Wow, nothing on the Blog about U.S. companies pirating Vietnamese trademarks for months, and now this one via Business Times Asia, after the one on Friday. Incidentally, the aside in the article makes a mistake. BASMATI is not a non-US trademark pirated by the US as it is not a trademark (nor is it an appellation of origin). It is a seed varietal (albeit a valuable one).
Another U.S Gubernatorial campaign (via Washington Post), another instance of one side registering a domain name consisting of the opponent’s name, another political website that is less than forthright about its source.
This occurred to me as I read of the various governmental resources being devoted to (1) promotion of digital television (which is properly the job of the market); and (2) hearings on P2P spoofing and hacking.
Instead, the resources would be better spent discussing a $200 tax credit for families and businesses that obtain broadband Internet access.
10 million more broadband users would help the economy.
Have a good weekend.
Many U.S. trademark owners have successfully relied on Article 6bis of the Paris Convention in order to protect their famous trademark from piracy abroad. The U.S., in my view, sometimes grants a narrower scope of protection than other countries in situations where it is obvious the U.S. applicant has adopted a non-US company’s trademark (see Person’s v. Christman, 900 F.2d 1565 (Fed. Cir. 1990).
This Asia Times article alleges that a U.S. company has filed a piractical U.S. trademark application consisting of the logo of PetroVietnam, a large Vietnamese oil company. More coverage here. Interestingly, the U.S. applicant alleges use of the logo here since 1991.
The article indicates that there is a bi-lateral agreement beween the U.S. and Vietnam covering the protection of IP. If we see litigation, this also looks like an opportunity to re-visit the U.S. scope of 6bis.
Certain acts become torts only when committed by a certain class of people with a certain intent. Anyone, it seems, can make a fun of a trademark – but competitors can’t. The Muppets can make fun of SPAM by naming a wild boar character Spa’am. MTD, purveyor of Yard-Man Lawnmowers, however, cannot show competitor John Deere’s deer logo running scared (at least not under NY’s anti-dilution statute in 1994 (although it would seem to me that MTD could have said in its ads “We make John Deere run scared”).
Here’s a comment on a trademark that goes beyond poking fun and represents a direct attack on the trademark. I suspect that the brand manager of CAMEL cigarettes did not want to see the huge illustration in the business section of today’s NY Times (free online subscription worthwhile to see illustration): a parody of the CAMEL package with the word CADAVER instead of CAMEL and a dead dog instead of a camel. This version is being distributed on stickers to schoolchildren by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to protest experimentation on animals. The stickers (which also parody
If the tobacco companies think that the parody raises legal issues, they will confront a common problem – the louder they protest, the wider the distribution of the parody.
Most ironic line in article: quote from tobacco company executive: “PETA is acting irresponsibly handling out tobacco logos to children.”
Most original defense of animal experimentation, presented by different tobacco company executive: “I have to believe, if animals ruled the world, they’d do the same thing.”
Strangest sideshow: Mothers Against Drunk Driving are protesting PETA’s GOT BEER? Campaign targeted at college students, arguing that beer is more healthful than milk. PETA’s response here.
Tired old joke: Labs are beginning to experiment on lawyers, rather than rats, because there are a limited number of rats, the researchers were getting attached to the rats, and there were some things the rats wouldn’t do.
UDRPLaw article on Go Daddy’s Domain By Proxy service, which allows the domain name registrant to keep his, her or its identity secret. Great for limiting spam, that much harder to police the web.
The inability to easily reconcile the domain name registrant’s privacy concerns with the public policy interest against anonymity in commerce, is, in my view, one more argument against unrestricted TLDs. Commercial and residential zoning are often incompatible.
Allegedly, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush wrote a letter to the Commissioner of the PTO arguing the case of constituent and donor, Bacardi, in the HAVANA CLUB matter. I feel that even if he has better connections, I have more relevant experience, and you should still consider me for your trademark representation. And I can certainly bring in a letter for under $50,000.
Via Tuffy Stone, this article on the Disney Winnie the Pooh litigation, suggests that there are scenarios under which Disney loses its rights to Pooh. Additionally, Disney apparently destroyed documents it was ordered to preserve (and was sanctioned). More here.
Register.com, ICANN registrar, is closing its domain name re-seller Afternic, after paying $48 million for it two years ago. In the ICANN Watch post-mortem, a post signed by Anonymous argued that there is a place in the world for people who register domain names for $9, and then warehouse them:
“The domain name system needs speculators to bring special domains to relevant industries. Don’t expect the owner of Acme Hardware Company to have the time to hunt through domain auction sites to find a good generic domain for his/her hardware business. He/she is too busy running Acme Hardware!”
The thing is that, unlike a speculator, if Acme Hardware’s advertising agency thought up a good generic domain name to promote Acme Hardware’s business, it wouldn’t buy the name first to ransom it to Acme.
I think domain name speculation is a tax on e-business and it wouldn’t be a bad thing if it petered out. However, this is old news, and in the words of another poster in that thread:
“. . . I’ve had this argument with you, or some other Anonymous . . .”