From EFF’s “Copyright Week”: what if the penalty that accompanied a parking ticket varied unknowably and might amount to a year’s salary? [Mitch Stoltz] “Copyright’s not getting its work done” [Cathy Gellis]
Nineteenth Century’s sewing machine patent wars resembled today’s smartphone wars, but ended more or less happily [Adam Mossoff, Slate]
Universities that post papers by their own scholars hear from Elsevier’s lawyers [ABA Journal]
Likelihood of confusion? Underwear maker Hanes cease/desists hummus maker in Saskatoon, Canada with name derived from “Yohannes” (= “John”)[ABC News, Craig Lederhouse, CBC (auto-plays radio)]
The maker of the hit video game has obtained a trademark on the use of its name in games and clothing. King.com is asserting its legal rights not only against many games whose names include the word “Candy” — it will presumably make an exception for the old-time board game Candy Land — but also against various users of the word “Saga.” “We won’t make a viking saga without the word Saga, and we don’t appreciate anyone telling us we can’t,” said one group working on a game product that consumers are unlikely to confuse with the Candy Crush version. [GameSpot, A.V. Club, Anthony Wing Kosner/Forbes via Slashdot]
But put aside whether Spin Master can win this infringement claim on the merits, consider what they asked for in their demand letter, as explained on You Rather’s blog:
1. Stop using “You Rather” and any other phrases that are similar to “Would you rather”. This includes one (yes, really) or more of the words “Would”, “You”, or “Rather”.
2. Hand over our yourather.com domain immediately
3. Tell them how much money You Rather has made (presumably to ask for that too)
4. Pay for their lawyers
“One or more of the words ‘Would,’ ‘You,’ or ‘Rather.’” Presumably this is meant to prevent You Rather from just rearranging words, but this is a demand letter, not a contract. There’s no need to get cute and ask the website to agree to abandon any use of the word “you.” This is why people hate lawyers.
The case against Dillard’s we noted earlier this month, and the one against Saks a while back, are no outliers: “Just in the past seven years, the Hells Angels have brought more than a dozen cases in federal court, alleging infringement on apparel, jewelry, posters and yo-yos.” [New York Times]
“Hells Angels is suing 8732 Apparel and Dillard’s Inc. in federal court, claiming trademark infringement of its famous skull-with-wings logo known as the Hells Angels Death Head.” [My San Antonio] The U.S. Department of Justice along with various state law enforcement agencies have deemed the celebrated motorcycle gang to be an organized criminal enterprise.
Attorneys for the state, which has a record of zealously guarding its “I [Heart] NY” promotional logo, have sent a threat to a model train company over a discontinued replica model of a real-life train that used the logo [Joe Patrice, Above the Law] [Corrected: state, not city]
The Underbelly restaurant in Houston offered a “Double Double” burger. When chef Chris Shepherd got a letter from lawyers for the California-based In-N-Out chain, saying it infringed on their similarly named sandwich, he promptly changed the name to “Cease and Desist Burger.” It has sold well, says the restaurant’s marketing manager. [Erica Ho, Time]
Esther Wrightman, who opposes the construction of wind turbines near her Ontario home, made some YouTube videos taking a dim view of NextEra, a leading wind-power company. Now the company is suing her, alleging among other things that she infringed on its intellectual property rights by publishing satirical altered versions of its logo. [Ezra Levant, Sun; Bayshore Broadcasting]
An international brewing company that uses a red-and-orange “#9″ mark on one of its brands is suing Lexington, Ky. craft brewer West Sixth Brewing Co., which uses a black-and-green “6.” “If it was on a coaster, and the person across the table was colorblind and fairly stupid, I suppose there might be some initial confusion. … there might be a problem if somebody is holding their beer upside down.” [Lowering the Bar; Kentucky.com]
“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]
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