Trademarks, social media and lessons learned

17 07 2018

Brand Protection Blog
Susan Ross (US) on July 10, 2018

On June 14, 2018, a federal trial court in New York issued a decision relating to a restaurant owner’s claim that the restaurant manager was using the owner’s trademarks on social media in violation of the federal trademark law known as the Lanham Act. The trial court denied the owner’s claim, in a ruling that provides some useful lessons to anyone who licenses a trademark. (Thousand Island Park Corp. v. Welser, 5:18-CV-117 (N.D.N.Y. June 14, 2018 (2018 WL 29803231)).)The case

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Competitive Keyword Advertising Doesn’t Show Bad Intent–ONEpul v. BagSpot

30 04 2018

Technology and Marketing Law Blog

Eric Goldman

April 28, 2018

This case involves dispensers of plastic bags for picking up dogshit. The plaintiff has a registered trademark in the brand “ONEpul.” The defendant describes its bags as “one-pull” (and yet, the term “descriptive fair use” doesn’t appear in the opinion once…). It also buys Adwords on another trademark of the plaintiff, “zerowaste,” but the appellate court doesn’t discuss a trademark infringement claim over the zerowaste mark. My prior blog post on the district court ruling.

The court analyzes the ONEpul trademark claim.

The court concludes: “Taken as a whole, the evidence that ZW submitted at summary judgment showed only that ZW and PWD were in competition with one another.” Summary judgment affirmed.

Case citation: ZW USA, Inc. v. PWD Systems, LLC, 2018 WL 1956417 (8th Cir. April 26, 2018)

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PUBG creators finally decide a copycat game has gone too far, file suit

10 04 2018

Ars Technica

– 4/5/2018

As expected, the massively popular online shooter Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) has been followed by a wave of imitators, particularly on smartphones. But it has been unclear if or when the game’s creators would ever consider legal action against any of these copycats. In particular, a brief chest-puffing incident involving the similar, and hugely popular, Fortnite Battle Royale came and went last year without incident.

That changed on Monday with a suit filed against NetEase, a Chinese game publisher with two very PUBG-like games on smartphones. The suit, filed in Northern California’s US District Court by PUBG Corp (a wholly owned subsidiary of Korean game publisher Bluehole), alleges both copyright and trademark violations by NetEase’s mobile-only games Rules of Survival and Knives Out.

Much like PUBG, NetEase’s games offer 100-person online battles on an island that players parachute onto. The battles revolve around a constantly shrinking “safe zone,” a specific set of military-grade weapons and armor, and a variety of island-crossing vehicles. What’s more, NetEase’s games beat PUBG to iOS, which invited a substantial number of “PUBG on phone” comparisons before the official version finally hit mobile devices.

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Intellectual Property in the World of eSports

4 04 2018

IP Watchdog

Roman Brtka
April 2, 2018

eSports is an exciting new area — not only in the sporting industry but in legal terms. There are various key players such as eGamers, game publishers, and organizers of eSports events, who are facing the challenge of sufficiently protecting their rights. Organizers need to ensure that they obtain all necessary usage rights from the game publishers and the participating eGamers, and these parties need to be aware of their possible ancillary copyrights and should take appropriate precautionary measures to protect them.

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2H 2017 & Q1 2018 Quick Links, Part 1: Copyright, Trademarks, Keyword Ads

4 04 2018

Copyright

* The Executive Corp. v. Oisoon, LLC, 2017 WL 4310113 (M.D. Tenn. Sept. 28, 2017). A default judgment:

* The Leader’s Institute v. Jackson, 3:14-CV-3572-B  (N.D. Tex. Nov. 22, 2017): “

* Julia Reda:

* Chicago Tribune: Halloween is here with a copyright lawsuit over banana costumes

* Law 360: Cheerleader Uniform IP Case Ends With Unusual Settlement

* Quartz: With no more income from album sales, a 69-year-old rock legend has to go back on tour

* Billboard: Inside the Secretive, Difficult Struggle Between Artists & Labels Over Album Copyrights

* Recode: “Inside Oracle’s cloak-and-dagger political war with Google”

* Techdirt: ‘Six Strikes’ May Be Dead, But ISPs Keep Threatening To Disconnect Accused Pirates Anyway

* NY Times: HuffPost, Breaking From Its Roots, Ends Unpaid Contributions

* Artsy: Copying Other People’s Art Can Boost Creativity, Study Finds

* Washington Post: Meet the sometime-streamer: TV watchers who sign up for one show — then cancel

* WSJ: Millennials Unearth an Amazing Hack to Get Free TV: the Antenna

Trademark and Publicity Rights

* Fischer v. Forrest, 2018 WL 948758 (SDNY Feb. 16, 2018):

* Blue Water International, Inc. v. Hattrick’s Irish Sports Pub LLC, 2017 WL 4182405 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 21, 2017)

* Slate: Let’s Uber. I’ll Call a Lyft. Why conscientious consumers no longer want to use Uber, except as a verb.

* The Economist: A firm that shares a name with its founder earns higher profits.

* NY Times: Who Is Really Making ‘Chihuly Art’? Bonus: photos from my visit to the Chihuly Museum in Seattle.

* Roe v. Amazon. Sixth Circuit upholds dismissal of Gronking to Remember book cover photograph case. Prior blog post.

Keyword Ads

* Altinex Inc. v. Alibaba.com Hong Kong Ltd:

* Wendy Davis: “Contact Lens Seller Agrees To $7 Million Settlement Over Search Ads”

* SearchInsider: Most Expensive Keywords In The U.S.

* Search Engine Land: Google drops support for meta news keywords tag

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The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2018/04/2h-2017-q1-2018-quick-links-part-1-copyright-trademarks-keyword-ads.htm

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Nine Lives Indeed: Grumpy Cat Wins IP Lawsuit Against Beverage Company

27 03 2018

Adlaw by Request

Andrew Levad and Jason Gordon on 26 March 2018

… “Grumpy Cat,” real name Tardar Sauce, …. owners Tabatha and Bryan Bundesen founded Grumpy Cat Ltd., which owns various IP rights associated with the Grumpy Cat brand.

In late 2015, Grumpy Cat Ltd. filed suit against beverage company Grenade Beverages LLC and its owners Paul and Nick Sandford for trademark and copyright infringement. Grumpy Cat Ltd. entered into a license agreement with Grenade in 2013 allowing the company to market a line of iced coffee beverages, which was later allegedly breached when Grenade began marketing additional products featuring Grumpy Cat’s brand.  Two years of litigation later, in January 2018,

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Domain Names: The dangers of “snapping”

14 03 2018

Lime Green IP news

MARCH 12TH, 2018 BY DAVID TAYLOR AND SEAN KELLY

DNS Belgium, the Registry operating the .BE country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), recently published an article warning domain name owners of the risks inherent in the practice of “snapping”.  Although anyone can legitimately snap up an expired domain name, problems can arise when cybercriminals grab expired domain names and then use them in damaging ways, such as pointing them to fake retail websites or re-creating email addresses based on them.

The practice of “snapping” (also known as backorders or snapbacks) has been around for some time and domain name owners should carefully consider the potential risks before allowing their domain names to expire.  The cost of renewing a domain name is, after all, small in comparison with the cost of legal action to recover one that has been registered by a third party who is using the domain name in a way that is damaging.

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Esports Sponsorship Agreements: What to Look Out For

7 03 2018

Esports is a truly global phenomenon, with some analysts estimating worldwide viewership at approximately 300 million, potentially rising to 500 million by 2020. With so many eyeballs on esports – and with so many of those eyeballs being in a millennial category that is young, affluent, globalized, and technologically-driven, but increasingly challenging for brands to engage with – esports presents an exciting opportunity for sponsors. And, as with any other sport, sponsorship can be a significant revenue generator for rights holders. But, intellectual property rights are complex in esports. When entering into an esports sponsorship arrangement, both rights holders (whether they be players, teams, tournament organizers or games publishers) and sponsors face many of the same issues that the parties to a deal in traditional sports do.

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Brief Roundup of Three Keyword Advertising Lawsuit Developments

10 02 2018

1) Xymogen, Inc. v. Digitalev, LLC, 2018 WL 659723 (M.D. Fla. Feb. 1, 2018). This appears to be a typical competitive keyword advertising case, with the twist that the plaintiff also alleges counterfeiting. The defendant moved to dismiss.

 

2) Engineered Tax Services, Inc. v. Scarpello Consulting, Inc., 2018 WL 741371 (S.D. Fla. Feb. 6, 2018). This appears to be a standard competitive keyword advertising case. The plaintiff made the following discovery request:

3) Edible Arrangements sued Google for product listings ads where the ad matrix is a mix of ads from Edible Arrangements and third parties. See this implementation:

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IP and Sovereign Immunity: Why You Can’t Always Sue for IP Infringement

3 02 2018

The overlap between sovereign immunity and IP issues is not something that comes up all of the time. However, when it does, the impact of the immunity can be significant. The law for certain matters, such as lawsuits in Federal court, is fairly well resolved. However, its application when new procedures are made available, such as for IPRs which were established in 2012, has provided new challenges and opportunities… So can the Federal or State government be sued for infringement under Federal patent, trademark, or copyright law? The answer often depends on the particular facts and specific legal issues of a dispute. That said, in most cases the answer is Yes for the U.S. Government and No for states and Tribal Nations, unless they have taken a specific action to waive immunity for that matter. A brief summary follows.

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