Some of the IPKat’s readers may have followed the recent intriguing political scandal surrounding former German defence minister and Germany's political superstar Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg (depicted below on the cover of a new biography about his life), who last Tuesday resigned from office following allegations that he had plagiarized large parts of his “summa cum laude” PhD thesis in Law.
This Kat was in Germany when the story broke initially and was intrigued by the very high approval ratings zu Guttenberg boasted before and after his resignation. It does hence not come as too much of a surprise that - in typical German fashion - the first third party trade mark application for the trade mark “Guttenberg” in classes 9, 14 and 25 [update: the exact goods covered are not yet published on the official register] has been filed at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office.
From Dr Googleberg to the ongoing “Google Book Settlement” class action which also affects German authors and right holders. On its website, the German Collection Society “VG Wort” now informs us that it has again written to Judge Denny Chin of the New York District Court in relation to the “Google Book Settlement” case (The Author’s Guild et al v Google, Inc., case no 1: 05-cv-08136 (DC)).
In its letter to the court of 14 February 2011 (which can be retrieved via VG Wort’s website by clicking here (in English)) the German Collection Society requests an extension of the court deadlines for claiming a cash payment by 31 March 2011 and for claiming the complete removal of works by 5 April 2011. The extension of time should be granted in an interim ruling. VG Wort argues that since it was at present uncertain whether a settlement would be approved by the court, “(VG Wort) cannot be expected to incur the heavy administrative costs which would be involved” (...) “in determining the current status of German books under the existing terms of the settlement.” Furthermore, VG Wort also stresses that it was at present still unclear which German works would be covered by the potential settlement. VG Wort had already submitted an amicus-curia brief to the court ahead of the fairness hearing of 18 February 2010 (see Amerikat's report here) in which it had criticised that it was difficult and almost impossible to determine which authors and publishers were affected by the settlement.