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By Virtuoso Legal


IP Top 10 May 2020: “WhatsApp is a no-go!” for German Government

We are now half-way through the year, and things are really picking up in the IP world. Let’s take a look at the biggest stories from May, as in this IP Top 10, a twist in the Spotify vs. Eminem tale, Disney shuts down an inappropriate online children’s game, and more. Let’s get underway!

Manchester United, Sega embroiled in trade mark battle over Football Manager Simulation game.

Manchester United are suing the makers of the “Football Manager” video game series for unauthorised trade mark use relating to the club's name.

The English Premier League side has taken legal action against the developers of the popular football management simulation for replacing the club logo with a simplified red and white striped version.

Manchester United are well known as one of the most profitable clubs in football, with a massive revenue  derived from licensed goods utilising the Manchester United branding.

Eurogamer has more on this case.


Vox Media sued for copyright infringement under DMCA

A professional photographer, Helayne Seidman, has filed a complaint against Vox Media for copyright infringement under DMCA in the United States.

Seidman photographed an apartment building which had appeared in a Vox publication without her permission.

What is perhaps slightly interesting about this story is that the image had been licensed to the New York Post, a competing publication.

The suggestion has been made that the Vox publication had taken the image from their competitor without considering copyrights - which would be somewhat awkward if true. 

For more information on this case, LawStreetMedia has more.


Germany’s Data chief tells ministries “WhatsApp is a no-go!”

Ulrich Kelber, the data privacy commissioner for Germany, has stated that any use of WhatsApp was prohibited for federal ministries and institutions, even if some had resorted to using it during the current pandemic.

This is due to the scare of WhatsApp providing personal data such as IP Addresses, Location and Gender to Facebook.

This represents an interesting conversation pertaining to maintaining data protection standards during the current pandemic.

DW has more on this case.


Disney shuts down Problematic Fan Made children’s game

Disney has shuttered a fan-made version of the online children's community "Club Penguin".

Disney having had purchased the Club Penguin online game previously had shut down the official community only to find fan-made variants pop up from time to time.

These have now been taken down under the DMCA.

Whilst IP had been the method to bring these unofficial games to a close - the unofficial variants had raised a lot of concern for instances of inappropriate and potentially illegal activity that had taken place in the online community.

For more information, parentology has more.


Microsoft sued in India for trade mark infringement by Azure Knowledge Corporation

Microsoft have come up to some resistance in 

Azure Knowledge Corporation claims to have been using the trade mark “Azure” after registering it in 1998 (having previously used it since 1996).

Microsoft has been using the same trade mark in India since 2016 in relation to its cloud computing services.

To stay up to date with this case, PRNewsWire has more.


UMG, Sony Music and Lil baby face $3million copyright infringement claim

A Florida man is suing Universal Music Group and Sony Music for allegedly infringing upon his music in Lil Baby’s song “My Turn” and Drake’s “Life Is Good” song.

The Florida man’s complaint is that these songs infringe upon music that he published on his personal Facebook page.

For the alleged copyright infringement, the Florida man is seeking $3 million in damages in each case. The case is quite interesting insofar as the Florida man has a host of copyright claims in play all surrounding content he had distributed on his Facebook page. A very interesting Facebook page, it must be!

DigitalNewsMusic has more:


Spotify claims Kobalt is at fault in Eminem songs copyright dispute

Kobalt Music Publishing is now subject to a third-party copyright claim, made by Spotify, with allegations of copyright infringement in relation to 243 of Eminem’s songs.

Eminem's management company had previously sought to sue Spotify on the basis that Spotify had not obtained the rights to distribute the music on their steaming service.

Spotify is placing fault on Kobalt an intermediary whom they allege gave them permission to license Eminem's music.

For more information on this case, Pitchfork has the story.


Ubisoft sues Apple, Google over Alibaba’s Rainbow Six “Ripoff”

Ubisoft Entertainment sued Apple Inc and Google LLC, accusing the companies of selling a derivative of its popular video game “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege”

Ubisoft stated that “Area F2” is a “Near carbon copy” of Rainbow Six: Siege and “seriously can’t be disputed.”

Ubisoft has brought a claim against Google and Apple in this regard as the game has been made available for purchase on their respective app stores.

For more information on this case, Metro has more here.


Mini-figures pack a mega punch for Lego

Lego is well known within IP circles as a company who are very proactive in protecting their IP. Of particular interest is the robust trade mark protection that the company has around it's iconic modular mini-figurines - which the company protects with vigour.

In this case, Lego has sought to enforce their trade mark over the same over the company "Laser Pegs" whom they allege are selling figures which could be mistaken for Lego's own.

Bloomberg Law has more on this case [Subscription required]


Illegal streaming links to copyright material found that have trebled during lockdown

It is no surprise that lockdown has had a massive impact on media consumption habits - with services like Netflix, HBO Max and Disney+ services seeing heightened interest and use.

Unfortunately heightened demand for content has also resulted in a suspected tripling of illicit links to two recent releases online.

The digital release model such as seen with the recent film "Trolls: World Tour" has been found to be profitable, but questions remain as to how digital release may help or hamper the industry in the future.

FACT has more insight into his uptick.


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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