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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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Trademark Protection: The FIFA World Cup 0

Trademark Protection: The FIFA World Cup

Posted by on Jun 12, 2014 in Blog

The FIFA World Cup is starting today and while many fans are eager to watch the first match between Brazil and Croatia, behind the scenes is an entanglement of intellectual property issues. The Federation Internationale of Football Association (FIFA) released a manual, entitled the “2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil – FIFA Public Guidelines for Use of FIFA’s Official Marks”, on how businesses and individuals should deal with any IP related issues. The manual is 27 pages long and includes a section dedicated to the official marks of FIFA, examples of how to use the marks, and other general information. In the manual, FIFFA states that any “unauthorized use of the Official Marks not only undermines the integrity of the FIFA World Cup and its marketing program, but also puts the interests of the worldwide football community at stake.” The manual lists the official marks, official emblem, official mascot, official slogan, official look element, the FIFA World Cup trophy, official poster, official fan fest logo, a list of protected terms and a variety of other words and marks that FIFA is aiming to protect. Of the protected terms, FIFA includes, World Cup, Brazil 2014, Soccer World Cup and more. By releasing this manual and instructions on use, FIFA is making...

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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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Patent Enablement: Patenting Tropical Storms

Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Enablement, Patent

On Tuesday, February 25 2014, the Federal Circuit upheld a decision of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to deny a method patent for a tropical hurricane control system.  The invention was created by two inventors and involves shooting supercool liquid nitrogen from a storm plane into a hurricane to break up the storm.  Specifically, super coolant would cause the wall of the eye of a storm to implode, diminishing the storm’s intensity.  Unfortunately for them, the USPTO felt the patent application did not have enough information to enable others to use the invention. The inventors feel they did present enough information and the USPTO simply did not pay enough attention.  However the Federal Circuit concluded not only was the information insufficient, but the inventors’ calculations were wrong.  Additionally, those calculations were never tested.  The USPTO examiner specifically took issue with unexplained assumptions in the patent application.  Patents must be enabling to others skilled in the art.  Therefore the patent application has been rejected for requiring undue experimentation by others to achieve the results claimed in the patent application. The inventors claimed the government had already implemented their method in secret.  However, the court said the inventors had no evidence to back their claim.  All they had...

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Prince Filed a $22 Million Copyright Lawsuit, Then Revoked It

Posted by on Feb 4, 2014 in Copyright

The music artist known as Prince has a prior history of filing lawsuits to protect his music and his name.  His most recent suit concerns videos from his concerts on videos and blog sites.  However, after receiving negative feedback from his fans over the lawsuit, Prince was dropped his lawsuit.  Nonetheless, examining his claims will be a useful exercise in understanding what video content on the Internet can constitute copyright infringement or anti-bootlegging violations. Prince filed this action in the Northern District of California on January 16, 2014.  He named 10 defendants, two by name and twenty John Does who are identified by their online identities.  He also cited to Google Blogger and Facebook pages which contained links to file sharing services where users could download unauthorized copies of Prince’s live performance.  Prince also accuses the defendants of working in concert to distribute the bootleg copies of the live performances. All of Prince’s songs were wisely registered with the United States Copyright Office.  In the complaint, Prince’s attorney methodically listed every defendant, the songs they shared, and the registration number for the copyright in each song.  Since the songs are registered, Prince had a choice of seeking statutory damages (up to $250,000 for each act of infringement) or actual...

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