• Although Christian Louboutin obtained a trademark registration for his brand-defining red-soled shoes, a judge dismissed Louboutin’s attempt to block a competitor from selling similar shoes, finding that Louboutin was unlikely to prove that its red-soled shoes were entitled to trademark protection.
  • Despite blatant similarities between The Da Vinci Code  and a previously published book by another author, the copyright infringement case was dismissed because Dan Brown used the idea, but not any of the text.
  • The Oxford English Dictionary defines “intellectual property” as “intangible property that is the result of creativity, e.g. patents or copyrights.” This definition just scratches the surface of what makes up intellectual property law.
  • The term of copyright in the United States for a book is 70 years after the death of the author.
  • The estate of Jack Kirby, the artist behind Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk, tried to claim the rights to the characters, stating that Kirby was a freelancer and there was no employment agreement between him and Marvel Entertainment. The court found that the rights belonged to Marvel because they commissioned and paid for the drawings.
  • You don’t have to file for a trademark in the US—whoever uses it first is the owner. However, this right only reaches as far as the company does. Products that are only available in a local area are not protected in another region of the country without a registered trademark.
  • The strongest trademarks are those which are considered “Fanciful and Arbitrary” (Exxon, Kodak) or “Suggestive” (7-11, Playboy). Weaker trademarks are “Descriptive” (Whole Foods Market). A common term that is incapable of becoming a trademark is called“Generic” (e.g., using the word telephone to sell phones).
  • The owner of a trademark does not have to show financial losses in an infringement case but can build a case on the damage the infringement would bring to the brand.
  • Registering a celebrity’s or company’s name as a domain is called “Cybersquatting.”

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