Given the telephone conversation I had yesterday with a potential client I thought it a good idea to revisit the issue of cybersquatting.
First, cybersquatting, according to a US federal law (known as the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act), is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith or the intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. Frequently, a cybersquatter offers to sell the domain to the person or company who owns a trademark contained within the name at an inflated price.
So yesterday I receive a call from a potential client (I have changed the names of the parties to protect the innocent), I will call him John. John informed me that he had previously registered the domain name bmwofhouston.com. John did in fact previously own a BMW dealership but he did not register this domain name for use with that business but rather to later sell it for a profit.
Several years after he registered the domain he received a solicitation from a BMW dealer owner requesting to purchase the domain. John told him $5000 and that offer was declined. Another year passes and John contacts this dealer owner and offers to sell it for $2500, the offer is again declined. John then...
Last month I wrote 3 articles (parts 1, 2, and 3) regarding Monsanto and its use of intellectual property laws to control food production in the United States and globally. I also included an update after Hungary destroyed their GMO seeds. However, those fighting against GMOs had a major setback.
âThe policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE (genetically engineered) crops as well. True coexistence is a must.â - Whole Foods Market, Jan. 21, 2011 In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsantoâs Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nationâs 25,000 organic farms and ranches, Americaâs organic consumers and producers are facing a major setback. A self-appointed group of the Organic companies, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided itâs time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsantoâs controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for âcoexistenceâ with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack.
In a cleverly worded, but profoundly misleading email sent to its customers...
Emerging Business Concepts
The music industry has not been completely resistant to the digital revolution, though to say it has welcomed it would be a drastic exaggeration. The Internet, the ideal technology for the delivery of digital media, can be leveraged to support music, once entrepreneurs figure out how to make a profit. One successful business model that has emerged is a la carte online music stores like the iTunes Store. Digital music downloads now make up a third of US recorded music sales. But there are still unmet needs in the market that will drive listeners to piracy.
Digital Music Sales
In February 2010, the iTunes Store sold its 10 billionth song. This staggering figure shows that people are still willing to pay for music. But have digital music sales actually reduced music piracy? A study from the Wharton School of Economics, University of Pennsylvania shows that despite legal downloading services, students still obtain music through file-sharing (though it is usually music they would not have purchased in the first place), and that illegally-obtained music reduces the amount of music purchased. The rate of sales displacement is equivalent to the rate determined by a similar study conducted before the iTunes music...
The gold standard in streaming video sites is to feature artist-curated playlists, concert calendars on it's new youtube music page.
After years of being widely repurposed as a music streaming service by users, YouTube is aggressively embracing that role by launching a dedicated music page.
The Google-owned video site's music page kicked off last Friday with a series of videos curated by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with Lady Gaga, David Guetta, Eminem and Royce da 5'9'' all taking turns as resident VJs through the weekend. Music mags Spin and Vice will also contribute curated video playlists.
The YouTube music page will also compile a rolling top 100 chart of the site's most popular videos, as well as a feature announcing upcoming concerts in the user's area (through a partnership with SongKick) and a list of recommended videos based on a user's past search history.
Companies and designers spend much time and money designing, advertising and implementing logos in an effort to create brand recognition. However, logo theft is becoming a very real problem.
Some of these reproductions are intentional thefts, while others are inadvertent derivative works. Some are exact duplicates; others contain only slight changes while others are only generally based on the original work. Do they constitute trademark infringement? Well the first question that must be answered is are they registered trademarks. While this does not affect the ability of the owner of the original logo from suing it may make it financially feasible to do so.
Registered trademarks have access to the Lanham Act, which provides for triple damages plus costs and attorney fees. Without these provisions, while the owner may be able to prevent the secondary user from continuing their unauthorized use, the cost of doing so may be extraordinary and prohibitive.
Now, with regard to the theft and infringement of logos. If you were to design a logo by simply drawing a blue circle on the screen youâve just stolen the Blaupunkt logo. Draw a yellow line and youâre copying Visa. Draw a black swoosh and youâre ripping off Nike.
The Exact Rip...
The Photoshop advertising war is on, with politicians in the UK and France calling for legislation to regulate digital nipping, tucking, and smoothing of images in ads and elsewhere. However, the US is, for the moment, relying on the courts.
The reasoning behind the moves to police fantasy Photoshopping is to protect impressionable youth.
"When teenagers and women look at these pictures in magazines, they end up feeling unhappy with themselves," Liberal Democratic Party MP Jo Swinson (Member of Parliament). Swinson has convinced her party to adopt her proposal to institute a labeling system for digitally altered ads and to ban them altogether in ads targeted toward children under 16.
French parliamentarian ValÃrie Boyer is fighting for truth in advertising in France as well. "These photos can lead people to believe in realities that very often, do not exist," she has said. Boyer states that "many young people, particularly girls, do not know the difference between the virtual and reality, and can develop complexes from a very young age. In some cases this leads to anorexia or bulimia and very serious health problems."
As a member of president Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, Boyer may be familiar with her leader's own encounter...
Generally Speaking European Laws Regarding Truth in Advertising deal with misleading advertising?
Any advertising which, in any way, either in its wording or presentation:
Â deceives or is likely to deceive the persons to whom it is addressed or whom it reaches.
Â by reason of its deceptive nature, is likely to affect their economic behavior.
Â or for those reasons, injures are likely to injure a competitor.
What is comparative advertising?
Any advertising, that explicitly or by implication, identifies a competitor or goods or services offered by a competitor.
The Directives on Misleading and Comparative Advertising aim to protect not only consumers but also competitors and the interest of the public in general against misleading advertising and its unfair consequences.
The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCP) was adopted on 11 May 2005. This directive regulates commercial practices business to consumers(B2C). The rules on misleading advertising in this directive will replace the B2C rules in the Misleading Advertising Directive. The UCP shall be implemented in Member States by 12 June 2007 and applicable by 12 December 2007.
How to control misleading advertising and comparative advertising?
Here is an update to the Monsanto articles from last week.
In March, Hungary introduced a new regulation that states seeds must be checked for GMO before they are introduced to the market. However, some GMO seeds made it to the farmers without their being aware of it.
As a result, almost 1,000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary. The deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar said that the GMO maize has been ploughed under, and pollen has not spread from the maize.
"Unlike several EU members, GMO seeds are banned in Hungary. The checks will continue despite the fact that seed traders are obliged to make sure that their products are GMO free, Bognar said."
The United States, meanwhile, is beginning to see the consequences of widely planted GMOs. In the mid-'90s, Monsanto introduced seeds genetically engineered to withstand its Roundup brand of herbicide. Today, these "Roundup Ready" crops are planted all across the U.S., 94 percent of soybeans and more than 70 percent of corn and cotton contain the Roundup-resistant gene.
But when the land is dosed with a single herbicide for years on end, the ecosystems adapt....
Advertising laws are aimed at protecting consumers by requiring advertisers to be truthful about their products and to be able to substantiate their claims. All businesses must comply with advertising and marketing laws, and failure to do so could result in costly lawsuits and civil penalties. So before you start an advertising campaign, it's important you understand some basic rules.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the main federal agency that enforces advertising laws and regulations. Under the Federal Trade Commission Act:
Â Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive
Â Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims
Â Advertisements cannot be unfair
Additional laws apply to ads for specialized products like consumer leases, credit, 900 telephone numbers, and products sold through mail order or telephone sales. State and local governments also regulate advertising, and enforcement is usually the responsibility of a state attorney general, a consumer protection agency or a local district attorney.
What makes an advertisement deceptive?
According to the FTC's Deception Policy Statement, an ad is deceptive if it contains a statement, or omits information, that:
Â Is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably...
According to court documents filed on July 28, 2011, in New Jersey, Oprah Winfrey is being sued for trademark infringement. She has been slapped with a lawsuit over her usage of the acronym OYP, otherwise known as âOwn Your Power.â Simone Kelly-Brown and Own Your Power Communications, Inc., the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, claim the motivational communication services company invented the acronym and concept that people can âlive their best lifeâ if they believe that âanything you want in life is attainable,â and even secured their usage of the acronym by petitioning the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to obtain exclusive ownership of the term âOwn Your Power.â
However, Harpo Studios, then began to use the registered letters to âidentify Harpo [and] Oprah â as advocates for individuals to âlive [their] best lifeâ through self-awareness and motivational communication, the same type as OYP services.â
The plaintiffs allege that they are seeking damages to reverse Winfrey and Harpoâs âbrazenly unlawful disregard for the existence and use of [OTP's] trademark.â
âUnder such circumstances,â the suit continues, âwith [Winfrey and Harpo] being much larger, spending more money, having a wider reach, and an overlapping audience with the...