Friday frivolities

Friday 13th may be unlucky for some folk, but not for trolls, it seems. Back in 2005 in Troll Company A/S v Uneeda Doll Company Ltd Danish company Troll secured preliminary injunctive relief in the US to protect its fuzzy-haired Good Luck Troll doll (right) against Uneeda's predatory Wish-nik (below, left), the District Court ruling that the Wish-niks infringed copyright in the Good Luck Trolls. Uneeda said it had been selling Wish-niks dolls for 30 years and that the Good Lucks were in the public domain. Without being able to substantiate these claims, Uneeda failed to qualify as a "reliance party" that would enjoy a one-year sell-off period under the restoration legislation implemented by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act.

Last Friday the Second Circuit Court affirmed the injunction in a decision that construed for the first time the "restored copyrights" provision s.104A of the Copyright Act. There's a good post on this decision here on the Patry Copyright Blog. The ruling - by the other Judge Newman (i.e. Jon, not Pauline the Patent) - is also notable for a Brief History of Trolls. The IPKat is thrilled to know that modern judges have not abandoned the pursuit of true scholarship. Merpel says thanks to Craig S. Mende (Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu) for sending him this item.

Emerging from the winter fastness of her New York hibernation, Miri Frankel has sent the IPKat this link to The Onion, which he unaccountably overlooked. On the theme of 'Fighting Chinese Piracy' this feature suggests some measures other than lodging WTO complaints that the US may wish to take in combating the piracy problem. They include

* sending Steven Spielberg on a goodwill mission to explain to average Chinese citizens how piracy hurts his ability to make a living;

* giving tax breaks to the entertainment industry for making products that are even less worth stealing and

* implementing a new security algorithm on all CDs and DVDs that will slow hackers down for up to three hours.

In February the yoghurt-loving IPKat brought news of an Irish High Court action brought by Danone against local dairy produce company Glanbia, which planned to double its market share with the introduction of 'shot-sized' Yoplait Essence yoghurt drinks. Damages of up to 10 million euros were sought for infringing Danone's word trade mark ESSENSIS.

The High Court (Mrs Justice Finlay Geoghegan) gave its ruling today and it's not what Danone expected. Far from scooping a damages jackpot, the company lost its trade mark ,which was revoked for non-use.

Right: happiness = a day in court and a good licking ...

Danone had been using the word ESSENSIS the whole time - but not as a trade mark. It was used instead as part of the phrase "bifidus ESSENSIS" in the list of ingredients of its BIO ACTIVIA yoghurt. Since the word had been registered as a trade mark for yoghurt, not for a bacterial culture, there was no use in relation to the goods for which it was registered. A further counterclaim for cancellation of the mark on the basis that it was registered in bad faith failed, since Glanbia didn't back its legal submissions with any adequate evidence.
Friday frivolities Friday frivolities Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, April 20, 2007 Rating: 5

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