Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Facebook goes after analysis-app site based on silly trademark claim

Electronic Frontier Foundation has an article, by Daniel Nazer, indicating that Facebook demanded that an third party analysis site based on Facebook, called “Whatsherface-book.com” (link) be taken down, as infringing on its trademark.  EFF easily argues that the First Amendment protects the “nominative” use of trademarks and domain names in third party criticism.  (Does first amendment protection work the same way with trademark as with copyright?)
However, if you go to the site, the site says a change in the Facebook API makes the site unworkable anyway. However, it posts the statistical results (for how well people really know their “friends”) for the time the site was up.  

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Federal judge orders cancellation of Washington Redskins's trademarks

A federal judge in northern Virginia (Alexandria) has ordered the cancellation of the Washington Redskins’s federal trademarks (six of them). USA Today has a story here, by Erik Brady.  
The judge said that the trademark had been disparaging to a substantial cohort of Native Americans when originally granted.  He also ruled that a federal trademark is “government speech” and not directly covered by the first amendment.

The team can continue to use the name, but with no legal protection.

The judge drew an analogy with the "right" of states to regulate their own speech on specialty license plates that they sell.

What about the Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Redlegs, Atlanta Braves?
The Washington Post has a copy of the ruling, and embedded PDF.