“A California judge has cancelled Tim Langdell’s hold over the Edge trademark, ending a long-running dispute over the name with iOS developer Mobigame, EA and others. …Yesterday, Langdell responded by issuing a letter protesting the decision as ‘defective’.” [Eurogamer.net] We’ve reported several times on Langdell’s efforts to assert broad trademark rights over use of the word “Edge” in videogames and related items.
The term “space marine” dates way back in sci-fi writing, but Games Workshop says it’s now a trademark [Popehat] “Site plagiarizes blog posts, then files DMCA takedown on originals” [Ars Technica; related, Popehat]
D.C. suburban school district: “Prince George’s considers copyright policy that takes ownership of students’ work” [WaPo]
This is getting serious: “Patent troll targets Minecraft” [Rob Beschizza, BoingBoing] Are mainstream tech companies joining the patent-troll brigade? [WSJ Law Blog] Bessen-Meurer have another study of patent trolls out, this one suggests their direct costs to economy $29 billion a year [Joe Mullin, Ars Technica]
London Olympics games: you may link to our site only if not in a “derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner” [Popehat]
“Fan Fiction vs. Copyright – Q&A with Rebecca Tushnet” [Reason.tv]
Are the logos similar? Apparel maker Under Armour sues maker of “Body Armor” sports drink [Baltimore Sun]
“U.S. Patent System is Broken, Declares Judge in Android v. Apple Cases” [Posner; DailyTech] Posner “on Why he thinks There Are Too Many Patents in America” [Atlantic]
Startups: “Why do investors want founders to spend money and time on bogus patents?” [Cory Doctorow]
I’ll be speaking in Birmingham, Alabama tomorrow to a lunch gathering of the city’s Federalist Society Lawyers’ chapter, about my book on legal academia, Schools for Misrule. The event will be at noon at the Summit Club, Sixth Ave. N. More details here.
Speaking of Alabama, the Eleventh Circuit has broadly sided with artist Daniel Moore over his right to create and sell artistic depictions of Crimson Tide sporting events without paying a licensing fee to the University of Alabama [Jon Solomon/Birmingham News, AP/Tuscaloosa News, earlier here and here]
Berkeley: “Police chief sends sergeant to reporter’s home after midnight to demand article revision” [Poynter] In 1932, a New York Congressman convened a hearing to blast theater critics for harming the welfare of Broadway shows [Philip Scranton, Bloomberg]
What is it about Montana and election free speech these days? [Volokh] Judge denies Ron Paul campaign request to unmask source of anti-Huntsman video [Paul Alan Levy, earlier] “Eliot Spitzer Bucks Liberal Orthodoxy: ‘Citizens United Was Correct’” [TheDC] If you rely on the NY Times for what you know about Citizens United, you’re probably misinformed [Wendy Kaminer, Atlantic]
“In which Ben Bagdikian, alleged scourge of media monopolies, frets at the possibility of more TV channels” [BBC via Jesse Walker]
Guernsey as a haven for libel tourism? [Annie Machon] “Someday I will commission a study of the relationship between defamation lawsuit threats and illiteracy.” [@Popehat on Gawker item]
“Key Techdirt SOPA/PIPA Post Censored By Bogus DMCA Takedown Notice” [Mike Masnick]
Overly aggressive trademark lawyers? “Their mothers love them too, in a prone-to-sudden-weeping sort of way.” [Popehat; earlier on Louis Vuitton v. Penn Law case]
A student organization at Penn Law created a poster for a fashion-law event playing off the well-known design of luggage-and-handbag purveyor Louis Vuitton. Lawyers for the luxury firm fired off a cease-and-desist letter, but the Penn law department declined to comply, a stance that Eugene Volokh finds persuasive: ” I think the use of the marks can’t qualify as dilution, is unlikely to confuse, and is likely to be a fair use in any event.” Another view: Ron Coleman (dilution a possibility).
On the trademark-assertiveness front, as readers of this site know, they’ve been no strangers to controversy. Perhaps as a gesture of goodwill toward critics they’d consider calling off the lawsuit threats against other legitimate charities that attempt to use the color pink?
Ron Coleman has yet another installment in the ongoing annual saga of legal jeopardy for organizations that promote their wares (big-screen TVs, snacks) by referring to a certain football weekend event as the “Super Bowl,” rather that dodge behind the phrase “Big Game” or something equivalent. He corrects Consumer Reports on its assertion that the law provides an exemption for “news organizations,” which is not actually the case, though many uses by news organizations would in practice be exempted as fair use. Earlier here, etc.
More: “It’s Time to Stand Up to the NFL and Call It the Superbowl” [Paul Alan Levy]
Eric Goldman is not a fan of the parties’ handling of Fancaster v. Comcast, Inc., in which two companies are battling over noncompeting uses of a business name that neither has been able to turn into much of a success. That hasn’t kept them from shoveling a lot of money at lawyers over three and a half years.
The proposed law is being promoted as a way of blocking piratical “rogue” sites, but once it’s up and working, and internet providers have begun automatically blocking sites from a list continually updated by the government, it won’t stop with copyright and trademark infringers. Extending the interdiction to other sorts of sites will be a relatively simple and straightforward matter:
With the legal framework in place, expanding it to cover other conduct — obscenity, defamation, “unfair competition,” patent infringement, publication of classified information, advocacy in support of terror groups — would be a matter of adding a few words to those paragraphs.
Paul Alan Levy finds it hard to sympathize with either side of the much-noted trademark dispute, and notes that before the restaurant chain sicced its lawyers on him, Vermont t-shirt silk-screener Bo Muller-Moore had himself sought to trademark the “Kale” version of the slogan: “why should Muller-Moore be able to prevent other members of the public from making T-shirts with the same slogan?” [CL&P, earlier]
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