A good Google
An attempt to have the "Google" trade mark deemed generic
has been rejected by an Arizona court.
The plaintiff David Elliott, an intended third-party
beneficiary of the registration of some domain names containing
the term "Google", sought cancellation of Google’s
registered trade marks, arguing that they are generic.
Elliott alleged: "The term 'GOOGLE’ is, or has
become, a generic term universally used to describe the action
of internet searching with any search engine, which cannot
serve as a trade mark to the exclusion of others."
Elliott’s lawyer conducted a consumer survey
that the court rejected as unscientific. In contrast,
Google’s lawyer introduced a consumer survey that
found 94% of consumers identify Google as a brand name while 5%
identify it as a common word.
The court said that even if Elliott proved that Google is a
verb that can refer to the act of searching on any search
engine, the fact that more than 90% of customers understand it
as a trade mark designating the Google search engine means it
still functions as a source designator.
The court said
the "undisputed evidence is that the consuming public
overwhelmingly understands the word google to identify a
particular search engine, not to describe search engines in
Forbes estimated the Google trade mark’s value
at $44 billion in 2011.
You "oh" us
Jay-Z is being sued for a one syllable sample of a 1969
according to Techdirt. The rapper’s 2009 hit
Town includes a single use of the word "oh" from Hook
and Sling – Part 1 by Eddie Bo.
Bo died in 2009 but TufAmerica bought the rights to the song
in 1996. The label had previously sued rapper Kanye West
– who co-produced Run This Town – for
sampling Hook and Sling – Part 1 on a different
Jay-Z (real name Shawn Carter) and co-defendants WB Music,
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing, Roc Nation, Atlantic Recording
Corporation and Roc-A-Fella Records
argued in court documents: "First, it is black letter
law that words and short phrases are simply not protectable
under the Copyright Act. Thus, Plaintiff cannot state a claim
based on the alleged infringement of a generic lyric such as,
'oh,' or the sound recording thereof, and Plaintiffs claims
should be dismissed as a matter of law. Second, even if the
word 'oh' or the miniscule portion of Plaintiffs Recording
featuring the single word was somehow original enough to
warrant copyright protection, the alleged copying here of a
sound lasting a fraction of a second in Plaintiffs Works is de
minimis and thus not actionable."
McDonald’s is seeking to register a trade mark
according to MSN NZ.
The move may be part of an effort to revive flagging
revenues. The company reported a 3.7% dip in sales in August.
It gets about 25% of its sales from breakfast.
McDonald’s applied for the McBrunch trade
mark in July. 'We routinely file intent to use trade mark
applications as a regular course of business," MSN NZ quoted
McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa McComb as saying. The
firm first tried to register McBrunch as a trade mark in 2001
but abandoned the effort.
The copyright dispute over the 2013 hit song Blurred Lines
has taken a turn for the bizarre, with the singer seeming to be
attempting to distance himself from blame.
Singer Robin Thicke has claimed in sworn testimony that he
was high on Vicodin and alcohol when he made Blurred Lines with
producer Pharrell. The two are being sued by the estate of
Marvin Gaye for the similarly of the rhythm track of Blurred
Lines to Gaye’s 1977 song "Got to Give It Up".
The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that when Thicke was
asked in his deposition in April whether he was present, he
replied: "To be honest, that's the only part where — I
was high on Vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio.
So my recollection is when we made the song, I thought I wanted
— I — I wanted to be more involved than I
actually was by the time, nine months later, it became a huge
hit and I wanted credit. So I started kind of convincing myself
that I was a little more part of it than I was and I —
because I didn't want him — I wanted some credit for
this big hit. But the reality is, is that Pharrell had the beat
and he wrote almost every single part of the song."
Despite having a co-writing credit on the song that entitles
him to about 18%-22% of the publishing royalties, Thicke
appears to have had limited involvement other than singing
"This is what happens every day in our industry," said
Williams during his deposition. "You know, people are made to
look like they have much more authorship in the situation than
they actually do. So that's where the embellishment comes
Innocence of Muslims suit
A second actor has sued Google over the controversial
Innocence of Muslims film.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Gaylord Flynn has sued
film maker Mark Basseley Youssef and Google for reproducing his
performance without authorisation.
Flynn’s complaint says he never agreed to
"place his likeness, image, persona, or dramatic performance
into a hateful production, nor did he agree to be associated
with hate speech in any form or fashion."
The new complaint echoes a previous one by actress Cindy
Garcia, who also featured in Innocence of Muslims and sued
Google for copyright violation. Garcia had been told she was
acting in an adventure film set in Arabia but the film turned
out to be an inflammatory anti-Islamic film, for which Garcia
received death threats. Garcia sued for copyright infringement
after Google-owned YouTube refused to take the film down. She
argued that she retained copyright in her contribution.
In February the Ninth Circuit agreed with Garcia,
in a controversial ruling that ordered Google to remove the
film from YouTube.
Patent reform on
It is not only real life where patent reform is considered
and then dropped. The show runner for the popular political
drama House of Cards has revealed that a storyline involving
patent reform was being considered for its second season, which
was released on Netflix earlier this year.
"[I] was like we’re going to do a story on patent
reform because I think patent reform is fascinating," said Beau
Willimon at an appearance with documentary maker Ken Burns this
according to The Hill. "I truly do. And I want the rest of
America to think patent reform is fascinating.
"If anybody’s going to make it sexy,
it’s Francis [Underwood, the main character in the
show, played by Kevin Spacey]. But you can’t
always achieve miracles so we dispensed with that
on the blog this week:
Join the debate
about IP and innovation in our first Twitter
Is the B word now
less of a curse?
Guest blog: Gwilym
Roberts on the IPO’s mission to
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Stokke suffers CJEU
blow over shape marks
confident as MPHJ tries to block case
overturns $368m damage award in Apple
NY AG sues Actavis
over Alzheimer’s drug
Trade secrets bill
clears House Judiciary Committee
USPTO extends PTAB
comment period; Myriad revision out next
attorneys join Finnegan London
Vary on the UPC, competitiveness and NPEs
starts new firm
Battistelli emphasises quality
How valuable are
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The rules of the
intervention in Supreme Court of Canada
interview: perspectives of a judicial
through a time of change
Benoît Battistelli, EPO President
public" in copyright disputes
… and forward at AIPPI
privilege in India called for
The messy problem
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Zealand’s new patent law comes into
President John Bochnovic
How to promote
around the world
Changes afoot for
shines light on designs
ABC v Aereo
– much ado about streaming
patents in spotlight at AIPPI