Who knew that there really was an Aunt Jemima! Her real name was Anna Short Harrington, and she was an employee of Quaker Oats who died in 1955. And now her heirs want a piece of a fortune they believe is rightfully theirs.
What we cannot believe is that he found an attorney to represent him and file this lawsuit!
The dethroned former dictator of Panama – who is in federal lockup for drug dealing, racketeering and money laundering – is suing Activision Entertainment for the “blatant misuse, unlawful exploitation and misappropriation for economic gain” of Noriega’s image in its “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” videogame!
In a previous diatribe, we pointed out how Microsoft, by enforcing patents it purchased from Rockstar Consortium (patents it did not develop and does not practice), has become one of the patent trolls it so vigorously lambastes. But since Rockstar Consortium has now filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Google and several cellphone manufacturers, that makes Rockstar a patent troll, too!
Here, in a summary form, are five lessons we can learn from Alice:
- Financial methods, even if computerized, are not patentable when well-known methods are merely implemented on a generic computer.
This is not the first instance of a major, high-tech corporation asserting patents for inventions it did not invent and does not practice. This is simply the most recent instance of a major, high-tech corporation asserting patents for inventions it did not invent and does not practice.
If you want to join the Open Source movement, hop aboard an electric car for a ride. Or so says Tesla. Yesterday they opened their patents to all. Their press release begins with a dramatic statement, “Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement.”
Last year, Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the Monroe County Heritage Museum in Monroeville, Alabama. The suit claimed unauthorized use of Lee’s name on souvenirs sold by the museum.
Microsoft recently paid between $150 and $200 million (based on different press reports) to acquire the Osterhout Design Group. The purpose for the acquisition was Osterhout’s treasure trove of “wearable computer” patents.
As the litigation drags on between Apple and Samsung and each side accuses the other of various acts of infringement, every once in a while an interesting bit of information comes to light. This month, Apple explained that it is entitled to $2.2 billion in damages because of...timing.
Remember the toymakers who used a Beastie Boys song without permission and then filed suit against the band when they were asked to stop using the song? (see "GoldieBlox and the Three Beasties").
GoldieBlox had argued that their usage of the Beastie Boys' song "Girls" was fair use because it was a "parody" - actually, that they intended it to transform the song into "a powerful anthem for girls" (with an accompanying video that, conveniently, features little girls playing with GoldieBlox products).
It recently came to light that Texas-based MPHJ Technology Investments has sent an astounding 16,465 letters to small businesses, requesting that they pay a license fee of $1,000 per worker or face a patent infringement lawsuit. And we know this, in part, because MPHJ has now filed suit against the Federal Trade Commission.
One of this holiday season's most anticipated gifts is an engineering toy set marketed to girls. The GoldieBlox building sets got a lot of attention from a promotional video that the company released on the Internet and that went viral.
And then the GoldieBlox folks got even more attention because they had used a Beastie Boys song in their video without getting permission from the two surviving members of the band.
An inventor who approached the U.S. Army with an idea for a "mysterious acoustic wave propagation machine" has been barred by the Army from even talking about the invention, much less filing a patent application on it. And that inventor, Bruce Horton, has now filed a lawsuit against the Army in a California federal court - accusing the Army of having his patent application "illegally frozen and not reviewed nor allowed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office."
Trademark and trade dress disputes are nothing new in the world of alcoholic beverages. The latest alcohol-related trade dress dispute in the news is between the camps of Gentleman Jack and a legendary (but now deceased) Appalachian moonshiner named Popcorn Sutton.
Judge Denny Chin of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has a decision to make: Is the Google Books Project transformative enough to be considered fair use, or is it just copyright infringement on a grand scale?
Sometimes it's possible to be a little too ahead of your time. Case in point: The patent on the first computer mouse expired in 1987 - shortly before the device became ubiquitous among computer users. Because it was patented before there was a need for it, the mouse's inventor inadvertently missed out on making a mint from his mouse. (The mouse only became commercially available in 1984, with the introduction of Apple's Macintosh PC.)
Reclusive author Harper Lee, who penned To Kill a Mockingbird - her only novel - back in 1960, is in the news for the first time in years. The reason: She is suing her literary agent for copyright infringement.
More specifically, the 87-year-old Lee is suing Samuel Pinkus, the son-in-law of her longtime agent Eugene Winick, for tricking her into signing over the copyright to her famous novel back in 2007.
Does a product have to exist in real life in order to infringe a trademark in real life? According to a U.S. District judge in Indiana, the answer is "Yes."
Warner Bros. Entertainment prevailed in a unique trademark infringement lawsuit in which a software company sued Warner Bros. over the use of a fictional software program featured in the blockbuster movie "The Dark Knight Rises."
Two years ago, a U.S. District judge ruled that artist Richard Prince infringed photographer Patrick Cariou's copyrights on several photographs depicting Rastafarians.
You can buy insurance for many different types of business liabilities, so why not insurance to protect your company from lawsuits brought by so-called "patent trolls" or non-practicing entities (NPEs)? That kind of coverage is now available for members of a group that represents digital agencies and production companies. At first glance the insurance may look like a fine idea, but some attorneys say the coverage has its drawbacks.