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Good day everyone. I hope the beginning of spring is treating you well.

Down-N-Out vs In-N-Out

Hashtag Burgers, which runs the Sydney chain, was sued in 2017 after In-N-Out noticed the name, similar yellow arrow logo, and use of In-N-Out's registered trademarks "animal style" and "protein style" (part of In-N-Out's "secret menu”). Inspired by In-N-Out or taking advantage of the brand’s reputation? In a judgment from last week, Justice Anna Katzmann considered the Australian operators went too far and crossed the line between inspiration and appropriation.

It all started in 2015 during the “Funk-N-Burgers" event, where Hashtag Burgers’ owner emailed a copy of the In-N-Out logo to a graphic designer and asked him to make "a funk n burgers sign like in n out burger". In 2016, Down-N-Out opened a permanent store whose logo initially included red text and a yellow arrow, similar to In-N-Out.

The business was then sent a cease and desist letter in June 2019, so the logo was changed and the name restyled as "D#WN N’ OUT". Unfortunately for the Aussies, the judge considered that the mark was “deceptively similar", passing itself off as In-N-Out, infringing In-N-Out's registered trademarks, and engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct.

When Indie videogame developers “embrace” piracy

There are multiple ways in which videogame producers can respond to piracy: pursue an active takedown notice and anti-piracy strategy (like Nintendo), do nothing or, if you can’t beat them, join them. Over the years, a small number of creators have decided to embrace piracy, not because they don’t want any income but because they understand it as a way of promoting their creation and gaining more attention.

This is the case of “Death and Taxes” a 2D narrative-based videogame that is currently sold on Steam but, at the same time, available for free on many torrent sites. The developer considered that if there was going to be a pirated version of his game, it would be on his own terms and he wanted to make sure that users would have access to a clean and authentic version. This version has been made available through RARBG.

Big developers might not understand this move, but for a small indie developer that had no budget, the most important thing is to have gamers playing the game, talking about it and giving feedback.

Eye-opening perspective, isn’t it?

Jehovah’s Witness body in its fight against copyright infringement

Who would have thought? The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (TW), the supervising body and publisher for the Jehovah’s Witness religious group, is now going after a YouTuber that was uploading videos of sermons to his channel. Although the channel had numerous videos uploaded, only 5 were targeted by the subpoena application that TW filed before a New York court. Apparently, after carefully reviewing the videos, only these 5 videos were found to be infringing TW’s copyright. Now Google has been required to reveal the identity of the channel’s owner.

Drake vs. Bellroy's wallets

Drake’s clothing brand October’s Very Own (OVO) has taken wallet maker Bellroy to court over the use of an owl trademark. Allegedly, Bellroy has recently changed its logos of a “stocky, hunched-over owl”  in order to increase resemblance with OVO’s owl trademarks, before entering the footwear industry. According to the claim, Bellroys’ collaboration with footwear brand CLAE and the Australian company’s planned expansion into clothing will cause “significant” consumer confusion and irreparable harm to OVO’s goodwill.

Now, OVO is seeking an injunction to stop Bellroy from using its new logos and selling any footwear or clothing with all of its logos (both old and new). It’s also seeking the destruction of any infringing goods and profits.

Here a reproduction of the controversial owls.

This is all for this week! Stay healthy!

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