Tag Archives: infringement

IP Protection For Novelty T-Shirts: Copyright Or Trademark?

gymboree

No matter how sophisticated we are on the outside, on the inside everyone has a favorite novelty t-shirt buried deep in the recesses of their juvenile subconscious.  Mine is one that says “Welcome to Philadelphia.  Now Go Home,” which so perfectly captures both the convivial pride and bewildering hostility of the city that raised me.

Many five-year olds these days have a different favorite t-shirt, sold by Gymboree subsidiary Crazy8, which features the pun: “Lettuce Turnip the Beet.” One problem though: artist Elektra Gorski had been selling t-shirts… More

Are “Concurrent Damages” A Good Idea For Copyright Law?

Money bagsAbout a year ago, we wrote about the final chapter in the copyright saga of Joel Tenenbaum, the Boston University student who was found liable for copyright infringement by a District of Massachusetts jury, based on his admitted sharing of about 30 songs via online peer-to-peer networks. Because the jury found that his infringement was willful, it awarded the plaintiffs a whopping $675,000 in statutory damages, or about $22,500 for each violation.  By contrast, the retail value of the music Tenenbaum shared was reportedly about $450.

Tenenbaum’s… More

Aereo’s Internet TV Service Not Saved From Copyright Infringement Liability By Technical Differences, Says Supreme Court

Aereo 1Television broadcasters and other digital content providers issued a collective sigh of relief on June 25, 2014, when the United States Supreme Court issued its much-awaited opinion in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc.  The Court reversed the Second Circuit and held that Aereo’s television service, which allowed viewers to watch broadcast television programs over the internet, infringed the broadcasters’ exclusive right to publicly perform their work.

For prospective customers of Aereo and similar services, this means that the ability to legally watch television over the internet is unlikely… More

Are You There, Copyright Office? It’s Me, First Circuit! Can Composers Deposit Infringing Musical Works In Place of The Original?

1Copyright law usually has little patience for plaintiffs who don’t have a copy of their original work to deposit with the Copyright Office. For example, in Seiler v. Lucasfilm, a plaintiff who claimed to have created the “Imperial Walkers” in The Empire Strikes Back film had his case dismissed because, having lost his original drawing, he was trying to sue based on a “reconstruction” drawn after the allegedly infringing film came out.  More recently, the Ninth Circuit overturned a jury verdict in favor of the programmer of… More

WINTER . . . I MEAN PRINTER . . . IS COMING: Game of Thrones Alleges Copyright Infringement by 3D Printer IPhone Dock

The inner twelve-year old boy in me doesn’t know which is cooler: the throne made entirely from swords for HBO’s Game of Thrones series, or the fact that 3D printer technology can now replicate that throne in my home at the touch of a button. It’s an interesting time to be a twelve-year old boy.  It may be an even more interesting time to be an intellectual property lawyer because, like the imminent clash in Game of Thrones between the Seven Kingdoms and the evil forces beyond… More

SORT OF THE RINGS: Will Trademark Fair Use Protect Age of the Hobbits?

In August of this year, Warner Brothers finally announced the release of Age of the Hobbits, Peter Jackson’s long-awaited follow-up to his Lord of the Rings trilogy, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous fantasy novels. Age of the Hobbits tells the tale of a clever group of diminutive Indonesian tribesmen who convince Chinese actress Bai Ling to save them from a hoard of cannibals mounted on flying Komodo dragons.

Wait a second. Does that sound right? Actually, the Warner Brothers film is called More

Porn Parody or Infringing Pun? Ben & Jerry’s Brings Trademark Action Against “Porno’s Finest,” Ben & Cherry’s

image004image002Last week, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream brought a trademark action in the Southern District of New York to put a stop to its naughty doppelganger, “Ben & Cherry’s XXX Ice Cream.” Distributed by Caballero Video, Ben & Cherry’s is a series of pornographic films with ice cream-themed titles such as “Boston Cream Thigh,” “Hairy Garcia” and “New York Super Fat and Chunky.” On Wednesday, the Southern District of New York will hear arguments from Caballero as to why… More

Anheuser-Busch Buys “Budweiser” Marks from Czech Brewer

bud

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, owner of the U.S. “Budweiser” mark for beer, has recorded a small success in its longstanding efforts to establish worldwide exclusive rights to the Budweiser mark by purchasing the rights to Budweiser trademarks held by a small Czech brewery, Budejovicky Mestansky Pivovar.

However, this is a victory in a small skirmish in InBev’s much larger trademark war with another Czech brewer, state-owned Budejovicky Budvar NP. InBev (through Anheuser-Busch) and Budvar have been engaged in multiple disputes related to the Budweiser mark for… More

Apple and the Beatles: The End of a Long and Winding Road?

The decision by Apple Corps, the Beatles’ music company, to allow distribution of Beatles songs on iTunes appears to have been vindicated by the initial sales figures achieved (two million singles sold in the first week, reports Billboard). However, the release of Beatles’ music on iTunes, the final act in the resolution of the long-running trademark dispute between Apple Computer and Apple Corps, also illustrates the basic truth underlying the resolution of many trademark negotiations: the company with the biggest consumer footprint ultimately wins.

When the… 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