HILARY J. SUMNER
Creating Assets from Innovations

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IP In the News

Notorious Toronto Mayor in Trouble for Unauthorized Use of Trademark

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Rob Ford, the Toronto mayor of recent notoriety, is employing Ford' famous oval shaped logo on t-shirts that support his cause.  The Ford Motor Company claims that Mr. Ford did not seek permission before using their oval logo on "Ford Nation" shirts. In an effort to distance themselves from the recent bad press, the automaker has qualified Mr. Ford's merchandising as an unauthorized use of their trademarked logo and they have asked him to stop using it immediately.  Click here for article.



New Feud Over Hatfield McCoy Trademark

Posted on October 2, 2013 at 4:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Everyone has heard of the legendary grudge between the Hatfield and McCoy families during the mid to late 1800's. While the family feud has quieted down in the last century, a new dispute is emerging over who has the right to use the trademark HATFIELD & MCCOY in competing moonshine ventures.  

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Oregon Town Files Copyright Suit over Public Toilet Design

Posted on August 30, 2013 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

The town of Portland recently filed suit against Romtec Inc. for its public standalone restroom design, "The Sidewalk Restroom."  The suit claims that Romtec is infringing the "Portland Loos" design used throughout the city. 

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Headlight Flashing: Obstruction of Justice or Protected Speech?

Posted on July 21, 2013 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Michael Elli was ticketed after he flashed his headlight as a warning to oncoming motorists.  The moving violation was later dropped but Elli filed suit against the city of Ellisville, Missouri  claiming that headlight warnings are a form of protected speech. Elli's lawyer is quoted as saying "if communicating the presence of a speed trap with headlamps is the obstruction of justice, then so too is communicating the same message by CB or at the corner gas station." Florida, Tennessee and Utah have also considered this matter; all three states siding with the drivers.  Florida went a step further and lassed a law banning prosecution for flashing headlights.

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Creator of Documentary on the Song "Happy Birthday to You" Faces Copyright Infringement Suit

Posted on June 22, 2013 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Filmmaker Jennifer Nelson failed to secure a license from Warner/Chappell prior to creating a documentary on the song "Happy Birthday to You."  The question is whether Warner/Chappell holds a copyright on simply a piano arrangement created in 1935 or the 100 year old song.

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Ninth Circuit Holds that the Bat Mobile is a Character Protected by Copyright Act

Posted on April 12, 2013 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

DC Comics recently sued the manufacturer of Bat Mobile replicas claiming that these copies constitued copyright infringement (DC Comics v. Towle).  The Ninth Circuit recently agreed, holding that "especially distinctive" characters are entitled to copyright protection, finding that the Bat Mobile is not just a car; it is a distinctive character.

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Driver Claims Corporation is Second Passenger in HOV Lane

Posted on February 13, 2013 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

A Californian man driving with a pack of papers in his front seat claimed that a corporation was his second passenger.  It was a creative but unconvincing argument and he was found guilty of violating the vehicle occupancy requirement.

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Oklahoma State University Files Patent for New Beef Cut

Posted on October 2, 2012 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Can a cut of meat be patented? OSU is getting a great deal of PR from their recent patent application but is their 14 oz. cut of beef really novel and nonobvious?

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English Jurisdiction Over US Copyright claims

Posted on December 21, 2011 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Storm Trooper helmets are not "sculptures" according to England's highest court

This may have implications for US copyright law.  Prior to this case, plaintiffs were required to bring suit in each jurisdiction where their IP rights had been violated.  Now it appears that English courts have jurisdiction to decide claims involving foreign copyright infringement so long as the defendant is based in the UK.

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