31
Oct/03

Boo


Discussion of copyright in scary masks here.

Scary masks here.

Coulrophobia (fear of clowns) products here.



31
Oct/03

Mattels Wins MY SCENE v. MY STYLE Design Litigation in the U.K.


Mattel has announced that it has received a decision from the High Court of Justice in London holding that Simba Toys MY STYLE dolls infringes the Community Design rights in of Mattel’s MY SCENE dolls.  Simba must recall the infringing dolls and pay Mattel interim damages of approximately $1 million.  Via Yahoo.

A Netherlands website depicting both MY STYLE and MY SCENE packaging here.  Scroll to the bottom of that site to see Simba’s MY STYLE dolls.



31
Oct/03

Wages of Counterfeiting


A California man has been convicted of selling countefeit Compaq computer memory modules.  He is facing a fine of up to $4 million and up to 20 years in prison.  Via The LA Times..



31
Oct/03

The Race To Make Domain Names Irrelevant


Wrapping up its meeting in Carthage, ICANN has released this “Broad Strategic Initiative for Top Level Domains.”  The press release promises reviews, reports. assessments, and new specialized TLDs in 2004.

Meanwhile, an Economist article on Google and paid search, claims that ”All told, 75% of referrals to websites now originate from Google’s algorithms.”



30
Oct/03

Fount of Trademark Fonts


IPKat on trademark fonts here.



30
Oct/03

Guide to Madrid Protocol Implementation


The U.S. Trademark Office has posted Exam Guide No. 2-03, Guide to Implementation of Madrid Protocol in the U.S. (Oct. 28 2002).



30
Oct/03

Live From Carthage


Following in the footsteps of Tertullian and Donat, heretical ICANN Board member Amadeu Abril i Abril writes to us from Carthage, in The Punic Words, his blog on the ICANN conference.

More on the ICANN meetings here, here and here.

Discussion of Punic Wars here.



29
Oct/03

Would You Want The World To Know What You Purchased From Victoria's Secret?


Today’s Guest Blogger is Lisa Dubrow, of Dubrow & Charne, an advertising law firm in New York (212-865-0200), who has these thoughts on online privacy of consumer data and the recent settlement between the New York AG and Victoria’s Secret:

Would you want the world to know what you purchased from Victoria’s Secret?  Well if you don’t, you agree with New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. He recently announced that his office had reached an agreement with Victoria’s Secret Direct, LLC following an investigation into allegations made last fall that the company’s Web site inadvertently left information about what its customers’ purchased online accessible to other online customers. The security flaw was discovered a year ago by a customer who reported the problem to the company. The company allegedly chose to ignore the tip thinking that since the security risk did not concern customers’ credit card numbers the flaw was not really an issue.

 That was not a smart move.

 Apparently, even though the retailer’s website’s privacy policy promised that customer data “is maintained in private files on our secure Web server,” and that “we provide stringent and effective security measures on our Web site”, the names, addresses, and orders of more than 560 customers were available to anyone who could manipulate the online customer id number and order number. Feeling that the security flaw was not being taken seriously, the customer reported the problem to the press. That seemed to do the trick: the flaw was fixed immediately.

 However, because the security flaw violated the retailer’s privacy policy, Mr. Spitzer’s office accused it of breaking state laws concerning deceptive business practices, false advertising and fraudulent business activities. Said Mr. Spitzer’s spokesman. “When a business’s security and privacy practices do not live up to its promises, a breach occurs.” While Victoria‘s Secret did not admit to the attorney general’s findings, it did agree to pay a fine of $50,000 and improve its online security practices. It also agreed to notify the customers whose data was at risk.

 “A business that obtains consumers’ personal information has a legal duty to ensure that the use and handling of that data complies with representations made about that company’s security and privacy practices,” Mr. Spitzer said through a spokesman. “When a business’s security and privacy practices do not live up to its promises, a breach occurs.

 This type of action by state and federal regulators is becoming more common. Just recently, Guess.com settled with the Federal Trade Commission as a result of Guess.com’s vunerability to attacks, such as SQL injection attempts, directed at its web applications at the same time that it published online that its customers’ information was protected.  “If you make a claim about information important to consumers, such as security, and it is false, it could be a violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act, a legal violation,” stated Jessica Rick, assistant director of the financial practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection of the FTC.

 If you make promises online, make sure you can keep to them. The care of customer data should not merely be limited to credit card information. If any customer data is exposed this case reveals that a company is at risk for a fine, and more importantly, unfavorable publicity, even if that flaw if corrected quickly. There is another lesson here: listen to customers’ complaints and take them seriously.

Ed’s note:  Vintage undies picture from here.

 



26
Oct/03

Trademarks I Have Seen In The Movies


In the movie Punch Drunk Love, the protagonist, Adam Sandler, notices the following:

“Healthy Choice and American Airlines got together and put this promotion: If you buy any 10 Healthy Choice products, they will reward you with 500 frequent flier miles; with this special coupon, they’ll up it to 1,000 miles. So, I think they are trying to push their teriyaki chicken which is $1.79, but I went to the supermarket and I looked around and I saw that they had pudding…for 25¢ a cup.. comes in packages of four. But insanely….the barcodes.. are on the individual cups! So, quarter a cup, say you bought $2.50 worth. That’s worth 500..with the coupon it’s 1,000 miles. It’s a marketing mistake but I’m taking advantage of it. If you were to spend $3,000, that would get you a million frequent flier miles. You would never have to pay for a ticket the rest of your life”

The protagonist does in fact accumulate chocolate pudding, and the resulting frequent flyer miles turns out to be a critical plot point.  According to this and this, this incident happened in real life.  Healthy Choice, by the way, is thanked in the credits.



26
Oct/03

Vuitton Sues Google In France Over Keyword Sales


In the wake of a decision against Google in the court of first instnace in France, LVMH, owners of the LOUIS VUITTON trademark have sued Google alleging that Google’s sale of keywords infringes LVMH’s trademark.  Via CNN.COM, Mercury News, and Editor and Publisher.  One source quoted suggests that the decision will open up the floodgates against Google in France.