Costco Could Pay $5.5 Million for Selling Fake Tiffany Rings

5 October 2016

Speaking of Costco.

From The New York Times:

Costco Wholesale Corp should hand over $5.5 million to compensate Tiffany & Co for selling counterfeit Tiffany diamond engagement rings, a federal jury said on Thursday.

. . . .

The trial, which began on Sept. 20, was aimed at determining the amount in total damages that Costco is liable for, after U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain ruled last year that Costco had willfully infringed Tiffany’s trademark by selling rings bearing the luxury retailer’s name.

. . . .

Costco had also argued that Tiffany’s trademarks were invalid because they sought t[o] prevent others from using the word “Tiffany” as a generic description of a type of ring setting.

But Swain rejected that argument and said Costco confused consumers by using the word Tiffany in display case signs.

She said Costco’s jewelry buyers had asked vendors to copy Tiffany designs, and that evidence showed Costco employees were aware of customer confusion but did nothing to remedy it.

Link to the rest at The New York Times

Games Workshop trademark bullying goes thermonuclear: now they say you can’t use “space marine” in science fiction

7 February 2013

From Boing Boing:

For years, there have been stories about Games Workshop being trademark bullies and sending threats to people who use the term “space marine” in connection with games. But now that they’ve started publishing ebooks, Games Workshop has begun to assert a trademark on the generic, widely used, very old term “space marine” in connection with science fiction literature.

MCA Hogarth, an author who has published several novels in ebook form, has had her book “Spots the Space Marine” taken down on Amazon in response to a legal threat from Games Workshop.

. . . .

* Amazon didn’t have to honor the takedown notice. Takedown notices are a copyright thing, a creature of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. They don’t apply to trademark claims. This is Amazon taking voluntary steps that are in no way required in law.

Link to the rest at Boing Boing and thanks to SGL and many others for the tip.

Don’t Use the Jack Daniels Label to Design Your Book Cover

23 July 2012

From Mashable:

When Patrick Wensink was commissioning the cover for his book, Broken Piano For President, he probably wasn’t expecting a cease-and-desist letter from Jack Daniel’s Properties — the owner of the Jack Daniel’s trademarks.

. . . .

In what might just be the nicest cease-and-desist letter we’ve ever seen, the people at Jack Daniel’s Properties not only politely explained the situation to Wensink, the company even offered to help pay for the cost of designing a new cover.

. . . .

Link to the rest at Mashable

The Book Arts Program.

28 June 2012

University of Maine, Machias.  The Book Arts Program.

Read more here: University of Maine at Machias.

Julia Barrett

The best marketing campaign…

21 June 2012

speaks for itself:

Brought to you by author Julia Barrett.

Science Fiction Trademarks

19 June 2012

From io9:

Trademarks an important way for businesses to market their goods to consumers, but sometimes it can be difficult to know whose intellectual property toes you’re treading on. Here are six terms and concepts that companies claim to own, and some of them might surprise you.

. . . .

Trademarks aren’t copyrights. Unlike copyrights, they don’t come with an expiration date; rather, they have a “use it or lose it” provision. As long as you are using the trademark in association with your products and services, it’s yours forever. The catch is that you have to enforce your trademark or risk losing it to another company or genericization. That’s why Kimberly-Clark would really like you to stop using the word “kleenex” when you mean “facial tissue” and Adobe wishes you would stop using “photoshop” as a generic verb. Also, you can’t use your trademark to suppress non-commercial speech. When various public interest groups began referring to the Reagan Administration’s Strategic Defense Initiative as the “star wars” program, for example, Lucasfilm sued for trademark infringement. The US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that Lucasfilm could not control the use of the phrase in a non-commercial context and couldn’t prevent it from entering into the common parlance.

. . . .

Super Hero
Ownership Claimed by: DC Comics and Marvel Comics
Jointly registered trademarks are rare (since generally trademarks indicate a single source of goods), but they’re not unheard of, and DC and Marvel, after separately filing for trademarks, were jointly awarded registered trademarks on the phrases “super hero” and “super heroes.” (They also share a trademark on the word “super-villains.”) So what exactly does it mean that these two companies own the term “super hero,” which is part of our common language and is actually a genre unto itself? It means that you can’t market materials using the term “super hero.” You can’t title your comic book “Superhero Man” – in fact, Marvel and DC forced the publisher GeekPunk to change its flagship comic title from Super Hero Happy Hour to just Hero Happy Hour. You can’t call your spandex-wearing toys “superhero action figures.” You can, however, use the word “superhero” in a non-marketing context.

. . . .

Ownership Claimed by: Lucasfilm

If you’ve ever looked closely at the bottom of a Motorola Droid ad, you’ll notice this fine print at the bottom, “DROID is a trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. and its related companies. Used under license.” Lucasfilm holds the registered trademark on the word “Droid,” not to mention trademarks on the phrases “Battle Droid” and “Destroyer Droid.” What makes the “Droid” trademark so odd is that the word is just a shortened form of word “android,” a term first used in the 18th century. It’s not that you can’t trademark ordinary words, but it’s more difficult to protect descriptive and impossible to protect generic trademarks. (That’s part of why the Sci-Fi Channel changed its name to Syfy.) To the best of my knowledge, no judge has ever ruled on the viability of or limitations on the Droid trademark, but Lucasfilm has been vigilant in enforcing it. (And it probably doesn’t hurt that the word “Droids” frequently comes up in the Star Wars quote, “These are not the Droids you’re looking for.” Even when Pixar made The Incredibles, they asked for Lucasfilm’s permission to name their robot the “Omnidroid,” as a courtesy to Lucas.

Link to the rest at io9 and thanks to Gordon for the tip.