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Posts Tagged: "disney"

What Baby Yoda and T-Mobile’s Magenta Mark Can Teach Us About When to Enforce IP Rights

Deciding whether or not to enforce one’s intellectual property rights is a significant decision for any business (or individual). Litigation in general tends to be an expensive proposition and intellectual property litigation ranks toward the top with regard to average cost. While the average total cost of U.S. trademark infringement and copyright infringement litigation varies depending on the nature of the case and the stakes involved, such costs (i.e., attorneys’ fees and third-party costs) average in the $300,000-$500,000 range. Patent infringement litigation is typically even more expensive. Intellectual property enforcement decisions therefore must be made with care, taking into consideration all relevant legal, financial, and other business considerations. This article discusses the considerations affecting intellectual property enforcement decisions through the prism of two examples: T-Mobile’s trademark rights in the color magenta and the very popular Baby Yoda GIFs that seem to be everywhere online. Both companies recently experienced considerable backlash when IP enforcement of these rights went wrong.

Trademark Enforcement Campaign By Chicago Restaurant Aloha Poke Draws the Ire of Native Hawaiian Activists

In recent weeks, Chicago, IL-based Hawaiian cuisine chain Aloha Poke has become embroiled in a public relations nightmare over a trademark policing campaign which has created backlash over claims of cultural appropriation. According to reports, Aloha Poke has sent cease-and-desist letters to restaurants throughout the United States who have used the term “Aloha Poke” in their restaurant branding… Knobbe Martens Partner Catherine Holland, who specializes in trademark, unfair competition and copyright law, says that the kind of public backlash which has resulted in Native Hawaiian activists calling for boycotts of the Chicago-based Aloha Poke is not limited to the restaurant industry or even instances involving claims of cultural appropriation.

Rescuing Rapunzel: Suffolk Law Professors and students work to keep fairy tale princess in the public domain

United Trademark Holdings Inc. is attempting to trademark Rapunzel (and likely has plans for other fairy tale princess names) for its line of dolls. Law Professors Rebecca Curtin and Loletta Darden of Suffolk University Law School, along with help from Suffolk’s Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic, filed an opposition to United’s trademark registration on May 9, 2018. In their Notice of Opposition, they argue that the name Rapunzel belongs to the public.  “No company should ever be able to be the only company that can call their doll Rapunzel, because Rapunzel is already in the public domain,” said Curtin, who specializes in intellectual property law. “Rapunzel already belongs to everyone.”

Characters for Hire cite to Naked Cowboy in fighting Disney’s claims of copyright, trademark infringement

Characters for Hire also argued that the trademark infringement claims lacked the essential element of confusion. Citing to Naked Cowboy v. CBS, a case decided in Southern New York in 2012 involving trademark infringement claims asserted by a Times Square street performer against the use of his likeness in the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful, Characters for Hire argue that the use of the names of fictional persons are merely descriptive of the entertainment services provided by the defendants. “Indeed, Plaintiff Disney is well aware of the limits of trademark enforceability having successfully defended a claim brought against them for using the famous ‘Caterpillar’ trademark for construction trucks in one of their films,” Characters for Hire argued. This statement references Caterpillar Inc. v. Walt Disney Co., a 2003 case decided in the Central District of Illinois wherein the court ruled that Disney’s use of construction vehicles with Caterpillar logos in the movie George of the Jungle 2 created no likelihood of confusion that Caterpillar either endorsed or sponsored the movie.

Did The Walt Disney Company and Pixar Steal the Movie Inside Out?

Robins Kaplan LLP filed an Amended Complaint detailing allegations that The Walt Disney Company and Pixar misappropriated the central concept and characters behind the animated hit movie Inside Out from a nationally recognized child development expert, Denise Daniels, who had pitched her uniquely original material and characters from her show The Moodsters to top studio executives… Ronald Schutz, partner at Robins Kaplan and lead trial counsel for Daniels and The Moodsters Company, sat down with IPWatchdog to discuss the copyright infringement claims.

Bill Nye files suit against Disney, Buena Vista for millions in underreported licensing payments

In the suit, Nye alleges that Buena Vista Television entered into an agreement in March 1993 to promote, market and distribute the Bill Nye the Science Guy television series. That agreement entitled the owners of the show to 50 percent of the net profits divided four ways, leaving Nye entitled to 16.5 percent of the total net profits earned by the show… Nye first became suspicious as to whether Buena Vista was upholding its end of the agreement in July 2008 after Buena Vista informed Nye they had made a mistake in calculating a participation payment sent to Nye that April; instead of earning $585,000 in net profits, Nye then owed Buena Vista nearly $500,000. Since that July 2008 statement recalculation, Nye alleges that Buena Vista ceased making participation or royalty payments, claiming that Nye first had to repay the $500,000 before receiving future payments. Nye’s suit specifically notes that Disney failed to act in good faith to resolve the dispute when counsel contacted them about the issue.

Disney MagicBand wireless communication devices targeted by patent lawsuit filed in E.D. Tex.

Perhaps not your typical or average patent, the ‘443 patent has some 135 patent claims, which relate to a proximity authorization unit, a proximity service unit, a method of using the proximity authorization unit, or a system for implementing the proximity authorization unit. The majority of the claims, however, are drafted specifically to cover the devices (i.e., the proximity authorization and service units)… This is not the first time that Disney’s MagicBand wireless communication products have been the target of patent infringement litigation. In April 2015, radio frequency system developer InCom Corporation of Sutter, CA, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (C.D. Cal.) alleging that Disney’s MagicBands infringed upon InCom patents covering audience tracking system technologies. Last August, the two companies agreed to settle the case after InCom had alleged that Disney sold about 10 million MagicBands at $12.95 each after being notified of the potential infringement.

Disney, DreamWorks named as defendants in copyright infringement suit involving “The Light Between Oceans”

On Thursday, January 26th, Burbank, CA-based entertainment giant Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) and movie production firm DreamWorks of Universal City, CA, were named as defendants in a copyright infringement suit involving the 2016 romantic drama The Light Between Oceans. The suit, which also targets the screenplay author and NYC-based book publisher Simon & Schuster, Inc., charges that both the 2016 movie and the 2012 novel upon which it is based were both plagiarized from a 2004 screenplay written by the plaintiff, Joseph Nobile. The case has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (S.D.N.Y.).

Israeli District Court Rejects Disney’s Forum Shopping in Infringement Case

Disney decided to add the State of Israel as a defendant since the Haifa port Customs unit that held the allegedly infringing goods is an Israeli government entity. Adding the state as a defendant, albeit a technical one, would allow, according to the Israeli territorial jurisdiction regulations, the Tel Aviv District Court to have jurisdiction… The Court rejected Disney’s claim and transferred the case to Haifa. In his decision, Judge Maor stated that ‘the dispute is between the Petitioners and the Plaintiff. The State is not a necessary and not a substantial party to the disagreements between them, but merely a “technical” one since it is holding the allegedly infringing goods…’.

Facebook, IV and Nintendo lead in VR headset patents ahead of Google, Sony and Intel

Although the patent space surrounding VR headsets still looks very open, it’s interesting to note that Nintendo has an early lead over other top tech firms which have reportedly been working on their own virtual reality technologies. Fourth place in the VR headset space is Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) which owns nine IP assets in the sector. This total seems low given Microsoft’s work on developing its HoloLens mixed reality platform. Trailing closely behind in fifth place is Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) with seven IP assets in the sector. Again, given research and development conducted by Alphabet’s Google subsidiary for its Google Glass head-mounted device, it’s interesting to see that the company hasn’t invested heavily in the virtual reality headset space. Following further behind in seventh place is Japanese electronics conglomerate Sony Corp. (NYSE:SNE). Tied in eleventh place are Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC) of Santa Clara, CA, and the Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) of Burbank, CA.

Lucasfilm brings trademark suit against operator of lightsaber training academies

The lawsuit filed by Lucasfilm names a series of defendants including Michael Brown, also known as Flynn Michael, a resident of Oakland, CA, and the operator of a number of businesses including New York Jedi, Lightsaber Academy as well as Thrills and Skills. The complaint also lists a number of websites with similar names operated by the defendants. Lucasfilm notes that the defendants are in the business of offering lightsaber classes to students for improving their skills with lightsaber equipment and perform as a “Jedi.” For example, the website for New York Jedi offers a series of what it calls “light saber choreo classes” for teens and adults. As the about section of its website states, “while we are not specifically Star Wars-centric, we do rely heavily on many of the principles and training used by that of the Jedi Order.”

Disney theme park and resort tech includes interactive projector for hotel rooms

The theme park innovations do not stop at the rides themselves, however. Recently, the Orlando Business Journal picked up on a patent issued to Disney by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which covers a scene projection technology which can turn a hotel room into a multimedia interactive experience. U.S. Patent No. 9405175, titled Image Projecting Light Bulb, protects a video projector having a lamp assembly with a harp to support lamp shades, a bulb adapter configured for electrical connection with a socket of the lamp assembly, a projector powered via the bulb adapter to project light including video imagery and a lens assembly with two lenses for focusing the projected light. The video projections turn a simple room into an immersive environment featuring fantasy worlds from popular Disney movies or television shows and could be coupled with in-room gaming vehicles to create an interactive gaming environment for children. Diagrams attached to the patent show how the technology can be incorporated into conventional table and ceiling lamps.

The Top 10 Patent Applications of 2015

Innovation in the automotive sector was a huge story, both for the types of technologies being developed and the companies pursuing the R&D in that field. Drones and robotics also played a role in other top patent applications which we’re profiling today. Rounding out our list of top 2015 innovations includes an emotion analysis system for financial security, wireless charging schemes, low-power communications for wearable devices and a greenhouse window that can generate electricity while improving crop yield.

The Top 10 Patents Issued in 2015

2015 was a truly remarkable year for innovation and we saw major trends in self-driving cars, wearable technologies, digital wallets and much more. I hope you will enjoy this top 10 listing, which includes innovations for providing water in arid regions, wireless charging systems for electronic devices and even the collection and retransmission of sunlight. Of course, as with all of these types of lists, the criteria used for inclusion on this list is subjective, based on my own personal preferences. Please feel free to let us know if you saw something particularly noteworthy in 2015.

Disney loses TV subscribers but innovates in amusement rides and robotics

Through most of 2015, the Walt Disney Company had earned a total of 206 U.S. patent grants from all of its subsidiaries, with significant development in the fields of display devices, media content, video streams and 2-D imaging… A pair of patents issued to Disney in recent weeks showcase some intriguing improvements to the user experience for various rides and attractions at amusement parks. U.S. Patent No. 9155971, titled “Selective Illumination of Physical Scenery in Amusement Park Rides,” protects a display system for use with amusement park rides and other attractions. A tool that can help water ride passengers escape without becoming soaked is featured within U.S. Patent No. 9174704, entitled “Interactive Water Shield for Rafts or Boats in Water Rides.” It discloses a passenger boat for interactively shielding passengers.