why You Should Talk to the Marketing Folks Before Sending a C&D... Reuters reports that "Showbiz unsure if YouTube a friend or foe." From the article:
However, the relationship between this Internet upstart and Hollywood isn't as adversarial as you might assume. For every corporate lawyer firing off angry letters to YouTube, there are two more executives exploring potential partnership opportunities -- maybe even an outright acquisition.

What's more, YouTube execs claim that these conflicting legal and promotional imperatives often unknowingly emanate from the same company.

'There's been a few examples of marketing departments uploading content directly to the site, while on the other side of the company their attorney is demanding we remove this content,' YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley says.

Monday, March 20, 2006

So Who's Reading This? Geeklawyer points to this article about the perils of Google for a job seekers. A note to anyone researching me: If your search spelled my first name wrong, I am *not* a school teacher in Alabama. (Although I must cop to some of the hits for the misspelled version of my first name, but I'll let you guess which ones.)
Who Knew? Apparently someone on MySpace goes by the moniker nerdlaw. Just so there's no confusion, my name is not Waldo, and I am not a 23 year-old male living in Minnesota. (And how can Waldo be in my extended network when I don't even *have* a MySpace network?)
They Sit in the Fish Bowl so You Don't Have to. Reuters reports that "Final chapter looms in 'Da Vinci' copying case." From the article: "'In this case, Brown has used HBHG with the intention of appropriating the work of its authors,' Rayner James said. 'He and/or Blythe has intentionally used HBHG in order to save the time and effort that independent research would have required.'" Of course, historians do this to each other all the time. If you're claiming that your work is historical fact, can you really complain if some of the same facts end up in other works.
Sounds Better than the Initial Reports. Reuters reports that "Google wins partial keywords victory." From the article: "'To the extent the motion seeks an order compelling Google to disclose search queries of its users the motion is denied,' Ware wrote."
So is Google Obligated to Provide Search Services? Seems to be where this claim is headed... Reuters reports that "Kinderstart sues Google over lower page ranking." From the article: "A parental advice Internet site has sued Google Inc., charging it unfairly deprived the company of customers by downgrading its search-result ranking without reason or warning."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Not all that Surprising. Reuters reports that "Judge dismisses Google copyright case." From the article: "Parker's original 72-page complaint had argued that Google was responsible for anonymous Web postings attacking him in Usenet newsgroups that Google archives on its computers and via the newsgroup and general Web search systems it offers."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Bit of a Non Sequitur. Internetnews.com reports that "Azul Sues Sun to Protect Itself." From the article: "'Sun seems to be in disbelief that a young, privately held company can independently create such industry-defining technology. Azul has been forced into this legal process as a last resort.'" Of course, as the article states that Sun's claim were for patent infringement, not copyright infringement, independent creation isn't really a defense...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Guesses on How Much Productivity Will Go Down this Week? The AP reports in "Greetings, Earthlings! -- from Google Mars." From the article: "On Monday, Google Inc. expanded its galactic reach by launching Google Mars, a Web browser-based mapping tool that gives users an up-close, interactive view of the red planet with the click of a mouse."
That was Quick. The AP reports that "Judge to force Google's hand." From the article: "U.S. District Judge James Ware did not immediately say whether the data will include words that users entered into the Internet's leading search engine."
Guess the Feds Don't Like eBay as Much as BlackBerry. Internetnews.com reports that "Feds Side Against eBay in Patent Case." From the article: "In a Supreme Court brief supporting MercExchange, the U.S. Solicitor General said that an appeals court did not err when it ruled an injunction was in order against eBay, reversing a district court decision to not impose an injunction." (Full disclosure: my prior firm represents MercExchange.)
A Chance for Patent Lawyers to be the Life of the Party? Wired reports in "Finding Humor in Meat Patents." From the article: "To date, Wright said he has incorporated patent material into routines performed at comedy venues in New York City, including The PIT, an improv theater, and noted that his acts have been well-received. He's working on a longer presentation to market to professional groups, possibly as comic relief during conferences. It will include jokes and the unintentionally comic illustrations that often accompany patent applications."
Google Back in Court. Reuters reports that "Google set to defend challenge to US subpoena." From the article: "Analysts said the Google case shows it is only a matter of time before the U.S. government may seek access to individual Internet records, just as federal agencies already can do for library or medical records." The AP has more.

Monday, March 13, 2006

This Could be an Interesting Development... Slate.com reports in "Copycatfight - The rag trade's fashionably late arrival to the copyright party." From the article: "The Council of Fashion Designers of America is meeting with members of Congress tomorrow to gather support for a bill to offer copyrightlike protection to clothing designs. While European Union law already contains similar provisions, the CFDA proposal would be a substantial change to the existing American framework. The proposed bill would, for the first time, prevent anyone from copying an original clothing design in the United States and give designers the exclusive right to make, import, distribute, and sell clothes based on their designs."

Friday, March 10, 2006

Tales from the Sandbox. Reuters reports in "Verbal fireworks as Da Vinci Code case nears end." From the article:
After Leigh's cross-examination ended surprisingly quickly, Judge Peter Smith closed the second week of the case by pointing out that a character in The Da Vinci Code actually refers to the 1982 book.

The name of the character, Sir Leigh Teabing, is in fact an anagram of the names of the two claimants.

'In the first place it damns us with faint praise,' said Leigh, adding he found Teabing's reference to the book 'patronising.'

Smith countered that an explanation for this may be that Teabing was a patronising character in the book.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Da Vinci Code Copyright Case Underway. Reuters reports in "Author Brown back in court for Da Vinci Code case." From the article: "As Brown's side concedes, the name of one character in The Da Vinci Code, Sir Leigh Teabing, is an anagram of Leigh and Baigent, and Teabing refers to their work in the narrative. But it adds that Brown took his research from a number of sources."

Monday, March 06, 2006

Didn't Expect that One to be Unanimous. Reuters reports that "Court upholds campus military recruiting law." From the article: "A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that universities that get federal funds must allow military recruiters on campus, even if their law schools oppose the Pentagon's policy prohibiting openly gays and lesbians from serving."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Surely Playboy's Lawyers Knew Better than This. E!Online reports that "Alba Plays Hardball with 'Playboy'." From the article: "Despite Alba's flat-out rejection, her lawyer alleges that Playboy went ahead and obtained a publicity photo of the Into the Blue star under false pretenses by telling Columbia Pictures that the actress had approved the use of the photo, which then wound up on the cover of the bunny-eared publication."
8-0. Law.com reports that "High Court Patent Ruling a Victory for Big Business." From the article: "The decision Wednesday said that a patent on a product does not automatically mean that the patent holder has market power of the type that would trigger an antitrust 'tying' violation. Tying occurs when a seller conditions its sale of one product on the purchase of another product."

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Temporary Reprieve? CNNMoney.com reports that "Injunction hearing wraps up in BlackBerry patent case." From the article: "But Judge Spencer said there was no escaping that RIM had been found to be infringing on NTP Inc.'s patents and he would issue a decision on an injunction 'as soon as reasonably possible,' according to Reuters." The Washington Post has more.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Lion Sleeps Tonight Case Settled. Reuters reports that "US firm pays SAfrican heirs of Lion song composer." From the article: "Lawyers acting for the family of Zulu migrant worker Solomon Linda, the song's original composer, said Abilene Music -- which administered its copyright in the United States -- had agreed to settle the dispute for an undisclosed sum."
This is One I didn't Expect. I know I'm out of the loop when it takes me a day to learn about the Perfect 10 decision. Marty has his take on the court's opinion in "Perfect 10 Obtains Injunction Against Google's Use of Thumbnail Images." From the post: "An essential fact here is that P10 now sells thumbnail images of its photos for the cellphone market. Thus, Google making such images available for download made its use 'consumptive' (in addition to transformative), with a negative effect on P10's market."
Dykes on Bikes Redux. Wired.com reports that "Actor Tries to Trademark 'N' Word." From the article: "The actor Damon Wayans has been engaged in a 14-month fight to trademark the term 'Nigga' for a clothing line and retail store, a search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's online database reveals."
D-Day Approaching. Reuters reports that "Judge hears arguments on BlackBerry's fate." From the article: "U.S. District Judge James Spencer opened the hearing without giving any indication of whether he is inclined to impose the injunction against U.S. BlackBerry service that he stayed in 2003 pending RIM's appeals."

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Cool New Blog. Counterfeit Chic. Via Marty.
Woohoo! Reuters reports that "RIM unveils plan to keep US BlackBerrys alive." From the article: "RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, said it has filed patent applications for its workaround and will soon begin shipping handsets with the software update in a dormant mode." The AP has more here.
Interesting Right of Publicity Case. Law.com reports that "Use of Woman's Image in HBO Reality Show Prompts Lawsuit." From the article: "A Manhattan woman's violation-of-privacy suit, which alleges that participants in the Home Box Office show 'Family Bonds' made crude comments about 'the effects looking at [her had] on their respective libidos,' highlights the challenges that reality TV shows face under New York state law."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I Have to Disagree. A bit off-topic for this blog, but I just had to respond to the article by Edward Jay Epstein at Slate.com entitled "The End of Originality - Or, why Michael Bay's The Island failed at the box office." In it, Epstein argues: "What really failed here was not the directing, acting, or story (which were all acceptable for a summer movie) but the marketing campaign. Whatever other factors might have worked against audience creation - the midsummer release date, the clutter of competitive action films, the misleading title, etc. - The Island had to overcome the competitive disadvantage of not having the built-in awareness that comes from being a sequel, a remake, a video game, a TV series spinoff, or a comic-book adaptation. Of course, there are many original movies that overcome the awareness handicap - and, in rare cases, such as Universal's Cinderella Man, a box-office flop will be rereleased at a later date - but the lesson for studios from such fiascos is that original movies are a far more perilous enterprise than retreads of past successes."

As one of the few to actually see The Island in the theaters, I can tell you that The Island did not fail because it lacked "the built-in awareness that comes from being a sequel, a remake, a video game, a TV series spinoff, or a comic-book adaptation." It failed because people like me left the theater baffled by the story (complete with wholes large enough to drive a Mack® truck through), and thoroughly p*ssed off at having spent nearly $10 to watch two hours of obnoxious commercial placement. You can find my initial reaction on-line here (and it should say something that I wrote this post before re-reading my earlier comments back in August, and yet chose much of the same wording to describe my annoyance with the movie).
I Think He Feels Strongly About This. Columbia Law School Professor Tim Wu has an article up at Slate.com entitled "Weapons of Business Destruction - How a tiny little 'patent troll' got BlackBerry in a headlock." From the article: "What would happen if a rogue actor managed to get hold of a powerful patent and threatened to detonate it and destroy e-mail as we know it? You'd have the BlackBerry NTP v. RIM case - the tech world's very own Dr. Strangelove. NTP, a one-man Virginia firm, armed with nothing but patents, currently threatens to bring down BlackBerry and with it the sanity of millions of e-mail addicts. A textbook 'patent troll,' he wants a billion dollars to stand down. What to do?"

Friday, February 03, 2006

Chalk One Up for the Public Patent Foundation. The AP reports that "Patent Office to Re-Examine Forgent Claim." From the article: "Technology company Forgent Networks Inc. was served notice Thursday that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will re-examine the validity of its patent on a widely used compression method for storing digital photos and images."

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Give Me a Break. The AP reports that "Man Sues Apple Over Potential Hearing Loss." From the article: "Patterson does not know if the device has damaged his hearing, said his attorney, Steve W. Berman, of Seattle. But that's beside the point of the lawsuit, which takes issue with the potential the iPod has to cause irreparable hearing loss, Berman said."
What About the Rest of Us, Part 2. Reuters reports that "US has misgivings about BlackBerry shutdown plan." From the article: "The U.S. Justice Department urged a federal judge on Wednesday to refrain from any plans to shut the BlackBerry portable e-mail service over patent infringement until the government gets more assurances its users will be exempted."
More Good News for RIM. Reuters reports that "RIM says UK high court rules in its favor." From the article: "RIM said the English court decided that all claims in InPro's United Kingdom patent were invalid. InPro has the right to appeal the decision, RIM added."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I Was Wondering How Long Before this Ended Up in Court. The AP reports that "Group Sues AT&T Over Alleged Surveillance." From the article: "The class-action lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, seeks to stop the surveillance program that started shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks. It also seeks billions of dollars in damages."

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I Wonder What Associate Got to Write that Memo. The Washington Post reports that "A Game by Any Other Name Sells as Sweet." From the article: "Ambush marketing is legal, as long as an advertiser doesn't infringe on any trademarked words (such as 'Super Bowl' or 'Seattle Seahawks' or even 'Super Sunday') or copyrighted symbols ( such as the NFL's 'shield' logo). According to guidelines written by Leventhal, Senter & Lerman, a Washington law firm that represents broadcasters, it's permissible to use such phrases as 'the professional football championship game,' as well as the date of the game, the name of the cities of the competing teams ('Pittsburgh vs. Seattle') but not the team names ('Pittsburgh Steelers'). The firm also advises, 'You can make fun of the fact that you cannot say the phrase 'Super Bowl' (e.g., by bleeping it out).'"
Visto Getting Litigious. Reuters reports that "Visto hits rival Good Technology with patent suit." From the article: "The move follows privately owned Visto's lawsuit against Microsoft Corp in December. It had also accused the software giant of infringing its patents for wireless e-mail."

Monday, January 30, 2006

Let's Not Let Facts Standing in the Way of a Good Story. In fact, Cingular didn't apply for a patent on emoticons this week. They applied for the patent on March 28, 2005, but the application was published this week. And they're not really trying to patent emoticons, but instead a sort of keyboard for selecting emoticons. But it seems like Method 4 at least will run into a prior art problem, since I think I've seen a similar virtual keypad on various IM programs throughout the years. Anyway, you can read the Register's take in "Cingular applies to patent smileys :@." From the article: "Cingular, the United States' largest mobile phone network this week applied to patent emoticons, better known as smileys."
This is Cool. The AP reports that "Apple Offers College Lectures Via Podcasts." From the article:
Apple's service offers universities a customized version of the iTunes software, allowing schools to post podcasts, audio books or video content on their iTunes-affiliated Web sites. The iTunes-based material will be accessible on Windows-based or Macintosh computers and transferable to portable devices, including Apple's iPods.

The service lets institutions decide if they want to limit access to certain groups or open the material to the public.
Go Sprint. Reuters reports that "Sprint sues 2nd company over call record sales." From the article: "Sprint said All Star is believed to own Web sites including detectivesusa.com, miamiprotection.com and privatedectivesusa.com. which it says obtain phone records for its wireless customers through misrepresentation and deceit."
Some Good News for RIM. Reuters reports that "German patent court rules in RIM's favor." From the article: "RIM said the German patent court had decided that all claims in InPro's German-designated patent were invalid. Luxembourg-based InPro has the right to appeal the decision, RIM said in a statement."

Friday, January 27, 2006

I Can't Believe This Used to be My State Delegate. The AP reports that "Va. Lawmaker's Gun Discharges in Office." From the article: "Virginia's gun laws are among the nation's least restrictive. So revered are gun rights that the General Assembly allows permit holders to bring firearms into buildings on Capitol Square, including the Capitol itself. Several legislators carry firearms."

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sigh. CNNMoney.com reports that "High court rejects BlackBerry case." From the article: "But the Supreme Court's decision to not review the case doesn't bode well for RIM, according to Ken Weitzman, a partner at legal firm Chadbourne and Parke in New York. 'There will likely be an injunction. The question is what is the scope of the injunction,' Weitzman said."

Friday, January 20, 2006

How Long Before the Cease and Desist Letter? Reuters reports that "IPods pre-loaded with video tred legal gray zone." From the article: "Customers choose any content currently available on a DVD and which iPod they want. TVMyPod then puts the content on the player and ships the original DVDs along with the iPod restored to its original packaging."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

So Does This Fall Under 'Don't Do Evil'? The AP reports that "Feds seek Google records in porn probe." From the article: "Google has refused to comply with the subpoena, issued last year, for a broad range of material from its databases, including a request for 1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period, lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department said in papers filed Wednesday in federal court in San Jose."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Someone didn't do their Homework. Law.com reports that "Judge Blasts Bogus Proof, Rejects Claim Against Disney." From the article:
If only the PalmPilot had existed in 1995, writers Ronnie Niederman and Judith Shangold might still have a federal case that their idea was swiped by the Walt Disney Co.

But the product with that name did not hit the market until 1997 -- almost two years after the two plaintiffs claimed they had given Disney a treatment, or basic story line, for a children's animated theatrical feature that contained several references to the now-ubiquitous hand-held personal organizer.

Monday, January 16, 2006

IP Students Take Note. Could be an interesting exam question. My friend Sujal has an interesting post ("The cost of running the game") about a recent case brought against MLB by a fantasy football league purveyor. From the post: "Anyway, apparently a company out there is taking one of the leagues to court to argue against the fees as they're set up now. The company is taking MLB, which bought the exclusive rights to distribute player statistics from the MLBPA, to court to argue that the statistics, once the game is over, are historical fact and therefore shouldn't require a license. It's going to be an interesting case that will have some interesting repercussions regardless of who wins." My thoughts on this can be found via the link.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Guess We'll Have to Wait Longer for This One to be Settled. The AP reports that "Court Dismisses Yahoo Free Speech Suit." From the article: "The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a federal lawsuit brought by Yahoo in California challenging the fine levied five years ago for running an auction site in which French users could buy and sell the memorabilia banned in France." Reuters has additional reporting here.
I'm Interested to See the Appeal Decision on This One. Reuters reports that "Small coffee company can keep 'Charbucks' name." From the article: "Judge Laura Swain of New York federal court ruled last month that consumers were unlikely to be confused between Starbucks and the 'Charbucks' and 'Mister Charbucks' coffee blends sold by the family-owned Black Bear Micro Roastery of Center Tuftonboro, New Hampshire."
Looks Like Someone's Paying Attention to PTO Filings... Reuters reports that "Apple files 'Mobile Me' as US trademark." From the article: "Apple Computer Inc. has filed to trademark the phrase 'Mobile Me' for use in a wide range of businesses, furthering speculation it could introduce an iPod phone." Which raises the question: Is it legitimate to file for a range of goods and services than is wider than those for which you intend to use the mark in order to throw reporters off the scent? Or does the requirement that the applicant have a bona fide intent to use the mark in connection with all goods and services in the application prohibit such conduct? (Not that I know this is what Apple did.)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Don't Touch My iPod... InformationWeek reports that Apple has DJed Burst.com in "Apple Sues To Save Its iPod." From the article: "The patents at issue are #4,963,995, #5,995,705, and #5,164,839. They will expire between 2007 and 2009, which suggests the royalties sought by Burst were significant enough that Apple would rather gamble in court than pay for a few years of peace."

Friday, January 06, 2006

It Was Only A Matter of Time. New uses for RFID - Reuters reports that "Viagra packages to include anti-counterfeit tags." From the article: "Haskins said the tiny tags are small computer chips that have been affixed to the underside of labels on each bottle of Viagra, as well as on cases and pallets of the drug. The invisible tags relay an electronic code that verifies the product is bona fide and authorized Viagra."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

So That's Where He Got Off To... The Reliable Source reports on "Wonkette's Sex Change." From the article: "Ana Marie Cox, the writer who made Washington politics irresistibly naughty, is giving up her job as a full-time, pajama-clad blogger to become a full-time, pajama-clad author. Cox, who just signed a contract for her second book, will hand off the political Web site to David Lat, the lawyer who secretly penned Underneath Their Robes, an irreverent blog about the judiciary world."