ILN IP Insider

Why Register Your Copyright?

iStock_000003908491_LargeSuppose that you have expressed your idea into a tangible form such as producing a video.  Although your copyright exists upon the moment of creation, should you register your copyright on the video with the U.S. Copyright Office?  Suppose you don’t and later you find out that a competitor has posted a copy of your video on their website.  Should you register your copyright?  The answer is YES!

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“…if you listen very hard…”: Stairway To Heaven Verdict May Have Unblurred Lines In Music Infringement Cases

Stairway leading up to bright light

Among the last few lines of Led Zeppelin’s rock ballad Stairway to Heaven are the lyrics “And if you listen very hard/The tune will come to you at last./When all are one and one is all…”  Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe brought suit against Led Zeppelin for copyright infringement, apparently thinking that one did not even have to listen very hard to hear the similarities between the Zeppelin song and his song Taurus after a side-by-side comparison.  After the recent victory of Marvin Gaye’s heirs in the Blurred Lines suit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, where the similarities were, to many, not as striking when the songs were juxtaposed, the Spirit plaintiffs may have had visions of victory and “all that glitters is gold.”  But, last month, a California jury rejected the Wolfe claim, and “it really makes me wonder” what the implications may be for music copyright infringement claims.

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Implications of Brexit on Trademarks in the EU

Brexit jigsaw puzzle conceptThe United Kingdom’s vote on June 23, 2016 to withdraw from the European Union has left many issues in flux, including the rights of owners of European Union Trademark registrations (EUTMs), formerly Community Trade Marks (CTMs). While details of the separation have yet to take shape, below are some points to keep in mind:

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“Bripxit” – IP impacts of UK’s referendum results

Brexit jigsaw puzzle concept

Just over a week ago, the population of the UK voted in a referendum to leave the European Union.  This was something of a shock, particularly for those of us in the legal profession who get to appreciate the effects that EU harmonisation of law can bring for our clients.

The result is starting to sink in, so I thought I would let you have my thoughts on what effect I think this is going to have on intellectual property rights in the UK.

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Nuthin’ but a Leaf Thang – Toronto Maple Leafs take issue with Snoop Dogg’s trade-mark application for LEAFS BY SNOOP Logo

photo-1445445342298-0b6cc73cba63Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Partnership (“MLSE”), the parent company of the National Hockey League’s Toronto Maple Leafs, has requested an extension of time to oppose a U.S. trade-mark application filed by one Calvin Broadus – better known as Snoop Dogg (“Snoop”) – for a logo featuring the words LEAFS BY SNOOP on a leaf-shaped background.

MLSE is the owner of numerous trade-mark applications and registrations in Canada and the U.S. for different iterations of the Toronto Maple Leafs logo, for use with a variety of clothing and souvenir related goods.

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Who Are Fashion Industry And Others Cheering For?

photo-1457972703743-4a6585c42ed8The United States Supreme Court has decided to address in next term an important question for the fashion industry—namely when apparel can be protected by copyright law.  In agreeing to hear the case of Star Athletica LLC v. Varsity Brands Inc., case number 15-866, in the Supreme Court of the United States, the Court has accepted the challenging of resolving “the single most vexing, unresolved question in all of copyright,” as the petitioner describes it.  There are, of course, many reasons why this question has been so vexing, and many in the apparel industry who have been vexed by it.

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New Fee Proposal for Trademarks in Canada

Happy Canada Day red silk leaves in shape of Canadian Flag on white shabby chic wood table.

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has published a Fee-for-service proposal (the Proposal), seeking public input by July 5, 2016.  The Canadian government significantly amended the Trade-marks Act (the Act) in 2014, in order for Canada to accede to the Singapore Treaty, the Nice Agreement and the Madrid Protocol. Those amendments have not yet come into force, however, pending the adoption of new Regulations on various matters, including fees.  The Proposal is the first step in adopting new Regulations on the fees that will be applicable.

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Can a 3-D Work of Artistic Craftsmanship be Protected by a Copyright?

photo-1447758902204-48010b87c24dSuppose that you create a unique three-dimensional display. You find out that your competitor has copied your three-dimensional display. Can you claim that the design of the display is a three-dimensional work of artistic craftsmanship to apply for a copyright registration to enforce against your competitor? The answer may be YES!

Under 17 U.S.C. § 101, “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works” include three-dimensional works of artistic craftsmanship insofar as their form but not their mechanical or utilitarian aspects. The design of a useful article shall be considered a “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural work” only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.

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Proposed New French Language Requirements For Businesses in Québec

man wearing a suit holding a chalkboard with the question parlez-vous francais? do you speak french? written in it

After losing the battle in court over the requirement that businesses must add French language to English trade-marks displayed on signage outside their stores, the Québec government announced its intention in June 2015 to make modifications to Québec’s Regulation respecting the language of commerce and business (“Regulation”).

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IP Update – EU Trade marks

Portrait of a boy with the flag of the European Union painted on his face.

At the start of 2016 we highlighted the impending changes to IP law in the European Union (EU) and what to expect over the coming months when the new legislation is introduced.  This article focuses on two of the amendments governing the use of a European Union trade mark (EUTM) and how the new laws will affect the use of EUTMs pertaining to company names.

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