From October 2016 to March 2017 the team is joined by Guest Kats Rosie Burbidge and Eibhlin Vardy, and by InternKats Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo, Tian Lu and Hayleigh Bosher.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Monday Miscellaneous


A cat in a hat
1. Kat friend Federica Pezza has brought to our attention that Comixmix has been sued (Case 3:16-cv-02779-JLS-BGS Filed 11/10/16) by Dr Seuss Enterprises, the estate of the late children’s author and illustrator, Theodor Seuss Geisel, for producing a book called Oh, The Places You'll Boldly Go!, which was offered on Kickstarter as a "mash-up" of Dr. Seuss and Star Trek. In the claimant’s view, the book constitutes copyright infringement under s. 106 of US Copyright Act as well as a claim under the Lanham Act (s 15 U.S.C. § 112) on the ground that it would result in false designation of origin, false endorsement, and unfair competition.” The defendants are asserting a fair use defence under s. 107 of the US Copyright Act. Interestingly, the plaintiff, Dr Seuss, had previously been involved, several few years ago, in a leading case on fair use, Dr Seuss Enterprises v. Penguin Books USA, Inc. While awaiting further developments in the recently filed case, it is already worth a Kat mention that the line between authorized fan fiction and an infringing copy is far from straightforward.


2. Kat friend Milena Kichashka from Distincta IP in Bulgaria has reported on an interesting trademark item regarding the designation Black Friday. As is widely recognized, Black Friday refers to the day after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, when retailers offer special discounts on a wide variety of products and which seems to have caught on in many other countries, including in Bulgaria. Against this background, a Romanian company, Dante International SA, owner of the internet-based retailer “eMag”, succeeded in registering in Bulgaria the word mark BLACK FRIDAY (Reg. No. 92632) and its translation into Bulgarian ЧЕРЕН ПЕТЪК (Reg. No. 92634), for various services in class 35. 

Given the wide-spread use of the designation, the concern arose whether the trademark owner would prohibit its use by other Bulgarian retailers in connection with sales offered on that day. It appears that Dante International issued a press release, stating that other retailers would indeed be allowed to use the mark BLACK FRIDAY in this connection. Milena wonders, however, what about future years, at least regarding the services set out in the specification of the registration.

3. IPkat was kindly informed on the publication of the Opinion of the Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI), University of Strasbourg, on the European Commission’s copyright reform proposal, with a focus on the introduction of neighbouring rights for press publishers in EU law. A short press release and the text is available here

4. Events (full list here):

The Institute for Information Law (IViR) of the University of Amsterdam is organising an academic symposium on European intermediary liability entitled ‘Harmonising European Intermediary Liability in Copyright’. The event takes place on 14 January 2017, 9.30-17.00, full details and registration can be found here.

The International Intellectual Property Law Association (IIPLA) 3rd Dubai IP Congress takes place on 16 – 17 January 2017 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek. Full details can be found here.

The Competence of the European Union in Copyright Law making. This seminar takes placeon 15th Dec, full details and registration here

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) this week hosted the 4th annual 2016 IP Champions to showcase the economic and cultural impact of intellectual property (IP). The list of awardees can be found here.

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