Monthly Archives: October 2013

Zombie Trademarks: Are They Really an Undead Threat to Consumers?

Zombie

 From AMC’s white-hot series The Walking Dead to the box office hit World War Z, the fictional zombie apocalypse is on a roll.  Be forewarned, however: there may be a real undead threat lurking in your local supermarket or shopping mall, namely the zombie trademark.  See, e.g., Anne Gilson Lalonde & Jerome Gilson, Gilson on Trademarks § 3.05 (2013) (discussing potential problems posed to consumers by zombie trademarks). … More

Copyright Office Recommends New Administrative Tribunal for Small Claims

Copyright Office Logo

Enforcing copyrights in the Federal Courts can be both expensive and complicated, so much so that many feel copyright law Is virtually unenforceable except by large corporations. Filing a copyright claim for anything under $30,000 is perceived as a lose-lose proposition because legal fees and discovery costs (even for pro se litigants) can quickly surpass any potential recovery. One study cited by the Copyright Office indicated that most copyright lawyers wouldn’t even accept such a small case in the first place.… More

Imagine There’s No Safe Harbor: Does the DMCA Apply to pre-1972 Sound Recordings?

LennonVimeo, the online video service, is seeking leave to appeal to the Second Circuit  on the issue of whether sound recordings made prior to 1972 are covered by the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). As a practical matter, affirmance by the Second Circuit would mean that an otherwise DMCA-compliant internet service provider (ISP) could be immune from liability for copyright infringement if one of its user videos infringes John Lennon’s 1973 Mind Games,… More

Rolling with the Punches: A Blow-by-Blow Account of the Supreme Court’s Copyright Laches Case

At some point, a legal claim is just so old and stale that it’s unfair to allow the plaintiff to bring it. The statute of limitations and the doctrine of laches are two different solutions to this same problem.  The former puts specific time limits on certain types of claims. On the other hand, the equitable doctrine of laches (from the old French “laschesse,” meaning “slackness”) eschews the one-size-fits-all approach and allows a judge to use common sense and fairness to determine whether a plaintiff’s delay was unreasonable given the particular circumstances of each case.… More

New Trademark Law in China Promises Efficiency and Enhanced Enforcement Capabilities for U.S. Brand Owners

China

The People’s Republic of China is considered by some to be the next great economic superpower, and U.S. companies seeking to gain a foothold in the Chinese marketplace often begin by attempting to secure trademark rights in China for their many brands, famous and otherwise.  However, they are often stymied by China’s complicated trademark registration system, a body of law relatively unfriendly to well-known foreign brands,… More