Lawyers adopt hands-on approach

The IPKat thanks his friend Lou Fullwood (Pinsent Masons) for drawing his attention to this item from MTV. Former professional wrestler Diamond Dallas Page (right) is suing hip-hop rapster Jay-Z (below, left) in the Los Angeles Federal Court, claiming that the latter has unlawfully adopted his trade mark hand gesture — the "Diamond Cutter" — as his own. Page accuses Jay-Z (pronounced "jay-zee", fellow Brits, not "jay-zed") and Roc-A-Fella Records of trade mark and copyright infringement as well as misappropriation of the hand symbol. Injunctive relief and damages are sought. Said Page's lawyer:

"People would come up to [Page] and ask him if he was letting Jay-Z use it or if he had licensed it to him. People [would also] say he's using Jay-Z's sign".
Jay-Z's lawyers maintain that the real issue was that it was Page who was using Jay's symbol inappropriately. The IPKat thinks the defendant's activities seem pretty 'armless ... Merpel's muttering something about the Finger Prince.

Other trade mark hand signals here (Sir Winston Churchill), here (Harvey Smith), here (Diego Maradona) and here (The Queen). More erudite hand signal here.

French bottle New Zealand cultural icon

This item in the NZ Herald reaches the IPKat via his friend Craig Smith (Freehills). Kahurangi Estate owner Greg Day claims he can no longer sell wine under his "Kiwi White" label in Sweden or anywhere else in Europe for fear of being sued.
"We can't use something that is an icon and only associated with a New Zealand bird in Europe because some French company has registered the name",
he said. A company called LaCheteau has registered the brand name, Kiwi Cuvee, in Europe, effectively prohibiting its use elsewhere. On advice from his attorney, Day decided not fight the French company and try to register his wine in Europe, even though Kiwi White was already selling in Sweden before LaCheteau registered the name. He said:
"There's an argument that because our wine was there first, we have what they call prior use. But there is no guarantee we would win".
Day said he could not afford to take on any more legal costs after spending a lot of time and money researching the legality behind using the term. The Kiwi White label chardonnay had great potential in Sweden where the first 1,100 cases sold out within two months and the Government-run liquor retailer was in negotiations for a much larger order.
The IPKat is sympathetic. The first thing all good New Zealand wine makers should do is join Greenpeace: that usually winds the French up quite a bit. The second thing they should do is to call their wines Champagne and refuse to relent until the French give them back their Kiwi. Merpel says, don't assume that a wine is good just because it sells out in Sweden. Have you ever seen some of the Scandinavians hit the bottle at IP conferences, particularly when it's in plentiful supply and comes free.

Right: here's a rare picture of a kiwi preparing
the ingredients for New Zealand Advocaat.

Japanese Kiwi wine here
Swedish drinking laws here
Kiwi slang here
HAND SIGNALS; NO MORE KIWIS FOR SWEDEN? HAND SIGNALS; NO MORE KIWIS FOR SWEDEN? Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, December 07, 2005 Rating: 5

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