Copyright Law and Trademark Law in Cyberspace
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Copyright Law and Trademark Law in Cyberspace

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Covers the basic concepts of copyright law and trademark law with an emphasis on the ways in which they have been adapted to and applied in cyberspace. Also coveres some important considerations in ...

Covers the basic concepts of copyright law and trademark law with an emphasis on the ways in which they have been adapted to and applied in cyberspace. Also coveres some important considerations in selecting and registering domain names, as well as some basic approaches to fighting predatory and unfair domain name registration by competitors.

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Copyright Law and Trademark Law in Cyberspace Copyright Law and Trademark Law in Cyberspace Presentation Transcript

  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Toledo Bar Association May 6, 2011 C. Fred Charpie, III Patent Attorney & Member MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd, LLC Page 1
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Nomenclature: Trade Name • Identifies company or businessMay 6, 2011 Page 2 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Nomenclature: Trade Mark • Identifies goodsMay 6, 2011 Page 3 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Nomenclature: Service Mark • Identifies servicesMay 6, 2011 Page 4 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet “The term "trademark" includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof used by a person … to identify and distinguish his or her goods, including a unique product, from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods, even if that source is unknown.” Lanham Trademark Act 15 U.S.C. § 1127May 6, 2011 Page 5 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Examples of trademarked slogans:May 6, 2011 Page 6 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Sounds can be trademarked: Aflac Duck Pillsbury Doughboy Reg. No. 2,607,415 Reg. No. 2,692,077May 6, 2011 Page 7 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Colors and scents can be trademarked Tiffany “blue” Barbie “pink” Pantone 1837 Pantone 219 UPS “brown” Target “red” Pantone 462C Pantone 186CMay 6, 2011 Page 8 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Marks can be owned by: • Individuals • Corporations or companies • Groups of people (“collective marks”) National Honor National Rifle Girl Scouts of the United Society Association States of AmericaMay 6, 2011 Page 9 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet • Federal registration of trademarks is not required • However, federal registration provides: * Geographic protection throughout the United States, not just in one state * Nationwide constructive notice of ownership * Treble damages + defendant’s profits + attorney fees * After 5 years – “incontestable” status * Designation ®May 6, 2011 Page 10 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Some words or phrases cannot be registered: * Generic words (e.g. vacuum cleaner, toaster) * Merely descriptive (e.g. audio book club, e-ticket) * Geographically descriptive (e.g. Nantucket nectars) * Deceptive marks (e.g. cafeteria if providing sit down service) * Obscene words (no examples necessary) * Prior marks that have become generic (e.g. aspirin, escalator, cellophane, linoleum, kerosene) * Marks associated with certain organizations (e.g. red cross, peace corps) * Merely a surname (e.g. Binion’s)May 6, 2011 Page 11 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet • Trademark rights are based on use in commerce * Must provide evidence of the mark in use * Specimen – product label, packaging, etc. • Federal registration has a 10 year term * Indefinitely renewable as long as the mark is in useMay 6, 2011 Page 12 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Practice Tips: • Use ™ for marks in use prior to federal registration • Search before filing trademark application * Look for the likelihood of confusion • File for broadest protection: NASCAR or • Use ® after registrationMay 6, 2011 Page 13 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Common Trademark Issues and the Internet: • Domain names (Gregg Emch) • Misdirection of search engines (metatags) • Hyperlinks • Deep Linking • Framing • Inlining (or Copying)May 6, 2011 Page 14 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Misdirection of search engines (metatags)May 6, 2011 Page 15 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Misdirection of Search Engines • Websites have headers • Headers can include pre-programmed terms (called “metatags”) used by search engines • Metatags can be invisible to many browsers • Companies have been known to populate their headers with competitor trademarks • Misdirection of search engines violates federal law under the – Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. §1051 et. seq.) and, – Ohio Law - Deceptive Trade Practices Act (O.R.C. §4165 et. seq.).May 6, 2011 Page 16 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet metatagsMay 6, 2011 Page 17 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet HyperlinksMay 6, 2011 Page 18 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Hyperlinks (links) • Hyperlinks (links) send a user from one website to another website • Example: Visit W3Schools • Some hyperlinks incorporate trademarksMay 6, 2011 Page 19 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Potential Trademark Issues with Hyperlinks: • Defamation * Example: A student creates a hyperlink titled “Alcoholics on the Net” and links it to a picture of the school principal at another site. • Invasion of Privacy * Example: A disgruntled employee of Company A creates a hyperlink titled “Washed Up” that links to a hidden camera in Company A’s executive washroom • Likelihood of Confusion (endorsement, association) * Example: An X-rated website used the Playboy name and bunny logo to link to the Playboy website.May 6, 2011 Page 20 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Hyperlinks (links) continued: • The courts are split on whether the use of trademarks in hyperlinks constitute infringement • One view: it is infringement because one could imply origin, affiliation, or endorsement, unless: * Trademark owner grants permission * There is a business relationship (e.g. distributor) • Another view: no infringement since the marketplace understands the links exist to provide informationMay 6, 2011 rather than an endorsement Page 21 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Deep LinkingMay 6, 2011 Page 22 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Deep Linking • Deep linking directs visitors past a home page and directly to an internal webpage Website Home Page * Example: appliance manufacturer links directly toMay 6, 2011 internal page of non-profit consumer reviewing agency Page 23 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Deep Linking continued • Results in target website potentially losing advertising revenue (number of hits) • Some deep links incorporate trademarks • Some include disclaimers: “This link will take you directly to another company’s website.” • No law prohibiting deep linking, but actions brought for: * Unfair competition * Deceptive practices * Trademark infringement * False AdvertisingMay 6, 2011 Page 24 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet FramingMay 6, 2011 Page 25 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Framing • Website A displays content from website B, usually within a window or frame • The user remains at website A and can view content from both websites Website B Website AMay 6, 2011 Page 26 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Framing continued: • Potential for confusion: * If user is unaware content in frame is from another website * If frame is surrounded by advertising for website A * Website A may create the impression that the owner of website B endorses or supports website AMay 6, 2011 Page 27 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Inlining (Copying)May 6, 2011 Page 28 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Inlining (or Copying) • Website A imports graphic files (using IMG links) from website B • The user remains at website A and can view content from website A and the graphic files • Dilbert case (Dan Wallach) Imported cartoon files from real Dilbert website Website A (Dilbert Hack Page)May 6, 2011 Page 29 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Inlining (Copying) continued: • Potential for confusion: * If user is unaware imported content is from another website * If imported content is surrounded by advertising for website A * Website A may create the impression that the owner of website B endorses or supports website AMay 6, 2011 Page 30 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet Practice Tips: • Periodic internet search for your trademarks * Look for competitors among search results * Examine metatags in competitor website headers * Engage with cease and desist efforts • If using links: * Get permission (linking agreement) • Jury is still out on use of disclaimersMay 6, 2011 Page 31 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC
  • Trademark Basics and the Internet fini Questions ?May 6, 2011 Page 32 MacMillan, Sobanski & Todd LLC