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Cohen Law > Blog (Page 15)

Tommy Burger Trademark Infringement Family Affair

Trademarks are valuable property. Business partners, friends, and even family members can be split over trademark rights. Take the case of Original Tommy’s World Famous Hamburgers here in L.A. When the original Tommy Koulax died in 1992, he left the franchise in the hands of some of his children and relatives. According to an article in today’s Los Angeles Business Journal, one of his children is trying to start up a Tommy’s-inspired company, and apparently breaking some family ties doing it. What made Tommy’s world famous was arguably its chili, not hamburgers. In fact, Tommy’s chili recipe is protected by a...

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Jessica Seinfeld Copyright Infringement Battle Over Cookbook

Last week, a federal appeals court upheld the previous decision of a lower court in the Jessica Seinfeld cookbook case. Jessica (Jerry Seinfeld’s wife) was sued for both trademark and copyright infringement by Missy Chase Lapine, author of “The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals.” Jessica’s book is titled “Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food.” See the original lower district’s complaint here. It does seem a bit close for comfort, but two judges have now ruled that Jessica’s book is not a copycat. According to Judges Reena Raggi and Peter...

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Craigslist awarded $1.3 million judgment in copyright infringement case

Last week, Craigslist sent a clear message to sites offering third-party posting software. Powerpostings.com, owned by one Igor Gasov, had been offering customers the ability to post (including multiple postings) and manage ads on Craigslist. Craigslist sued them for copyright infringement, referencing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and trademark law. The defendants didn’t contest, and Craigslist was awarded a $1.3 million judgment. In the past, other companies have offered Craigslist posting software, but Powerpostings took it too far. They also offered listing agents, who would post ads for customers, and they used false email addresses...

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Dental Design Patent and Trademark Infringement: Discus v. Biolase

Discus Dental and Zap Lasers, makers of surgical laser instruments, and cofounded by Dr. Dorfman, notable from his ABC’s Extreme Makeover show, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against a company called Biolase, which makes an “iLase” cordless medical laser. The claims were made against Biolase after it began to market its iLase product for sale in the U.S. in March. According to the Complaint, the issue involves Discus’ product the Styla, which is a hand-held cordless soft-tissue laser device, U.S. Patent No. D587,803. Discus claims patent infringement of the design of the...

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True Blood Wine Stirring Trademark Trouble

In 2008, HBO created the hit show True Blood, which has since become the most watched show on HBO since the Sopranos. Years before the show, in 2002, TI Beverage Group created True Blood wine, and registered the trademark. TI beverage group must have found it interesting that the HBO program featured a fictional drink called Tru Blood. They weren’t amused, however, when HBO and Hot Topic paired up in 2009 to produce a drink called Tru Blood, based on the show and made from blood oranges. TI’s trademark infringement lawsuit against HBO and Hot Topic was dropped though, after...

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Ebay Trademark Infringment of Tiffany

New York based jeweler Tiffany & Co. have been hard hit by a ruling from last week, in a case against Ebay for trademark infringement. A district appellate court ruled that Ebay “did not engage in trademark infringement, false advertising or trademark dilution.” Apparently, Tiffany conducted research that indicated around 70% of Tiffany’s merchandise on Ebay was fake. This led to the current legal dispute, and Tiffany & Co. wants Ebay to assume responsibility for selling counterfeit merchandise. But Ebay says they’re doing all they reasonably can to deter the sale of counterfeit goods. Selling counterfeit merchandise on Ebay is officially...

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M&M Trademark Infringement with Zorro

From time to time, the Mars candy company teams up with entertainment execs to market M&M’s dressed as iconic Hollywood characters. Apparently, they didn’t team up with Zorro Productions, Inc (“Zorro”). Zorro is suing Mars (and ad agency BBDO Worldwide) in the U.S. District Court of Northern California for trademark infringement, unfair business practices, and dilution under the Lanham Act. Last fall, Mars used the famous masked character in its Halloween advertising, with a “Zorro M&M.” But Zorro, Inc., alleges that the Zorro character is protected under trademark and trade dress law, and that Zorro is famous, whether for movies, costumes,...

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Green Day Copyright Infringement of Scream Art

Immediately following a Green Day concert in LA last August, local artist Dereck Seltzer began receiving calls and emails, alerting him that his ‘Scream Icon’ art was being used as the backdrop to the show. Seltzer was surprised, since he had no previous contact with the band. Scream Icon was copyrighted by Seltzer in 2003. When he approached the band, complaining that they had used the art without regard for the registered copyright, they offered him concert tickets in settlement. Green Day continues to use artwork in promotional materials and backdrops. Seltzer filed a complaint in the Central District of Los...

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