From Around the World

I generally do NOT blog about IP developments that are not related to Israel. There are others that do of course, and since the information is available on the Internet, it seems a little superfluous.

Here are three recent developments:

smoked salmonThe UK’s oldest smoked salmon business H Forman and Sons has become the first London food producer of either food or drink to receive the hallowed European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for their London Cure smoked salmon.

I am reporting this as it is a Jewish story.  One thing that has baffled me for ages is how come the Vikings smoked cod but despite the availability of salmon, never seemed to make the evolutionary leap?

selfieA Celebes crested macaque took a series of selfies using equipment belonging to the British nature photographer David Slater.

Slater’s claim of copyright on the images has been disputed by several scholars and organizations, based on an understanding that copyright was held by the creator, and that a non-human creator (not being a legal person) could not hold copyright. In December 2014, the United States Copyright Office stated that works created by a non-human are not subject to US copyright. Other legal experts have taken a different view, arguing that Slater’s role in the process that led to the pictures being taken may have been sufficient to establish a valid copyright claim, stating that this is a decision that would have to be made by a court.

Slater had published a book containing the photographs through self-publishing company Blurb, Inc. In September 2015, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a lawsuit against Slater and Blurb, requesting that the monkey be assigned copyright and that PETA be appointed to administer proceeds from the photos for the endangered species’ benefit. In 2016, a judge ruled that the monkey cannot own the copyright to the images.[3] PETA appealed. Slater stated in July 2017 that as a result of the pictures having been made freely available for commercial re-use on Wikimedia Commons and the ongoing PETA lawsuit, he was financially ruined and was considering giving up his career as a wildlife photographer.

About 30 years ago, a common bumper sticker on small cars was My other car’s a Rolls” or similar.

classic-zoey-brown.png

My Other Bag sells everyday canvas tote bags with drawings of various luxury brand handbags on one side and “My other bag” in large print on the other side. Louis Vuitton took offense at My Other Bag’s products that imitate a number of Louis Vuitton bag styles and commenced a lawsuit claiming, among other things, trademark infringement and dilution. The district court granted My Other Bag summary judgment on all of Louis Vuitton’s claims, holding that My Other Bag’s products are parodies and, as such, are not actionable sources of trademark infringement or dilution. In response, Louis Vuitton appealed the decision to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.which affirmed the trademark infringement part of the summary judgment award finding no real likelihood of confusion as to the source or origin of My Other Bag’s products. In arriving at its decision, the Second Circuit pointed to:

    1. the obvious differences in My Other Bag’s mimicking of Louis Vuitton’s trademark with a caricature drawing and replacing Louis Vuitton’s famous interlocking “L” and “Vs” with interlocking “M,” “O” and “Bs”;
    2. the lack of market proximity between Louis Vuitton’s high-end luxury handbags with a bourgeois target market and My Other Bag’s ordinary canvas tote bags with a proletariat target market; and the failure of Louis Vuitton to produce convincing evidence of consumer confusion between the two bags’ manufacturers.

With respect to Louis Vuitton’s claims of trademark dilution (i.e., a legal concept that prohibits unauthorized uses of famous marks to prevent associations that reduce their distinctiveness and uniqueness), the Second Circuit held that My Other Bag’s tote bags are parodic, bringing them within a “fair use” exclusion from liability for trademark dilution.

Louis Vuitton have now appealed to the US Supreme Court…

One Response to From Around the World

  1. Ephry Eder says:

    Re. Louis Vuiton TM case, there was a General Electric case many, many years ago in Canada against a T-shirt manufacturer who sold his products emblazoned ‘Genital Electric’. I do not recall whether the GE emblem was used or not, but I do remember that the Court was void of humour and awarded judgement to General Electric (even though there was no connection as to goods!!)

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