Latest novelty trade mark in Russia: ;-)

In a move as bold as it is legally questionable, Superfone, a Russian mobile advertising company, has applied for a trade mark in respect of the characters ‘;-)’ (a winking emoticon). According to the certificate of grant, the registration applies to classes 35, 38 and 41. It’s unclear whether it extends to any territories beyond the Russian Federation.

Here’s what purports to be a copy of the application:

“I want to highlight that this is only directed at corporations, companies that are trying to make a profit without the permission of the trademark holder,” he said in comments to NTV.

Companies will be sent legal warnings if they use the symbol without his permission, he said.

“Legal use will be possible after buying an annual licence from us,” he was quoted by Kommersant as saying. “It won’t cost that much - tens of thousands of dollars.”  Read more »


'In what may be a case of trademark trolling, Apple has issued warnings to makers of other electronic devices containing the word "pod". Two companies have been asked to remove the word from their products. Why might this be a mean action by Apple? These two companies don't manufacture MP3 players as one would think would cause confusion':  Read more »

Wal-Mart Seeks Trade Mark over Yellow Smiley Face Logo

According to BBC News, Wal-Mart has applied for a trade mark in respect of the ‘smiley face logo’ popularised by folk music in the 1970s and presently adorning its employees’ uniforms and other promotional material. However, its application has been opposed by a Massachusetts graphic designer, who claims to have invented the iconic symbol back in 1968 — ironically, to cheer up disgruntled employees at an insurance firm.

More details

.eu TLD Open for Business

'It may have taken over five years getting there, but at 10am today, the first .eu domains will go on sale - and it's going to be a landrush.'

Apparently, trade mark owners get first dibs on related domain names, which superficially seems sensible. However, it seems doubtful whether subsequent registrants of trade marks will trump good faith users of an existing domain in a down the line ownership dispute. There doesn't seem to be any convincing rationale for this discrepency.  Read more »

Linux Trademark Rejected in Australia

'Linus Torvalds' bid to have the word "Linux" trademarked in Australia has failed, with the local intellectual property regulator sending his lawyer a vitriolic letter deriding efforts to provide evidence the trademark application was legitimate. In the letter, the regulator points out that information from Wikipedia and Google used by the lawyer to support the trademark application is simply not effective in making the case for a trademark to be registered.'

Originally by CowboyNeal at Slashdot: Your Rights Online, 12:25 PM  Read more »

Google Settles GEICO Trademark Claim

‘Google and auto insurer GEICO have resolved a high-profile trademark infringement case filed by GEICO against Google over its online advertising practices, the auto insurer said Wednesday.

GEICO, the fourth largest US [automobile] insurer and a unit of investor Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, said its suit filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ‘has been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.’  Read more »

Generic Trademarks

'Are names like "brick oven" pizza and "community bank" generic? In yet another decision calling into question a well-known trademark, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that there was a genuine issue as to whether "Yellow Cab" was generic, and therefore an unprotectable mark. The case, which was sent back to the trial court, is part of a trend in which companies make large marketing investments, only to run into trademark trouble.'

Originally by - Tech Law Practice Center, 8:36 PM  Read more »

Torvalds Defends Linux Trademark Protection

'Linus Torvalds has found himself having to defend recent actions he has taken to protect the Linux trademark. He claims his efforts have been out of concern for IP rights.'

Originally by NewsFactor Network, 2:53 PM

Status of 'Linux' Trademark in Doubt in Australia

'Australian companies providing Linux products and services may soon have to pay up to $A5000 a year to licence the operating system name ... if the patents agency IP Australia grants a trademark application it is reviewing.  Read more »

Google May Be Liable for AdWords Trademark Infringement

'A US district court has ruled against Google in a trade mark action over the sale of the terms “Geico” and “Geico Direct” in AdWords, its keyword advertising service. The judge found that there was infringement where the terms were used in the text of sponsored ads.

Car insurance firm GEICO sued both Google and Yahoo! subsidiary Overture in May 2004 over the sale of its registered trade marks as sponsored search terms in the keyword advertising services of both search engines.  Read more »

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