Category Archives: Counterfeit Goods

Was Shakespeare “Sometimes Like a Lawyer”? Legal Writing With The Bard

Shakes

William Shakespeare breathed his last on April 23rd, 1616, so this April 23rd marks 400 years since his death.  It is also, supposedly, his 452nd birthday.  Putting aside the oft-silly conspiracy theories and multitudinous alternate spellings of his name, many details of Shakesper’s life are clearly documented in contemporary sources.  No one is sure, however, exactly what he was up to in the 1580s. One compelling theory suggests that he spent some part of that decade as a lawyer – or at least working for one.  It’s hardly… More

Justice Scalia on Trademark and Copyright: Dastar, Penguin-Shaped Cocktail Shakers and “Guilt by Resemblance”

ScaliaWhen we decided to mark the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia by recounting a few of his copyright and trademark opinions, we were somewhat surprised to discover that there really hadn’t been that many. In fact, we located only seven matters in which Justice Scalia contributed a written opinion on a substantive issue of trademark or copyright law, and only four were majority opinions. Here they are, in chronological order:

K Mart Corp. v. Cartier, 486 U.S. 281… More

From Runway to Replica: Intellectual Property Strategies for Protecting Fashion Designs

Designers like Alexander Wang, Rebecca Minkoff, and Michael Kors are all gearing up to premier their 2016 fall/winter collections this month during New York Fashion Week.  Fashion Week draws more than 230,000 attendees each year to over 500 runway shows and events in New York City.  The economic impact of this biannual event is estimated to be close to $900 million. That’s more than the U.S. Open, which generates approximately $750 million annually for New York, and the Super Bowl, which generated an estimated $550 million when it was held in the… More

Sue-per Bowl Shuffle II: The Year in NFL-Related Intellectual Property Litigation

SBS

Around this time last year, I started worrying about what would happen if someone at a Super Bowl party asked me to explain an NFL-related lawsuit, particularly one of those IP-ish lawsuits that I’m supposed to know about. So I put together the first Sue-per Bowl Shuffle, a guide to the year’s gridiron disputes over trademarks, copyright, the right of publicity and other matters with a First Amendment flavor.

This year, we’ve got you covered again. Although the deflate-gate… More

Trademark and Copyright Law Blog Welcomes Natasha Reed as Author and Counsel in Foley Hoag’s New York Practice

reed_natasha_4x6We are delighted to welcome Natasha Reed as counsel in Foley Hoag’s Intellectual Property Department and — more importantly for present purposes — as our newest blogger. She’ll join Peter Sullivan in our New York City Office and on the author column of the blog.

Natasha has helped owners of some of the world’s most recognized brands in the luxury goods, fashion, film, music, publishing and food and beverage industries with trademark and copyright needs. With… More

The Twelve Res of Christmas: Yule-Themed IP Matters in 2015

It is often said Christmas is creeping ever-backwards, each year striving to begin its domination of our collective consciousness and consumer dollars at an earlier date. In the realm of litigation, Christmas creep manifests itself in part in the Yule-themed disputes that can occur at any time of the year, particularly in the areas of intellectual property and free speech. In order to get the Trademark and Copyright Law Blog into the holiday spirit, we’ve rounded up twelve Christmas-themed legal matters (“res” in Latin) that resulted in a written opinion during the last twelve months. Merry Christmas!

The… More

A Trademark Year in Wine and Beer 2015: Our Holiday Buyer’s Guide to Disputed Beverages

Intro RedJust in time for the holiday season, we present our second annual Trademark Year in Wine and Beer. Whether you are planning a holiday party or just having some friends over, you are probably in the market for some liquid holiday cheer. Sure, you could make your beverage purchases based only on taste or price, but instead why not mix it up this year and pick a drink that was the subject of a recent notable trademark dispute? It’s a win-win: you will indirectly offset the costs of litigation, and in… More

Harry Potter Lawsuits And Where To Find Them

23

On July 31, 2015, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling celebrates her 50th birthday, according to muggle sources. The enormous success of Rowling’s literary creation and its associated multimedia empire has spawned countless jealousies, countless imitators, countless parodists and countless pirates. The franchise has kept dozens if not hundreds of lawyers busy with precedent-setting copyright cases, trademark disputes, First Amendment battles over religious expression, and even the occasional breaking and entering. Indeed, it appears that Ms. Rowling and her works pop… More

Sue-per Bowl Shuffle 2014: The Year in NFL-Related Intellectual Property Litigation

sdf

Heading into this year’s Super Bowl party season, there are two things every lawyer should be concerned about. First, why can’t your team get it together? Second, what do you do if you are asked to explain to your friends and neighbors some NFL-related litigation that you haven’t been following? We can’t help you with the first problem (although, as an Iggles fan living in the heart of Patriots Nation, I feel your pain). As to the second problem, however, we’ve got… More

A Trademark Year in Wine and Beer: Our 2014 Holiday Buyer’s Guide to Disputed Beverages

DrinkersIf you are hosting or attending a party this holiday season, you probably need to pick up something to drink. This year, why not pick up a conversation starter as well? See if your local liquor store (in our neck of the woods, a “packie”) carries one of the many beverages that were the subject of a trademark or similar dispute in 2014. In deciding an 1891 trademark case, Lord MacNaghten famously quipped: “Thirsty folk want beer, not explanations.” Well, with our… More

An INTA Hong Kong Debrief

After a week at the International Trademark Association Annual (INTA) Annual Meeting in Hong Kong, and another spent exploring the city and its surrounds, it’s nice to be heading back to the comparatively quaint major city we call home.  But as I fly through Siberian airspace, over the North Pole, and through Canada en route to Beantown, I have a few parting thoughts.

The Gateway to Everything

As the Gateway to Asia, Hong Kong is an international center of industry and commerce – a fact reflected in the spotless windows of its record number of skyscrapers, which every… More

Top Five Surprising Observations from the INTA Annual Meeting in Hong Kong

 

INTA annual meetings are always interesting, sometimes in ways that you don’t expect.  This year’s meeting is in Hong Kong.  I thought I would share my top five observations, both good and bad, about my experience so far.

On the good side of the ledger:

1. The Saturday night Gala was fun!  I had never attended it before, and it was really nice.  It was worth packing the extra black tie outfit, and I somehow even managed to navigate the shoe issue.  Thanks to Iris and Stephen at the Copyright Clearance Center for inviting me.

2. … More

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Proposes Greater Cooperation with IP Owners to Crack Down on Counterfeits

Earlier today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it would disclose information to intellectual property owners regarding suspected counterfeit goods stopped at the border, in situations where CBP desires assistance from the IP owners to determine if the goods are genuine or counterfeit. According to the announcement, counterfeiting techniques have become so sophisticated that it is not always possible to tell the real from the fake. Without question, counterfeits can pose a grave danger to the health and safety of American consumers, as well as cause economic harm to legitimate… More

Google AdWords Appellate Decision Injects Some Uncertainty Back Into the Keyword Game

Just when you thought it was safe to bid on competitors’ trademarks as keywords — provided you played it smart, and didn’t put trademarks in the actual text of your sponsored ad except under certain limited circumstances — comes the Fourth Circuit’s decision in Rosetta Stone v. Google. In its opinion, the Fourth Circuit reverses, in significant part, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia for its apparently hasty summary judgment order in favor of Google, remanding the case for further analysis.

The AdWords Dispute

As the result of… More

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

TIFFANY Update: False Advertising Claim Rejected

In what would appear to be the final chapter of the battle between online giant eBay and luxury jeweler Tiffany, a Southern District of New York judge has bounced Tiffany’s false advertising claim, the only claim remaining following a Second Circuit decision earlier this year.

  

On remand, the district court focused on whether eBay’s advertisements about the availability of Tiffany merchandise on its site misled or confused customers since at least some purportedly Tiffany products were counterfeit. Tiffany conceded that there was no… More

The Private Counterfeiting Police: Tiffany (NJ), Inc. v. eBay Inc.

There is something for trademark holders and service providers alike in the Second Circuit’s opinion in Tiffany (NJ), Inc. v. eBay Inc. (PDF). In that case, the court held, among other things, that eBay’s Herculean anti-counterfeiting measures precluded direct and contributory liability for trademark infringement. The court reasoned that under either theory of liability, the mere fact that a service provider, such as eBay, knows in a very general sense that its website contains counterfeit products will not, standing alone, suffice to establish infringement. In the court’s view, liability premised on a service provider’s inducement of infringing conduct requires,… More