05 Feb

Rumors About a Trademark Registration For “STEVE JOBS” in Turkey Appear Exaggerated

A number of blogs have published the news about a Turkish businessman who allegedly registered “Steve Jobs” as a trademark. I am not entirely convinced the story is entirely true. At least not yet.

The trademark databases of the Turkish Trademark Office indeed show a pending application for “STEVE JOBS.”  In fact, there are two separate applications owned by apparently different individuals. But I see no confirmation that either of those marks has been registered yet. See for yourself:
You can find a few bloggers who say that because the trademark database shows the date of protection, this is evidence that the marks are registered.  But that is not how trademark laws work. The “date of protection” is simply a legal term which in this case means that as soon as the marks are registered, they will be protected retroactively as of the filing date. But the marks still need to be registered first, and based on the records available online, the marks do not appear to be registered yet.
It seems a bit premature at this point to talk about any “Steve Jobs” registrations in Turkey. There are too many ways things can go wrong for these applications, and the marks may never even mature to registration.  Let’s wait…
05 Feb

"Operation Decoy File” – Japan’s New Approach in the Fight Against Copyright Infringement Online

Japan has implemented a new program in an attempt to scare and deter Internet users from sharing and downloading infringing content via P2P networks. 

The program is called “Operation Decoy File,” and the nature of the program can be guessed from its name. Within this program, the government of Japan uploads various “decoy  files” to certain popular P2P networks.  The files look like files with movies and other content of interest to users, but when a user downloads such a file and opens it, he instead sees a warning message from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan:
The message can be translated along the following lines (translation by Rocketnews24.com):
“Knowingly downloading and of course uploading files that are protected by copyright law without the consent of the owner over the Internet is illegal copyright infringement. Please stop immediately.
Also, from 1 October 2012, downloading content which is known to be available for sale is punishable by a maximum 2-year prison sentence and/or 2,000,000 yen[US$21,000] fine.
Our copyright organization is working to eliminate copyright infringement by file sharing software. In addition to consulting the police to obtain the disclosure of user’s identities, we want to focus on user education. …”  [Rocketnews24.com]
05 Feb

Timelines vs Facebook Suit is Set For Trial in April of 2013

Timelines.com filed a trademark infringement law suit against Facebook back in 2011, after Facebook had released its “Timeline” feature for Facebook users.  Facebook fought back claiming that “timeline” is a generic term not capable of trademark protection. 

The parties have been locked in a fight ever since, and it does not appear they have been able to resolve the conflict yet.  As reported in the news,  the trial in the case is scheduled to start on April 22, 2013. [Chicagotribune]
TimesLines, Inc. v. Facebook, Inc.; Case No. 1:11-cv-06867 in the U.S. District Court For the Northern District of Illinois
Facebooks’ answer in the case: 

Facebook counterclaim against Timelines


22 Jan

Dealing With Copyright Infringers Online: Who to Send a Take-Down Request to and How to Find Them

Take-down request (DMCA complaint) is an efficient tool to deal with copyright infringement on the Internet, but before you can even submit your DMCA complaint, you need to know who you need to complain about and to whom.  

This information is usually obvious when you deal with infringement by a user on YouTube, Facebook or some other popular website. But when infringement occurs on a small obscure website, finding this information may present a challenge.  After all, there are many ways for an infringer to hide his identity.  Yet, even if you do not know the infringer’s identity, you can still remove the infringing content from the Internet if you know two things...
08 Jan

Intellectual Property Enforcement on Facebook: Taking Down Infringing Content.

There are more than a billion users on Facebook, spread around the globe.  Such a massive and widespread user base offers unique marketing opportunities, but at the same time it presents unique challenges to brand owners. 

How to protect intellectual property on Facebook?  How to remove infringing content posted by users?  These are important questions, but luckily, Facebook provides a straightforward and easy-to-use procedure for taking down infringing imagery, text and other content.  The only thing you need to do is to fill out a short form and submit it online. The form is available here
If you have never used that online form before, here is a step-by-step guidance that should make you more confident enforcing your rights on Facebook...
13 Dec

Enforcement of Intellectual Property With General Administration of Customs of China (China Customs)

General Administration of Customs of China (China Customs) is an administrative agency of China in charge of regulating, managing and facilitating the flow of goods across borders, collecting customs duties and taxes, enforcing customs laws, preventing contraband trade, and fulfilling other similar responsibilities.

If correctly used, enforcement with China Customs can be an effective option in the enforcement strategy against infringers in China, making it possible to fight the flow of counterfeit products at their source, before the counterfeits spread throughout the world.  The following is an overview of the requirements, steps and strategy for enforcing and protecting your intellectual property (“IP”) with China Customs.


01 Dec

What is Copyright?

“Copyright” is a form of legal protection available to authors of original works fixed in a tangible medium of expression. 

The requirement that a work be “fixed in a tangible medium” simply means that a work must be embodied within a physical object, as opposed to a mere idea existing in someone’s mind. We will explain this requirement in a bit more detail below...

30 Nov

U.S. Trademark Clearance: Why and How

Before you start using a new trademark in connection with your business in the U.S., it is very important to ensure that the chosen name is legally available, meaning no one else has prior rights to the same (or confusingly similar) mark.  Investing your money, time efforts, and other resources into a trademark that was not previously cleared means risking losing your investment with nothing to get in return, except for legal troubles.
The process of ensuring that a trademark is legally available for use and registration is called “trademark clearance.”  A proper trademark clearance is usually done in two stages...
28 Nov

China Customs: Intellectual Property Recordation

The procedure for recording intellectual property rights with General Administration of Customs of China (China Customs) is relatively easy and fast. There is even a way to record intellectual property (“IP”) with China Customs over the Internet, via an online application form available at the China Customs portal. You can access the application form by clicking on the inage below: 

The obvious problem with this online application form is that it is all in Chinese, which makes it unusable for those who do not speak the language, not to mention that knowledge of the legal formalities involved in the recordation process is required to properly record IP rights with China Customs.  
We will therefore focus on those things that a typical English speaking IP owner needs to know to properly record IP rights with China Customs. 
26 Nov

China Customs; Online Database of Recorded Intellectual Property Rights

Enforcement of Intellectual Property rights with General Administration of Customs of China (China Customs) can be an effective tool in the fight against infringers and counterfeiters.  Therefore, it is sometimes important to be able to quickly find out whether a particular trademark, copyright, patent or other IP right is recorded with China Customs. Of course, you can always ask your attorney to find that out.  But there is an easy way for you do find that information on your own, quickly and for free. Just go to the online portal of China Customs and do a search. The portal provides prompts in both Chinese and English and is very easy to use. See for yourself; just click on the image below to access the portal: