Reposted from Law A La Mode 

By: Tamar Duvdevani, Matt Ganas, and Amanda Liverzani  

In the United States, patent protection can be afforded to aesthetic innovation (design patents), and functional innovation (utility patents). Because binding precedent relating to design patents is relatively sparse, practitioners take note any time the Federal Circuit addresses thorny issues of design patent law. This is especially true when the patents-in-suit are directed to products that permeate our everyday lives – in a recent case, athletic uniforms worn by dogs. But the Federal Circuit’s opinion in MRC Innovations, Inc. v. Hunter MFG. LLP, 747 F.3d 1326 (Fed. Cir. 2014) does more than affirm the invalidity of patents claiming the ornamental design of canine sports jerseys. It provides much-needed guidance on obviousness standards applicable to design patents in the garment and apparel context.


Continue Reading Seeing Beyond the Doggie Wear: What MCR Innovations Teaches about the Obviousness of Design Patents in the Garment Industry

By James Stewart

Earlier this month, Radiance Harris and James Stewart attended a roundtable on trademark protection in social media.  The event was hosted by the International Trademark Association (INTA) to create a forum for practitioners to share their experiences in this rapidly evolving area.  This is a multipart series that will discuss potential pitfalls, enforcement mechanisms for brand protection, and strategic tips for engaging in social media.

Practitioners agree that social media is no longer a luxury for “early adopters” or “hip” brands, but a necessity for brands to leverage bilateral communication with consumers, thought leaders, and the press.  If a brand does not have an active presence in social media, a user may create a presence for the brand.  Sometimes these user-generated accounts can adopt a laudatory tone and engage consumers better than the brand could have envisioned engaging consumers.  These accounts can grow to attract many thousands of fans.  However, all too often practitioners have seen brands take an overly cautious stance and become the subject of a dreaded “smear account” (i.e. www.yourbrandsucks.com), in which the negative aspects of a brand or consumer experiences with a brand are highlighted.  

These extremes aside, brand owners work hard to develop compelling intellectual property that uniquely resonates with consumers in a uniform and cohesive way.  Even if a social media presence created for a brand does not adopt a negative stance, does it conform to the brand approved aesthetic?  Are the correct logos, fonts, and colors used?  If they are not, or worse, if the creator has a poor experience with the brand and the tone of the page turns negative, the brand does not have control or ownership of the page or the immediate ability to take control of the message.  The brand may scramble to create its own “official” account to commence damage control, but many times this account will grow at a much slower rate than the rogue account.  Often by the time the brand has come up with this alternative account, the rogue account has grown and an online multichannel social movement has come to life. 


Continue Reading Social Media Part I: Protect Your Brand

Reposted from DLA Piper’s Media Intelligence Bulletin

Editorial Team: Nick FitzpatrickDuncan Calow and Patrick Mitchell

HarperCollins Publishers LLC (“HarperCollins”) has filed a law suit against digital publisher Open Road Integrated Media (“Open Road”) for copyright infringement in relation to the e-book rights to the children’s book, ‘Julie of the Wolves’ (the “Work”).


Continue Reading HarperCollins sue Open Road for copyright infringement

Reprinted from La A La Mode, DLA Piper’s Fashion, Retail and Design E-zine

by Louis Puts (Brussels)

Online marketplaces such as auction sites are often used as platforms for selling unlawful fashion products. On 12 July, 2011, the CJEU rendered an important decision concerning the unlawful offers of cosmetic products with L’Oréal’s trademarks on eBay. For the first time, the decision has clarified the circumstances under which online marketplace operators may be held responsible for unlawful trade-marked products offered for sale on their platform site, under trade-mark law, the E-Commerce and the IP Enforcement Directives.


Continue Reading ONLINE MARKET PLACES RESPONSIBLE FOR TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENTS

DLA PIPER IPT ALERT

By Ruth Hoy and Patrick Van Eecke

As was the case in Newzbin 2, a national court, in deciding whether to order an ISP to implement technical measures to deal with copyright infringement on the part of the ISP’s customers, will need to consider whether the proposed measures are proportionate.  In doing so, it will need to strike a fair balance between the protection of intellectual property and that of a freedom to conduct a business enjoyed by ISPs.
On 24 November 2011, the CJEU gave its judgment in a case brought by SABAM, a Belgian collecting society, against Scarlet Extended SA (formerly Tiscali SA).  
In the national court proceedings, SABAM, which represents the interests of copyright owners in musical compositions had brought action to address the problem of P2P file sharing of digital musical files by Scarlet’s customers.  The Court of First Instance in Brussels accepted that the activities on Scarlet’s customers inevitably involved copyright infringement of  works within SABAM’s repertoire, and that it had jurisdiction to order the prevention of such activities.  It appointed an expert to look into the feasibility of certain technical measures which could be implemented by Scarlet.
Following the report of the Court appointed expert, and in accordance with its powers under Article 87(1) of the Belgian Law of 30th June 1994 on Copyright and Rights, as amended by the Law of 10 May 2007, the Belgian court ordered that Scarlet should bring an end to the infringements by making it impossible for its customers to send or receive files containing a musical work in SABAM’s repertoire by means of P2P software, in particular by using Copysense by Audible Magic.
The decision was appealed by Scarlet, who argued that: 
The decision was contrary to EU laws on privacy and freedom of expression; 
The decision was contrary to Article 12 of the E-Commerce Directive (which provides immunity to service providers who assist transmission within a communications network); and 
The decision was contrary to Article 15 of the E-Commerce Directive (which provides that “Member States shall not impose a general obligation on providers to monitor the information that they transmit or store nor a general obligation actively to seek factors or circumstances indicating legal liability”).
In considering the case, the Brussels Cour d-Appel referred two questions to the CJEU, questioning whether it was contrary to EU law to require an ISP to introduce such a wide-ranging injunction.
In its judgment, the CJEU has confirmed that the injunction in the SABAM case went too far and that it would be contrary to EU law for a national court to order such a wide-ranging injunction which was not limited by (i) time; (ii) cost;  (iii) technical effectiveness of the measure proposed; (iv) type of communication, without distinguishing between lawful and unlawful content.  In particular, the Order must not go so far as to actively require ISPs to monitor the data of each of its customers in order to prevent any future infringement of IP rights. 

As was the case in Newzbin 2, a national court, in deciding whether to order an ISP to implement technical measures to deal with copyright infringement on the part of the ISP’s customers, will need to consider whether the proposed measures are proportionate.  In doing so, it will need to strike a fair balance between the protection of intellectual property and that of a freedom to conduct a business enjoyed by ISPs.

On 24 November 2011, the CJEU gave its judgment in a case brought by SABAM, a Belgian collecting society, against Scarlet Extended SA (formerly Tiscali SA).


Continue Reading CJEU decision in SABAM -v- Scarlet

Reposted from DLA Piper’s Media & Sport Group Bulletin

Editorial Team: Nick FitzpatrickDuncan Calow and Patrick Mitchell

Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) BT and TalkTalk have been granted permission to appeal against the High Court’s April 2011 ruling in their judicial review proceedings in relation to the Digital Economy Act.

The Digital Economy Act (“the Act”) was passed by the Government in April 2010 with a view to protect creative industries such as music and film-making by introducing measures to tackle online copyright infringement. Under the Act, ISPs would be compelled to take an active role against pirates by, for example, sending out warning letters to alleged illegal downloaders.
BT and TalkTalk, two of the UK’s largest ISPs, brought a judicial review of the Act in April 2011, claiming that the measures to tackle online copyright infringement were not only disproportionate but were also not compliant with EU law. However, the High Court ruled in favour of the Government, recognising the measures as both lawful and proportionate (please see the article in our April 2011 issue of Media Intelligence here).
After failing to obtain permission to appeal against the decision in June 2011, BT and TalkTalk finally succeeded on 7 October 2011. Lord Justice Lewison granted leave to appeal on four of the five grounds addressed in the initial case. The ISPs argue that the Act is not compliant with the following European Directives: the Technical Standards Directive, the Authorisation Directive, the E-Commerce Directive and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive. The ISPs accepted the High Court’s opinion that there is a very high threshold of proving disproportionality and therefore have not sought appeal on their original claim that the act “represents a disproportionate interference with the rights of internet service providers, subscribers and internet users and with the concept of freedom of expression”.
The hearing at the Court of Appeal is likely to be held next year, meaning the full implementation of the Act is likely to be further delayed. BT’s challenge to the Act coincides with separate action taken by Hollywood studios under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, under which BT has been ordered to block access to a website that facilitates online infringement of copyright (please refer to the next item in this newsletter here).


Continue Reading BT and TalkTalk granted leave to appeal Digital Economy Act decision

Reposted from DLA Piper’s Media & Sport Group Bulletin

Editorial Team: Nick FitzpatrickDuncan Calow and Patrick Mitchell

Ate My Heart Inc v (1) Mind Candy Ltd (2) Moshi Music Ltd (2011) – interim junction granted against online children’s game company and its subsidiary
The High Court has granted an interim injunction preventing the promotion of an animated character known as “Lady Goo Goo” and its associated song due to the risk that the public would confuse it with the music artist Lady Gaga and her associated trademark.
The High Court proceedings were brought by the applicant following the attempted release of “The Moshi Song” by Moshi Music, a new division of the children’s social networking site Moshi Monsters. The song had already been posted on YouTube and Moshi Music planned to release it as a single on iTunes. The online computer game also features an animated cartoon baby known as “Lady Goo Goo” which was arguably a visible representative of Lady Gaga. The applicant argued that there had been infringement of its LADY GAGA trade mark.
The applicant argued that there was a risk that consumers might consider “Lady Goo Goo” to have originated from the same source as, or a source economically linked to, Lady Gaga. This argument was strengthened by the fact that users had published blog comments suggesting they were confused as to whether there was a connection.
The factors relevant for the assessment as to whether or not there was a risk of confusion were as follows:

Ate My Heart Inc v (1) Mind Candy Ltd (2) Moshi Music Ltd (2011) – interim junction granted against online children’s game company and its subsidiary

The High Court has granted an interim injunction preventing the promotion of an animated character known as “Lady Goo Goo” and its associated song due to the risk that the public would confuse it with the music artist Lady Gaga and her associated trademark.


Continue Reading “Goo Goo” and “Gaga”

Reposted from DLA Piper’s Media & Sport Group Bulletin

Editorial Team: Nick FitzpatrickDuncan Calow and Patrick Mitchell

The copyright infringement suit filed in New York alleges “widespread and unauthorized reproduction and distribution of millions of copyright books” by five universities and the HathiTrust through cooperation agreements entered into with Google Inc.
The copyright infringement suit filed on 12 September 2011 by the Authors Guild, two international writers groups and eight authors, alleges that the universities and HathiTrust (a large-scale collaborative repository of digital content from research libraries) are violating copyrights by scanning, duplicating and distributing their books. The plaintiffs are particularly concerned by the plan by HathiTrust to make available a small number of ‘orphan works’, where no author or publisher can be located.

The copyright infringement suit filed in New York alleges “widespread and unauthorized reproduction and distribution of millions of copyright books” by five universities and the HathiTrust through cooperation agreements entered into with Google Inc.

The copyright infringement suit filed on 12 September 2011 by the Authors Guild, two international writers groups and eight authors, alleges that the universities and HathiTrust (a large-scale collaborative repository of digital content from research libraries) are violating copyrights by scanning, duplicating and distributing their books. The plaintiffs are particularly concerned by the plan by HathiTrust to make available a small number of ‘orphan works’, where no author or publisher can be located.


Continue Reading Authors Guild files lawsuit against a consortium of university libraries for copyright infringement