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 up in court more than any author since… More
Category Archives: Counterfeit Goods
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 you covered, at least when it comes to… More
If 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 guide, you can provide both beer and explanations. … More
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
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
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
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
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
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