Is it possible to use a photo from the internet for your fashion collection?

photo-1558277646-319ce84484bdThe Milan Court has ruled in the case 2539/2020, which concerns not authorized use of a photo for commercial purposes.

In the case at hand, the Italian fashion house Antonio Marras used the following photo, downloaded from the internet, for its Fall/Winter 2014-15 fashion collection:

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 17.05.01

A lawsuit followed in which the photographer claimed copyright infringement. In Italy, there are two main ways for the protection of photos. The first is the classic one based on the copyright law where, however, the work has to be original, created as a result of the author’s intellectual efforts. The second protection refers to ordinary, simple photos of the real-world without creative efforts in place.

According to the fashion house, there was no copyright infringement because the photo was quite simple and not original, produced without any creative efforts.

The court disagreed. Grounded its position on the European Court decision in the case Painer, C-145/10, the Italian court came to a conclusion the photo was original indeed. The arguments for this were the fact that the author chose carefully the time and the subject to take this photo. What’s more, he used technique and an angle which to invoke specific emotions in the viewers.

The court added that another backing argument for the originality of the picture was the fact that it had been registered in the US Copyright Office, which is possible only if the work is original.

Source: IPKat.

NBA, tattoos, video game avatars and copyright issues

photo-1478317370563-0a8fc17e6837The US District Court for the Southern District of New York has ruled in an interesting lawsuit which regards the question to what extent the likeness of people with tattoos can be used for creation of avatars for video games.

In the case at hand, the likenesses of three NBA players, Eric Bledsoe, LeBron James, and Kenyon Martin, were used for avatars in a basketball video game.

The copyright holder of the tattoos Solid Oak considered this as illegal because there was no a license for the use of the tattoos in the video game.

The court disagreed. The main arguments for this conclusion were:

  • Solid Oak acquired the copyrights over the tattoos after they were put on the basketball players not before that.
  • According to the US law, de minimis copyright infringements are not actionable. In this case, the tattoos are visible in the game only up to 11% of their real life size. Moreover, in most of the time they are not recognizable.
  • According to the court, there were implied non-exclusive licences between the tattoo artists and the three basketball players. With these licenses the players were been given the right to use the tattoos as part of their own likenesses in public places, for commercial purposes etc.
  • There were no limitations by the tattoos artist on how the tattoos to be used in the future.

Source: IPKat.

One key moment when you launch a new brand

man-wearing-gray-long-sleeved-shirt-374598Launching a new brand in the market is always a challenge. It requires lots of effort and good business and marketing strategies as a ground.

Before launching the brand, however, you need to have an appropriate brand name which in most the cases is a product of a brand-building process.

You have two main options in that regard, to try to create the brand name on your own, in case that you don’t have a big marketing budget, or to hire an agency that will do that for you.

In both of the cases, however, there is one specific moment that you need to pay attention to. It is related to the question to what extent you can use and protect your brand.

It can sound not so an important issue at first glance but it is. The reason for this is that if you start using a brand for which there are already registered trademarks by someone else, you risk becoming a trademark infringer. This can create a myriad of problems for you including the need to re-brand and pay compensations.

And what is the chance for this?

It is not negligible at least because there are millions of registered trademarks in the world which in turn require a lot of attention when a new brand is introduced in the market.

One of the ways to escape such negative scenarios is a trademark clearance search to be implemented before the launch. This can save you not only time but money but will protect you from legal pitfalls.

If you want to learn how to do such trademark searches in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, you can check this new and useful Udemy course on this topic here.

USPTO soften the email requirement in case of new trademark applications

usptoUSPTO changed its mind and soften the requirement for providing an owner email address in every trademark application for the US. This was required apart from the email of the industrial property representative or trademark attorney.

According to the amendments, this second mail will be still required, however, it could be not the owner’s email. That is to say, apart from the attorney email every applicant has to submit another email address too.

Sourse: DSP Paper.

New requirements for trademark filing in the US

flag-1291945_1920Marques Class 46 reports about new requirements by the USPTO in cases of filing trademark applications. From now on, every application has to contain the applicant’s email address. It doesn’t matter whether it is filed by industrial property representative or trademark attorney, the owner’s mail has to be mentioned in order for the mark to receive a filing date.

Another important announcement is the fact that in the case of specimens submitted for the purpose of proving trademark use in the US, all of them has to show not only the brand or its label, but as they are attached to the product itself, the image of which can represent a specimen. Otherwise, it is possible for specimens to be rejected by the Office.

Do you want to search for trademarks on your own?

Acting DirectorWhen you want to launch a new brand in the market one of the key moment is to be sure that there is no other identical or similar marks to yours. This is a crucial moment because otherwise after your launch you can be accused of infringement of rights by owners of earlier trademarks.

It’s not enough to check for such earlier marks just before the launch, it’s much better if you do this throughout the brand-building process because you will be able to make the necessary changes in your name without losing time at the last moment.

You have two main options to search for trademarks. The first one is to ask the relevant Patent Office to do that, which is possible because most of the Offices offer such a service. The downside here is that for every search you need to pay a fee and to lose some time due to the fact that such search reports are not instantaneous.

The alternative is to do this search on your own. Is this possible? Yes, it is. Most of the Patent Offices have free and open online databases for trademarks because this information is public. You can check them searching for your trademark.

However, you need to know some of the basic principles of trademark protection and how these database works and their nitty-gritty.

If you want to learn how to do such searches and to save time and money you can check this new Udemy course on this topic which will be launch very soon. It will teach you to perform trademark searches for the territories of the US, Canada, the UK, Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

For early birds that sign up, there will be free coupons.

For more information here.

Volvo won a lawsuit in the US regarding car accessories

blur-1850687_960_720.jpgVolvo won a lawsuit in the US against an anonymous China-based company selling online different  counterfeit accessories for its cars.

According to the company, these products were cheap, low-quality imitations that were against the company’s intellectual property rights.

The Court agreed and ordered  $2 million in damages. The interesting part here is, however, the fact that the court required Pay Pal, which was used as a payment service by the counterfeiter, to transfer all of the funds related to the counterfeiter to Volvo as well as to reveal information for any closed or other accounts linked to that anonymous infringer.

Source: WIPR.