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By Virtuoso Legal


IP Top 10: March – Photographer Attempts Copyright Slam Dunk Against LeBron

Welcome to Virtuoso Legal IP Top 10 for March 2020! Let's get underway.

We are a quarter of the way through 2020, and whilst the world looks a lot different right now, there has been a lot going on in the world of IP.

In this IP Top 10 this month, Lebron James gets hit with a copyright infringment for a photo, top entertainment companies have been told to tighten their IP rights, and so much more.

Let’s get underway!


Lebron James hit with Copyright Infringment claim by photographer

Lebron James, and his partner companies (Uninterrupted Digital Ventures and LRMR Ventures) are being sued by a photographer for allegedly using a photo without permission or compensation.

James posted the image on his personal Facebook page, but without credit to the photographer who created the image. The photographer, Steven Mitchell, is seeking $150,000 for copyright infringement.

Another example of a copyright claim in the US concerning the use of an image of a celebrity by a celebrity on social media... Who will be next?

The Blast has more information on this case, which you can see here.


DAKY & Debenhams settle differences in "D" Trade Mark Dispute

DAKY International Limited, sells clothing and accessories under a stylised ‘D’ trade mark has done since 2015.

The company has stated on the website, that Debenhams Retail Limited will no longer use a stylised letter ‘D’ on its own, suggesting that the Trade Mark dispute has now been settled in favour of DAKY. Oftentimes disputes such as these are often not settled and can rumble through the courts for years.

AsianImage have more on this story, which you can see here.


Drug companies Asked to share patents in battle against Pandemic

As a consequence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has asked many large drug companies to share their patents in order to more quickly identify treatments and cures for the disease.

This represents an extraordinary request for extraordinary times, with pharmaceutical companies typically being the most robust sector around protection and use of IP.

Read more about this story in the Financial Times here.


Sony objects to start-up group's Trade Mark: DOlphins amongst the sharks

A women’s startup group will fight Sony Pictures Television in Australia over its trade mark opposition against the words “Dolphin Tank”.

The “Dolphin Tank” registration was opposed by Sony Pictures Television, which argued at the start of the year that the mark should not be allowed to be registered.

Sony is claiming the Dolphin Tank mark is “similar” to existing trade marks that they already own, specifically "Shark Tank" (the international name for the TV series "Dragon's Den"), some of which have picked up major popularity in Australia.

The Sunday Morning Herald has more on this story, which can be read here.


Healthcare provider loses $2.75million after Data Breach

It is alleged that more than half of the healthcare companies around the world have suffered at least one breach of protected health data belonging to patients of the healthcare providers, and on average, a typical breach exposes around 10,000 patient records and inflicts over $2.75 million in damages.

This report is highly alarming, especially in a world wherein increasing legal scrutiny on data protection and health data (e.g. GDPR and its emphasis on special category data), draws into sharp relief the magnitude of the reported issue.

For more information on this case, head to the Security Boulevard website here.


H&M Defeat Adidas in 23 year Trade Mark battle!

In one of the biggest trade mark battles over the past couple of decades has finally been put to bed!

The Trade Mark dispute concerns H&M’s 2 striped logo, between adidas’s 3 striped logo, and the alleged similarity between them.

adidas' three striped logo has been the subject of much discussion over time, as its scope can be viewed as quite large.

The court decided that there was a “low similarity” between the 2 logos, which went in favour of H&M.

If you would like more information on this case then head to The Guardian here.


Led Zeppelin back on the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ as legendary Copyright Dispute Appeal won

Led Zeppelin was originally sued for copyright infringement from Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe, who composed "Taurus" in 1968, claimed that Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, alongside also vocalist Robert Plant, copied portions of Taurus for the iconic song..

After a 6 year battle between the two parties, the court upheld an earlier verdict in favour of Led Zeppelin and found that the two songs are not substantially similar.

The Claimant has suggested however that a further appeal may be on the cards...

For more information on this case, head to the jdsupra website here.


China release 2019 Copyright data

We have previously mentioned in our IP Top 10 February 2020 article that China announced that they are looking to make public data concerning intellectual property publicly available. This represents an effort from the country to become increasingly transparent in its efforts to protect IP.

This month, the data for copyrighting has come out detailing a 21% increase in registrations within the country.

To find out more about this story, NationalLaw has this story here.


WWE unable to score victory over tattoo artist copyright claim:

WWE and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. were judged to be guilty of copyright infringement against tattoo artist Catherine Alexander, after the judge found that Alexander owned all of the copyright for a WWE Superstar’s tattoos.

Due to the tattoos being an original piece of art/design from Alexander, the judge ruled against WWE for their unauthorised use of Alexander's artwork in the game. Further proceedings into the case will be taken in a couple of months time.

To find out more about this story, metro has the latest.


Are you dreaming? Nintendo forces Media MOlecule to remove Super Mario from PS4 game

Last month, Nintendo was in February's IP Top 10 on more than one occasion, and they return again this month!

Nintendo has asked Media Molecule, creators of PS4 Game Dreams, to remove all assets relating to Nintendo’s biggest franchise, Super Mario.

The game "dreams" is a game creation sandbox allowing players to create their own games within the game. However, the community seem to be, in many cases, quite fond of using existing IP without permission in their creations. Mamma mia!

For the latest on this story, Metro has the 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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