ILN IP Insider

Stop the Insanity! Sports Trademarks Run Amok

Sports and sports teams have a long history with intellectual property law and, more specifically, trademarks.  Sports teams, colleges, and universities have long trademarked their names and logos, and have routinely and aggressively enforced those rights.  In 1988 Pat Riley, then the head coach of the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers, applied for a trademark on the term “three-peat” for shirts, jackets, and hats (U.S Reg. No. 1,552,980).  Subsequently, others have attempted to trademark various terms, such as baseball player Manny Ramierz trademarking the phrase ‘Manny Being Manny’.  In 2012, football player Robert Griffin III filed for seven trademarks: RGIII, RG3, Robert Griffin III, Unbelievably Believable, Go Catch Your Dream, Light You Up, Work Hard Stay Humble, No Pressure No Diamonds, and Dream Big Live Bigger.

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Can Design Patents Be Limiting in Enforcement?

Suppose that you have an invention disclosure for a design of an article that you want to protect?  When you review the invention disclosure, you notice that the design is ornamental, for example a pattern, on an article such as a chair.  You draft and file a design patent application on the pattern described as applied to a chair, but you do not include any drawings showing the pattern applied to the chair.  Subsequently, you obtain the design patent and later find out that a third party is making baskets including the pattern.  Can you enforce your design patent against the alleged infringer?  The answer is NO because your design patent is limited in scope to a chair.

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The District of Delaware Holds Patent Description for Bacon Product Indefinite

An indefinite patent description will pass muster when pigs fly.  In HIP, Inc. v. Hormel Foods Corporation et al., C.A. 18-615-CFC (D. Del. June 24, 2019), the United States District Court for the District of Delaware held that a patent failed to meet the requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 112 that a patent’s description must not be indefinite.  As a result, the Court held that U.S. Patent Number 9,510,610 (the “#610 patent”) was invalid.

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TheLegalBay.gr: No Pirates allowed

In the framework of its efforts against online copyright piracy, the Hellenic Copyright Organization (“HCO”, Greek Acronym “OPI”) launched, on August 1st 2019, a new web portal, under the domain name “theLegalBay.gr”. The new website aims to be the place where online users can easily find web platforms available either solely in Greece or worldwide (including in Greece), which provide copyright protected content legally.

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New DOJ Antitrust Division Policy Incentivizes Robust Corporate Antitrust Compliance Programs

Last month the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division announced a landmark new policy to incentivize companies to develop robust antitrust compliance programs. For the first time, the Antitrust Division will now consider a company’s antitrust compliance program as a factor in evaluating whether or not to bring criminal charges against the company and its officers.

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WORLD FAMOUS (By, Say, New Jersey Standards): Expanding The Right Of Publicity Nationally And Internationally

Springsteen.

Sinatra.

Chuck Wepner (for at least one night in 1975 and then through the “Rocky” avatar).

At least some of the people that rest stops on the New Jersey Turnpike are named after.

These public figures are, or were, world-famous, and certainly had made a name for themselves outside of the Garden State, even if their growth as artists, authors, sports figures or icons was at some point nurtured in the fertile ground of the third state to enter the union.  But, if either Springsteen or Sinatra, for example, wished to protect their image on the world stage or before a national audience, neither could invoke, directly or effectively, federal or international law.

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A New Mechanism For Protecting Fashion Companies in Russia

At the end of June a mechanism providing for temporary protection of industrial designs was introduced into the Russian legal system. In short it requires somebody who uses an industrial design during the period of its patenting to pay compensation to the future holder of the patent.  Previously, this type of protection was available only for inventions – although it is still not available for utility models, which are also patentable in Russia.

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Establishment of the Intellectual Property (IP) List in the Court of First Instance of the Hong Kong High Court

 

 

 

 

According to the 2018 Global Competitiveness Report released by the World Economic Forum, Hong Kong was ranked 9th out of 140 economies in terms of IP protection.  In accordance with the recommendations made by the Working Group on IP Trading in 2015 (of which the writer is a member), a wide range of measures were introduced to enhance Hong Kong’s role as an IP trading hub to serve overseas IP owners/users as well as those in Mainland China (rising as a major intellectual property user, buyer, provider and seller) including those on legal services and  dispute resolution.

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Simon Cowell picks bone with “The Pets Factor” UK trade mark

When TV format creator Mark Duffy struck upon the tongue-in-cheek name “The Pets Factor” for what was (presumably) a talent competition for domestic animals, he might well have smiled at his own ingenuity. Conversely, when Simon Cowell heard about the name (via Mr Duffy’s application to register it as a UK trade mark in classes 9 (software) and 41 (entertainment services)) we can guess he probably wasn’t smiling (or if he was, it was probably more of a grimace). Instead, and acting via his company Simco Limited (in conjunction with Freemantle Media) (Simco), Mr Cowell wasted no time in instructing his lawyers to oppose Mr Duffy’s application, which he had made via his company Duf Ltd.

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Understanding Trademarks Act Changes

On June 17, 2019, Canada’s Trademarks Act changed, resulting in its modernization. Canada has now joined five international intellectual property treaties, including the Madrid Protocol, Singapore Treaty and Nice Agreement, all related to trademarks.

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