Francis Malofiy, the attorney suing Led Zeppelin for copyright infringement for its rendition of “Stairway to Heaven,” is not likely to add to this to his résumé. A three-judge panel ruled that his three-month suspension by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania was warranted. And this comes after Mr. Malofiy had penalties imposed by the judge overseeing the copyright infringement case for “outrageous” and “unprofessional” behavior.
Just what we need. Another how-to book from a bank CEO. Well, it’s not going to happen. A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that Commerce Bank founder Vernon Hill cannot continue to sell his book, “Fans Not Customers: How to Create Growth Companies in a No Growth World,” because it is based on material from a manuscript that is owned by TD Bank (the bank that bought Commerce Bank), so TD Bank now owns the copyright.
Mr. Hill’s next book will be on copyright infringement in a No Growth World.
The New York Times has reached a settlement with powerHouse Books over use of 64 of The Times front pages without the newspaper’s permission. It appears that powerHouse Books published a book, “War Is Beautiful: The New York Times Pictoral Guide to the Glamour of Armed Conflict,” without permission from the newspaper or obtaining a license for use of 64 images that belong to The Times.
Dish Network has been busy. Not providing content, but suing infringers and defrauders in court. Just this month alone, the company raked in $8.6 million.
Kaloud, a California-based manufacturer of hookahs, was just awarded $2 million in statutory damages by a U.S. District Court jury that found that a competitor of Kaloud had willfully infringed the company’s trademark, Lotus, by selling knockoff Lotus hookahs. A hookah (also known as a “sishas”) is a device that vaporizes tobacco or cannabis so it can be inhaled.
Christopher Gordon got his 15 minutes. When his YouTube video, "Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger," went viral, Wal-Mart, Target and Kohl's jumped on the Honey Badger bandwagon and started selling products based on the catch phrase “Honey Badger Don’t Care” on some of its merchandise. Mr. Gordon filed lawsuits against all three companies claiming both trademark and copyright infringement.
Fast food icon Arby’s has announced that it will cease use of “Eat Your Bourbon” to market its new line of sandwiches that feature a bourbon-flavored sauce. This decision is the result of a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Bourbon Barrel Foods, claiming that Arby’s was infringing its trademark.
As far as we are concerned, “Eat Your Bourbon” is not very clever nor particularly appealing. If there were laws against bad marketing, we’d have filed charges.
A U.S. District Court judge threw out a claim by Parks, the manufacturer of “Ball Park” hot dogs, that Tyson Foods and Hillshire Brands infringed the “Ball Park” trademark by using the slogan “Park’s Finest” on a line of hot dogs. While the judge did dismiss the claim by granting Tyson Food’s and Hillshire Brand’s motion for summary judgement, it was a 1-0 game since the judge denied Tyson’s and Hillshire’s request for sanctions against Parks for filing a frivolous claim.
When the Cordua Restaurant chain filed for a trademark for “Churrascos,” the Trademark Office turned them down on the basis that “Churrascos” is the generic term for Spanish and Portuguese-style grilled meat. The Cordua folks had a beef (sorry, we cannot help ourselves) with the Trademark Office’s decision, so they appealed it the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).
Back in 2013, Ashley Reed Trading lost a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Fendi Adele claiming that Ashley Reed was selling counterfeit handbags that were labeled as genuine Fendi Adele. The judge ordered Ashely Reed to pay Fendi Adele $35 million, three times the company’s sales from 2001 through 2006, the period during which it sold the counterfeit handbags. Ouch! But they had it coming.
Jason T. Throne, the former Intellectual Property General Counsel for Hunter Douglas, the U.S. affiliate of the $2.6 billion-in-sales Dutch-based manufacturer of window shades and blinds, has pled guilty to felony mail fraud and false tax submission charges. It appears that Mr. Throne misappropriated $5 million dollars from his employer by diverting funds to a company he owned, and charging off the expenditures as patent application searches that were never performed.
National bridal chain David’s Bridal has been accused of infringing designs for “convertible” bridesmaid’s dresses that belong to one Jenny Yoo. Miss Yoo claims that David's Bridal is producing knock-offs of her convertible dresses and selling them at its stores, so Jenny Yoo Collection is suing David’s Bridal in U.S. District Court in New York for patent, trademark and trade dress (no pun, intended or otherwise) infringement.
Back in 2006, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued the “Trump Your Competition” trademark to a Nevada-based marketing consulting firm, Trump Your Competition. The trademark was cancelled in 2012 when Trump Your Competition (the company, not the trademark) failed to pay the renewal fee for Trump Your Competition (the trademark, not the company).
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a unit of the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office, just released a report that the value of imported counterfeit and pirated goods has topped $460 billion. These fake rip-offs include handbags, watches, perfume, machine parts, chemicals and medicine. According to the agency, counterfeit and pirated goods accounted for $461 billion of the $17.9 trillion worth of goods imported globally in 2013.
British rock group Led Zeppelin is being sued for copyright infringement over claims that the music for its 1971 song, "Stairway to Heaven," was lifted from an instrumental, “Taraus,” by the late Randy Craig Wolfe, who wrote his song back in 1967 and passed away just four years later. As part of the upcoming trial’s vior dire, jurors are required to complete a questionnaire that will query them on their knowledge of 1960s and 1970s rock-and-roll bands, their own music-download habits, and their opinions of “celebrities’ honesty.” Really? How honest do you think celebrities are?
Last year, Pepperidge Farm filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Trader Joe’s, claiming that Trader Joe’s Crispy Cookies infringed the Milano trademark owned by Pepperidge Farm for its incredibly scrumptious chocolate filled sandwich cookies that are the snack equivalent of crack cocaine. Pepperidge Farm claimed that while Trader Joe’s Crispy Cookies were square, they had rounded corners that made them ever so similar to the Milano.
Adobe has settled a lawsuit it filed against clothing retailer Forever 21. Adobe and two other software publishers filed suit against Forever 21 claiming that it was using pirated copies of Adobe Photoshop and other software at its 700 retail locations.
We can only assume from the name of the stores that they promote perpetual youth. And, apparently, a fundamental lack of an understanding of – and a respect for – intellectual property rights. The judge should have ordered Forever 21 grounded until they were 35.
Rolls Royce (that is, Rolls Royce Motor Cars Limited, the car company and the real Rolls Royce) rolled up a second victory against rapper Royce Rizzy (formerly known as “Rolls Royce Rizzy” and no relation to the luxury automobile). A U.S. District Court judge ruled that Rizzy’s use of “Rolls Royce” diluted the brand and ordered Rizzy to cease use of the term “Rolls Royce.” As it turns out, Rizzy Royce’s real name is Robert D. Davis.
No, we are not kidding.
Maryland law firm Joseph Greenwald & Laake dodged the bullet and a $350 million judgment against a claim that one of its attorneys, Stephen Friedman, had improperly copied 800 pages of a travel software program and leaked it to competitors. A U.S. District Court judge dismissed the lawsuit after he discovered that the case was launched by the husband of the woman who wrote the software package to gain leverage over his estranged wife in upcoming divorce proceedings.
No, we are not kidding.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a lawsuit on behalf of a monkey named Naruto who stole the camera of British photographer Jason Slater and took a picture of himself. Slater subsequently published the picture, received compensation for the photo, and claimed copyright ownership of the image.