Category Archive for: ‘Litigation and procedure’

Storm in a Coffee Cup – Starbucks v “Charbucks”

In the latest instalment in a long-running trade mark battle in the United States, the US Court of Appeals has upheld a decision that the use of “Charbucks” in relation to coffee did not violate Starbucks’ registered trade marks. In 1997, U.S. Black Bear Micro Roastery (whose coffee is apparently unusually darkly roasted) developed a dark coffee blend which they …

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How to prevent your “ordinary” letter of demand from becoming a Social Media Backlash

Remember the old days of sending a hard copy letter of demand which only a few people (at most) were destined to see?  Well, haven’t times changed! Now, it is crucial to consider how best to minimise the prospect that your demand will go ‘viral’.  None of us want our correspondence to spark reputational issues for the client beyond the …

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Trade marks wars: Louboutin’s red soled stilettos are back in the spotlight

The trade mark wars for Louboutin continue, this time in an intriguing dispute in Belgium concerning the use of the iconic shoes on a poster for political advertising.  Here’s what happened…. What are the facts behind the case? Recently in Belgium’s Antwerp Court, Louboutin claimed that the Vlaams Belang party infringed its registered trade mark for the colour red (Pantone …

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Why all the secrecy? Tom Waterhouse defamation settlement reignites court access debate

Imagine you are an “A” type lawyer keen to know what’s going on.  Yes, that’s most of us at IP Whiteboard. It means we were frustrated some time ago when told by the NSW District Court that pleadings in the Tom Waterhouse v Fairfax Media defamation case were unavailable for review.  Our previous post here explains the policy rationale. Our curiosity …

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Are you a High Court junky? Get your fix with online audio-visual recordings from 1st October 2013

Improving public access to justice, the High Court of Australia will make audio-visual recordings of its hearings available from the 1st of October, 2013. Footage of all Full Court hearings in Canberra will be made available via the High Court homepage www.hcourt.gov.au a few days after hearing, to allow for vetting of recordings for any information subject to a non-publication order. …

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Sexy but too similar? App developers “Bang-ed” up over trade mark dispute

What happens when you take three College aged guys, a few hours of spare time, Red Bull, vodka, and a smartphone? Why, a new “casual sex matchmaking app” called “Bang With Friends”!   Unfortunately for our anonymous trio (yes, despite the “honesty” of the app they refuse to reveal their identities) the hangover may last a while.  In late July 2013, Zynga, makers …

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Just genes? Lessons from the Myriad litigation

Last month the United States Supreme Court ruled that certain naturally occurring DNA sequences (the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, mutations in which are associated with a significantly increased risk of ovarian and breast cancer) were a product of nature that were not rendered patentable by virtue of being isolated from the rest of the genome.  (For further details on the …

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Inventor caught in web of precedent

We recently saw the publication of an interesting decision in the United States concerning patent licences, with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit holding that under the terms of a settlement agreement, Marvel, the owners of the Spiderman brand and franchise, were not required to pay royalties to the inventor of a Spiderman toy once the inventor’s …

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Italian and US Courts differ on Gucci v Guess – trade mark claims

According to a May 2013 judgment  of the Italian Tribunale di Milano (Court of Milan), the products of Los Angeles-based fashion brand Guess Inc (“Guess”) do not infringe the trade mark rights of Italian luxury brand Guccio Gucci SpA (“Gucci”). However, according to a May 2012 judgment of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, they …

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