LEGAL THOUGHTS

This blog contains our personal opinions on topics that interest us.

My Other Bag is a "Hermes"

Brand owners should feel safer. Last week, law enforcement authorities busted a counterfeit goods ring that was importing fake goods from China, and then reselling the goods to wholesalers and retailers. The retail value of the goods, had they been authentic, was approximate $450 million (see link 1). #trademark #copyright

Stone IPA

Given the recent heat wave in Zug, Switzerland, it was refreshing to grab a can of Stone IPA - "The Iconic West Coast Style IPA". But, where did they get it from? They brewed it in Berlin, Germany. #trademark #copyright

Vape juice has 5 ingredients

A friend was using a vape pen, and the wind blew the "smoke" into my face. I was shocked by how pleasant the "smoke" was. This in turn led to a discussion about how there are only five "ingredients" in vape juice -- water, vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, flavoring (which can be many things), and nicotine. Cigarette smoke however has 4,000 - 7,000 compounds (see link 1, link 2). While there are fewer ingredients, that does not make vape juice safe. As George Santayana said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". It appears the vape juice industry did remember the issue with Joe Camel. The FDA started targeting the vape juice industry for packaging which re

What is copyright registration for a lawsuit?

Before a U.S. work can be asserted in a lawsuit, it has to be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. 17 U.S.C. § 411. But, what does it mean to be registered? In the 10th and 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, copyright registration means that the U.S. Copyright Office must have issued a copyright registration. In the 5th and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, copyright registration means that the copyright owner has submitted a copyright application. In July, the U.S. Supreme Court took up this issue when it granted certiorari in Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com (see link). This is an important case because it affects when a copyright owner can initiate a lawsuit. If the

EU - Reusing images requires author permission

The Court of Justice of the European Union just put another nail into the sinking ship which was the concept that a person can copy unilaterally an image from another website and then post it on another website. This concept is often accompanied by the infringer claiming that they did not know it was unlawful to do so, or that they attributed the image and thus it was okay to copy and repost the image. Land Nordrhein-Westfalen v. Renckhoff, Case C-161/17 (August 7, 2018) (see link 1, link 2). The CJEU held that "the concept of ‘communication to the public’, within the meaning of Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29, must be interpreted as meaning that it covers the posting on one website of a

Oreo - Extending its brand

What is an Oreo? To me it will always be two chocolate wafers with a white cream filling. To later generations, it may be something a bit different. In Iceland, I saw these new Oreo packages. #trademark #iceland

The Statue of Liberty - $4.2 million error

[update on November 5, 2018] The U.S. Postal Service has filed a notice of appeal. $4,249,679.46 dollars. That is how much the U.S. Postal Service will have to pay because it used a photo that depicted a replica of the Statue of Liberty in Las Vegas instead of the original Statue of Liberty in New York City, and violated the copyright of the sculptor for the replica Statue. See Robert Davidson v. USA, Ct. Fed. Claims, Case No. 1:13-cv-942 (Eric G. Bruggink). To see a comparison of the statues, download the Plaintiff's Reply in Support of its Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Dkt. 78, at 6) (here is link to the Reply that I am hosting on Mega.nz) Let's walk quickly through copyright issu

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