Thursday, November 17, 2011

Patents and the Stock Market

Time and again I am reminded what an important asset patents can be to company's growth or continued existence. For example, I was reading an article in the Motely Fool today and their review of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, the owners of the "K-Cup" for coffee. The author quoted:

"My Foolish colleague Rick Munarriz says he'll be buying shares of Green Mountain by week's end because the Keurig machine remains popular, the patent expiration battle is overblown, and the stock is cheap. I think what he's doing amounts to balancing a steaming cup of coffee in his lap. The K-cup is popular because it's patent protected; that expires next year."
In many cases, the existence or nonexistence of a single patent can determine the fate of a company, especially in crowed market with many competitors waiting to get a piece of the pie that you created.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Grand Theft Auto 5 Trademark Infringement with Speedo?

With Grand Theft Auto 5's release all gamers are excited.  But who would of thought that GTA and Speedo would get into a trademark spat?  One of the most highly anticipated video games of the year, Grand Theft Auto 5, recently released an online trailer. The trailer spread like wildfire, and one apparent detail of the new game may cause a big headache for Rockstar Games, the maker of the iconic and very popular racing game. That detail is the word “Speedophile” printed on the side of a Jetski, looking something like a logo.

The word Speedophile may have a simply descriptive meaning in urban slang terms (someone who likes going really fast). However, it’s possible that the swimwear manufacturer, Speedo could take issue with this particular logo blazened on the side of a Jetski. The main problem is that in this image, the first part of the word “Speedo” is a different colored font than “phile”. The result is that it looks like “Speedo” is somehow referenced. If the game is released with this detail (and it looks likely that it will be), Rockstar Games may get promptly slapped with a trademark infringement lawsuit.

And, given that Speedo has just shut down a porn site in Australia that featured their logo on a few pairs of swimwear, it seems they are keeping a sharp lookout for trademark infringers.