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Sunday, 7 May 2006



The LA Times reports on the battle of the smileys. Retailer Wal-mart is attempting to register its yellow smiley face (lovingly known as ‘Mr Smiley’) as a trade mark for retail services before the USPTO. Loufrani, the owner of trade marks for smiley faces in more than 30 countries, is opposing the application. Both sides are citing the investment that they have put into promoting the cheeky chappie as justifying their claim.

The IPKat reckons that even if Wal-mart gets the registration it won’t get a particularly wide scope of protection. Most consumers on seeing a smiley face elsewhere will think they’re being told to be happy, rather than being given a message concerning the origin of goods.

The IPKat recommends…

this piece on Yahoo concerning the draft WIPO Broadcast Treaty which would create a right for broadcasters of programmes across telelvisions and radio networks and the internet. The draft treaty, which is largely modelled on the WPPT, was discussed last week at the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, with the provisions on webcasting added to the treaty as a non-mandatory annex.

The IPKat notes the limited nature of the exceptions recognised. In particular he’s concerned about how the very limited exceptions fit together with the exclusive right of fixation of broadcasts. Does this mean that users will no longer be able to make domestic video recordings of broadcasts?

The text of the treaty is available here.

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