Posts Tagged "litigation"

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Washington Redskins’ Federal Trademark Cancelled by USPTO 0

Washington Redskins’ Federal Trademark Cancelled by USPTO

Posted by on Jun 18, 2014 in Blog

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has cancelled the trademark registration for the Washington Redskins, stating that the name of the team is “disparaging to Native Americans.” This was the second time that the case was filed against the Washington Redskins on behalf of 5 Native Americans. This decision affects 6 trademarks, which contain the word “Redskin.” The decisions comes based on the law which does not allow trademarks to be registered if the trademark “may disparage” groups or individuals and “bring them into contempt or disrepute.” The decision by the USPTO does not necessarily mean that the Redskins will need to re-brand themselves with a new team name or logo, but it will certainly affect how it can control and produce merchandise. Since the NFL will no longer be protected by the same laws as if they had a registered trademark, it will certainly affect how they can bring suits against people who use their logos and names without proper authorization from the NFL. Attorneys for both sides have spoken, and the attorney representing the team stated that “this ruling will have no effect at all on the team’s ownership of and right to use the Redskins name and logo.” The attorney for the team is confident...

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Patent Infringement Claims Brought Against Apple 0

Patent Infringement Claims Brought Against Apple

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Patent

On April 10, 2014 OpenTV and Nagravision, two subsidiaries of The Kudelski Group, filed suit against Apple in the Northern District of California.  The lawsuit alleges Apple is infringing upon five of OpenTV’s patents relating to video technology.  OpenTV focuses on software for advanced program guides, video-on-demand, personal video recording, interactive and addressable advertising and a variety of enhanced television applications.  Nagravision provides security and multiscreen user experience solutions for the monetization of digital media.  The lawsuit states Apple’s iOS mobile devices, Apple TV, App Store, iTunes, iAd’s, Safari and OS X-based personal computers infringe these patents. This is not the first time OpenTV has sued a company for patent infringement.  It also sued Netflix in 2012 and 2013.  In that suit, OpenTV alleged seven of its patents were infringed which covered aspects of over-the-top TV technology. Cisco Systems was also sued by OpenTV under similar circumstances.  Cisco decided to settle, but the settlement amount was not disclosed. OpenTV owns about 800 patents at this point.  The company obviously has not lost its zeal for defending its patent rights.  Anyone who operates in similar technologies certainly is on notice that OpenTV is watching.  However, OpenTV did offer to negotiate licenses with the companies it sued.  Apple, Netflix, and Cisco...

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Are Silent Films Still Protected by Copyright? 0

Are Silent Films Still Protected by Copyright?

Posted by on Mar 25, 2014 in Copyright

Film enthusiasts may be familiar with the silent film Safety Last!  Starring Harold Lloyd, this film debuted in 1923.  Even those who are not familiar with the movie may recognize the iconic scene where Lloyd is dangling from the hands of a giant clock. Cupecoy Home Fashion Inc. produces a 12” metal clock with a man dangling from the minute hand.  This clock drew the ire of Harold Lloyd Entertainment, who filed a copyright infringement lawsuit on March 11, 2014. Harold Lloyd Entertainment alleged the clock was a direct appropriation of the iconic clock scene.  It also highlighted that it had previously licensed the rights to create a derivative version of the clock scene before.  The movie Back to the Future obtained permission to film the scene of Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) hanging from the clock tower towards the end of the movie.  Most recently, Harold Lloyd Entertainment granted a license to Martin Scorsese to create a similar scene in the movie Hugo.  In fact, posters for the movie featured this scene. It may seem like a movie 1923 is too old to still be protected by copyright.  However, it is the edge of copyright protection.  If it debuted in 1922, it would be in the public domain.  1923...

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Dumb Starbucks: A Parody or Not? 0

Dumb Starbucks: A Parody or Not?

Posted by on Feb 20, 2014 in Copyright

Earlier this month a new coffee shop opened in Los Angeles called Dumb Starbucks.  The outer appearance of the shop is an exact replica of a Starbucks coffee shop except the word “Dumb” appears in front of Starbucks.  Inside, everything is also an exact replica of a Starbucks with the word “dumb” inserted in front.  The cups have the Dumb Starbucks logo and the menu items are dumb as well.  Canadian comic Nathan Felder is the owner of the shop and announced plans to open a second location in New York.  Naturally, Starbucks is not amused and has pledged to protect its trademark. They have stated that they are “evaluating next steps” and have made it clear that “they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark.” Dumb Starbucks has potentially infringed multiple forms of trademark protection.  Starbucks is a protected word mark and using Dumb Starbucks in commerce can confuse consumers or dilute the Starbucks brand.  Similarly, the logo for Starbucks is also protected but Dumb Starbucks copied it and inserted the word “dumb.”  Since Dumb Starbucks also copied the colors of a Starbucks shop it may have infringed upon trade dress protection, the outside appearance of the coffee shops which help consumers identify they are Starbucks....

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Patent Fee Shifting: Kilopass Technology Inc. v. Sidense Corp.

Posted by on Jan 9, 2014 in Fee Shifting, Litigation, Patent

In a typical litigation, each party in a legal dispute is responsible for paying their own legal fees.  However, there are some instances where a losing party must pay for the legal fees of the prevailing party.  In patent law, this occurs in so called “frivolous” litigation. Until recently, judges would approve fee-shifting in patent cases if one party acted in bad faith.  This is a difficult standard to prove as the prevailing party must prove the intent of the losing party.  Congress has been debating whether to change this standard.  In December of 2013, the House of Representatives passed a bill which would require judges to consider a “reasonably justified” standard.  Thus a losing party would have to pay the legal fees of a prevailing party unless the legal position of the losers was reasonably justified.  This bill has not yet been taken up by the Senate and the Senate has not drafted its own bill on the subject. However current patent litigants may not need to wait for Congressional action.  On December 26, 2013, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit provided an opinion for Kilopass Technology Inc. v. Sidense Corp.  The main issue in this case was whether Sidense’s request for fee shifting was properly...

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