Free tip (as I confront this issue for the millonth time) when drafting a licensing or distribution agreement. Make the following point unambiguous:
“Licensee is not authorized to register or use domain names reflecting the TRADEMARK or variant thereof in whole or in part.”
For Japanese Baseball fans: the Hanshin Tigers have come to a settlement with a fan who registered the trademark HANSHIN VICTORY. Via the Mainichi Daily News.
Not sure what to make of this IPKAT item on fictional characters, The Tweenies, suing the BBC for human rights violations under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The piece notes that fictional entites such as corporations can assert rights under this convention so why not ficiutional characters as well.
EasyJets ads may be confusing but they are not offensive. While reprimanded for ads that don’t clearly disclose fare information, its ads that disclose women’s breasts with the tagline “Discover Weapons of Mass Distraction” were found by the UK Advertising Advertising Authority to be distasteful but not offensive. Via AdRants. JupiterResearch reports that the woman whose breasts they were wasn’t aware those were her breasts in the ad.
People have filed U.S. trademark applications for WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, WEAPONS OF MASS CONSTRUCTION and WEAPONS OF MASS INSTRUCTION, but have not yet filed for WEAPONS OF MASS DISTRACTION.
The Sierra Club advises us that:
Hummerdinger.com is a work of parody and is in no way affiliated with or authorized by General Motors Corporation, as far as we know. Also, any resemblances or similarities between this aforementioned work of parody and real life are either a) crafted with satiric intent or b) complete and utter coincidence.
Via Prof. Lessig’s blog, a movie review from Newsweek of THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN. It is not a rave review of the movie, but it is a rave review of artists reworking material in the public domain.
Tidbit: The movie has a character referred to AN INVISIBLE MAN because of prior rights in THE INVISIBLE MAN.
The PYCNOGENOL case, discussed here previously, has been affirmed by the Ninth Circuit. Defendant, a competitor of plaintiff, placed plaintiff’s trademark in its website’s meta-tags. Such use caused confusion and therefore did not pass the Ninth Circuit’s test for nominative fair use. There is no discussion as to whether defendants use caused initial interest confusion or ‘regular’ confusion, nor was there any elaboration of the lower court’s concept that ‘unreasonably pervasive’ meta-tag use is too much meta-tag use.
Horphag Research v. Pellegrini, no. 01-56733 (9th Cir July 29, 2003).
When domain names expire they leave skeletons - networks of inbound links that continue to funnel traffic to that name, even if ownership has changed. Via eWeek, we learn that Microsoft owned HARDWARE-UPDATE.COM and used the name for a site featuring Windows drivers. The domain name is embedded in various error messages in Windows 2000. However, Microsoft did not renew the domain name and Ultimate Search, a company that specializes in this sort of thing, scooped it up. Now the page provides sponsored links, courtesy of Overture. The article reports that the top sponsored link pays over $3 a click-through.
A loyal Trademark Blog reader forwarded us this Wine Spectator article about the use of the JOHN HANCOCK signature on wine. In this case the winemaker’s name is John Hancock and that is his signature. Nevetheless, he has received a protest from the John Hancock insurance company.
Yes, you can fairly identify yourself as the source of goods. No, you can’t use your own name as a trademark if it causes confusion. Ah, but can you use your own name if it allegedly causes dilution?
Nothing to so with trademarks but I thought I would share this with you. Here is a link to Time Magazine’s digital archive, an article entitled the Top 50 Cyber Elite of 1998. No. 11 is Bernie Ebbers. The last lines are:
Though some are hesitant about the performance of the new MCI-WorldCom, company earnings have increased at least 20%. WorldCom is here to stay. It’s a smart addition to any portfolio.