Geekview Thanksgiving Edition – Gratitude for the Absurdities of IP (Part I)

Posted by | November 23, 2011 | Geekview IP recap, General | No Comments

I’m grateful that someone goes by the name Pitbull.

Dog fighting is illegal, but that didn’t stop Lindsay Lohan from filing a lawsuit this past summer against rappers Pitbull, Ne-Yo and Afrojack claiming that they defamed her in their lyric, “Hustlers move aside, so I’m tiptoein’, to keep flowin’ / I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan,” in the song Give Me Everything (at 1:13 in the song).  Give me everything tonight; you sure about that guys?  That just begs for a lawsuit (or a doctor’s visit), doesn’t it?  On the other hand, truth is an absolute defense to defamation and Ms. Lohan presently is serving probation in California as a result of her criminal escapades there.  According to an article on Rolling Stone Music, Pitbull has countersued Lohan for damaging his reputation.  Classic!  I bet Pitbull’s gonna be top dog in this one.  The world of advertising is a dog eat dog world . . .

 

I am grateful for anyone related to anyone with the last name Kardashian.

Following in her mom’s footsteps, Kim Kardashian gets sued for falsely advertising a product she’s supposed to represent!  In the August 14, 2011 edition of Geekview, I wrote about Kim’s Mom, Kris Jenner, being sued by Frownies anti-wrinkle cream for the exact same thing as a result of a face-lift she got shortly after signing a contract to be Frownies’ spokes model.  Now, Radiancy is suing Kim for making false and misleading claims about its competitor Tria’s products.  Though I have absolutely no clue why anyone in this family is famous, they sure do keep me entertained with all their IP antics.  And for more mind-boggling fame. . .

I am grateful that reality is way crazier than TV.

First they diss him, then they wanna kiss him?  Abercrombie’s acting like a teenage girl!  Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) issued this press release back in August, claiming to have offered Michael Sorrentino, aka The Situation and his Jersey Shore cast mates “a substantial payment” if they’d stop wearing A&F’s clothes on their reality show.  The release states, “Mr. Sorrentino’s association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image.”  Yet, at the same time Abercrombie was selling the t-shirt shown above, which The Situation says infringes on his THE SITUATION trademark (parody, anyone?).  The Situation’s company owns a trademark registration for SITUATION for “retail store services featuring men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, footwear, and accessories.”  It also has 12 pending trademark registration applications for marks that consist of, or include, THE SITUATION for: clothes; mobile apps; supplements; exercise videos; personal care products; personal training; printed goods and, of course, TV shows.  Apparently lacking a sense of humor, The Situation sued Abercrombie on November 15, 2011 for trademark infringement, false advertising and injury to his business reputation.  He seeks a “reasonable royalty in the amount of $1,000,000 and punitive damages in the amount of $3,000,000.”  Good luck with that, Mr. Situation.  I sure hope I never find myself in such a jam.  While folks who jam are putting CBS in a pickle . . .

I am grateful that someone with the resources to sue CBS readily compared himself to folks at #OWS.

A November 16, 2011 press release on PR Newswire reported that “over a hundred artists, writers and producers representing over a thousand copyrighted works have joined Alki David (author of the press release) to re-file (oops!) through their counsel (always a good idea), Baker Marquart, a historic lawsuit against CBS Interactive and CNET.”  It seems just a little bit early to be calling the case historic, don’t you think?  Despite its volume, there are only two counts in the 52 page complaint: inducement of copyright infringement and contributory copyright infringement.  The complaint alleges that “CBS Interactive has quietly made billions by inducing the public to break the law, by providing them the file-sharing software and step-by-step guides, on exactly how to do it.  No one has held Defendant accountable for this.  Until now.”  The press release quotes lead plaintiff, Mr. David, as stating, “Ironically, I am demonstrating for the same reasons as the folks of Occupy Wall Street, with whom I have a great deal of sympathy.”  Although I am fairly certain the folks at #OWS are not riled up about royalties, I am open to the possibility that I might be missing something.  While I figure out what that it is, CBS will have its eerie orange eye on America and the rest of us will have to wait and see how far Mr. David’s anti-campaign CBS goes.  Go David, Go.  Once upon a time, David took on Goliath.  Now, Goliath’s taking on Goliath . . .

I am grateful for companies that make outrageous claims.

First, Apple attacks Amazon over App Store.  Most people think this is ridiculous.  Then, Apple loses a major motion in the case, indicating that the court also thinks the case is ridiculous.  So, does Apple dismiss the case and apologize to Amazon?  Of course not.  Apple waits a few months and then files an amended complaint claiming APP STORE is its trademark on which Amazon is infringing.  I wrote about the original lawsuit here and it continues to baffle me.  Maybe even more so.  While Apple is accusing Amazon of trademark infringement, Microsoft continues to challenge Apple’s APP STORE application on grounds of genericness.  I just don’t see Apple winning this one and I cannot figure out why it keeps on spinning its wheels (and spending its cash — loads and loads of cash) over this.  And moving on to other spinning wheels, last Friday brought news about false advertising claims against two car dealers . . .

I am grateful when car dealers live up to their stereotype.

Last Friday, Legal Newsline ran an article about the settlement reached by Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna in his case against Dewy Griffin.  Discover the Dewey Difference, alright.  The difference was that Dewey was engaging in false advertising and fudging loan documents, according to the complaint.  Though Dewey’s owners admitted no wrongdoing, they did agree to pay penalties of $10,000, plus $40,000 in attorneys’ fees and $1,345.15 in costs, for a total judgment of $51,345.15.  I imagine that does not include their own legal fees.  Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) withdrew a “Third Strike” ruling against Fury Motors.  Fury was accused of violating a new advertising policy that was approved in March by the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association and the Better Business Bureau.  According to an article on TwinCities.com, the BBB downgraded Fury from an A-plus rating to an F(!) for violating the new “Three Strikes” advertising policy.  Once Fury amended its advertising, the BBB agreed to restore its A-plus rating (enabling it to amass more debt?).  Apparently, Fury was the first dealer to violate the new standard and so it got to feel the fury of the BBB.  No fury, only gratitude . . .

I am grateful for you.

I am grateful that you are interested in what I have to say.  I am even more grateful for the times when you feel moved to e-mail me or, better yet, leave a comment.  Thank you!  Happy Thanksgiving.

Look for Part II on Thanksgiving Day.

About Lara

Lara Pearson is a trademark attorney with Exemplar, where she also serves as the firm's Sustainability Steward. Lara's legal practice focuses on trademark and copyright law, including: intellectual property audits; trademark search & clearance; trademark and copyright registration & maintenance; intellectual property transfers; transactional work; and dispute resolution, including litigation when necessary. Lara primarily represents other social enterprises -- those leveraging their businesses and brands as catalysts for positive social and environmental change. Such businesses engage in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) to have a positive "triple bottom line" of people, planet and profit. As Exemplar's Sustainability Steward, Lara works with others in her law firm to measure and reduce the firm's carbon emissions and encourage engagement in social responsibility initiatives, including pro bono legal work and volunteering. Lara is a proud member of the Social Venture Network. Brand Geek is a member of 1% for the Planet and a Certified B Corporation, whose Incline Village office is certified under the regional Keep the Sierra Green program. Exemplar Companies is the most innovative professional services firm in the New Economy. Our unique, diversified expertise spans the disciplines of corporate law, business advisory, and capital/investment banking to better meet the needs of our high-potential customers. We have assembled a comprehensive suite of service to meet the complex issues facing companies in today’s challenging business environment. Our unique, holistic approach ensures the growth and success – and greatly increases the competitive advantage - of our customers. The Exemplar team is comprised of knowledgeable, highly skilled experts in a wide range of industries and disciplines. They work closely with our customers to provide trusted advice, incomparable support, expert guidance and the ultimate competitive advantage as they accelerate their businesses and position themselves to transform industries.

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