From the category archives:

Trademarks

apple_trademark

ArtInfo opines:

“What is not clear is where the logic of this obsessive trademarking will lead or, put in another way, what it means for a corporation to both produce and own our essential means of relating to the world around us.”

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The taxi’s radio was tuned to a classical FM broadcast. Janácek’s Sinfonietta—probably not the ideal music to hear in a taxi caught in traffic. The middle-aged driver didn’t seem to be listening very closely, either. With his mouth clamped shut, he stared straight ahead at the endless line of cars stretching out on the elevated expressway, like a veteran fisherman standing in the bow of his boat, reading the ominous confluence of two currents. Aomame settled into the broad back seat, closed her eyes, and listened to the music.”

Make sure you secure your unique Facebook URL!. Read more of 1Q84 at http://www.facebook.com/harukimurakamiauthor

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[thanks to quick study memo from Lock Lorde]

Fleischer Studios, Inc. v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc., No. 09-56317 (9th Cir. Feb. 23, 2011) (“Betty_Boop”)

boop1The excessive protectors of intellectual property often forget the functional purpose for which certain protection rights are granted. The Wiki definition of trademark is spot on: “A trademark or trade mark or trade-mark[1] is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities.”

The Betty_Boop opinion is a gem. The court correctly concludes, among several compelling conclusions, that a ruling of trademark infringement would bar Betty forever from the public domain. Of course it hammers home the point that there is no confusion to the public as to the source of origin of the Boop products in question. Finally, it chides both sets of attorneys for failing to cite the United States Supreme Court case of DASTAR CORP. v. TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORP. ET AL – 539 U.S. 23 (2003), which held that a trademark infringement claim cannot substitute for a copyright claim, especially when the copyright is expired and in the public domain.

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sunglassesA United States Appeals Court in Chicago has slowed down the march of extending personal jurisdiction over defendants thousands of miles of away on the sole basis of their alleged presence in plaintiff’s neighborhood via the Internet.

Defendant was a Houston anesthesiologist who practiced solely in the state of Texas. Plaintiff was a group of Chicago anesthesiologists who alleged a trademark infringement against defendant based on the defendant’s maintaining of a website in Houston that was accessible in Chicago.

The crucial language of the decision:

“Mobile/Chicago’s evidence that Mobile/Houston took express aim at Illinois is inadequate. Mobile/Chicago first contends that we should infer express aiming at Illinois from the fact that Mobile/Houston operates a website whose domain name is similar to Mobile/Chicago’s trademark. We disagree. A plaintiff cannot satisfy the Calder standard simply by showing that the defendant maintained a website accessible to residents of the forum state and alleging that the defendant caused harm through that website.”
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MOBILE ANESTHESIOLOGISTS CHICAGO, LLC, an Illinois limited liability company, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. ANESTHESIA ASSOCIATES OF HOUSTON METROPLEX, P.A., a Texas professional association, Defendant-Appellee. No. 09-2658.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.
Argued April 2, 2010. Decided October 1, 2010.

Before FLAUM, WOOD, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

HAMILTON, Circuit Judge.

Full decision at Google Scholar

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(Thanks to http://ht.ly/2lG4A @clancco this morning for this WSJ item)

Charity Brawl: Nonprofits Aren’t So Generous When a Name’s at Stake
WSJ August 5, 2010

usa_cfmIf only we can protect the easily confused public against the charlatans of blood cancer charity:

“More than two years ago, Cheryl Colleluori set out to trademark “HEADstrong,” the moniker of her blood-cancer charity. She says her son Nicholas, who had non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, came up with the name before he died in 2006. His nickname was “Head.” Ms. Colleluori ran into trouble with the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the advocacy group of the cyclist and cancer survivor. Its logo on its website is “LIVESTRONG,” in black against a yellow background, with “strong” in bold.”

What is at stake here is irrational control of the idea of STRONG. The Copyleftists and Lawrence Lessigites need to get on this one quickly. Maybe the LegalRebels.

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