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Furry Over “Hell’s Angel” Design

26 Apr

Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

The Hell’s Angels are bring suit against MTV for a trademark violation.  Their claim, dilution of the “Death Head” mark which has been used by the very popular group for well over 50 years.  MTV has allegedly sold the design on t-shirts based on a reality show “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory” which can damage how the public perceives the mark.

“Death Head is a collective membership mark often seen on jackets and tattoos worn by Hell’s Angels associates. The group says it has ‘acquired very widespread public recognition; consequently they evoke strong and immediate reactions whenever used. The impact of these marks is virtually incomparable, and as a result they have great commercial value.'”

To view the full article follow this link.

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UPDATE: The Clash of the “G”s is officially over!

26 Apr
Image

Credit: Gucci

After weeks of a rather lengthy battle (and rather amusing hilarity) the trial between Gucci and Guess has finally come to a close. The trial began earlier this month with Gucci claiming $221 million in damages due to nothing short of an alleged trademark infringement “ponzi” scheme on Guess’s part and Guess claiming that Gucci sat on their laurels for the past 7 years and are no longer eligible to claim the infringement. Closing arguments ended last week, but it could be quite some time before the judge issues a decision in the matter. But rest assured, these chatty chicks will keep you updated on any news that comes our way regarding this highly publicized trial.

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World IP Day 2012

26 Apr

 

Credit: World Intellectual Property Organization

Every year on April 26, World Intellectual Property Day is celebrated.  World IP Day was established by the World Intellectual Property Oganization (WIPO) to increase general understanding of what IP really means.  The day is meant to “raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life” and “to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe.” Visionary Innovators. For World IP Day events in the US, follow this link.  For notable dates in US copyright history, follow this link.To view our Firm Disclaimer, follow this link.

Update: Chinese Court Seeking to Mediate Settlement Between Apple and Proview

24 Apr

Credit: Apple Inc.

Apple’s trademark issues continue in China (see our earlier posts entitled Apple Could Face Fine of $1.6 Billion for iPad Trademark Infringement in China and Update: Battle Over iPad Trademark Continues).  A senior official in China has suggested Apple could risk losing the use of the iPad trademark in China.  A Chinese court is currently seeking to mediate a settlement between Apple and Proview, who is challenging Apple’s use of the iPad name. Continue reading

“G” That’s an Awfully Lengthy Legal Battle

12 Apr

In 2009, Paris based Gucci initiated legal action against the Los Angeles based Guess? Inc. brand for selling items in stores and on-line that are “studied imitations of the Gucci trademarks”. The trademarks include a green and red stripe design, a square G, the designer’s name in flowing script and a diamond pattern with repeating interlocking G’s. Gucci has recently taken this battle to a whole new level alleging that Guess? has devised “a massive, complicated scheme to knock off Gucci’s best-known and iconic designs”. Gucci claims that $221 million worth of Guess? products have infringed on Gucci’s designs. The trial began on March 28th and so far there is no end in sight – just juicy legal drama to blog about!

Click here to read the full article via Business Week.

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US Band Sues UK’s One Direction

11 Apr

Credit: Reuters

British boy band One Direction has been sued by a small California pop-rock group for trademark infringement.  The California band is seeking an injunction to prevent Simon Cowell’s entertainment joint venture with Sony Music, Sysco Entertainment,  from using the One Direction name in promotional material.

 The California band began using the name One Direction in 2009 and plays local fairs and bars.  An application to register the tradmark was filed by the California band in Feburary 2011.  The British boy band One Direction was discovered in 2010 on Cowell’s show, “The X Factor.”  Since 2010 the British boy band has enjoyed great success with their first single reaching the top of the UK charts.  The band is followed by 4.2 million fans on Facebook and 2.8 million fans on Twitter.  

“The lawsuit said the continued use by both bands of the same name was causing substantial confusion and substantial damage to the goodwill earned by the California group.” 

The full article from The Baltimore Sun, can be found at this link

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Louis Vuitton Clashes Over “Hangover 2”

10 Apr

In 2011, Louis Vuitton successfully brought suit against Hyundai claiming that a one second glimpse of a basketball which closely resembled the well known trademark.  Recently, the French designer brought suit against Warner Brothers regarding “The Hangover II”.  It is alleged in that Warner Brothers infringed and diluted the mark “by showing, for one brief moment in the movie, Zach Galifianakis telling someone who pushes his bag, ‘Be careful, that is … that is a Lewis Vuitton.'”

The full article may be found at this link.

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Second Legal Blow to Google in Two Weeks

10 Apr

Credit: Google, Inc.

Google suffers its second legal setback in two weeks.  First, last week the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit revived Viacom’s $1 billion lawsuit against Google’s YouTube video site. (See our earlier blog post about Viacom’s lawsuit, Viacom Battle with YouTube Continues).  Then on Monday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit vacated part of an earlier court decision dismissing a trademark infringement lawsuit filed against the Internet-search company by Rosetta Stone.  The court revived claims that Google directly infringed on Rosetta Stone’s trademark and diluted the Rosetta Stone brand.

In a lawsuit filed in 2009, Rosetta Stone accused Google of committing trademark infringement by selling the language-software maker’s trademarks to third-party advertisers for use as search keywords.  Google sells advertisers the rights to use certain words or phrases as keywords for the paid ads, known as sponsored links, on search result pages.  Users are directed to the advertiser’s sites via the links and Rosetta Stone argued customers searching for its language learning software on Google were redirected to competitors and software copycats.  The keywords that Google sold to other businesses included “Rosetta Stone” and “Rosettastone.com.”  In 2010 a Virginia District Court dismissed the case finding there was no likelihood of confusion to consumers from the sale of the keywords.

More information can be found at this article from MSNBC.

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Viacom Battle with YouTube Continues

6 Apr

Credit: Viacom/YouTube

In 2007, Viacom sued YouTube for $1 billion alleging the site allowed users to post copyrighted Viacom content without permission between 2005 and 2008, including content from Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.”  In 2010 a District Court judge granted summary judgment to YouTube and ruled YouTube was protected from the infringement claims under a “safe harbor” provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  The District Court judge ruled YouTube was protected under the safe harbors of the DMCA because there was not enough notice of the individual infringements.  Recently the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case to the district court.  The courts opinion stated:

“We conclude that the District Court correctly held that the 512(c) safe harbor requires knowledge or awareness of specific infringing activity, but we vacate the order granting summary judgment because a reasonable jury could find that YouTube had actual knowledge or awareness of specific infringing activity on its website.”

This remand gives Viacom a second chance to prove the copyright infringement claims against YouTube.  It continues the ongoing battle between entertainment companies and Web entrepreneurs over ‘user-generated content’ sites.

The full article from the Los Angeles Times can be found at this link.  An additional article from Fox News can be found at this link.

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New Certainty in an Area of Uncertainty

3 Apr

On November 22, 2006, Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. sued the defendants, Ly USA, Inc., CoCo USA Inc., Marco Leather Goods Ltd., Chong Lam and Joyce Chan in the United Stated District Court in the Southern District of New York for importing and selling counterfeit luxury goods bearing infringing versions of Louis Vuitton’s trademarks. Vuitton asserted various trademark claims under Sections 32 and 43 of the Lanham Act and various state law related claims. Vuitton moved for summary judgement on all claims and the court granted summary judgement on the trademark counterfeiting and infringement claims. After the grant of summary judgement, Vuitton elected to receive statutory damages and additionally sought attorneys’ fees, which lead to the appeal and the question – was Vuitton entitled to the award of attorneys’ fees after electing statutory damages over actual damages? Continue reading

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