Friday, July 30, 2010

Black Sabbath Trademark Dispute: Ozzy vs. Iommi

Last year, Anthony “Tommy” Iommi, long-time guitarist for Black Sabbath, and Ozzy Osbourne got in contact with each other about the band. However, this new Black Sabbath collaboration didn’t involve any music. John “Ozzy” Osbourne sued Iommi for trademark infringement in the U.S. District Court (case no. 1:09-cv-04947)

Apparently, in 2000, Iommi filed a trademark application with the USPTO, to register the Black Sabbath trademark in his name only. Ozzy’s attorneys caught wind of this trademark hijacking, and filed suit in May of last year. According to the suit Ozzy was “the driving force behind the Black Sabbath band.” But Iommi referenced a 1980 agreement (when Ozzy originally left the band) in which Ozzy had surrendered his right to the band name. But in 1997, as part of the “Ozzfest” tour, Black Sabbath had reunited, and played for a couple years. Ozzy claimed this new arrangement superseded the 1980 agreement.

Fortunately, last week Ozzy and Iommi were able to settle the case on good terms. In the new agreement, all four original members of the band (including Geezer Butler and Bill Ward) are to share the trademark equally.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lady Gaga Protects Her Trademark and Sues Knockoff Merchandisers

Lady Gaga started her 2010 “Monster Ball” tour with a pre-emptive trademark infringement lawsuit. In the past, non-licensed merchandise vendors were tolerated outside large concerts, so long as they didn’t interfere too much with legitimate merchandise sales. But lately, the music industry is taking greater measures to remain profitable. These cases, known as “John Doe” cases (because of the hundreds of “John Doe’s” named as defendants), are becoming more and more frequent.
Lady Gaga’s merchandise company is Bravado International, a division of Universal Music Group. The case was filed under trademark infringement, citing the Lanham Act, unfair competition, and right to publicity (Bravado International Group Merchandising Services Inc., v. John Does 1-100, 1:10-cv-04942-RJH, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York).

The Monster Ball tour is running from July 1 until sometime next April. Bravado International is asking the court to grant permission for law enforcement to confiscate any unauthorized merchandise at any show during the tour.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mike Tyson Trademark Fight with Michael Landrum for the Title

Most people recognize “Iron Mike” as a long-standing nickname for Mike Tyson. Apparently, there may have been a previous “Iron Mike.” Michael Wayne Landrum, a small-time L.A. boxer is suing Mike Tyson for trademark infringement to the tune of $115,000,000. The complaint was filed June 28, 2010 in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California (case no. 2:2010-cv-04795).

Michael Landrum last boxed in 1985, and included with the complaint is a document from 1996, a letter from the California State Athletic Commission, stating that his “professional ring name was Iron Mike Landrum.” Landrum is suing for Trademark Infringement, and claims to have a registered trademark with the USPTO. It’s number 66404, which doesn’t appear to be a valid trademark number.

Is Mike Tyson still using the phrase "Iron Mike"? Are there any abandonment issues. How will priority be be duked out? All questions that will likely be issues in the litigation.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

CNBC's Crime Inc: Counterfeit Goods

An excellent episode discussing the world of counterfeit goods will show on CNBC's Crime Inc., on Wednesday, July 14 at 9p ET/PT. I will definitely watch. Here is the description below:

Sneak Peek:

Fake handbags, watches, and perfumes are a way of the past. The largest underground industry in the world, Counterfeit Goods bring in hundreds of billions, while sapping the economy, putting lives in jeopardy, and funding organized crime in the process.

CNBC presents "Crime Inc.: Counterfeit Goods," a CNBC Original reported by CNBC's Carl Quintanilla takes viewers inside where the goods are produced and confiscated in a world of high-risk and high-reward.

The one-hour special brings you on raids with the LAPD anti-counterfeiting unit, inspections at ports, and back-room factories where counterfeits are produced. Meet a couple who was paralyzed by counterfeit Botox, a company whose whole brand was copied, and the story of a defense contractor who counterfeit defense parts that found their way into weapons depots in Iraq.

At around 7% of all global trade, Counterfeit Goods are a big business with low overhead. It makes too much money to go away any time soon.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Playboy Sues Drake for Copyright Infringement

Hip hop artist Aubrey Drake Graham, aka “Drake” had a hit last year with the song “Best I Ever Had.” But, like many other commercially-successful songs these days, “Best I Ever Had” sampled a previous song. The original song, called “Fallin in Love,” is by 1970’s soft rockers Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds. And interestingly, it’s Playboy Enterprises, Inc. that owns the copyright to “Fallin In Love.” Apparently Drake didn’t get permission to use the song, which for samplers isn’t always necessary. But Playboy just filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Drake.

The case is 2:2010-cv-04750

A major question is going to be whether the song is a copy for commercial gain, or an artistic interpretation with a different and new meaning.