For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Names in the news

Names are in the news today. The Telegraph reports that JK Rowling is fighting in a US court to stop the author of the Harry Potter Lexicon (here) exploiting the name and character of the fictional boy wizard by bringing a copyright infringement suit, while Jasper Conran is coming to the aid of his father Sir Terence Conran in seeking to prevent the use of that notorious surname by the less-well-known advertising giant Havas.

Without having heard the submissions or having seen the evidence, the IPKat doesn't want to hold out too much hope for either claimant. JK Rowling may find herself up against the transformative use defence, which seems to be riding high as a fair use doctrine in the United States these days. Meanwhile, the Conrans have to concede that Havas is legally entitled to use the name, which he lost in 1990 -- though he is reportedly willing to pay "a modest amount of money" to buy it back. Merpel adds, you can take precautions to keep your name -- registering it as a trade mark is one, and not assigning it to someone else is another -- but there's not much you can do to guard against fair use defences to copyright infringement.

The Kats will keep an eye or two on developments, and will report back in due course.

1 comment:

sander123 said...

The Harry Potter case reminds of:
CASTLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT, INC. v. CAROL PUBLISHING

In that case somebody created a book with trivia questions on Seinfeld. IRC, the publisher lost that one. See: http://www.law.cornell.edu/copyright/cases/150_F3d_132.htm

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