Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Eclipse": It's a movie, it's a chewing gum stick; or it's a natural occurrence

I saw a Spearmint chewing gum with the “Eclipse” brand in a 7-11, with pictures of the young stars from the third movie (“Eclipse”) of Summit Entertainment’s famous fantasy “Twilight” movie franchise (and Stephenie Meyer’s novels). (By the way, “Breaking Dawn” is now filming, according to imdb.)

I don’t know what the legalities were, but I wonder if Spearmint needed to pay for permission to brand its chewing gum product? Or is Summit Entertainment just advertising its DVD’s?

Generally, in trademark law, unrelated products can use the same brand name, but what happens when one product advertises another?

There’s also “right of publicity” considerations.

This is a good one for comments.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Recent government raids, upcoming COICA bill raises trademark issues, too

So here we go. The government has shut down 82 or more websites for primarily trafficking in counterfeit goods (there were copyright issues, too), as explained on a Nov. 30 post on the “BillBoushka” blog.

So the government has certainly stepped in on what obviously amounts to “trademark dilution” – to sell counterfeits of goods under established brand names. But here it’s government stepping in, not the individual companies; a number of the sites were involved in multiple brand infringements.

I’ve covered there the COICA bill in Congress, which would address trademark issues as well as copyright. I’ve also covered the idea that it’s a bad bill because it allows shutdown of sites (and forfeiture of domains) on trademark (and copyright) claims without due process.