By Kathryn Purcell-Hennessy (Brisbane, Australia)


Internet use in Australia is widespread, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting that in 2010-11 (the latest figures available), more than 50% of Australians aged between 15 and 34 created online content and downloaded videos, movies or music. More than 68% of Australians in those age brackets listened to music or watched videos or movies online and over 75% used the Internet for social media and online gaming in the same period. The Internet hosts increasing volumes of user-generated content, and encourages use of copyright materials in emerging ways, which may infringe copyright.

Continue Reading The “Copy” Right in Australia

Media outlets have been buzzing over the purported denial of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s BLUE IVY CARTER trademark.  On October 16, 2012, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) granted a federal registration to Veronica Morales, a Boston-based wedding planner, for the trademark BLUE IVY (U.S. Registration No. 4224833) covering event planning services. Morales, who claims use of the BLUE IVY trademark since 2009, obtained her federal registration before Beyonce and Jay-Z despite filing her federal application one month later.  A number of reporters incorrectly state that Morales’ BLUE IVY registration has derailed any opportunity for Beyonce and Jay-Z to secure rights to, let alone a federal registration for, their BLUE IVY CARTER trademark. Of course, such an assertion demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of the highly specialized and nuanced area of trademark law.

Continue Reading Beyonce and Jay-Z’s “Blue Ivy Carter” Trademark Still Has Chance

Companies are becoming increasingly innovative in promoting and conducting contests and sweepstakes via social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.  However, companies engaging in social media contests or sweepstakes must ensure that their promotions are in compliance with federal and states laws as well as the specific platform guidelines, and be particularly careful not to inadvertently organize their promotions as an illegal lottery.  Avoiding the creation of an illegal lottery is one of the biggest challenges of organizing a social media promotion.

Continue Reading Avoiding Illegal Lotteries in Social Media Promotions

Reposted from Intellectual Property Magazine, July 12, 2012

This article discusses the increasingly important role of social media in trademark enforcement efforts, and provides effective tips and strategies for corporate counsel to create a solid, value-driven enforcement

Continue Reading Choosing the right battles: DLA Piper’s Radiance A. Walters on how to avoid the “trademark bully” label

Reposted Client Alert 

We are delighted to introduce DLA Piper’s newest blog, Technology’s Legal Edge™, which addresses the global issues facing companies in the areas of e-commerce and social media, IT sourcing, outsourcing, and privacy

Continue Reading New Technology, Privacy and Sourcing Blog: Technology’s Legal Edge

Reposted from Corporate Counsel Magazine

By Radiance Walters and Debbie Rosenbaum

In 2012, marketing teams will spend less time defining the term “social media” for corporate executives and more resources justifying increased expenditures in cyber platforms that have questionable returns on investment. Despite the unknown value of social media, conventional wisdom seems to suggest that companies require some form of social media presence. Frankly, a lack thereof sends red flags to consumers that a brand is unsophisticated or out of date.

Continue Reading From the Experts: Avoid Pitfalls of Social Media Contests and Sweepstakes


By Joshua Briones and Patrick S. Park

A judge ruled last week that, a web-based community of cell phone information, has properly pled a trade secret and conversion claim arising out of Phonedog’s allegations that it is entitled to certain Twitter followers that a former employee had built up during his four years at the company, where he worked as a blogger. 
The case raises at least two questions.  First, who owns a company Twitter account?  Second, how much is a Twitter follower worth?  

Continue Reading Whose followers are they, and how much are they worth?

Reposted from DLA Piper’s Law à la Mode Edition 4 – Winter 2011

By:  Michael K. Barron, Sarah Phillips and Nadea Taylor (Boston and London)
“AdWords,” the paid, subscription-based Google referencing service which allows users to advertise their companies alongside Google search results, has recently been the subject of much legal scrutiny.  In late September, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a preliminary ruling on questions referred to it by the English High Court in the case between Interflora and Marks & Spencer (“M&S”), regarding the purchase by M&S of the Google AdWord “Interflora” and other similar AdWords. 
In answering the questions referred to it, the ECJ repeated much of the recent jurisprudence in this area, in particular from the Google France case.  Previous cases established that purchasing a third parties’ trademark as an AdWord would only amount to trademark infringement if such use would have an adverse effect on one of the functions of the trademark.  
The ECJ gave the following guidance on how national courts should assess whether the use by a third party of a sign identical with a trademark in relation to identical goods or services has an adverse affect on one of the functions of the trademark:

By: Ann K. Ford, Kiran N. Gore, and Debbie Rosenbaum (New York and Washington DC)

Fashion is an integral part of how consumers construct their personal identities and choose to portray themselves in their everyday lives.  From a societal perspective, we correlate luxury fashion brands with success and exclusiveness.  We notice individuals with red-soled stilettos or LV patterned brown leather purses because we know that while these individuals could have chosen from a variety of options, they chose to identify themselves with expensive emblems of status.  This aura of exclusiveness is the value that luxury brands provide to their consumers: few can have it; the others merely aspire to it.

Social media stands in stark contrast to this image.  Social media platforms are inherently noisy, crowded and easily accessible from a variety of platforms.  This dichotomy begs the question: will using social media tarnish the value of luxury brands by making them too accessible by the masses?

Continue Reading Does Social Media Clash with Luxury Brands?