Disney, Deadmau5, nude photo leak, Twitpic, Twitter, Getty, Microsoft, Ultramercial, Personal Audio – the week in IP
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Disney, Deadmau5, nude photo leak, Twitpic, Twitter, Getty, Microsoft, Ultramercial, Personal Audio – the week in IP

Disney suing DJ Deadmau5, the IP issues in a celebrity nude photo leak, Twitpic shutting down, Getty suing Microsoft, EFF seeking to file an amicus brief in the Ultramercial case, and Personal Audio heading to court were among the intellectual property stories hitting the headlines this week

deadmau5forlackofabetternamealbum.jpg Eek, a mouse trade mark fight

Disney has not taken kindly to electronic musician Deadmau5 using a mouse-ears logo, which the entertainment giant says infringes its Mickey Mouse trade mark.

Deadmau5 has been wearing a mouse head costume for 10 years, and has a trade mark for it in 30 countries. Disney wants to block Deadmau5 from registering the trade mark in the US because it says the mau4head logo is too similar to its famous three circle Mickey Mouse ears logo, which dates back to 1928.

Deadmau5, a Canadian whose real name is Joel Zimmerman, is up for the fight. In one tweet, he warned “lawyer up mickey”. In another tweet he said: “Disney thinks you might confuse an established electronic musician / performer with a cartoon mouse. That's how stupid they think you are.”

In a further twist, Deadmau5 has accused Disney of infringing his copyright when it uploaded a cartoon video featuring Mickey Mouse called “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff – Re-Micks”. Ghost ‘n’ Stuff is one of Deadmau5’s compositions.

Copyright issues laid bare

This week’s leak of nude photos of celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton has raised copyright issues over their efforts to get the photos taken down.

CBC reports that copyright complaints prompted the removal of images from sharing site Imgur.com and led to links on the social networking site Reddit being made inoperable.

However, TMZ reported that Lawrence could struggle to get the photos of her removed from the internet because she may not actually own the copyright.

TMZ said one porn website was refusing to take down the photos because it argues that Lawrance did not take the photos so someone else would hold the copyright.

This is not the first time Lawrence has been involved in a picture that led to copyright disputes, although this one is much more distressing for her. Lawrence was one of the celebrities in the famous Oscar selfie (left) earlier this year, which led to much discussion about whether Ellen DeGeneres or Bradley Cooper owned the copyright on the image.

twitpic.jpg Out of the picture

Photo-sharing firm Twitpic is shutting down because of a trade mark dispute with Twitter. The firm said Twitter demanded it drop an application for a trade mark or it would be denied access to data that allowed it to develop for the Twitter platform.

“A few weeks ago Twitter contacted our legal demanding that we abandon our trade mark application or risk losing access to their API,” Twitpic’s founder Noah Everett said in a blog post. “This came as a shock to us since Twitpic has been around since early 2008, and our trademark application has been in the USPTO since 2009.”

Twitpic was launched in 2008 and developed its third party service to allow people to post pictures on Twitter’s platform. Twitter has since developed its own service to share photos.

"We're sad to see Twitpic is shutting down," the BBC quoted Twitter saying in a statement. "We encourage developers to build on top of the Twitter service, as Twitpic has done for years, and we made it clear that they could operate using the Twitpic name.

"Of course, we also have to protect our brand, and that includes trade marks tied to the brand.”

bing.jpg Getty claims “massive infringement”

In yet more online photo shenanigans, Getty Images has sued Microsoft over a new product that allows websites to embed digital photos. Getty claimed in a lawsuit filed in a New York federal court this week this is a “massive infringement” of copyrighted images.

The Bing Image Widget was released on August 22 and allows publishers to create a panel on their websites to display images supplied by the Bing search engine.

Getty claims this allows access to images without regard to whether they are copyrighted or not.

Reuters quotes a Microsoft spokeswoman as responding: "As a copyright owner ourselves we think the laws in this area are important. We'll take a close look at Getty's concerns."

ultramercial.jpg EFF targets “idiotic” patent

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has asked the Federal Circuit for permission to file an amicus brief in the appeal of the long-running Ultramercial case. The Federal Circuit will consider for a third time what EFF calls Ultramercial’s “idiotic patent” for showing an online advertisement before a ‘media product”.

“The Ultramercial case is the first big test for the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Alice v CLS Bank,” said EFF’s Daniel Nazer in a blog post.If the patent stands, the Federal Circuit will be insisting on business as usual. If it falls, many other abstract software and Internet patents should soon fall with it.”

A 2010 trial court held the patent invalid on the grounds that it claimed an abstract idea. The Federal Circuit reversed this, saying the patent was not abstract because it “clearly require[s] specific application to the inerrant and cyber-market environment”. The Supreme Court reacted by sending the case back to the Federal Circuit for reconsideration. Then Chief Judge Randall Rader upheld the patent. The defendants returned to the Supreme Court, which issued a GVR order to send the case back down to the Federal Circuit to reconsider the case in light of the Alice ruling.

Podcast dispute to air in court

ArsTechnica has a detailed story on a lawsuit between Personal Audio and CBS that is heading to trial in Marshall, Texas.

Personal Audio has been enforcing one of its patents against podcasters. The most high-profile target was podcaster Adam Carolla, who fought back against Personal Audio accusing the firm of “extortion”. Personal Audio and Carolla settled their dispute last month.

Personal Audio is involved in lawsuits against three big television networks. In the first case to go to trial, Personal Audio and CBS will be selecting a jury next week.

Also on the blog this week:

How much of a job creator is IP?

Advice on early resolution of IP disputes

And in our news and analysis:

IV announces construction joint venture

Hughes Hubbard adds two partners in New York

Facebook “likes” ruled not a form of IP

PTAB petitions break 1,900 barrier in August

Spours joins ClearViewIP

What makes a parody? The CJEU explains

FTC explains hopes for recently approved patent troll study

How the EPO aims to improve legal certainty

Simmons launches trade mark practice in China

New Austrian IP/IT firm opens

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