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. 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 ',' 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 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" 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? 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? 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."