31
Mar/05

Google Loses Motion To Dismiss in AMERICAN BLIND Keyword Case.


John Batelle’s Search Blog is reporting that Google’s Motion to Dismiss certain claims by American Blind in its litigation regarding Google’s sale of keywords has been denied.

Background here.

Put in perspective, part of the significance of the American Blind case is that the mark AMERICAN BLIND (and some of the other American Blind trademarks owned by plaintiff) is not as distinctive or unique as for example, the mark GEICO.  If Google has liability for this sort of keyword, then its policing costs will be increased and its potnetial inventory of salable keywords will go down.

Having said that, bear in mind that this was a motion to dismiss.  The court is only allowing the plaintiff the opportunity to prove its case.

Deeper background: NY Times article noting that Google’s lawsuits are beginning to ad up.  Well, what is the exposure?  We’re not aware of private settlements of course but the pending cases are American Blind, Geico, LVMH, Viaticum, AFP, Preispiraten – am I leaving any out?  Ok, legal fees, use $300k per, so we’re not over $2 million yet.  There’s reportedly another 15 cases being brought in France. Damages? No final judgments yet.  I think Viaticum has been awarded about $100k but that will probably be appealed.  I assume that AFP is asking for the highest amount at $17 million.

Google has $3 billion in annual sales, so it will be likely to foot the bill for now.

 



31
Mar/05

Romance Novel Parodies


Parodies of romance novel covers here. Hat tip Copyfight.



31
Mar/05

Check Out That Set of Euphemisms


The INTA lists serv was nostalgic or something this week and I wasn’t blogging in 2000, so I may as well as bring up the BODACIOUS-TATAS.COM decision  in which the UDRP arbitrator, and perhaps, the complainant, the Indian firm TATA, were seemingly unaware of the connotation of the term BODACIOUS TATAS.

Narcissistic Complainant press release suggesting that the Bodacious Tatas site had intended to free ride on the image of the famous TATAS mark here.

List of breast euphemisms here.

The term ‘bodacious’ was, we are told, coined in the comic strip “Barney Google and Snuffy Smith” (Snuffys wife Loweezy pictured here), which strip is available for syndication from the good folk at King Features.



30
Mar/05

Use Of Google Page Rank To 'Game' Google Results


This lengthy post and comment thread via Waxy.org discusses efforts an entity named WordPress that allegedly uses its high Google page-rank to alter Google results for ‘high cost advertising words.’ 

 

 



30
Mar/05

Successfully Contesting Incontestable Registrations


Foreign manufacturer allows (controlled) U.S. distributor to register trademark in its own name.  Manufacturer sells control in distributor.  These stores rarely have happy endings.  Ultimately, foreign manufacturer is able to overcome distributor’s incontestable registration by showing prior nationwide common law use.

Practice point: Don’t let distributors register your trademark in its name.  Alternate point:  when you sell control in your distributor, remember to get your trademark assigned back to you.

Watec v. Liu, 03-55823 (9th Circuit,  March 30, 2005).



30
Mar/05

If You Read One Case on Standing In IP Litigation, Make It This One


May an assignee who holds an accrued claim for copyright infringement, but who has no legal or beneficial interest in the copyright itself, institute an action for infrongement? 

No.

Silvers v. Sony, CV-00-06386-SVW (9th Circuit, March 25, 2005)



30
Mar/05

More on Nimmer


The power of Nimmer, via Prof. Susan Crawford.  Prior Nimmer discussion here.



29
Mar/05

First Person Accounts of Grokster Arguments


First person accounts of Grokster arguments from Timothy K. Armstrong and SCOTUS Blog.



29
Mar/05

All Grokster All The Time


It’s said that the Supreme Court follows the election returns. But do they follow the bloggers? Maybe if bloggers affected election returns.

Grokster coverage via Boing Boing, Induce Act Blog and, well, maybe I should just provide links to the sites that aren’t covering Grokster.

Photo of bloggers in front of Supreme Court today by Cyrus Farviar.



29
Mar/05

Misleading Law Firm Names


The State Bar of California Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct has issued an Advisory Opinion on Misleading Law Firm Names.

In one hypo, the Committee advises that the name WORKERS’ COMPENSATION RELIEF CENTER may be misleading because it may suggests that it is either affiliated with the government or that it may be a public or non-profit legal services entity.  Prominent express disclaimers would be required.

So, for example, FEDERAL IP RIGHTS CENTER, LLC, might be problematic in California, absent prominent express disclaimers that it was a private for-profit law firm.