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intellectual property litigation Archives

IP strategies for strengthening your new idea

Often the biggest problem for building a business around a new idea or invention is not coming up with the initial concept but developing a strategy that enables it to flourish in the marketplace. Once an inventor has the idea, need to consider the landscape in the project’s category at large, business objectives of licensees, who investors will be and their objectives, as well as wooing potential customers or buyers.

Infringement claims only work when there is a registered copyright

A significant change in intellectual property law took place when the Supreme Court ruled recently on a copyright infringement case. With contradictory rulings on the books in the Circuit Courts, the highest court unanimously determined that copyright infringement claims are valid only when the copyright is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.

How does bankruptcy impact trademark rights?

The Supreme Court of the United States settled a complex question regarding trademark rights in bankruptcy. The case, Mission Product Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC, arose out of Tempnology filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015. The company said in light of its bankruptcy that it could no longer guarantee quality control of the trademark, and thus it would cancel a current licensing agreement with Mission Product Holding. Mission Product responded by filing suit in bankruptcy court, essentially questioning whether Tempnology’s breach of contract could actually revoke Mission Product’s license.

White House calls for crackdown on counterfeit goods

The White House issued a memorandum on April 3 warning consumers about counterfeit and pirated goods. It focused on third party web sites, marketplaces and intermediaries that traffic in counterfeit and pirated goods. These include sites such as Alibaba, eBay and Amazon, which announced a Project Zero plan in February to utilize machine learning to detect fake or counterfeit products and allow brands to remove listings themselves.

It’s Cards vs. Crabs in a Game of Cards

Many are familiar with Cards Against Humanity. The premise of this popular party game is for one player to draw a black card with a question or a “fill-in-the-blank” prompt, and the fellow players then respond using answers provided on white cards in their hand. The player needing a response then picks the funniest response and awards a point.

Coffee growers seek to protect the Kona name

The laidback lifestyle in Hawaii makes it a wonderful place to visit. However, like other unique places on the planet, local residents and business take great care in protecting what makes the place special, especially when they see non-natives using the culture or names for financial gain. Hawaiians have moved to take action against a Hawaiian beer brewed on the mainland, a Chicago-based poke chain with the trademarked name of “Aloha,” and Hawaiian potato chips made on the mainland.

Carlton’s dance lawsuits come to an end

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor Alfonso Ribeiro has been in the news a lot since attempting to copyright his “Carlton” dance. At the beginning of this year, we wrote about how the actor took issue with the video game creators of Fortnite, who used a likeness of the actor’s signature dance from the show done as the character Carlton. The actor and his legal team also had launched a suit against Take-Two Interactive, which created the video game NBA2K16.

Jaguar Land Rover's $130 million trademark suit bombs

Jaguar Land Rover Ltd. has lost its bid to stop what it saw as trademark infringement by Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP). This suit was brought because BRP has an ATV sports vehicle with side-by-side seats named the Can-Am Defender. Jaguar contended that the ATV was an infringement on its Defender SUV, which the auto manufacturer called "the heart and soul of the Land Rover brand."

Amazon is both friend and foe

Amazon has ruffled the feathers of some of its clients recently. It started with selling private house brands of batteries and phone chargers and then expanded into toys, clothing and furniture. Soon companies complained that their online retail partner was creating cheaper products of its own to compete with theirs. There were also accusations that Amazon was not doing enough to eliminate independent companies selling knockoffs of established brands on Amazon.

Supreme Court revisits USPTO's ban on vulgar trademarks

The Supreme Court recently announced that it would examine whether the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can refuse to register immoral or scandalous trademarks. There is currently a 113-year-old statutory provision in place that supports this stance. However, the clothing line Fuct has sought trademark protection of its name since 2012.

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