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By Virtuoso Legal


IP Top 10 April: Michael Jordan Slam Dunk In Chinese Copyright Dispute

We are now way into 2020 and whilst the world looks a lot different, in the world of IP things continue to claim column inches. In this IP Top 10, we cover how Google is in contact with French publishers on copyright, Michael Jordan finally wins in his Chinese trade mark dispute and much more.

Google must negotiate with French publishers on copyright:

A French ruling compelling Google to negotiate with publishers over payments for content is said to be a cause of celebration for news organisations worldwide.

France’s competition authority ordered the search engine giant to negotiate with publishers over payment terms for the use of their content in both Google News and search engine results.

This sets somewhat of a precedent within Europe for search engines and news aggregators in the lawful use of publishers' content.

PressGazette has more information on the case here


Victory for Michael Jordan after 8 years in Chinese Trade Mark Battle:

After a lengthy eight-year battle, Michael Jordan celebrated another partial victory against Chinese sportswear brand Qiaodan Sports.

At the end of March, the Supreme People’s Court ruled in favour of the six-time NBA champion, acknowledging that the Chinese company illegally used Jordan’s trademarked name.

Here the phonetic annunciation of the word, Qiaodan was found to be too similar to the basketball legend's name, and as such, an infringement.

For more information, That’sMags has more here.


Strange Music Opposes DC Comics' Trademark For Strange Adventures

Strange Music Inc of Lee's Summit, Missouri, is opposing DC Comics' attempted trademark of the phrase 'Strange Adventures'. DC has a new Strange Adventures TV series and also just published a revival of the comic book.

Strange Music is run by Tech N9ne, an astute businessman who has established a successful record label on the back of a keen understanding of IP.

Bleeding cool has more information on this here.


Jennifer Lopez sued over Instagram post for copyright infringement:

Jennifer Lopez is being sued by a photographer for $150,000 over an Instagram photo she uploaded in 2017.

In the photo, which was shared with Lopez’s more than 119m Instagram followers, she appears to be dressed as her Shades of Blue character, Harlee. She captioned the post “#Harlee.”

This represents another case wherein a celebrity has fallen foul of a copyright claim from sharing a photographer's image of them on social media.

The Independent has more information on this case here.


Lego beats Antitrust claims on mini-figures Intellectual Property:

A Connecticut federal court dismissed antitrust claims brought against Lego AS by Zulu who alleged the toy giant was monopolizing the construction toy market with fraudulently obtained intellectual property.

Lego is notoriously robust in enforcing a host of IP rights around its sector-leading products - to the point where some allege they have obtained an effective monopoly over the construction toy product category. This case presents an argument that Lego's protection over its products remains highly fortified whilst not breaching competition rules.  

For more information on this case, read here.


Billy Joel slammed with copyright infringEment:

Billy Joel has been hit with a lawsuit for copyright infringement although it has nothing to do with the legend's music.

The 70-year-old singer-songwriter is in a court battle with a contractor he hired last year to perform renovations to his Oyster Bay mansion on Long Island, N.Y.

According to a petition filed in federal court this week and obtained by Page Six, Berry Hill Development Corp., is suing the "Piano Man" singer for copyright infringement after Joel and the F. Scott LLC, which owns his properties, terminated the contractor and hired a new one to carry an identical job instead.

For more information on this case, Fox News has the latest.


Conor McGregor loses 3-year legal battle with clothing firm

The UFC Fighter Conor McGregor has lost a 3-year legal battle with clothing firm, McGregor New York, preventing the Irishman from using the name on his clothing or brand.

This represents another "L" for McGregor who had previously found difficulty in achieving the desired name for his whiskey under a previous IP spat. 

For more information on this case, Daily Mail has the latest.



Jay-Z claims copyright on AI audio reciting “Hamlet.”

A few recitals of “Hamlet” have been giving copyright takedown notices on YouTube after featuring rapper Jay-Z without his permission.

This represents the latest example concerning "deep-fake" technology where machine learning has been effectively put to use to generate new media that mimics existing celebrities.

This case however marks new territory for copyright law, which has yet to definitively decide the legality of such AI-generated media.

For more information, techdirt has the latest.


Victoria Beckham Fails in challenges Australian skin care company over Trade MarkS

Over the last few years, Victoria Beckham has found herself in the midst of an Australian trade mark dispute concerning her VB brand and two trade mark applications filed by a Sydney-based skincare company, VB Skinlab.

Victoria, like her husband David, have been very savvy when it comes to IP - building successful water-tight brands and licensing revenue on an international scale around their names.

However, in this instance, the Australian courts found that Beckham's marks had received limited reputation in Australia, judging that VB Skinlab could register the marks. This decision, however, is subject to appeal.

For more on this, Mondaq has more information about this case here.


Microsoft’s XBOX Series X trade-mark application reveals new logo?

Recently, Microsoft has been hyping up the new console that is set to release in holiday 2020. The console is set to be known as the XBOX Series X.

Hawk-eyed fans have been ravenous for more news surrounding the console, with some spotting a trade mark registration for an as yet, unreleased logo.

The logo appears to be somewhat of a departure from the Xbox's legacy logos - suggesting that a new brand identity for the console line is on the way.

Mashable has some additional information here. 

And that's it for our IP Top 10 this month! To speak to any of our team of intellectual property specialists, use the contact form below, or ring the number at the top of the page. Until next time!

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