Linsane Trademarks

Linsane Trademarks

Since February 7th the Trademark office has received eight trademark applications for the term LINSANITY.   The products identified in applications range from clothing, jewelry, and sport drinks, to eyeglasses and cell phone covers.  The only problem is only one of these applications is on behalf of the Knick's Jeremy Lin (Serial 85541426); and it is a basic premise of trademark law that you can not register the name of a living person without that person's written consent.  Perhaps more concerning, however, is the attempt of people who know him to cash in on his name - one of the applications is by Roger Montgomery for the purpose of "Business management of sports people" (Serial 85542514) and who the Washington Post identifies  as Lin's own agent. While some of the applicants may try to argue that it is purely coincidental that they want to register the name in the middle of Mr. Lin's hot streak ("by Linsanity, I mean LENS...
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The Copyright Dilimma for Pinterest

The Copyright Dilimma for Pinterest

In case you’ve been living under a digital rock, one of the currently hot internet properties is pinterest.com. Pinterest is a social media platform that allows users to skim pictures from third-party websites and to post them along with a link back to the original website that the image originally appeared on – sort of like a much more streamlined & robust method of saving bookmarks/favorites.   Unlike Facebook or some of the other social media sites which encourage users to come-up with their own content, Pinterest is largely based on a model of users creating collections of photos from third-parties. This model creates a bit of a dilemma for the copyright holder because it is in essence a model based on using their photos to create traffic to someone else’s website.  Proponents of Pinterest argue that it isn’t really diverting traffic, but rather increasing traffic to business who may have images represented on user’s “boards.”   This is similar to the...
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The Three Second Rule of Copyright

At dinner the other night, a friend mentioned she had recently seen a performance of Broadway songs at a fairly well known theater here in Minneapolis/ St Paul.  She mentioned that during the performance the host for the night compared the first seven notes of  the iconic Somewhere over the Rainbow to notes played during Wicked's Unlimited.  The host explained that only seven notes where used because "if you use eight notes the copyright owner can come after you."  I was curious about this statement and looked a little closer and found out that in fact that is the story that has been told by the composer Stephen Schwartz.  While making a nice antidote and joke, unfortunately the story is simply not true. Much like the Three Second dropped food rule (if its on the ground less than 3 seconds its safe to eat), the eight note rule is similarly not true, and (hopefully) said  just in jest.  While copyright Fair...
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Limitation on Color Trademarks in the Fashion Industry

In 1992, shoemaker Christian Louboutin began using red lacquer soles on some of its shoes.  In 2008, the red soles were registered as mark in the US Patent and Trademark Office, and on January 1, 2008, number 3, 361,597, the “red sole mark” came to life. In 2012 Louboutin sued Yves St. Laurent ("YSL").  They were seeing red  (pun intended) over the recent Yves St. Laurent 2011 Resort collection, which included red-soled shoes, the Louboutin signature brand detail.  Louboutin filed a trademark action against YSL, which YSL prominently countered with a counter-suit seeking cancellation of the Louboutin trademark registration.  Louboutin responded with a request for a  preliminary injunction temporarily preventing YSL from selling the shoes until the dispute was settled.  The district court initially denied Loboutin's request largely on the basis that . . ."in the fashion industry color serves ornamental and aesthetic functions vital to robust competition  . . . However, “Color alone “ sometimes ” may be protectable as a...
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Giant Steps 2011 – a day-long conference for entrepreneurial creatives.

From the folks at Giant Steps 2011 Dear Creative Minds and Brave Souls, We are excited to officially open registration for Giant Steps 2011, a day-long interactive event for creative entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial creatives forging their own paths. Giant Steps will inspire you, connect you with like-minded souls, and introduce you to valuable resources. Giant steps is where people in the know will exchange ideas and stories with people on the verge of their creative and entrepreneurial paths. Giant Steps is about creating a community and finding new ways of working. And Giant Steps believes a great day of connections and creativity is best finished with an amazing evening concert! In the follow-up survey to last year’s Giant Steps, 83 % of the people rated their experience at Giant Steps 2010 an 8 out of 10 or higher, and 21 % rated it a 10 out of 10. We’re looking forward to building on that success and making this year’s event even better--with more...
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Minimizing Your Risk Related to Administrative Tasks and Payroll

Thinking of adding an employee but not sure how to handle the day to day administrative issues related to pay and insurance?   Employees are a responsibility for any business.  When you take one on, they may be there to make you money, but in return you have an obligation to treat them right.  As a result there are a variety of administrative and bureaucratic rules to help make sure things go smoothly. One option to consider to avoid this extra burden is to hire a reputable payroll services. On time payment and record keeping: While it may seem obvious, small business owners often forget that their employees expect to be paid on a regular schedule and may not care that the boss is on vacation and hasn't gotten around to writing out the checks.  Services handle this for their customers automatically and will mail out checks or make the appropriate online deposits upon request. Withholding: One major issue overlooked by many businesses...
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Options When Taking Down Counterfeiters – $164 million awarded in Tory Burch lawsuit

Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York awarded a default judgment to clothing designer Tory Burch LLC in its trademark counterfeiting and cyber-squatting case against  232 websites which sold copies of Burch’s handbags, flats, and accessories.  After none of the 232 defendants answered the complaint, the Court awarded damages of $164 million and ordered that the counterfeit websites be turned over to Burch. The $164 million is the largest settlement of this type.  Additionally, the Court used the process provided in similar cases involving The North Face and Ralph Lauren which ordered third-party payment facilitators, such as PayPal, to disgorge any money in Defendants' accounts.    While it is not expected that Burch will ever recover the full judgment in this case, the ability to take possession of the infringing domain names, along with the ability to freeze related financial accounts, gives the plaintiff a great tool in combating future infringement and sends a strong warning...
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Copyright Office Requests Comments on Eliminating Compulsary License for Cable Providers

In April the Copyright Office published a notice in the Federal Register seeking comments related to a proposed change to the current method that cable and satellite providers license broadcast television from stations (e.g., local network affiliates).  Currently, three sections of the Copyright Act provide a compulsory (statutory) license for these broadcasts, meaning that negotiations are not required, the content is simply licensed automatically and  the cable or satellite provider simply pays a predetermined fee.  These sections are contained in  Section 111, 119 and 122 of the Copyright Act and must be periodically renewed by Congress. The Copyright Office is requesting comments on eliminating these licenses, making them permanent, and alternative licensing arrangements.   Three specific proposals have been put forward as alternatives:  1) Sublicensing the transmissions - shifting responsibility for payment of copyright holders to the original broadcast providers as a part of their original broadcast license; 2) Private licensing - requiring the satellite and cable providers to seek individual licenses...
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Copyright Office Calendar

April 29, 2011 April 29, 2011: Copyright Office website and online registration unavailable from 5:00 p.m. through May 2, 2011, at 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time. May 1, 2011 Effective date of final rule on deposit accounts May 11, 2011 Due date for notices of participation in public meeting on technical aspects of mandatory deposit of published electronic works available only online May 23, 2011 Due date for affidavits stating that a television station qualifies as a specialty station May 24, 2011 Public meeting on technical aspects of mandatory deposit of published electronic works available only online May 25, 2011 Due date for reply comments on marketplace solutions to statutory licensing June 2, 2011 Roundtable on copyright protection for pre-1972 sound recordings June 10, 2011 Hearing on marketplace solutions to statutory licensing ...
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Copyright Office Extends Deadline for Reply Comments in Inquiry on Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

From the Library of Congress NewNet Issue 412 - February 18, 2011 The Copyright Office is extending the deadline for filing reply comments in response to its Notice of Inquiry requesting public input on the desirability and means of bringing sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, under federal jurisdiction. Reply comments must be received in the Office of the General Counsel of the Copyright Office no later than April 13, 2011, and should be submitted through the Copyright Office website at www.copyright.gov/docs/sound/comments/comment-submission-index.html. Initial comments (including one comment that was received late and that was only recently posted) are available for review on the Copyright Office website at www.copyright.gov/docs/sound/comments/initial/. For more information, go to the Office’s website at www.copyright.gov/docs/sound/ ...
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