• Mars Gets at Least One Do-Over

    by  • January 3, 2009

    The June, 2008 decision in Mars, Inc. v. Coin Acceptors, Inc., blogged here, was a tale of what happens when companies move IP assets around for tax purposes. In Coin Acceptors, Mars sued Coin Acceptors, then assigned the patents to a subsidiary, MEI, Inc. The assignment created a standing problem for Mars, which lost...

    Read more →

    Estate of Saunders v Estate of Garcia

    by  • January 2, 2009

    According to the complaint, Merl Saunders and Jerry Garcia performed together as the Merl & Jerry Band. It was a partnership with equal shares. The two created Master Tapes, which were jointly owned but in the Garcia estate’s possession. Jerry Garcia’s estate released the recordings on an album (left) entitled Pure Jerry: Jerry Garcia...

    Read more →

    Keeping a Trade Secret Secret May Not Be Enough

    by  • December 31, 2008

    The trade secret form of intellectual property is unique because its very existence requires that it have economic value. Patents and copyrights don’t need to (and often don’t) generate a dime. Trademarks must be used in commerce to exist, but they don’t have to be used in an income-producing way. But the definition of...

    Read more →

    It All Looks So Different In the Snow

    by  • December 27, 2008

    It’s a fairly sure bet that when the government is sued for infringement of intellectual property, the government will win. In Gaylord v. U.S., the Postal Service was accused of infringing the copyright in the statues of soldiers that are part of the Korean War Veterans Memorial, by using them on a stamp. The...

    Read more →

    The Watchman Returns

    by  • December 26, 2008

    The Law Blog at the WSJ reports that a California court held that 20th Century Fox owns at least the right of distribution in the soon-to-be-released Warner Bros. film The Watchman. I couldn’t find the decision on Pacer, but the complaint gives the background. An interesting insight into how production and distribution rights for...

    Read more →

    Race To the Swiftest Without Notice

    by  • December 24, 2008

    The U.S. patent, trademark and copyright statutes all have recording provisions (“race-notice,” if my property law recollection is correct) that provide a bona fide purchaser in good faith defense to the second purchaser. I don’t remember the last time I read a case that dealt with the assignment of the same intellectual property to...

    Read more →

    UK “Own Name” Defense

    by  • December 11, 2008

    The IPKat posts on a new case involving the “own name” defense under UK trademark law. The Trade Marks Act 1994 provides that “A registered trade mark is not infringed by – the use by a person of his own name . . . provided the use is in accordance with honest practices in...

    Read more →

    Disarmed

    by  • December 10, 2008

    Han Nee invented, and patented, the use of various silver alloys to be used in reflective and semi-reflective layers of CDs and DVDs. He may have done it while employed for Sony DADC US Inc. (“DADC”) and Sony, Inc. (“Sony”), a company related to DADC somehow. Nee had worked for both companies at different...

    Read more →

    Mattel Now Owns Bratz

    by  • December 5, 2008

    As it last stood, Mattel had moved for an order on declaratory judgment that it owned all right, title and interest in the Bratz dolls created while the designer, Carter Bryant, worked at Mattel; for a permanent injunction that MGA cease manufacturing dolls; and that the court impose a constructive trust and transfer the...

    Read more →