By Kiran Jassal
By now, many are aware that Facebook has taken a rather active stance when it comes to protecting its trademark. Examples include bringing infringement claims against Designbook, Lamebook, and Teachbook. Not surprisingly, Facebook is once again policing its trademark. What is surprising, however, is that Facebook won a trademark dispute in China, a place where trademark disputes haven’t typically ended in favor of U.S. companies.
On April 28, 2016, the Beijing High Court ruled that the Zhongshan Pearl River Drinks Factory (the “Factory”), based in southern Guangdong province, should not have been allowed to register the trademark, “face book”. Hoping to use the mark “face book” on its various food and beverage products, the Factory filed a trademark application at the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce on January 24, 2011. Continue reading
By Julie Liu
Facebook’s facial recognition technology has evolved to a point where it is as disturbing to many users as it is helpful. Earlier this month, the District Court for the Northern District of California denied a motion to dismiss a class action alleging that Facebook had unlawfully collected biometric data. In particular, plaintiffs took issue with Facebook’s “tags suggestion” feature, which identifies subjects in users’ photos and suggests names for users to tag faces in photos with.
By Robin Hammond
A subsidiary of the food service and hospitality company Delaware North (“DNCY”), recently lost a 15-year contract to run Yosemite National Park’s hotels, restaurants, and outdoor activities. The contract was worth approximately $2 billion. This change has prompted several lawsuits, petitions to the federal trademark board, a bid protest with the federal Government Accountability Office, and a bill in the California State Legislature. The trademark dispute provides an interesting discussion of intellectual property rights, contract interpretation, and public policy. Continue reading
By Kelsey O’Neal
Everyone who has been to Southern California has probably seen a bright yellow arrow pointing to the promise of the ultimate meal: a double-double, animal style fries, and a Neapolitan shake. Where does the arrow point? In-N-Out Burger. The company typically stayed within a certain radius of its original store in Baldwin Park, CA, and it wasn’t until 2011 that it opened a restaurant in Texas. In-N-Out has been notoriously slow to expand. So, it must have been a shock for the residents of Shanghai to see animal style burgers in the Jing An Temple District in 2011. However the force behind the new store was not In-N-Out, but rather Caliburger, LLC, a Diamond Bar, CA-based company that trademarked In-N-Out’s menu items in Asia and Eastern Europe. In-N-Out wasted no time; it sued Caliburger in Santa Ana, California. The two companies settled, and the settlement was likely contingent on Caliburger’s willingness to change its menu. (For example, a “double-double” is now a “Cali-double,” and “animal style fries” became “wild fries,” which then morphed into “Cali-style fries.”) Continue reading
By Robin Hammond
How to monetize a meme: Step 1: stumble upon an Internet sensation; Step 2: pursue IP rights immediately and vigilantly.
It is clear who would win in a fight between Grumpy Cat and Technoviking. It is also clear who has won in the realm of Intellectual Property (“IP”) rights. Technoviking is a man who was thrust into internet fame by a viral video on youtube.com. Grumpy Cat is a genetically abnormal cat, which achieved similar notoriety through reddit.com. Both cases illustrate the benefits of prompt IP right designations. Continue reading