Monthly Archives: April 2010

“Fair Use” of Copyrighted Works Contributed $4.7 Trillion to U.S. Economy in 2007, Reports CCIA

This week, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) released the report Fair Use in the U.S. Economy (.pdf) concluding that industries that rely on the “fair use” exception in copyright law contributed $4.7 trillion or 16% of the  U.S. gross domestic product in 2007, growing faster than the other sectors of the U.S. economy.  The report credits the fair use of copyrighted works for the success of search engines, software developers and a number of other “new economy” industries.

More

.CO Domain Names Are Coming — Should You Care?

Colombia is known for its chief exports of coffee, petroleum and coal. It may also soon be known for its country code top-level domain name (ccTLD), .co. In many people’s minds, the abbreviation "co." stands for "company," "corporation," or "commercial," and the .co registry, .CO Internet SAS, is heavily marketing this domain as a legitimate alternative to .com domains for businesses and individuals. If .CO Internet has its way, .co will be the new .com. Of course, whether the .co domain will catch on remains to be seen, but trademark owners should be aware of some preliminary steps they… More

Photographers and Visual Artists Sue Google over Google Books

A new wrinkle has recently appeared in the legal landscape surrounding Google’s Google Books project. While the parties to the authors’ and publishers’ lawsuit await a court decision on approval of their proposed settlement, a different group of plaintiffs has filed a new class action lawsuit against Google on behalf of photographers, visual artists, and other copyright owners whose pictorial works appear in the books and periodicals included in the Google Books project.

The named plaintiffs in the new case include the American Society of Media Photographers, the Graphic Artists Guild, the Picture Archive Council of America, the… More

Likelihood of Confusion: Similar Suffixes Do Not Suffice

Proving that history repeats itself, the TTAB recently decided a case that is strongly reminiscent of a matter we handled several years ago. In 2005 we defeated a challenge by Missiontrek Ltd. Co. to the registration of the software mark ONFOLIO, owned by our client Onfolio, Inc. Missiontrek claimed that ONFOLIO was confusingly similar to its previously-registered software mark CARTAGIO. 

Instead of filing an answer to this challenge, we moved for summary judgment, claiming that the marks were so different that no facts developed in discovery or at trial could lead to a finding of confusing similarity. Although the TTAB rarely decides such… More

Settlement of South Butt Case Unfortunate for Trademark Owners and Parodists Alike

In a lawsuit that has grabbed the attention of the trademark community, The North Face Apparel Corp. sued The South Butt, LLC, its founder (college student Jimmy Winkelmann), and a pharmacy that sold allegedly infringing goods for using the mark THE SOUTH BUTT on clothing that resembled the style of clothing sold under the well-known mark THE NORTH FACE. According to the Complaint (PDF), South Butt repeatedly attempted to register THE SOUTH BUTT as a trademark and offered to sell its business to North Face for $1 million. The Answer (PDF) describes Jimmy Winkelmann as a “cherubic… More

Song Author Prevails on Summary Judgment in Rap Music War

Cleveland area radio personality and early rap artist Orrin Lynn Tolliver, Jr. is on a roll in the Southern District of New York. After finding out in 2005 that a song he recorded in 1983 had been sampled in the multi-platinum hit “My Humps” by the Black Eyed Peas (iTunes sample available here), Tolliver sued his former collaborator who licensed the composition without his permission, and won on liability at the summary judgment stage (originally in March, 2009 – here). The district court judge later allowed the defendant to add a new affirmative defense (acquiescence), but then… More

New gTLDs Still On Track Despite Trademark Concerns

For some time now, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) — the governing body of many of the inner workings of the Internet — has planned to expand the domain name space. Currently, domain names are limited to 27 generic top-level domains (gTLDs) — including the popular .com, .net., and .org — and a number of country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). ICANN’s proposed expansion would allow for the introduction of unlimited new gTLD registries — for instance, .lawyers, .film, or .baseball. Presumably, a majority of these new registries will be open to the public for registration… More