More on IP

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Good morning and happy Tuesday. We wish you a good start of the week and now onto our weekly news.

easyGroup vs. Easyfly

The UK based company, parent company of the well-known easyJet airline, is filing a lawsuit against Easyfly for trade mark infringement. easyGroup is also bringing Kayak and Skyscanner to the lawsuit since they facilitate bookings on behalf of the infringing company. Allegedly, both Skyscanner and Kayak benefit from the online traffic attracted by using the infringing mark. According to easyGroup, by copying the group’s “easy” highly successful family of marks, the infringing company is creating confusion within consumers as to the origin and free riding the reputation and goodwill created by easyGroup.

Facebook: copyright abuse is one of its main challenges

During a recent “article 17” stakeholder meeting, the giant multimedia platform stated that it takes very seriously copyright abuse as one of the platform’s main challenges and that they are spending a lot of time trying to make sure that legitimate content is not blocked.  The company launched “Rights Manager” a few years ago, a tool that helps detect potential infringements automatically, allowing owners to decide what the next step should be. Although this tool was built with a legitimate goal in mind, Facebook is now facing a problem where some users, that are not the legitimate owners, upload content that they do not own and can end up blocking legitimate content.

This experience might prove invaluable when considering the “upload filters” and all the issues flowing from the implementation of article 17. Facebook has explained the pros and cons of the system as of today:

  • Right Manager does not allow all copyright holder to join in
  • It works with audio and video but not with digital images
  • The tool cannot determine whether or not the use of the copyright-protected content falls under an exception

 Tiffany vs Costco

Counterfeit and/or trade mark infringement? That is now the central question at issue in the case between Costco and Tiffany. Although originally revolving around the question of whether or not “Tiffany” was a generic name referring to a ring setting (diamond solitaire situated among six prongs) the issue has now evolved given the economic implications that damages will have for Costco. After being ordered to pay millions in damages, Costco filed an appeal back in 2017, appeal that should be decided in 2020. We will keep you updated on the subject.

Fashion Nova vs. Versace. Take 2.

If you remember, early December we informed about a lawsuit involving Fashion allegedly copying Versace’s famous designs. Fashion Nova is now fighting back as proven by their counterclaim. Indeed, according to Fashion Nova, although Versace holds copyright over certain designs, those should be invalidated as they lack originality (standard geometric figures and patterns that are widely used by all fashion brands) and therefore the Court should declare that Fashion Nova is not committing any copyright infringement.

Regarding trade mark infringement, Fashion Nova is also presenting counterclaims since:

  • There is no likelihood of confusion between both products since there is no likelihood that consumers would believe that Versace is somehow connected or endorsing Fashion Nova. Why? The marks at issue are composed of functional elements that are not protected through trade dress.
  • Even if the trade mark/trade dress is valid, Fashion Nova is not using the prints or graphics at issue to indicate that the product is from Versace. No, apparently Fashion Nova is merely using it for decorative purposes, with no source-identifying purpose, therefore, no infringement.

What do you think? Let’s see how this ends.

This is all for today. Have a very nice week.

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