Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Washington Redskins trademark to be looked at by Supreme Court after "defamation" complaint by some native Americans


Members of several federally recognized native American tribes will be able to take their case to the Supreme Court, complaining that the Washington Redskins football team name and trademark is “defamatory.” The Bloomberg story is here. We still have to find out if the Court will really take cert on the case.

Last week we reported another case here where a domain name was considered defamatory and an abuse of another trademark.

The USPTO had revoked the trademark in 1999, but subsequently the NFL won court appeals. The NFL (like MLB) is extremely vigorous in defending all its trademarks.

Other problems could occur, as with the Cleveland Indians in baseball, if the NFL loses.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Domain name spurs both defamation and trademark dispute; WIPO v. ICANN


Here’s an interesting case. Attorneys for Glenn Beck have filed a dispute with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) claiming that a domain, to be named in a moment, infringes on Beck’s “trademarked name.” The link is here.

Ars Technica, is a detailed article by Nate Anderson, and linked by EFF, asks whether a domain name itself can be defamatory, link here. We don’t need to repeat the domain name right here, but it’s pretty raunchy. But we have to be wary of the litigation; as attorney John Dozier pointed out in a recent book (see Aug 27), we could get carried away with this: the mere appearance of some “artificial” word strings in a search engine result might be construed as defamatory (a case that happened to me with my own name; see my main blog, July 27, 2007).

Visitors may enjoy (or not enjoy) WIPO’s proposal to ICANN “to expedite domain forfeiture proceedings” here. This does not come from Jonathan Swift in your English literature courses.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Malaysian McDonald's-McCurry case mimics US trademark dilution issue


Although this posting does not directly involve US trademark law (and dilution) this case in Malaysia certain fits the spirit of dilution concerns in the US, so I posted it here rather than on the International blog.

A restaurant called McCurry, which produces well known Malaysian fast food, has been in litigation with McDonald’s, in a case that is called copyright infringement but that sounds more like the US concept of trademark dilution. To a well-educated western consumer, the case sounds silly. No one would be confused by the Irish prefix “Mc” in multiple corporate names. And no one would confuse the restaurants, even if McDonald’s offers similar Asian fare (probably as a low-fat, healthful offering).

Jadeep Kumar has a story (Malaysian) “Court to take up McDonalds-McCurry issue on Monday” in Singapore’s paper “Top News.”

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Discovery's e-book raises patent, trademark questions


On Saturday, Aug. 29, Mike Musgrove wrote an article in the Washington Post, Washington Business, “Discovery E-Book Filing Raises Eyebrows: Maryland Firm Mum on Patent Application”, link here.

The story is interesting because Discovery Communications, a media company known for documentary science films, housed in Silver Spring MD, is making a patent filing and trademark filing for a new E-book reader and even claims infringement by Amazon’s Kindle.