IP Top 10: February – The Man Comes Around (for his Trade Mark)
Welcome to Virtuoso Legal IP Top 10 for February 2020! Let's get underway.
We're already into the 3rd month of 2020, and there have being a lot of things going on this month in the world of IP. In this IP Top 10, Johnny Cash's estate has filed a trade mark infringement claim to a beer company, console giants Nintendo battle with Google, and so much more.
Let's get underway!
Nintendo asks Google to switch web-pirating off on Google search results
Nintendo has filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint to Google, asking Google to take down web results for several pirate platforms targeting Nintendo's Switch consoles. Nintendo alleges that these sites host copyright-infringing material, including ROMs of Nintendo games. Nintendo has been highly protective of its IP in the past, even going so far as to enforce against fans who make games using their characters.
The Man Comes Around! Johnny Cash files Trade Mark Infringement
Johnny Cash has filed a lawsuit against Washington-based beer maker alleging trade mark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition rights. "The Cash Brewing Company." had been falsely presenting themselves as related to the legendary country singer the estate alleges. The depth and scope of the alleged infringement make this a very interesting case...
Brexit update! More IP Protection needed
It has been stated that there is "a high level of IP Protection needed" for trading between the UK & EU, and that both parties should go "above and beyond" measures that are currently in place. Whilst UK intellectual property and brands remain some of the most sought after worldwide - the current government's arguable lack of a grasp on IP (and the revolving door of IP ministers) suggests that this claim is not inaccurate.
La Liga offers Copyright Enforcement Services to MotoGP
The top Spanish football league, La Liga, has entered into an agreement with Motorcycle racing company MotoGP, to lend its anti-piracy services to prevent theft of broadcasting content. La Liga (along with the British Premier League) football games are some of the most popular - and ergo pirated - copyright content broadcasted in the world today. As such, it is no surprise that the Spanish league have established robust systems to protect their content. What is perhaps more surprising is the licensing of this service to others.
China to publish Trade Mark's online
The Chinese government has announced for the first time ever, that it will be publishing all trade mark opposition decisions online. This marks another step toward a more transparent and comprehensive IP system in the country. China has previously stated its ambition to create a world-class IP system within the country to increase international trade into the region and address previous concerns relating to trust around intangible assets.
Huawei charged for IP theft
Chinese smartphone giants Huawei, and two of it's US subsidiaries, have been charged with "conspiracy to violate the Rackateer Influenced & Corrupt Organisations Act" (RICO) and theft of US Trade secrets. Huawei remains the focal point of action and concern relating to alleged Chinese IP theft, with criticisms leveraged at the potential direct proximity of the company to the Chinese nation-state. Previously, the CFO Rend Wanzhou (and daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei) had been charged on similar grounds.
"Real-Life" Mario Kart Company to pay 50 Million yen to Nintendo from trade mark infringement
"MariCar" are set to pay 50 million yen (which equivalates to $89,000) after receiving a trade mark infringement claim from Nintendo, infringing the rights of Mario and the Mario Kart brands. Maricar had established a successful "real-life" Mario Kart attraction in Japan. The main issue here is the use of Nintendo branded characters in dressing up the clientele and racecourse.
Blizzard update their "Fair use" Policy
Blizzard has updated their "fair-use" policy and it now states that "Blizzard will now own any custom-made games created from its content, following the success of games made from its already-existent franchises". The PC gaming community are renowned for the development of mods and spin-offs from existing franchises. Notably, in the past games such as DOTA were derived from mods to existing games (Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos as we understand it). This change marks either an understanding of the changing ways IP can be used by users today or an overreach from beleaguered Blizzard which will result in an inevitable backlash from its community.
Google attempting to "rewrite copyright law" ACCORDING TO oRACLE
Google has been described as attempting to "rewrite" the US Copyright law to justify "an egregious act of plagiarism" that has been committed by Oracle. In the latest US Supreme Court clash between Oracle (creators of Java) and Google, Oracle stated that the search giant had in its statements relating to limited use of Java code-base had attempted to change the very definitions relating to legal usage. Code and copyright remain a very thorny and tricky area which is litigated far more heavily in the US.
Call Of Duty makers send Subpoena over leaks
Activision, makers of Triple-A game Call Of Duty has sent a subpoena against Reddit, asking the social news aggregation and discussion site to reveal the identity of a user, who they allege leaked new modes and content of the latest instalment of the game. This subpoena represents an increasingly litigious gaming industry who seem to be increasingly at odds with their user base. Here again, intermediaries find themselves dragged into the crossfire too.
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!