Via the IPKat's friend Shabtai Atlow comes this link to the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog. Headed "Bambu, Maker of Rolling Papers, Sues to Blunt Obama Paraphernalia", it's all about a trade mark infringement action brought by the venerable Bambu rolling paper manufacturer (founded 1764) against Love Fatigue, the New York-based manufacturer of Barack Obama t-shirts. According to the blog,
"The complaint essentially alleges that Love Fatigue’s Barack Obama-related designs rip off Bambu’s trademark. “Significantly,” the complaint goes on, “Defendants are facilitating consumer confusion by describing their shirts as ‘Obambu.’ . . . Moreover, Defendants’ unlawful conduct is likely to subject Bambu to criticism and scorn insofar as Defendants are depicting President-elect Barack Obama smoking marijuana, and such depiction is likely to confuse the consuming public into believing that the offensive advertising emanated from Bambu.”".The IPKat is really disappointed that this action is being brought in the United States and not in Europe following last month's Intel v CPM ruling (see IPKat here and here), where counsel on both sides could indulge in endless argument as to the state of mind of the relevant consumer, the likelihood of confusion and the extent to which the use of the mark on the t-shirt might be expected to affect the economic activity of consumers of the claimant's rolling papers.
Now that we all know that Open Source software licences are enforceable not just as merely as contracts but as IP infringements too (see Jacobsen v Katzer, noted by the IPKat here), is it any wonder that there are more breach of OS licence actions in the offing? The IPKat's friend Kristof Neefs (Laga) has drawn his attention to this piece in Ars Technica on the action brought by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) against Cisco for copyright infringement by failure to comply with the terms of the General Public License (GPL) under which the FSF's software was published. The Kat will keep an eye on this. He notes that the author of the Ars Technica article, Ryan Paul, feels that this action will not go too far before it settles, but there are three things at stake here: money, egos and genuine issues of principle. Resolve one of the three and there's a 33% chance of settlement; resolve two and the likelihood rises to 67% ...
A note in Mainichi Japan earlier this month, brought to the IPKat's attention by the enthusiastic Louise O'Callaghan (Hardwicke Building), informs him that the Japanese government is considering expanding the scope of trade mark registration to include sound and video images. The move, initiated by the Patent Office, is aimed at protecting video images and sounds intended for TV and online advertising. Examples include Sony's "It's a Sony" and Toyota's "Drive Your Dreams." A revision bill is expected to be submitted in 2010.