World of IP Round Up: August
This month’s World of IP round-up takes a distinctly nostalgic tone, with coverage of Nintendo’s efforts against trade mark and copyright infringement, and a spotlight on what could have been for the Toys R’ Us brand. We also look at the hullabaloo surrounding the dispute over “Aloha Poke” in the US.
In addition to all of this, we have a round up of all of the headlines from the web surrounding IP and brands around the world. So, without further ado…
Game Over! for Emulation and Fan Game websites, after Nintendo Legal Claims
In August, Nintendo have tightened their grip on their IP, by issuing a trade mark and copyright claim against two sets of fan-sites.
The first of these sites relates to the distribution of software which allowed fans to create their own Pokémon fan games.
In the past Nintendo have been quick to address the release of fan games (e.g. such as “AM2R” and “Pokémon Uranium“, amongst others) through legal channels. Projects such as these are put together by fans, ostensibly to show reverence for series’ they love – and are distributed to the population for free online.
The enthusiasm within the fan base means that such projects emerge frequently, and (when complete) garner a significant audience of players – and the attention of Nintendo’s legal department..
In the case of “AM2R” this game was finished shortly before an official remake was released (which would have been in development for some time) and, as such, represented a clear and direct competitor to Nintendo’s own products. In other cases, these are original remixes of a popular format, which include IP protected characters and brand elements.
It remains a point of contention whether games businesses such as Nintendo should protect its IP so vigorously and act so punitively towards its most passionate fans (notably, Sega embraced the creators of Sonic fan games, hiring them for a recent official release “Sonic Mania” – which was widely praised by fans and critics alike).
This month however, Nintendo went one step further than previous – issuing a copyright claim against a website hosting an 11-year old development kit for creating fan-made Pokémon games. Therefore addressing the source of these fan games, rather than fan games themselves that had become significantly damaging to them on an ad-hoc basis.
The second of these websites to receive legal attention from Nintendo concerned the provision of emulators and “ROMs” for old Nintendo hardware and games.
For those not familiar with emulation, an emulator allows a user to run console hardware on a PC – and play games which are accessed in the form of computer files called ROMs (which stands for “read-only memory”).
Whilst this activity is not necessary illicit (e.g. for those who already own a game, it is not problematic to play it through emulation) – for the most part, emulation has been viewed as a means for users to access and play games without paying the creators.
Nintendo take a dim view of this activity, as whilst many of the the historic games from are unavailable to purchase legitimately from the company today – many are. Defenders of the practice of emulation state that it is a way for historic games to be saved for generations to come – and criticise enforcement as there are no legitimate way for many of these works to be accessed otherwise.
In this escalation of their legal position against emulation – Nintendo brought a trade mark claim against Mathias Designs L.L.C. alleged owner and operator of two separate emulation sites “LoveROMS” and “LoveRETRO” – whom they alleged hosted and distributed Nintendo’s IP. Crucially, the defendants had been seen to be profiting from this site, by running ads on the site and receiving donations for a number of years.
This particular case suggest that Nintendo are not stopping there, seeking a £100,000,000 in damages and perhaps more tellingly that the Defendants “identify every one of [their suppliers and sources of unauthorised copies of Nintendo’s copyrighted works.”
This would suggest that this is simply “level 1” of their campaign and Nintendo will continue to go to great lengths to shut down emulation across the board.
Chicago company “Poke” the bear with attempted enforcement of “Aloha Poke” trade mark in Hawaii
Chicago-based Aloha Poke Co. caused a stir in (typically relaxed) Hawaii when they attempted to enforce their registered trade mark on the island.
Poke is a Hawaii culinary staple, consisting of an appetiser primarily comprised of raw fish. Aloha (of course) is the common greeting given on the island, which whilst used in place of “hello” and “goodbye” has deeper cultural significance to Hawaiians.
So when island restaurant owners had received cease and desist letters from Aloha Poke Co. in relation to their alleged infringement of their trade mark – they were not happy.
Simply put, Aloha Poke as a trade mark for restaurant services might be distinct in mainland USA – but not so on the island from which the food and term comes from.
Furthermore, the feeling that a business was attempting to monopolise the use of the world Aloha (as well as poke) raised complaints of cultural appropriation – and offence particularly around the prohibited use of a spiritual word such as Aloha.
There has been significant backlash which has been addressed by the owner of Aloha Poke by way of reply:
“What we have done is attempted to stop trade mark infringements in the restaurant industry from using the trademark Aloha Poke without permission. We know that this misinformation has caused a considerable amount of anger and offense among those who care very passionately about their Hawaiian culture. We want to say to them directly how deeply sorry we are that this issues has been so triggering.”
Despite this admission, the company continues to assert its ownership of the trade mark in Hawaii, despite mounting protests.
Toys R’ Us – The Brand that Might Have Been
Finally, this month, a viral article on DesignTAXI provided an insight into what might have been for Toys R’ Us’ brand. The company had instructed creative consultancy Lippencott, to look at how it’s brand might be rejuvenated, prior to its insolvency.
The vision presented by Lippencott took familiar and sadly neglected assets and rejuvenated them – painting a picture of Toys R’ Us as a legacy brand that could go toe-to-toe in the contemporary market place.
This was sadly, however, not the case – and Lippencott’s proposal remains a proof of concept.
What this does demonstrate however, is that old and seemingly derelict brands can be revived and in theory thrive. For those looking at Toys R’ Us in administration, this may offer some incentive to purchase the assets – as evidence suggests that there is plenty of life in the brand should the business be reconfigured.
World of IP Round Up: The Best of the Rest
CEO of top semiconductor company talks reducing effects of intellectual property tariffs | https://buff.ly/2Ax4qdm
Vega+ to be stripped of Sinclair brand | https://buff.ly/2v3ZAPk
Learning From Apple v Samsung – Intellectual Property – United States | https://buff.ly/2LLFc02
Apple Just Lost a $145 Million Infringement Verdict to a Canadian Patent Troll | https://buff.ly/2vwutvu
Nintendo Applies For Endless Ocean Trademark In Japan, Could This Wii Title Resurface From The Deep? | https://buff.ly/2LMl7GJ
Huawei cites IP track record in response to SolarEdge complaint | https://buff.ly/2Kwcr1Y
“Sharp seeks rebirth as Apple-style tech brand” | https://buff.ly/2nfJVrY
The Importance of the Intellectual Property in the Gaming Industry | https://buff.ly/2OVTgSv
Chrome Timeline Extension Removed from Web Store over Trademark Infringement | https://buff.ly/2KEGPHp
Time to party like it’s 2005! Palm is coming back! | https://buff.ly/2MuEqR7
Apple Files for the ‘FoundationDB’ Trademark | https://buff.ly/2nvj6Am
Nikon Re-Registers Nikonos Trademark | https://buff.ly/2P968F1
Daimler USPTO Filing Implies Autonomous Driving Tech With AI in the Works | https://buff.ly/2MnENkR
How Intellectual Property Informs Investment in a Private Equity Transaction | https://buff.ly/2n07sNy
As Kit Kat ruling shows, intellectual property is big business | https://buff.ly/2OBYGlA
Report: Global Physical Intellectual Property Market 2018 | https://buff.ly/2LMaAvq
Trademarks and Social Media: What startups should know! | https://buff.ly/2AR2YCC
Healthcare Industry Increasingly Using Trade Secret Litigation to Protect Intellectual Property Rights | https://buff.ly/2MKOBBt
The trademark strategies behind Switzerland’s most valuable brands | https://buff.ly/2BaMUM3
Raytheon CEO: Why Your Own Employees Could Be Your Greatest Threat | https://buff.ly/2Bh6Gpz
Best Practices For Developing, Managing And Protecting Your Company’s Intellectual Property | https://buff.ly/2L1982J Dutch Study Shows Importance of Business Innovation to Defeating Infringement | https://buff.ly/2vWOCeY
SpongeBob and the ‘oh, please!’ standard of trademark foolishness | https://buff.ly/2PBYV0z
Trademark bullies? Many big colleges fiercely protect brands | https://buff.ly/2NvCWa8
Kirin Ramen gets new name amid trademark battle with beer giant | https://buff.ly/2vs0Qv5
Inside the Fight to Trademark the Shape of Candy in America | https://buff.ly/2OOqL9j
Scotch whisky wins trademark in South Africa | https://buff.ly/2OQttuP
“Chinese “Super Trademarks”: A Creative Strategy for Overseas IP Protection” | https://buff.ly/2nhPQg8
[USA] Intellectual Property The Hard Way | https://buff.ly/2njag8F
Cheaper Luxury Gets Chinese Excited | https://buff.ly/2OxBowS
Adidas Fails to Prevent Taiwanese Company from Registering ‘Similar’ Trademark in Singapore | https://buff.ly/2vZjL0L
[US} Elected official withdraws trademark filing for blogger’s site critical of her | https://buff.ly/2nEmuZC
Saudi Arabian intellectual property authority launches online facility | https://buff.ly/2MqB2Kq
Economic Crimes Against Japanese Corporations Frequently Target Intellectual Property | https://buff.ly/2MhyY8l
China Trademark Theft. It’s Baaaaaack in a Big Way | https://buff.ly/2MhziE5
Delhi man selling fake Louis Vuitton goods jailed not for trademark infringement but lying on oath | https://buff.ly/2nuFh9I
Face-PALM: US Patent and Trademark Office database down for 5 days and counting | https://buff.ly/2L8WAq4
COCO copyright and the Value of Moral Rights | https://buff.ly/2vXwnpS
California Commands The Intellectual Property Landscape — High Taxes And China May Dethrone It | https://buff.ly/2OSZwcW
[US] Seminar studies Indigenous cultural and intellectual property rights | https://buff.ly/2OY1ZTn
European Union: Dispute Over ‘France.com’ Trademark | https://buff.ly/2we3ztB
[US] Why Protecting Recipes Under Intellectual Property Law May Leave a Bad Taste in Your Mouth | https://buff.ly/2oi2EE2
US Copyright Office Review Board denies UEFA copyright protection over Starball logo | https://buff.ly/2LAekLw
Pinduoduo removes millions of suspected fake listings after stock plunges | https://buff.ly/2LjB2Yb
China to adopt stricter intellectual property rights – Premier Li | https://buff.ly/2PRcE3A
Green Motion Wins Trademark Battle | https://buff.ly/2ATJFZg
UK: There’s Something About Chocolate And Trade Marks | https://buff.ly/2ASbrWf
Poundworld brand could be resurrected | https://buff.ly/2M5rTb0
Tesco is ditching thousands of brands to hit back at cheaper rivals | https://buff.ly/2w32weR
Easygroup sues ‘brand theft’ airlines | https://buff.ly/2w6vxq2
Magnovo President Settles Trademark Lawsuit with Former Employer for $1.06 Million and Injunctions | https://buff.ly/2P3QtXk
Aldi’s small business rip-off products could land them in court | https://buff.ly/2N85Htj
Why status of intellectual property is under the Brexit spotlight | https://buff.ly/2wafYP8
UK designers told to prepare for “actual possibility” of no-deal Brexit | https://buff.ly/2LvnPvf
adidas’ bid to stop manufacturer from registering trademark locally gets rejected | https://buff.ly/2AvMSOG
H&M’s New Brand Tapped Into the Power of Influencers and Instagram Polls to Create 2 New Products | https://buff.ly/2OCGpEx
Estée Lauder files suit to protect Mac brand against fakes | https://buff.ly/2ngsEig
French and Faux? Balenciaga or JFK Souvenir Shop? | https://buff.ly/2KFyWRZ
How a Father’s Beloved Jacket Launched a Clothing Brand | https://buff.ly/2MBpaSS
How a 134-year-old Portuguese brand caught the eye of millennials | https://buff.ly/2nNACzO
Partial success for Hugo Boss in trademark opposition at UKIPO | https://buff.ly/2Mn6iLl
Complaint Alleges Copying Affordable NY Souvenirs for Luxury Knockoffs | https://buff.ly/2MrICFy
La Mer is now a billion-dollar brand | https://buff.ly/2N4dKqW
Dutch Female Founder Challenges The Leather Industry With Her Growing Brand | https://buff.ly/2N8dtTF
Victoria’s Secret’s Pink lingerie ‘is not wanted any longer’ as investors shun L Brand shares | https://buff.ly/2wlXjis
DC vs. Alaskan Clothing Company Over ‘Wander Woman’ Trademark | https://buff.ly/2oi2uMW
Design and Branding
This Brand’s CEO’s Advice To Other Brands: Develop Smart Heuristics | https://buff.ly/2LUGswW
In The Age Of Digital One Brand Goes Old School And Wins | https://buff.ly/2vtXYhf
Make a Name for Yourself: 4 Expert Tips for Choosing a Name and Trademark | https://buff.ly/2AACmFT
The Brand Story Problem | https://buff.ly/2MNtWMZ
How Brands Can Use Platforms to Innovate and Drive Growth | https://t.co/LzBPibDXth
Ready, Set, Launch: Is Your Brand Prepared For The Spotlight? | https://buff.ly/2vR7kVD
Expand Your Brand: 11 Repositioning Tips To Take From Chipotle | https://buff.ly/2Bqhodj
Xiaomi makes global play with budget Android brand, Poco, starting at $300 | https://buff.ly/2w3PFds
How Häagen-Dazs is reimagining the brand for the Instagram generation | https://buff.ly/2PxY80z
17 brands millennials loved that ‘kids these days’ in Gen Z avoid | https://buff.ly/2NsUrb0
Warner Music Group buys youth media brand UPROXX to ‘influence culture’ | https://buff.ly/2LNKTKY
Mars pulls YouTube advertising after brand is shown on drill music video | https://buff.ly/2LYJa5q
Portsmouth Football Club wins bid to trademark “Pompey” name | https://buff.ly/2ATL42c
Drake Reportedly Files “God’s Plan” Trademark for Game Show | https://buff.ly/2M4dA6j
Cardi B and Offset trademark baby daughter Kulture Kiari Cephus’s name | https://buff.ly/2OWNa46
Conor McGregor threatened with €250,000 fine following trademark battle over signature sportswear | https://buff.ly/2OZLUNS
Comrade Brewing Wins Juicy Trademark Fight Over Superpower IPA | https://buff.ly/2MghWaM
Oh why, oh I, wonder if it is a substantial part… | https://buff.ly/2Mr1AuY
Disney Just Can’t Win Against Birthday Party Rip-Off Characters | https://buff.ly/2BeDq2s
Miami MLS team name, crest potentially revealed | https://buff.ly/2MfMhpP
Bruce Lee’s Estate Gets Stiff Roundhouse Kick After Trying To Block Theater Company’s Trademark | https://buff.ly/2nJb5Ic
Hasbro and DC Comics Settle ‘Bumblebee’ Trademark Dispute | https://buff.ly/2MUKCT2
Heaven Hill sues Bob Dylan whiskey brand | https://buff.ly/2Bzu7dB
Beyoncé Wins Big In Lawsuit Against Man Trying To Trademark “Poison Ivy Park” | https://buff.ly/2N8yL3N
Swatch prevails over Apple in ‘Think Different’ trademark dispute | https://buff.ly/2wdvQzs
Great British Menu chef in trademark row with former restaurant | https://buff.ly/2Pw6Ko8
D.C.’s Rick and Morty pop-up bar has been shut down after a legal injunction from Turner Broadcasting | https://buff.ly/2LlUhjA
Brandwatch: Bud Light Is Placing Promotional Beer Fridges All Over Cleveland In Case the Browns Win a Game | https://buff.ly/2w8fSY7
Katy Perry sued for copyright infringement, is Marcus Grey the Dark Horse? |https://buff.ly/2w6Nupi
Colin Kaepernick Files Clothing Trademark for ‘I’m With Kap’ | https://buff.ly/2wm2OP1
Bridgestone wins patent right infringement lawsuit against Fangxing in Shanghai intellectual property court | https://buff.ly/2vcgFXN
Steve McQueen’s Family Sues Ferrari Over Trademark | https://buff.ly/2LNg9tf
Monster Energy Opposes Trademark For Liquor Company Logo, But Will Have A Fight On Its Hands | https://buff.ly/2LY6dx6
How Audi employees fight trademark infringements | https://buff.ly/2vLL5iZ
Fiat Chrysler tries to block sale of Mahindra Roxor off-road vehicle | https://buff.ly/2vKGMV2
Here are some things you can’t get IP protection for | https://buff.ly/2MaGIbk
Infringement watch: SHAASUIVG is my new favorite tech brand | https://buff.ly/2B6vxfJ
Japanese Designer 3D Prints Famous Logos Into Items You Can Use At Home | https://buff.ly/2LVrHuB
McDonalds’ Corner Cafe logo violates trademark, lawsuit claims | https://buff.ly/2BfjlJq
In-N-Out Sends Punny Cease And Desist Over Fairly Clear Trademark Infringement | https://buff.ly/2MyVfha
Express Homebuyers Wins Its Bid To Cancel Competitors ‘We Buy Houses’ Trademark | https://buff.ly/2NaVhsz
Hummingbird sings no more after trademark writ slapped on cafe | https://buff.ly/2Lgjmg0
P&G Files to Trademark Some Millennial Phrases | https://buff.ly/2PAEHE7
Nickelodeon Is Opposing A 12 Year Old New Zealand Girl’s ‘Slime’ Trademark For Some Reason | https://buff.ly/2BTdCtg