LEGAL THOUGHTS

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

A better instruction manual

We bought a new barbecue grill over the weekend. It came with a 30 page instruction manual. The paper manual also mentioned that the instruction were available on a mobile application called BILT. I decided to test it out and it is awesome. It shows each step, the parts you will need, and what you need to do (and sometimes it even tells you what you need to do). It also lets you rotate the image and zoom in or out. For example, here is one screenshot from the instruction guide. It will tell you the parts that you need (in the upper left corner), it shows you what you need to do (in this case, insert slats and install screws in orange). It made building the grill much easier. This appl

A cat named Tom

I saw this display in Italy. What a coincidence that they named their cat Tom. I wonder if they ever saw the cartoon series Tom and Jerry? #copyright #trademark

Iceland isn't a Registered Trademark Anymore

Cancelled. On April 5th, the EUIPO Cancellation Division invalidated the EU trademark ICELAND that had been registered by Iceland Foods Limited, a UK based grocery chain (a copy of the decision is mirrored on Mega.nz). The Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs contended that ICELAND should not have been registered because the mark designates geographical origin. The Division agreed and found that the consumers would believe that the relevant goods came from or could come from the country of Iceland, and therefore Iceland should not have been registered. The grocery chain then argued that the ICELAND mark had acquired distinctiveness and therefore was registrable on that ground. However, t

That's my smiley face®

In interesting trademark news in 1993, EPR Holdings, Inc. was granted a federal trademark (Reg. No. 1,809,410) for this particular smiley face for cookies (see TSDR link). #trademark

Startup Iceland 2019

Last week I was in Reykjavik Iceland for the annual Startup iceland event. I've been going for the last 4 years, and it is amazing to see how the startup community has been growing. Kudos to Bala for creating this event. One of the speakers was Skuli Morgenson (in the photo) who discussed his last business the low cost airline WOW, that went into bankruptcy earlier this year. #startup #iceland

Google tracks your purchases

Last month, I posted about how to limit the personal information that Google tracks about you. This month, I wanted to point out that Google is tracking the purchases of anyone using Gmail. It appears that Google automatically creates a list of all of your purchases based on email receipts. To see your purchases, enter the following URL: https://myaccount.google.com/purchases. Google allows you to delete your individual purchases from its list. However, to do so, you have to delete the underlying email, which means that you cannot use your email as an archive. The real question is why is Google tracking your purchases. #privacy

Fair Use is Not for Lazy Appropriators

In April, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed a District Court decision finding that the use of a stock photograph was a fair use (Brammer v. Violent Hues Production, LLC, No. 18-1763, April 26, 2019) (Opinion hosted on Mega.nz). The District Court found that the four fair use factors weighed in favor of the infringer. The Court of Appeals reversed finding that none of the fair use factors favored the infringer. As the Court noted, fair use "is not designed to protect lazy appropriators" (Opinion at p5). The first fair use factor -- the purpose and character of the use -- examines whether the use was transformative; whether it communicates something new and different from

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