Knock-off the Knockoffs: The Fight Against Trademark and Copyright Infringement

by Meghan Collins September 21 2009, 09:53
I. Introduction





Gucci, Fendi, Prada, Coach; Designers most individuals know, but few can afford. Yet, despite their high prices, countless individuals sport these designer labels on a daily basis. Chances are however, the majority of these ‘designer duds’, including sunglasses, handbags, electronics, and even drugs, are not authentic. Over the past few years, this knockoff fetish has become increasingly popular throughout the world, especially with the recent economic downfall. With a high demand for these items and popular acceptance of this act, few consumers consider the illegality and danger of owning and supporting these unlawful products. [More]

Protecting "The Progress of Science and Useful Arts."

by Warren Albert Wilke III September 21 2009, 03:41
I. Introduction



Patents have recently received a great deal of attention as tradable commodities, attracting the attention of several hedge funds, and giving rise to investment firms that specialize in patent acquisition.[1][2] This aspect is not unanticipated, and in fact is on its face congruent with the original means for attaining the goals behind patent law – “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” [3] The idea behind providing this protection is simple: encourage innovation by giving the innovator certain property rights and protections under the law which in turn encourages market participation.[4] The ability to monetize innovation is the means by which the U.S. Constitution proposed to incentivize the research and distribution of innovations. Nowhere else has this been more relevant than in the “Technology Sector,” where patents can make or break market share, and mean big bucks for the holders of those patents.[5] With the increasing number of patents issued and the amount of money tied up in them, the amount of litigation regarding those patents has increased accordingly[6]. This paper will address some of the issues created by the right to in IP litigation. [More]

Marvel and Disney: A Merger with Character

by Frederic Deraiche September 20 2009, 18:26
On August 31st, 2009, it was announced that the Walt Disney Company would acquire Marvel Entertainment. Marvel and Disney’s primary assets are intellectual properties, especially in the form of fictional characters. Questions arise as to how these character properties can be analyzed by the antitrust authorities, particularly in order to identify markets and competition given both the similarities and significant differences between Disney and Marvel’s properties. This article will consider whether the Horizontal and Vertical Merger Guidelines as currently drafted properly provide for a merger of this type and identify those provisions that do not appear flexible enough for a full consideration of the issues involved. [More]

Chipping Away at the RIAA's "Making Available" Theory of Copyright Infringement

by Thomas Paschalis November 4 2008, 12:15
I. Introduction


On September 8, 2003, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed copyright infringement lawsuits against 261 individuals for sharing songs on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.[1] In the five years since, the RIAA has sued, settled, or threatened litigation against over 30,000 Americans for alleged violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.[2] These actions have attracted a great deal of public attention, largely due to the fact that the suits have hit very close to home for many Americans. Unlike prior lawsuits, which targeted software programs such as Napster and Grokster, this new chapter in the file-sharing saga has focused on ordinary people.[3] The targets of the RIAA’s legal claims run the spectrum of everyday people who are not typically the subjects of copyright actions, including children, parents, grandparents, single mothers, professors, and college students.[4]


The RIAA’s strategic offensive against music consumers has spurred a firestorm of debate concerning topics such as copyright law, technology, privacy, and legal procedure. For the first few years of the RIAA’s legal efforts, the focus of legal and social observers centered on the RIAA’s tactics for identifying and filing suit against potential defendants.[5] In the last year, however, as contested cases have made their way through district court litigation, the focus has shifted to the interpretation of black-letter copyright law. The RIAA’s “making available” theory of infringement has garnered a great deal of attention, though its acceptance by district courts has been inconsistent. To date, the few district courts to rule on the matter have each interpreted the Copyright Act differently in the context of file-sharing, indicating that there is likely to be ongoing uncertainty until appellate level courts offer clarification. For the moment, though the trend is moving away from acceptance of the "making available" theory, courts appear more willing to allow the RIAA to prevail on the basis of actual dissemination. [More]

The Obama "Celebrity" Ad and the Right of Publicity

by Thomas Paschalis September 29 2008, 12:43
I. Introduction


With the 2008 presidential campaign expected to break spending records, it is no surprise that both major political parties are flooding swing-state airwaves with television advertisements. While recent elections have produced the much-discussed "swift boat" and "3 a.m." commercials, the McCain campaign took a unique approach with the summer release of the so-called Barack Obama "celebrity" ad.[1] In response to the enthusiasm generated by large U.S. and European crowds at Obama's public appearances, the McCain campaign featured images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton in an ad that characterized Obama as "the biggest celebrity in the world."[2] Such unauthorized use of celebrity images in political advertisements has been the subject of recent debate, as any potential legal actions implicate the tension between the right of publicity and the First Amendment. [More]

Seagate Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Competitor

by David Chen April 18 2008, 14:28
I. Introduction
In response to increasing market pressure on their core business, Seagate Technologies is asserting a handful of its patents against manufacturers of flash memory-based solid state drives (SSDs) products. Seagate Technology is currently the world’s largest manufacturer of hard-disk drives (HDDs), but lags behind several competitors in the SSD market. [1] On Monday, April 14th, Seagate Technology filed a patent infringement lawsuit against STEC. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges infringement of four Seagate patents. [2] Industry commentators believe that Seagate’s lawsuit is a result of increasing market pressure on their core business, which competes directly with that of STEC. By filing an infringement lawsuit now, Seagate opens several options for itself in the face of a potential collapse in sales for its major products. [More]

Patent Reform Act Is Considered By U.S. Senate

by David Chen March 27 2008, 14:30
I. Introduction
Robust protection for intellectual property is one of the chief engines for economic growth in the United States. Patents, copyright and trademark laws provide vigorous, reliable protection for US intellectual property, which is valued at more than $5 trillion by the Commerce Department. [1] With regards to patents, most commentators and interested parties agree that at least some type of modification or reform is necessary. [More]

Varying Intellectual Property Regimes: The Reception of Gray Market Goods in the United States and the European Union

by Naureen Amjad March 10 2008, 15:31
Introduction:


Most consumers agree that intellectual property law is essential to ensure that creators of inventions, ideas, designs, services and the like are rewarded for their creativity and to promote the continuation of such creations.[1] In order to grant creators with the incentive to continue creating, such creators must be equipped with the satisfaction of knowing that their creations will not be transformed into cheap imitations which will inevitably compete with their own original creations. Intellectual property is a field in which only the most innovative thrive. While imitation is often considered the most sincere form of flattery, it is doubtful that inventors will continue to introduce the same number of creations at exponentially high rates, knowing that their unique innovations may be reintroduced into the same market to compete with their original goods within a short period of time. The protection of intellectual property is at the forefront of agreements between nation-states because of the relative ease of copying, and the lax attitude of some nation-states to prevent and punish infringement.[2] A prevailing argument is the thesis that "technology drives investment" and to the extent that technology is reluctant to flow where it is not protected, the lack of an adequate level of protection could stunt technological transfer and foreign investment entirely.[3] [More]

Varying Intellectual Property Regimes: The Reception of Gray Market Goods in the United States and the European Union

by Naureen Amjad March 10 2008, 15:27
Introduction:


Most consumers agree that intellectual property law is essential to ensure that creators of inventions, ideas, designs, services and the like are rewarded for their creativity and to promote the continuation of such creations.[1] In order to grant creators with the incentive to continue creating, such creators must be equipped with the satisfaction of knowing that their creations will not be transformed into cheap imitations which will inevitably compete with their own original creations. Intellectual property is a field in which only the most innovative thrive. While imitation is often considered the most sincere form of flattery, it is doubtful that inventors will continue to introduce the same number of creations at exponentially high rates, knowing that their unique innovations may be reintroduced into the same market to compete with their original goods within a short period of time. The protection of intellectual property is at the forefront of agreements between nation-states because of the relative ease of copying, and the lax attitude of some nation-states to prevent and punish infringement.[2] A prevailing argument is the thesis that "technology drives investment" and to the extent that technology is reluctant to flow where it is not protected, the lack of an adequate level of protection could stunt technological transfer and foreign investment entirely.[3] [More]

Google Defends Its Trademark From Genericide

by David Chen February 21 2008, 14:33
I. Introduction.

Over the last decade, Google has quickly risen to dominate the internet search arena. The company’s rapid ascension is marked by a corresponding rise in the value and recognition of the Google trademark. In that time, Google has attached its name to an increasingly wide-range of products and services, such as Google News, Google Maps and Google Images. On occasion, Google has also manipulated its trademark into easily recognizable derivatives, such as its web mail service Gmail. Google also alters its primary trademark on major holidays, adding playful cartoon flourishes to its recognizable search page. [More]

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