Items tagged "Trademark"

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PK & EFF: Keep Copyright Owners from Controlling What I Do With My Property

June 19, 2009 International , Trademark

Perhaps you remember Rashmi’s post about how the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Omega v. Costco opened the door to copyright owners taking control of the import markets for all kind of products, merely by slapping a copyrighted logo onto everything they make. Wednesday, PK and EFF filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to take the case, explaining that the consequences of the Ninth Circuit’s decision go even further than controlling imports. The short version is that under the Ninth Circuit’s interpretation, any product which has a label or logo manufactured abroad cannot be imported into the U.S., resold, or given away by a lawful purchaser without permission of the owner of the label’s copyright. Sound like a big deal? It is.

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New Adwords Trademark Policy Still More Restrictive than Laws Allow

May 15, 2009 Competition , Trademark

Yesterday, Google announced that it was changing its ad policies to allow advertisers to use other people's trademarks in the text of their ads. This makes sense—there's a number of different contexts in which one company might refer to another in an ad: Home Depot wants to tell you it has great deals on Toro lawnmowers; AT&T wants to hammer home the point that they're the only US home of the iPhone; Pepsi wants to tell you that people like its taste more than Coke. However, the new policy still restricts how those trademarks can be used beyond what the law allows.

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Reasons for (Cautious) Optimism on ACTA

March 17, 2009 Piracy , Trademark

Is ACTA a matter of national security? No. Is "national security" a reason to withhold documents for a FOIA request? Well, maybe. Is it a good enough reason to withhold text of the draft agreement? I don't think so.

Let me now attempt to make sense of those various, yet (I will argue) consistent statements.

ACTA is a proposed international agreement on aspects of IP enforcement, which could have broad effects on how signing countries treat copyright and trademark infringement.

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Will a New Commitment to Transparency Extend to ACTA?

February 3, 2009 Piracy , Trademark

Recently, the United States Trade Representative responded to a request for documents made by PK and EFF under the Freedom of Information Act. We were seeking information on ACTA, including as-yet unreleased draft positions and texts of the agreement.

Initially, we received 159 pages of documents, and now, a draft Vaughn index, indicating that the USTR had found some 1,390 additional pages of documents that matched what we were looking for in our request. Of these, 1,390 will be withheld under various statutory exemptions to the FOIA.

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How To (Try To) Destroy the Online Secondary Market In One Easy Lawsuit

December 5, 2008 Fair Use , Trademark

Remember that case where Tiffany sued eBay, saying that eBay should be liable for trademark infringement whenever one of their users posts a counterfeit item on their site? Back in July, the trial court judge ruled for eBay, slapping down Tiffany’s attempt to change the law so that eBay had to police every one of the 6 million items which are posted daily to make sure no trademarks were infringed. On Tuesday, we joined EFF and Public Citizen in filing a “friend of the court” brief with the Court of Appeals asking them to affirm the lower court’s decision and continue to protect the online marketplace from unjustified, crippling liability and overbroad policing requirements. For a little more detail on the legal arguments we make, read on.

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ACTA and Other Enforcement Efforts: Reading the Lines

October 6, 2008 Piracy , Trademark

A lot of the questions about ACTA are raised by reading between the lines of what little is known about the proposed agreement. Is the term "border measures" a reference to searching individual consumers' devices at airports? Is a reference to "safeguards" for ISPs to "encourage ISPs to cooperate with right holders" an attempt to shift the balance of rights and responsibilities under DMCA safe harbors?

These are some of the most pressing questions that are raised when it comes to ACTA, but they're certainly not the only ones. While in a situation as opaque as this one, it's critical to seek out what may be intentionally hidden in the unstated implications of the language, as well as the unintended consequences of broad language.

But that doesn't mean that the face value of the language that's there should be ignored, either.

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PK, EFF, Sue for ACTA Documents

September 18, 2008 Piracy , Trademark

Several weeks ago, PK and EFF asked the US Trade Representative to turn over documents on ACTA, the international agreement on counterfeiting that still hasn't been made public yet. After some back-and-forth, and even after narrowing the scope of the request, we still have yet to receive any documents from USTR, as required under the Freedom of Information Act.

So yesterday, the two groups filed suit against the USTR to compel them to process the request and turn over the documents.

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Groups Express Concerns with Imminent Senate IP Enforcement Bill

September 10, 2008 DRM , Trademark

The PRO-IP Act is back, in a sense. Recently, the Senate introduced a new version of its IP enforcement bill, which would increase penalties for a range of infringements, and give content holders and the government new powers in pursuing alleged infringers. The new bill is scheduled for consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow, meaning that it may well pass the Senate, and then Congress as a whole in this abbreviated session.

The Senate bill, S. 3325, shares a lot of features with the House's PRO-IP bill, but it also adds a few new twists.

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EBay Goes Four-for-Four…for Now

July 16, 2008 Fair Use , Piracy , Trademark

On Monday, Judge Richard Sullivan of the Southern District of New York ruled resoundingly for eBay in its defense against Tiffany’s various claims of trademark infringement. Coming as it does in the wake of eBay’s $63 million loss to Louis Vuitton in France, this decision stands as an unambiguous breath of sanity. It's great to see that France's nakedly protectionist, moral rights-influenced, lack-of-first-sale-doctrine decision has been quarantined to France for the time being. As Judge Sullivan affirmed, “The law clearly protects secondary markets in authentic goods.”

The Court detailed the myriad ways in which eBay extended itself in trying to accommodate Tiffany by removing listings featuring counterfeit Tiffany merchandise.

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Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough IP Enforcement

July 15, 2008 Fair Use , Patent , Piracy , Trademark

The first Senate hearing I attended struck me as a “dog and pony show” since the witnesses were presented for display purposes, merely echoing the pre-determined opinions of the presiding Senators. I’m beginning to see the animals in a less benign light.

Today, Senator Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, held a hearing on “International Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights and American Competitiveness,” with Ranking Member, Senator Grassley (R-IA), in the wings and with Senators Kyl (R-AZ) and Roberts (R-KS) making cameo appearances towards the end. As for the witnesses, the deck was stacked, as appears to be more the norm than the exception.

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