A lot of copyright, a pinch of trade mark and a drizzle of design


Another week and another set of IP news!

Mexico protecting indigenous designs

Although not directly related to the EU, we find important the most recent initiative from the Mexican authorities to launch a legislative initiative aimed at protecting the cultural elements of its indigenous people. From Carolina Herrera, accused of copying the embroideries and typical patterns from the indigenous communities to Louis Vuitton who was accused of designing upholstered furniture copying traditional Mexican patterns, Mexico is familiar with this problem. As such, Mexico now seeks to recognize the right of the indigenous people over their creation, avoid unauthorized uses and assist them in their fight against counterfeiters.

David Gilmour vs. SNCF

It might sound like a joke but no, back in 2013, David Gilmour heard a jingle while waiting for his train in France and thought that the jingle was actually song material. As such, he reached out to its composer (Mr. Boumendil) and they were able to reach an agreement. However, a year later, Boumendil filed for copyright infringement since, according to him, Gilmour was authorized to replay the notes, not the jingle itself. His claims were rejected in 2018 and now Boumendil has filed for appeal. Let’s see where this heads to.

LaCalifornienne vs. Rolex

LaCalifornienne (LC) is a California based company that sells second hand Rolex watches after giving them a twist: they remove the usual metal wristband and replace it with their colourful wristband (this is their brand signature). So far so good in the eyes of Rolex. However, the fact that LC also offers customization through colourful dials, crystals and other changes (through non-approved Rolex parts) is problematic. According to Rolex, adding non-approved parts transform your legit Rolex into a counterfeit (and also deprives you of Rolex’s warranty). Following this reasoning, Rolex filed for infringement claiming that LC is actually selling counterfeit Rolex watches. As such, LC is confusing consumer as to the origin of the watches and its connection to Rolex, confusion that is not lifted by LC since despite the fact that the wristband bears their name, the centre piece still bears Rolex’s trade mark.

More important, by manipulating the watches, using non-authorized spared parts and sometimes not properly putting the watches back together, LC is actually harming Rolex’s image and decreasing the value of the watches undergoing this process.

Let’s see where this leads Rolex and LaCalifornienne!

Copyrighted camouflage pattern

The famous clothing company “Supreme” is being taken to court over a copyright infringement claim.

After releasing this jacket  Supreme was brought to Court by ASAT Outdoors LLC, a company that produces gear for hunters emblazoned with this unique pattern (image from their website):

As you can see, the problem seems to be quite clear… Supreme’s fashion clothes that include this different tribal camouflage pattern is, allegedly, violating the rights of the hunting company over this pattern. Our educated guess is that this controversy will most likely be settled out of court between the two companies.

Learn the lesson: check your sources

To all our YouTuber readers and others (this story can be extrapolated) we believe that this story will spark your interest.

You know that when you want to use music in a YouTube video, you need to make sure that it is licensed to you either under creative commons (with the appropriate terms of use) or directly licensed by the artist. Otherwise you are exposing yourself to a copyright strike with the resulting loss of revenue. Now, when contacting YouTube (or any authority or company) and asking about “copyright free” music, make sure you are contacting the proper authority or contact the artist directly and double check with him/her. Otherwise you might end up in the same situation as Matt Lownes, a YouTuber who recently saw 26 of his videos flagged because of a copyright claim. Lownes thought that he received the green light from YouTube after accessing this list of songs from a channel called YouTube Audio Library. Yes, this channel has the logo, the colours and even the name, but this is NOT an official account. Should YouTube do something about this? Probably, as we can expect more demonetization from other YouTubers who, like Lownes, trusted this channel.

That is all for this week! See you next week for more news and a new month!