23
Sep/10

8th Circuit Dispenses Different Brand Of Justice Than 4th Circuit


Prof Goldman: GP’s Effort to Control Towel Dispenser Refills Fails in 8th Circuit

After a decision by the Fourth Circuit seemed to open the door for businesses to use contributory trademark law to block the sale of complementary goods, a recent case in the Eighth Circuit adopts what I think is a more reasonable approach. In both cases, the plaintiff and the technology at issue were the same, but the outcomes are completely different.

Plaintiff Georgia Pacific (GP) employs the following strategy to try and prevent competitors from offering cheaper paper towels for the paper towel dispensers it manufactures. It leases its hands-free enMotion brand paper towel dispensers to distributors who in turn lease the dispensers to businesses like restaurants and gas stations. In its leases, GP conditions any use of the dispensers on exclusive use of GP brand paper towels. GP also places a sticker on the dispensers warning any sublessees that only GP-brand replacement towels may be used.

Prior 4th Circuit decision on paper towel dispensers here.



23
Sep/10

Quick, Before The DMCA Notice Takes Down This Video Of The South Park iPad Spoof


Heh – ‘this video was uploaded from an Android Phone.”



22
Sep/10

Disturbia v Rear Window – Not Substantially Similar



I’ve seen Disturbia once, I’ve seen Rear Window a million times. I’m not shocked by this decision dismissing the copyright claim on summary judgment. Image from here.

Decision Rear Window Disturbia



22
Sep/10

What Is Not To Like About Hamsters Driving A Car, Listening To Music?


Song writer alleges copyright infringement by music used in Kia Soul commercial

Complaint Kia Soul



22
Sep/10

EDNY: Discussion of Trade Dress and Requests For Reconsideration


EDNY: Montblanc v Colibri: Discussion of trade dress infringement in context of request for reconsideration.

Decision Mont Blanc Colibri



22
Sep/10

Springfield Wildcats v. Shelbyville Wildcats, con't


Gators, Noles Take Teams To School Over Logos

 The University of Florida is chomping mad. And Florida State is on the warpath.  The focus of their aggression? High school athletic departments the universities believe are infringing upon their Gator and Seminole logos.

Last week, Florida sent letters to two schools in Palm Beach County – both nicknamed the Gators – informing them they must change their logos because of trademark violations.

In August, Florida State contacted Southeast High School in Bradenton – the Seminoles – for the same reason.

Springfield Wildcat archives on school trademark disputes here.

 



21
Sep/10

You Cannot Serve Both God And Pancakes


IHOP sues IHOP (International House of Prayer) on infringement and dilution.  Some IHOP prayer centers serve meals.  Plaintiff asks for fees and costs (I didn’t see a specific request for damages) and transfer of the IHOP.ORG domain name.

Complaint Trademark Ihop v Ihop



20
Sep/10

"Copyright and Football"


NY Times Freakonomics Blog: Copyright and Football:

The theory behind copyright is simple – if we allow anyone to copy a good new idea, then no one will come up with the next one.  The theory makes perfect sense – in theory.  In previous posts, however, we have described how fashion designers, chefs, comedians and pornographers all continue to create, even though others are free to copy their fashion designs, recipes, jokes, and . . . images.  In this post, we’ll take a look at something different: football.

I’m favorably disposed towards the authors’ argument that appropriate IP protection should be considered in an industry-specific context, however this struck me as a somewhat superficial column. The authors don’t highlight sufficiently that they are analyzing non-commercial behavior, specifically strategic behavior in the GAME of football (as opposed to the commercial activity of providing the entertainment service of football). And yet, even in this non-commercial domain,  there is still (private, contractual) IP protection encoded in the rules of NFL football – namely, trade secret protection.  Recall the New England Patriots getting caught in SpyGate.

And it never helps one’s credibility to make a major (from the point of view of an IP lawyer) mistake in the first sentence – copyright doesn’t protect against the copying of ideas but against the copying of the specific execution of ideas.



17
Sep/10

Fox News Sues Missouri Democrat Over Use of Fox Footage


Fox sues Democratic candidate in Missouri for use of Fox footage in campaign ad.  Coverage here.  Complaint here.



17
Sep/10

Dark Patterns: Website Cataloging Deceptive Web Design Practices


Dark Patterns:

This pattern library is dedicated to Dark Patterns: user interfaces that have been designed to trick users into doing things they wouldn’t otherwise have done.

Normally when you think of “bad design”, you think of laziness or mistakes. These are known as design anti-patterns. Dark Patterns are different – they are not mistakes, they are carefully crafted with a solid understanding of human psychology, and they do not have the user’s interests in mind.

The purpose of this site is to catalogue various common types of Dark Pattern, and to name and shame organizations that use them.