Monday, February 26, 2007

Office Live, LLC Sues Microsoft for Federal Trademark Infringement

Office Live, LLC announced today that it is proceeding with litigation against Microsoft Corporation seeking to prevent Microsoft from intentionally infringing upon and deliberately copying and using its federally registered "Office Live" service mark.

Office Live obtained a federal registration on the "Office Live" mark in 2002. It has used the "Office Live" mark since early 2001.

In late October 2006, Microsoft announced that it planned to begin offering online "productivity tools" targeted at small businesses under the name "Office Live" to paid subscribers, as well as a free, ad-sponsored version.

Office Live, LLC brought suit on December 29, 2006 in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, styled Office Live, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., Case No. CV06-8297 GK (FMOx). It agreed to withhold service of the lawsuit for a brief period to allow the parties to pursue settlement negotiations. When these settlement talks proved unsuccessful, Office Live served Microsoft with its lawsuit on February 16, 2007.

Filmmaker Has Bone to Pick With HBO, Fuqua

Award-winning African-American filmmaker, Matthew McDaniel, has filed a federal court lawsuit in Los Angeles against HBO, Antoine Fuqua, Fuqua Films, and Cle "Bone" Sloan, in response to their unauthorized use of his now-famous footage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots in their film "Bastards of the Party." The lawsuit alleges against all defendants claims of copyright infringement, fraud, breach of contract, and unfair competition. The lawsuit seeks both monetary damages and injunctive relief.

McDaniel has spent the past twenty (20) years documenting the condition of the black community in America. McDaniel's footage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots is unique in that it contains exclusive, personal interviews with a number of the rioters in the midst of their rioting. The footage is arguably best known as the source of many of the spoken word audio quotes contained on musical artist Dr. Dre's ground-breaking rap album "The Chronic" and for its use in McDaniel's award-winning documentary "Birth of a Nation: 4-29-1992." Mr. McDaniel is represented by Farhad Novian, Esq. and William R. H. Mosher, Esq., Novian & Novian, LLP.

Friday, February 23, 2007

SIIA 2006 AntiPiracy Actions Reported

The Software & Information Industry Association today released its 2006 AntiPiracy Year in Review, profiling the typical organization reported, the demographics of those who report software piracy and some of the notorious software piracy criminals imprisoned in 2006.

The largest states, naturally, are home to the largest number of piracy cases -- California leads with 28% and Texas follows with 11% and Georgia with 9%. These three states reached nearly half of all reports -- 48%. Illinois and Massachusetts each represent about 7% of the total cases, with New York, North Carolina, Colorado, New Jersey and Maryland all providing 4% of cases.

The largest number of software titles pirated fall in the creative and productivity categories -- word processing, office suites, report design, web design, etc. -- the software used most often in businesses, while the largest shares belong to media management, CAD and creative titles.

SIIA's Reward Program -- up to $1,000,000 for verifiable reports of corporate piracy -- is available to those who report piracy that is proven and settled. In 2006, SIIA paid a total of $78,500 to seventeen sources who reported software piracy. The average reward was $4,618.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Patent Litigation Has Increased 78% in the US

In 2005, there were 740 worldwide dental patents issued with over 13,000 pages of claims, drawings & diagrams. These patents were issued by the United States Patent & Trademark Office, the European Patent Office, & the World Intellectual Property Organization.

- Most lawsuits in the dental industry deal with patent infringement.
- It now costs over $3 million to defend a patent infringement lawsuit.
- Patent litigation has increased 78% in the US during the last 10 years.

Source: Research and Markets (

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Slesinger Family Wins 'Pooh' Copyright Case

Federal District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper, of the United States District Court, Central District, issued a major decision in the federal copyright case, granting Stephen Slesinger, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment, effectively ending the Walt Disney Company's efforts to take back the Winnie the Pooh copyright.

Barry Slotnick, Slesinger's attorney from the law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, said, "The Court once again has once ruled that Disney's claims against Slesinger are improper. Now that Disney's misguided claims have been dismissed, we can focus on pursuing Slesinger's claims against Disney for damages, trademark and copyright infringement, breach of contract, and fraudulently underpaying royalties, and seeking in excess of $2 billion in compensatory and general damages. We applaud the granting of our motion for summary judgment."

"It was Disney's attempt to take back the rights granted to my father over 70 years ago that led this case into federal court. Perhaps Disney might have spent their time merchandising Winnie the Pooh worldwide instead of attempting this scheme to take back what the court has thankfully ruled has been the Slesinger's all along: the rights to Winnie the Pooh," said Pati Slesinger.

In addition to the state case, Stephen Slesinger, Inc., has petitioned the United States Trademark and Patents Office seeking cancellation of a number of trademarks taken out by Disney on Winnie the Pooh based on the allegation that Disney had no legal right to do.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Precision Craft Awarded Willful Copyright Damages

Precision Craft Log and Timber Homes located in Meridian, Idaho was awarded $300,000 as willful copyright damages plus attorney fees of $77,770 in a copyright infringement case against The Cabin Kit Company, located in Prescott Arizona (Case No. CIV 05-199-S-EJL). U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge ruled against The Cabin Kit Company finding they had willfully infringed copyrighted architectural works belonging to Precision Craft.

Precision Craft alleged that The Cabin Kit Company had copied architectural plans that were posted on their website, changed the names and used the plans as their own. In addition to the monetary damages, Judge Lodge issued a permanent injunction against Cabin Kit prohibiting them from using the Precision Craft copyrighted plans.

Pryor Cashman Launches a New Patent Group

Pryor Cashman Sherman & Flynn LLP, a leading mid-sized Manhattan-based law firm, welcomes Andrew S. Langsam and Barry E. Negrin to its intellectual property group. With the addition of these seasoned patent law veterans, the firm now offers a full suite of intellectual property services.

The attorneys, who formerly practiced with a New York City boutique intellectual property firm, Levisohn, Berger & Langsam, LLP, collectively bring to Pryor Cashman more than 45 years of experience with patent prosecution and litigation.

Monday, February 12, 2007

MySpace Blocks Unauthorized Copyrighted Content today announced it has implemented a pilot program to block videos containing unauthorized copyrighted content from being posted in its community. With the program’s launch, MySpace becomes the largest Internet video site to offer free video filtering to copyright holders.

Using digital fingerprinting technology licensed from Audible Magic, a world leader in content rights management, MySpace's filter screens video uploaded by users and blocks any video matching a fingerprint in MySpace's database. MySpace's video filter is the latest addition to its industry leading suite of tools that MySpace has developed to help copyright owners protect copyrighted works on MySpace.

MySpace's new video filter comes on the heels of the audio filtering MySpace launched last fall, screening audio files uploaded by users to hinder any unauthorized music uploads. MySpace has also developed and is making available a special content takedown tool to make it easier and more efficient for copyright owners to request removal of any user-posted content they claim is unauthorized. With MySpace's implementation of video filtering, MySpace now offers industry-leading content protection on its site.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Why Viacom, YouTube, Universal and MySpace Need the PERFORM Act

Modern media is in chaos. In this digital free-for-all there are no winners, and the current paradigmis only feeding the frenzy. The filtering technologies currently in useblatantly censor content, consumer groups are justifiably up in arms overprivacy breaches, and the labels are suing the individual users whileholding ISPs hostage with exorbitant revenue demands. Meanwhile, the courtsare reluctant to take proactive measures to stem the bloodshed. In the end, it's all about the money: the financial consequences to America'sentertainment industry are staggering.

On top of it all, the end user experience is duplicitous and mediocreat best. A solution must be adopted where creative content is deliveredsecurely, providing lawful access and guaranteed privacy for the consumer. The rights owners and the distributors must cooperate to that end if theindustry is to have any sensible future, which is why adopting the PERFORMAct is a critical first step.

Professor Richard Walter, Screenwriting Chairman of UCLA's Departmentof Film and Television opines, "At the heart of the problem lies theadversarial mindset. Intellectual property owners and users should not beengaged in this futile prizefight. Copyright customers and purveyors arenot intrinsic enemies at all, but partners sharing common interests andgoals. The PERFORM Act embraces collaboration over conflict. Far fromlimiting the creation and dissemination of intellectual property, thelegislation expands it."

Viacom's takedown notices to YouTube (purchased by Google for $1.65Billion last fall) accomplish nothing beyond censorship, negative consumerexperiences, and a non-competitive business environment which fomentsglobal piracy. Ironically, Viacom's CBS Innertube remains a veritablebuffet for copyright infringement, with its entire contents available foreasy theft. As MySpace is one of the primary platforms of YouTube content,its financial future is also very much at risk.

What is universally understood is that everyone deserves propercompensation. One of the goals of the PERFORM Act is to create a levelplaying field for all content distributors, so that they may prosper alongwith the creators. Financial realities mandate MRT's distribution solutionswhich power, enable, and enhance business models for all types of digitalmedia. Robert Hambrecht, Managing Director of WR Hambrecht + Co. and actingadvisor for Media Rights Technologies, eloquently expresses the commercialimpact, "The entertainment industry will continue to shoot itself in thefoot until creators and distributors work as a team toward this reachablegoal. MRT's solution is a win-win answer to the problems at hand, deftlyanswering the PERFORM Act's call-to-arms. If even a small percentage ofpiracy is converted into real revenue, then both parties stand to benefitgreatly."

Hank Risan, CEO of MRT, adds, "Hundreds of millions of dollars areneedlessly spent in litigation while solutions are commercially available, proven, and affordable to the entire entertainment industry. Why are we notemploying technological innovations to create a harmonious relationshipthroughout the entire creative economic food chain? Our solution can bearout this critical legislation; the economic viability of the recording andfilm industry is at stake."

Source: Media Rights Technologies,

Digital Watermarking Alliance Proposes Solution to Orphan Works Issue

The Digital Watermarking Alliance (DWA), an international group of industry leading companies involved in commercializing digital watermarking solutions, today announced a new white paper that discusses the key role digital watermarking can play in addressing the issue of orphan works.
Today, a large number of "orphan works" -- presumably copyrighted works whose owners cannot be identified or located -- exists. Typically, such works are excerpts or newly digitized versions of books, movies, photos, and music whose ownership information has been stripped away or lost during distribution, re-formatting or editing.

Unfortunately for those individuals and organizations seeking permission to use such works, much of this rich material ends up left untouched due to liability issues surrounding unspecified ownership.

Published by the DWA, the white paper proposes that policymakers consider facilitating the adoption of technologies, such as digital watermarking, to address the challenge of orphan works and copyright owner identification. Digital watermarks are available and widely deployed today and can help speed and facilitate deployment of online digital content by enabling identification of copyrighted content, facilitating rights management policy, and enhancing consumer experiences.

The Digital Watermarking Alliance white paper is available at