LEGAL THOUGHTS

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

DST in US starts on March 10

On Sunday, March 10th, the US will start daylight saving time. The US starts daylight saving time three weeks before Switzerland, and the rest of Europe (on March 31). Thus, for the next three weeks, the number of hours between New York, NY (ET) and Central European Time (CET) will decrease to five (5) hours. This means that if you are in the US and corresponding with WIPO or other European bodies you have one additional hour. #DST

The Convention on the International Sale of Goods

What is the U.N. Convention on Contracts for the the International Sale of Goods (CISG)? And, why do so many contracts state that it does not apply? CISG is a international treaty that sets forth a uniform set of rules to govern an international sale. It automatically applies to contracts for the sale of certain goods between parties whose places of business are in different countries and (a) both countries are contracting states (see Article 1(1)(a)), or (b) the parties choose to apply the governing law of a contracting state (see Article 1(1)(b)). As 91 countries have signed the treaty, it applies by default to many international sale agreements. Because CISG applies by default and it wo

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

This is an update to my earlier blog post about people suing a computer game company for using their "dance" moves. In that post, I discussed that the lawsuits were premised on the assumption that the dances could be registered as choreographic works. On Monday, February 11th, Epic Games filed a motion to dismiss (Dkt 50) in the Ferguson v. Epic Games lawsuit and there was a whopper of an exhibit (Dkt 59). On December 19, 2018, the US Copyright Office refused for the second time a request to register a claim in choreography for the Milly Rock Dance (Dkt 59, hosted on Mega.nz). On October 16, 2018, the US Copyright Office first refused to register the dance as a choreography because it was "

Can I get a federal trademark for CBD goods?

The answer is -- not yet. Before the 2018 Farm Bill, the USPTO had two standard refusals to register a trademark related to hemp and cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound. The refusals are based on the requirement that the use of the mark in commerce must be lawful and, if the underlying good or service is illegal, then the use is not lawful. The first refusal was based on the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Under the CSA, hemp is a type of marijuana and marijuana is illegal. The 2018 Farm Bill eliminates the first refusal for goods and services because it legalized hemp. The Farm Bill defines hemp to be a Cannabis plant with a low concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psy

Hack and burn

Two days ago, email provider VFEmail was hacked (see link). Being hacked isn't surprising. Everyone should assume that they will be hacked. VFEmail had been hacked earlier, and so I assume they had security procedures and backup procedures. The hackers however didn't try to ransom or steal the data. They deleted everything - primary servers and backup servers - which is just mean. This leads me to assume that the security procedures implement by VFEmail and its systems were not protected in an effective way. If you are relying solely on a single source for a service, you may want to consider using another service for backups. Image from Hans from Pixabay. #privacy

Petrus - I'll take a 4 pack

When I hear the name, Petrus, I think of the Bordeaux wine that is expensive and consistently rated highly by oenophiles. In the US, there are often disputes over the use of a trademark between the vineyards, breweries, and distilleries. So I was surprised to find a beer with this name. Photo of the Petrus bottle licensed under the CC BY-SA 3.0 by Kerkyra22. #trademark

Don't copy an image on the internet

You would think that the adage "it's on the internet so it must be free" would have gone the way of the Dodo. But it stubbornly persists. It persists in the fashion industry. The celebrity, fashion model, influencer Gigi Hadid was sued by an agency for posting a paparazzi's photographs of her to her Instagram account (Xclusive-Lee, Inc., v. Jelena Noura "Gigi" Hadid, 1:19-cv-00520 (E.D.N.Y.)). It persists in politics. The photographer Kevin Liles sued the Georgia GOP party and Gov.-elect Brian Kemp’s campaign for unlawfully using a photo of Kemp's opponent Stacy Abrams (Kevin D. Liles v. Georgia Republican Party Inc. and Kemp for Governor, Inc., 1:19-cv-151 (N.D. Ga.). The photographer M

McDonalds v. Supermac's

David v. Goliath. The Irish burger chain Supermac's took on the international behemoth McDonald's and won (see Guardian link). McDonald's had been using its BIG MAC trademark to block the expansion of Supermac's. So Supermac's challenged the validity of McDonald's BIG MAC trademark on the ground that the trademark had not actually been used in the prior five years. The EU IPO Cancellation Division agreed and cancelled the trademark (see Decision, hosted on Mega.nz). The Cancellation Division examined the evidence submitted by McDonalds concerning the use of the BIG MAC trademark and determined that it was insufficient "to prove that the EUTM was genuinely used in the relevant territory duri

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