Wrongly Petting

This is about my cat. My cat has no interest in intellectual property, defamation or the First Amendment. Well, okay, he does exercise the First Amendment liberally at meal time. Beyond that, he has a very well defined interest in his own pleasures, and in that context he reminded me last night that to say “my cat” is to refer to an illusion. My cat wanted me to pet him. The first rule of effective…

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Credit card companies get green light to profit from, enable Internet piracy

Reuters reports that in Perfect 10, Inc. v. Visa Intl. Serv. Assn., 494 F.3d 788, 793 (9th Cir. 2007) the Ninth Circuit has affirmed (opinion here), 2-1, a ruling that there is no third-party copyright or trademark liability for credit card companies such as Visa and MasterCard or the banks that process their transactions, arising from their central — essential, really — role in the sale of counterfeit merchandise (including, as in this case, unauthorized copies of dirty... Read more

Tech Law Advisor Reviews the Blawgs

Tech Law Advisor hosts the Blawg Review this week, and being a tech guy, tries something technologically different: Welcome to Blawg Review Live – a living breathing experiment in tagging the live web and sorting it into little categories for all of the Blawg Review Readers. The archived version is available at the permalink, but this page will continue to update itself. That’s kind of cool. But, you know, that’s Kevin “Not an advertisement for... Read more

Authors Guild v. Google: Judge Chin’s decision in favor of Google Books

Anyone looking for the Author’s Guild v. Google decision on the Southern District of New York website is going to have a hard time: It’s working like the Obamacare website right now, probably because everyone is hitting it looking for a copy of the opinion. Well, here it is, courtesy of Gigaom: Google Books ruling on fair use.pdf Blog posts at LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® about this case are collected at this fairly recent post. Originally... Read more

Mourning Sonny

No, not that Sonny.  No, rather this:  If America’s most famous variety-show-star-turned-congressman hadn’t slammed into that tree on that fatal day of downhill skiing, we’d probably never have the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998.  That’s reason to mourn him right there. Fair enough — if he’d sat in the lodge and drank cocoa instead we would probably still have the law, but at least its embarrassing content would not be matched with... Read more

The Section 230 Illusion

My first contribution to the newly reconfigured Human Events: NEW: The Section 230 Illusion. Publisher or Platform? What if it doesn’t matter? Check out the latest article, co-authored by @willchamberlain & @RonColeman: — Human Events (@HumanEvents) June 7, 2019 My friend and co-author Will Chamberlain has been arguing that “Platform Access Is A Civil Right.” I might not go that far, but we do agree that something is seriously out of whack right now.... Read more

Best of 2013: The superheroes of trademarks

Originally published on April 15, 2013.What could be more superheroic, after all, than splitting one trademark into two sources of origin? Maybe trying to make some sense out of how courts award relief in trademark infringement claims. You think I’m talking about the SUPERHERO “trademark”?  No, not that again!  (Not for now.) The issue, brought to my attention by Pamela Chestek, is Del Monte v. Del Monte — technically, Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. v. Del... Read more

Hey, 19

More on the dumb trademark-abuse story of the season (we’ve dealt with the SUPER BOWL and trademark overkill here and here already). Now there’s this SUPERcilious beaut [link to 2008 story is gone — RDC]: After the Lakers won two straight NBA titles in the late-80’s, their coach Pat Riley trademarked the phrase “three-peat” so he could cash in on merchandising associated with their third straight crown. The Pistons took them out in the Finals,... Read more

Trademark trouble for posturing peaceniks?

Harvey of IMAO is on top of what promises to be a huge — record-setting, perhaps — IP story: While attempting to create the world’s largest peace sign, festival-goers in Ithaca, NY, created the world’s largest Mercedes sign by mistake. 5814 participants gathered to form the familiar symbol of pacifist activism, but – through either oversight or stupidity – only formed three of the four radii required to create a traditional peace sign. Since the... Read more

If You See Something, Say Something

New York’s MTA Has an IP Obsession

The New York Sun reports that New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority has filed to register the phrase “If You See Something, Say Something” — its “watch out for presents from the religion of peace” campaign on the New York public transit system — as a trademark. It’s serial number 78696607 on TEAS, the trademark registration database, filed August 19th.  Says the paper: The move has surprised officials at many transit agencies, who had assumed the... Read more

Clinically insane?

Walter Olson is seeking “reports from the field” on the subject of law school clinics: If blogging has been lighter than usual, one reason is that I’ve been racing forward on my new book on law schools and their influence, tentatively entitled Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Overlawyered America, which is in the catalogue for Winter/Spring (a year hence) from Encounter Books. I reached first draft in December and am rapidly whipping that rough copy... Read more

Patents explained

No, not by me, for heaven’s sake!  I took the patent law course, yes, but I wouldn’t presume to teach it. They’re explained by Arizona IP lawyer Tom Galvani.  (Yes, I have a special thing for Phoenix.)  He’s been posting a series of items slowly walking through different concepts in patent law.  So far there’s this: The abstract The drawings The background and field of inventions The summary The description of drawings His explanations are... Read more

Okay, some patent stories are good

Unlike some lawyers’ sense of judgment, or proofreading ability. From a pending patent application: What will forevermore be known as the infamous Claim Number Nine: Either way, this was a big miss. But someone’s career died so that we might live, and giggle. Via the Funny IP (ahem) blog. In a more serious vein, a friend sends along this item about pending U.S. Supreme Court litigation that could really upset the patent apple cart because... Read more

TTABlog: Eight years of keeping tabs on the TTAB

Busy as we were last week licking our wounds from the aftermath of really bad weather, I missed the opportunity to wish a timely mazal tov to John “@TTABlog” Welch on the eighth anniversary of the TTABlog.  As John explains, The first TTABlog posting went up on November 8, 2004. The subject? Former TTAB nemesis, Leo Stoller. Two-thousand four-hundred posts later, it’s still going. Thanks for reading! When he says “it’s still going strong,” John assuredly does... Read more