Stealing the Language

Thick and Juicy Hamburgers!!

Trademark rights aren’t supposed to give you a monopoly on commonly used phrases or descriptions. Asks the Centre Daily Times of State College, Pennsylvania: What words can be used to describe [a hamburger]? If you’re are thinking “thick ‘n juicy” or even “thick & juicy,” better think again or you could face a lawsuit. Holten Meat Inc., a Sauget distributor of frozen beef patties, recently filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in East St….

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The media’s ancien regime

Hugh Hewitt, he of the media Jacobins, confronts the crumbling edifice of the mainstream media at its Versailles — the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism — in the The Weekly Standard: The “blue” nature of the student body is further confirmed by my polling of the class I attended, done with the permission of Shapiro. Six of the 16 were English majors, two studied history, and the balance spread across the humanities. No one... Read more

Jews for Jesus Redux (or, the Second Filing)

Jews for Jesus sues Google over blog SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Christian evangelical group Jews for Jesus is suing Google Inc., saying a Web log hosted through the Internet search leader’s Blogspot service infringes its trademark. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York on Wednesday, seeks to force Google to give Jews for Jesus control of the site as well as unspecified monetary damages. “We have a right to our own name... Read more

IP Rights Again Brandished to Silence Critics

The Associated Press reports: The distinctive chocolate bar on the dust jacket of a new book about the founder of The Hershey Co. violates its trademark, the candy maker said in a federal lawsuit. The company wants an injunction to prevent publisher Simon & Schuster Inc. from using Hershey-owned images to market “Hershey: Milton S. Hershey’s Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire and Utopian Dreams,” which is coming out next month. Hershey spokeswoman Stephanie Moritz said... Read more

Blawg Review: Infamy, Praise, Several Butchers’ Aprons

The new Blawg Review is up at Colin Samuels’ Infamy or Praise. Colin explains the origin of his blog’s name — Dante’s Inferno, which is also the source of the title of one of the most influential books in my life (Inferno probably should have influenced me a little more, actually), Solzhenitsyn’s The First Circle. The latter reference is to that circle of Hades “Reserved for the souls of the just people who never knew... Read more

Perpetual Patent Profits?

IPKat writes about that bane of patent examiners — or is it really just a study break for the nerdiest G-men? — perpetual motion machines. The philosophical feline makes an immodest, and very laissez-faire, proposal: The IPKat likes patents for perpetual motion machines (though, embarassingly, he couldn’t find a link to this one). They shouldn’t need to be expensive to examine once you rumble the concept, so the patent office should get good income from... Read more

Lego-ing, going, gone….

The Globe and Mail reports: Danish toy giant Lego System AS was given a sharp lesson in the workings of free-market “creative destruction” yesterday when the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed its case against upstart Mega Bloks Inc. over look-alike toy bricks. Last March we blogged on Lego’s adventures at trying to avoid competition by enforcing its expired IP rights forever around the world. We knew Canada would come through … didn’t we? Read more

Fair Use Still Breathing

The online New York Law Journal reports that the federal court in the Southern District of New York has ruled that a painter who produced a commissioned painting utilizing certain features of a commercial photograph used in a Gucci ad, “in a novel way to impart new information and new aesthetics so that their use was transformative” and protectible as fair use. Bill Patry has the decision. and a link to Koons’s works, which Patry... Read more

Alito on Free Speech

A 2001 Third Circuit opinion from Judge Alito supports even unpopular speech, even in schools: We . . . have found no categorical rule that divests “harassing” speech, as defined by federal anti-discrimination statutes, of First Amendment protection. . . . The public school policy governing speech was ruled overbroad: [Advocates of the policy] could argue that speech creating a “hostile environment” may be banned because it “intrudes upon . . . the rights of... Read more

Great Seal, not Gray Seal!

The editor at Blawg Review sends along this link, in which the White House sent a cease and desist letter to the editors of The Onion instructing them to stop using the presidential seal on its satirical website. I’m surprised the president deems it wise to spend taxpayer money for his lawyer to write letters to The Onion,” Scott Dikkers, editor in chief, wrote to Mr. Dixton. He suggested the money be used instead for... Read more

Trademarks Bring World Peace?

The online Prague Daily Monitor reports Slovak Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan told CTK that he is not opposed to Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek’s idea of Czechs and Slovaks using “Czechoslovakia” as a trademark to promote both countries abroad, but will wait for concrete proposals. “If a rational, very concrete way were found, I think it could be useful,” Kukan told CTK in New York on Monday. Wow. This brings questions of geographic misdescriptiveness to... Read more

Anti-Sedition Act At Risk on New Supreme Court

Via Committee for Justice, the Wall Street Journal reports (sub. required; the article is however reprinted in whole at the Committee for Justice link) Bush Picks May Tip Court Against McCain-Feingold. This is reason to go on living if you like the First Amendment at all. Says the Journal: Campaign-finance cases have revealed a philosophical split on the court, with more conservative justices, such as Antonin Scalia, considering political expenditures the functional equivalent of speech,... Read more