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IP In the News

Remote Texter May Be Held Liable for Automobile Accident

Posted on August 30, 2013 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

On Tuesday, a New Jersey appellate court held that an individual who is sending text messages has a duty to suspend those texts to someone who is driving if that texter knows or has reason to know the recipient will look at the message while driving.

Bad Faith Infringement Suits Can Be Costly to Plaintiffs

Posted on August 26, 2013 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

A $1.6 Million dollar award for attorney fees was recently confirmed against a plaintiff held to have pursued a bad faith infringement action. 

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NYC Introduces Bill to Punish Buyers of Counterfeit Goods

Posted on August 14, 2013 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (0)

The New York City Council has introduced a bill that would punish BUYERS of counterfeit goods.  If convicted the purchaser could face a $1000 fine and a year in jail.

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Stiff Penalties for Downloading and Distributing Copyrighted Music

Posted on July 31, 2013 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

The US Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit recently upheld a $375,000 damage award for illegally downloading and distributing copyrighted music. Other jurisdiction have recently awarded similarly large damages. 

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Use of Keywords Containing 3rd Party Trademarks Does Not Constitute Infringement

Posted on June 26, 2013 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

1-800CONTACTS recently filed a trademark infringement and likelihood of confusion suit against Google.  Ads sponsored by competitors would appear when users performed a Google search on the 1800CONTACTS term.  The US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit recently held that use of a 3rd party's registered mark in a keyword search does not inherently constitute trademark infringement nor does it create a likelihood of confusion.

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Use of Second Generation Seed Constitutes Patent Infringement

Posted on May 20, 2013 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

A farmer who legally purchased patented seeds from Monsanto was recently sued for replanting second generation seeds without permission (Monsanto v. Bowman). Generally the purchaser of a patented item may use and resell that item; however, a purchaser is not permitted to make additional copies of that item.  Although the second generation of seeds was created without human intervention, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the replanting of these seeds constituted patent infringement. 

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Pitfalls of Trademark Use in Advertising and Promotion

Posted on April 2, 2013 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Be cautious when using the trademarks of others... even when you are simply advertising a product or promoting something as mundane as the "Super Bowl" or "March Madness."  Both of the terms used in the aforementioned example are federally trademarked and that trademark should be noted in any advertising or promotional material.

You should never use a trademarked name in an advertisement to describe a general style of item. In a recent case, Tiffany & Co. filed suit against Costco for advertising "Tiffany" engagement rings.  The rings Costco sells are not made by Tiffany;  Costco simply used the term to describe the style of ring and is now being sued for trademark infringement.

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First Sale Doctrine May Not Apply to Goods Purchased in Foreign Countries

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 3:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Generally, an individual who has purchased a copyrighted book has the right to re-sell that book under the "first sale doctrine" of the Copyright Act. The Supreme Court may soon refine the boundaries of the first sale doctrine, limiting it to purchases made within the US.  Thai student resold textbooks originally purchased in Thailand.   A publisher recently brought suit (Kirtsaeng v. Wiley & Sons) after finding that a Thai student had been reselling textbooks purchased in Thailand.  The publisher claims that the books were illegally imported and are therefore not entitled to the protection of the first sale doctrine. 

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Supreme Court recently held that US Copyright law does not prohibit unauthorized imports and sales of copyrighted material manufactured outside the US.

Three Dimensional Printers and Emerging IP Issues

Posted on January 28, 2013 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

3D printers allow users to create a multitude objects out of a wide range of materials. If you can create a computer model of the object, you can print it. A growing number of people are sharing modeling files and using printers to create three dimensional objects... protected designs, machine components, and even records with music.  Now that these printers and modeling files are becoming more commonplace, there is growing concern with the protection of intellectual property. 

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Is it Legal to Resell Your Digital Music?

Posted on January 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

ReDigi has created software that purports to remove old digital music files from the user's equipment and then allow that user to resell these files through ReDigi's on-line marketplace.  Capitol Records filed suit against the company in 2012 claiming copyright infringement.   The first sale doctrine seems to suggest that a purchased copy can be legally sold.  But is a digital copy a true "copy" under copyright law?



UPDATE:  In April 2013 the Court granted summary judgment for Capitol Records, finding that ReDigi's online sale of digital music constitutes copyright infringement. This ruling creates a distinction between physical items and digital ones.  While this case applies to digital music, it may affect the resale of all digital works including e-books. ReDigi may appeal.