Legal Terms – A Quick Guide

To inaccuracy, that is. Two howlers: Intellectual Property: A product or idea that has tangible commercial value. * * * Trademark: A name, label or symbol identifying a product or web site. Trademarks are filed with the Patent and Trademark Office and restricted to a class of products or services. “Amazon” is a trademarked term for Internet services, but not for general references such as ecological discussions. Just one more reason not to believe everything…

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INTA on Initial Interest Confusion

The work of my INTA subcommittee, on an issue raised by me (and followed through on mostly by others): INTA – Initial Interest Confusion September 18, 2006 ADOPTED RESOLUTION: INTA recommends that courts recognize that the initial interest confusion doctrine is not separate from a likelihood of confusion analysis. It is simply a timing question as to when confusion occurs, which recognizes confusion that is dispelled before an actual sale occurs may be actionable. Courts... Read more

Google search results not a trademark infringement

Mercury News reports: A federal judge granted Google a significant victory Thursday, ruling that the search engine did not violate federal law when it sold trademarked terms in an online advertising auction. Judge Norman Mordue, of the U.S. District Court, northern district of New York, dismissed a suit brought against Google by Rescuecom, a computer repair and consulting business. . . . The ruling states that Google’s use of trademarked terms to trigger online advertisements... Read more

Bullish on royalties

The New York Post reports that the sculptor of the famous golden calf frozen in stampeding fury on lower Broadway — symbolizing the charge of capitalism in all its mammalian frenzy, its sinewy dynamism, its hirsute excess, its snorting effluvium — is suing Wal-Mart for exploiting his steely beast by selling pictures of it and, as the paper says, horning in on all the profit. Whether it’s a copyright claim or, perhaps, something else, I’m... Read more

Bloggers and Liability

Lauren Gelman writes to ask us to spread the word about a new online class on Bloggers and Liability: We’re beta testing a Law and Technology Academy in a Virtual World.  Tomorrow and Thursday at 5:30 PM PST, I’m going to teach a class in you on Bloggers and Liability… It’s free and should be useful. You do need a PC or a Mac running bootcamp to run the software. Attend both sessions... Read more

Pod people paid

We’ve written about Apple’s attempt to command the “pod space” in terms of trademark by the transmission of aggressive cease and desist letters. Now it appears they’re willing to buy the parts of it they can’t merely force to surrender, which is eminently reasonable. Certainly this does amount to an unusually aggressive, which is not to say unwise, brand protection strategy: Apple Computer Inc., maker of the iPod digital-music player, will pay a New Jersey... Read more

New mandatory blog for federal litigators (including, of course, trademark and copyright practitioners) and others interested in the world of Big Law. David Lat, formerly associated with Article III Groupie, is going full guns on lawyer gossip. Evidently, some lawyers have a lot more interesting lives than I do. Ok, more than “some.” UPDATE: Not everyone is amused, not suprisingly. Read more

RIAA defenders directory

I’m not so sure the RIAA isn’t on firm legal ground. In fact, I think they mostly are. Information may want to be free but so does crude oil; that doesn’t mean you can just set up a pump on my front lawn. But I do think their strategy and execution are stupid. So for what it’s worth I’m passing along this directory of attorneys defending RIAA defendants, put together by New York lawyer Ray... Read more

Hardware trademark rejected in UK

The Register reports: A businessman has failed to win the right to register the term “screw you” as a wide-ranging European trademark because it is offensive. It can be used, but only for goods sold in sex shops, the European trademark authority has ruled. Hard to harmonize with this, I would think, and actually quite hard for me to understand even on its own terms, but perhaps these are subtleties that escape the morally hidebound... Read more

Who owns NYC cop’s 9/11 pictures?

Here’s a somewhat interesting copyright battle, courtesy of Gothamist: A former NYPD detective tapped to take Ground Zero photos by disgraced former Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik won’t make a dime peddling his pictures if the Bloomberg administration gets its way. “Aftermath: Unseen 9/11 Photos by a New York City Cop,” the 200-page work set to hit bookstores at $44.95 next week, features the work of John Botte. Kerik gave the veteran crime-scene photographer “privileged access”... Read more

Trying to Google the genie back into the bottle

The UK Independent reports that Google is waking up to its Google-as-verb problem. Here’s a similar report in the Washington Post. Why did Google wait so long? I am sure it has its reasons; I’m tempted to spend some time Googling to see what other people think, but you can Google it, yourselves. UPDATE: Most in-depth analysis I’ve seen, from Search Engine Watch. An odd case that sounds like “do what I say, not what... Read more

The Internet is different

New unconstitutional legislation that no one would ever dream of drafting regarding any other medium is in the hopper, via Legal Fixation. UPDATE:  Evan Brown explains more. The law has some stuff that is probably useful regarding the scourge of Internet pornography, but as I say above, some (here we go) “troubling” and constitutionally questionable aspects as well — including, as Evan explains, a provision that seems to codify and criminalize search-term infringement of trademarks... Read more