Monthly Archives: November 2011

Congress Takes Aim at Counterfeit Drugs

Bills were introduced in both the House and the Senate earlier this month to increase the penalties for trafficking in counterfeit drugs. Both versions of the proposed “Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act of 2011” (H.R. 3468 and S. 1886) would amend 18 U.S.C. § 2320, which criminalizes the use of counterfeit marks on or in connection with goods or services, to provide for enhanced penalties when the good in question is a drug.

A similar measure was introduced in October as part of H.R. 3261, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” or “SOPA,” a bill aimed primarily at… More

From the .XXX Files: Porn Industry Giants Sue Over New Domain Name Registry

The .xxx domain name registry was approved by ICANN and is now taking applications via your friendly neighborhood domain name registrar, so you would be forgiven for thinking that opponents of the .xxx domain are ready to move on and deal with the new regime.

To the contrary, pornography giants Manwin Licensing International (operator of YouPorn, Pornhub, xTube, and the various Playboy websites) and Digital Playground (one of the five biggest pornography studios, according to Wikipedia) are decidedly not aroused amused by ICM Registry and its .xxx starlet. The two companies filed suit last week against… More

Senators Scott Brown and John Kerry Propose Massachusetts as Location for Satellite Patent Office

On November 17, 2011, Senators Scott Brown and John Kerry sent a letter to David Kappos, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, urging him to consider Massachusetts as a location for one of the satellite patent offices that was authorized under the recently enacted America Invents Act.

The letter points out that Massachusetts is home to many world-class universities, including MIT, Harvard, Boston College, Boston University, Tufts, and the University of Massachusetts, and would therefore be an ideal location from which to recruit talented… More

CRIDO Coalesces to Take On ICANN In Last-Ditch Effort to Delay New gTLD Program

With the ICANN New gTLD Program train out of the station and running full speed ahead, there has been little hope among trademark owners of a further delay. The newly minted Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight (CRIDO) aims to change that. CRIDO, comprised of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and 87 major national and international business associations and companies, including Coca-Cola, Ford, and GE, is “committed to aggressively fighting ICANN’s proposed program, citing its deeply flawed justification, excessive cost and harm to brand owners, likelihood of predatory cyber harm to consumers and failure to… More

MAFIAA Fire Potentially Meets Its Match

Back in May, we wrote about MAFIAA Fire, a browser plug-in created by anonymous coders to counteract the government’s efforts to shut down copyright-infringing web sites by seizing the domain names.

You Naughty, Naughty Men: Is There An Obscenity Defense to Copyright Infringement?

We previously posted about Massachusetts District Court Judge Young’s order allowing copyright infringement plaintiff Liberty Media to discover (and thereby potentially reveal to the public!) the identity of 38 “John Doe” downloaders of “Amateur College Men Down on the Farm,” a pornographic film. But perhaps the most far-reaching implication of Judge Young’s opinion was a footnote. Judge Young noted that copyright protection was effectively unavailable anywhere for “obscene” material until the 1970s, and that it wasn’t entirely clear “whether pornography is in fact entitled to protection against copyright infringement” at all in… More

Risks of an Unrestricted License

The recent case of Edgenet, Inc. v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. (7th Cir., No. 10-1335, 9/2/11) illustrates the principle that a copyright license without restrictions will be broadly construed to encompass all rights. The facts of the case were that Home Depot had contracted in 2004 with Edgenet for Edgenet to develop a classification system (called a “taxonomy”) that was to be used to organize Home Depot’s product database. For example, as the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals suggested, a particular screwdriver part might be classified under “tools/manual/screwdriver/Phillips/bits/metal”, and that classification would form part of the taxonomy. Under the… More

Court Orders Identity of BitTorrent Users to be Revealed in Copyright Case

BitTorrent users now have even more reason to be concerned if they are targeted in “John Doe” lawsuits for copyright infringement. In a recent case, 38 BitTorrent users, known only by their IP addresses and identified as John Does, were sued as a group. Three of the John Does sought to quash the subpoenas issued to their ISPs seeking the names and contact information of the BitTorrent users. A Boston federal court judge denied the motions, ruling that BitTorrent users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contact information that they give to their ISPs. The… More

Can You Ever Have Too Many Domain Names?

My partner Dave Broadwin, a business attorney and the head of my firm’s Emerging Enterprise Center, recently blogged about registering variations of one’s domain name as a strategy to prevent cybersquatting and trademark conflicts on the internet. He recommended that companies consider taking the following steps:

1. Register with the most popular top-level domains. Obviously, .com domains are the most popular by far, followed by .net and .org. You might also register domain names in the .biz registry, and in the .info, and .us registries. The Columbian registry (.co) is also making a big push to be an alternate… More