Posts Tagged ‘trademarks’

Intellectual property roundup

  • “Copyright Trolls Now Threatening College Students With Loss of Scholarship, Deportation” [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
  • Use the phrase “Law Firm 2.0”? Better cease and desist [Carolyn Elefant, MyShingle]
  • “How A Supreme Court Case On Cheerleader Costumes and Copyright Could Impact Prosthetic Hands” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
  • Have you violated your competitor’s legal rights when you buy search engine advertising with its name as keyword? [Eric Goldman on Edible Arrangements case]
  • Trader Joe’s keeps battling the Canadian knockoff/reseller Pirate or Irate Joe’s [Lowering the Bar]
  • “Unified Patents files legal challenges against top three patent trolls of 2016” [Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica]

Cato panel on the Games That Must Not Be Named

On Wednesday I took part in a panel discussion on the intellectual property issues associated with media commentary on the Olympics, which enjoy a distinctively favorable IP regime: a 1978 federal law gives the U.S. Olympic Committee stronger rights over the word “Olympics” than it would get under ordinary trademark law, including wider scope to go after parody and other situations that will sometimes arguably be fair use. Other panelists include Cato’s Julian Sanchez and Jim Harper, and the moderator was Cato’s Kat Murti. The audience Q&A included a question from noted media law attorney Paul Alan Levy. You can watch here:

August 17 roundup

  • Upcoming evening panel on the Olympics and aggressive trademark/copyright policing, with Jim Harper, Julian Sanchez, and me, Kat Murti moderating [at Cato, August 24]
  • “We are drowning in law.” New reform project from Philip K. Howard’s Common Good []
  • “Extremely Rare Deadly Balloon Tragedy Leads to Familiar Calls for More Regulation” [Scott Shackford, Reason]
  • FTC, reversing its administrative law judge, asserts widened authority over data security practices in LabMD case [James Cooper, earlier here, etc.]
  • Baltimore police matters, gerrymandering, historic preservation and more in my latest Maryland roundup at Free State Notes;
  • “Shark-Attack Lawsuit Raises Interesting Questions, Like What Were You Doing in the Ocean to Begin With” [Lowering the Bar]

Mention the Olympics at your peril

Unless you’ve bought an official sponsorship, for your business to so much as mention the upcoming Olympics on social media “can be like doing the 100-yard dash through a minefield.” The rules warn non-sponsors not to “create social media posts that are Olympic themed… or congratulate Olympic performance” even if you have sponsored individual hopefuls, wish luck, use phrases like “go for the gold” or “let the games begin,” report Olympic results, host Olympic-themed team-building exercises for your employees, or “share anything from official Olympics social media accounts. Even retweets are prohibited.” [AdWeek]

August 3 roundup

Council candidate menaced for using city’s logo on yard signs

“The city of Mesa, Arizona, has threatened suit against a local businessman, Jeremy Whittaker, who is running for city council in opposition to a longtime city employee who enjoys endorsements from several current elected city officials. His offense? His lawn signs and campaign literature include a single-color version of the city’s logo …as a handy way of identifying the office for which he is running.” It has demanded he surrender all his campaign materials bearing the logo, but he’s not planning to give in. [Paul Alan Levy, CL&P via Mike Masnick, TechDirt]

Quaker Oats sends cease/desist to actual Quakers

Making the rounds, on Mental Floss and elsewhere, a story of how an overzealous lawyer for the Quaker Oats company sent a cease/desist letter to the Quaker Oaks (that’s “Oaks”) Christmas Tree Farm in Visalia, California, led by actual members of the Society of Friends and named after the tree under which religious services had been held for a time. The letter provoked this amusing and not un-peaceful response from William Lovett (“Our business is 100% owned and operated by Quakers. I suspect that your firm employs considerably fewer, if any, Quakers.”)

While the Deseret News sets the tale in 2012, it seems to have been in circulation longer than that, as seen in this 2006 posting. But since names in the story, including that of a lawyer for the food company, do check out as names of real persons, my guess is that the story is genuine.