Friday, December 25, 2015

EFF asks Federal Circuit to stop protecting patent trolls that send demand letters

Vera Ranieri of Electronic Frontier Foundation reports an amicus brief sent to the Federal Circuit to allow defendants of patent troll litigation to clear matters by going to local courts in their own jurisdiction.  It also says “stop shielding patent trolls that send baseless demand letters”. 
Public Knowledge has a page on patent reform.
Many cases wind up being tried in East Texas, where patent litigation seems to drive the economy. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Musicians' trademark claim upheld by Federal circuit, could help Redskins

The Federal Circuit court of Appeals in Washington DC has ruled that the US Patent and Trademark Office cannot deny a trademark just because the wordmark is perceived as disparaging to some group. Ian Shapira has a Business Section story in the Washington Post today, “Musicians’ court case could help Redskins” (July 8),  The case concerns that Asian-American rock group called “the Slants”, which might be viewed as disparaging (remember the slang of the Vietnam War era). The Court held that the groups' First Amendment rights should prevail.
The case might help the Washington Redskins win their trademark rights back, although I have said that they ought to change their name, get rid of the distraction, and move on.  The Redskins are playing better now.  There was a time when they were a source or civic pride.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Could Twitter present trademark questions?

Just a fast question: Could a Twitter handle (with the “#” prefix) invoke trademark questions?
Today, when writing a tweet about the British thriller film “Blitz” (reviewed on Movies yesterday) I used it to single out the film, and Twitter inserted a happy-face from a different use for the term.  I went ahead and tweeted it.  It copied to Facebook and my own domain without the extra face.
Twitter seems to allow users to invent new handles on their own, but there is always a chance they will contradict an existing use.  Use of hashtags is considered preferable to using @mention and @reply for searching and sometimes is viewed as more courteous.  But you wonder if trademark law and Twitter could collide.