Nov.-Dec. 2010 Quick Links, Part 1 (Trademarks and Advertising Edition)

By Eric Goldman

I have a big backlog of Quick Links from the last 2 months. I’ll post them over the next few days. I also have a backlog of other blog posts I need to write, especially my reassessment of my prediction of Wikipedia’s demise. I’ll get to those posts after I finish grading final exams.

An administrative note: This blog was named to the ABA Blawg 100 for the second year in a row, although oddly in the Legal Tech category. Many thanks for your continued readership. Feel free to vote in the popularity contest if you’d like. I voted for Techdirt and Not-So-Private Parts in their respective categories.


* Tiffany (NJ) Inc. v. eBay Inc, 2010 WL 3416635 (U.S. Nov 29, 2010). The Supreme Court denied cert in this long-running case. My prior blog post.

* FreecycleSunnyvale v. The Freecycle Network (9th Cir. Nov. 24, 2010). A rare ruling saying that a trademark owner (The Freecycle Network) abandoned its TMs due to naked licensing. If you have a logo license program, this is a good reminder to make sure you have both quality control provisions in the license agreement and actually exercise quality control. For more on naked licensing, see this article by my former colleague Irene Calboli.

* NYT on an auction of 170 “retro” trademarks revived just for auction purposes. About 2 dozen trademarks were sold for a total gross of $132k. Marty keeps it real about the auction’s validity.

* A fight over the name “Ernie’s Liquor” in Palo Alto.

* K.S.R. X-Ray Supplies, Inc. v. Southeastern X-Ray, Inc., 2010 WL 4317026 (S.D. Fla. Oct. 25, 2010). ACPA violation and $10k award when a competitor registers a slight variation of its competitor’s trademark as a domain name.

* Rebecca on a bizarre trademark battle over vehicle license plate designs.

* Sellify is appealing its loss against Amazon. My initial blog post.

* NYT: Star athletes are trying to trademark their catchphrases.

* B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., 2010 WL 4683725 (E.D. Ark. Nov. 10, 2010): “Here, the jury expressly found that B & B copied Hargis’ fastener photos and size/weight charts and posted them on its website as its own, thus causing Hargis to prevail on its cross-complaint for false advertising and false designation of origin. The Court finds B & B’s conduct focusing on the creation of a new website as well as its contacting Hargis customers, using metatags and purchasing domain sites using the term “sealtite” or phrases containing that term, introducing bogus design drawings into evidence of purported construction fasteners, and other conduct previously discussed, was a willful and deliberate attempt to manufacture evidence to support its trademark infringement claim. The Court finds this is an exceptional case in which the award of fees is justified.”

* NYT: A New York state law requires “the education commissioner’s consent for the words library, school, academy, institute and kindergarten, among others to be used in a certificate of incorporation or company name.” Thus, the incorporation papers for a library-themed chocolatier named “Chocolate Library” got bounced.

* I’m helping Paul Levy and Public Citizen try to unseal the “confidential” joint appendix in Rosetta Stone v. Google.


* The EU has opened an antitrust investigation into Google. I know that Google’s making too much money to just walk away from Europe, but I think both the EU and Google would live happier lives if they were to go their separate ways.

* Google is changing its ad label from “Sponsored Link” to “Ad.” Google has rolled this change out in Gmail, and I’ve also noticed a new ad unit right by the place where I archive or delete messages–sloppy clicking will earn Google a few extra pennies.

* Congress enacted the “CALM Act” to regulate the volume of TV commercials.

* California’s rules on Political Online Advertising. (see items 19 and 20)

* Seattle mandates an opt-out system for Yellow Pages book deliveries, which prompts a lawsuit. Meanwhile, Verizon wants to stop distributing white pages directories.

* The FTC approved the Reverb settlement over fake blog posts. Venkat’s prior blog post.

* In re Facebook PPC Advertising Litigation, 2010 WL 5174021 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 15, 2010). Facebook gets another dismissal without prejudice. The judge says:

To the extent that Plaintiffs allege that Facebook is subject to UCL liability merely because its filtering system is insufficient or ineffective, such allegations fail to state a claim….To the extent that Plaintiffs could allege that Facebook failed to employ any “filtering” system to protect against click fraud or knew but did not disclose that its system was subject to regular and frequent failure in excess of flaws inherent in such systems, they might state a claim.

Previous blog posts (1, 2).

* More detail on the Largo Cargo v. Google settlement.

* ClickZ: Still No Answers for Digital Pharma Marketers.

* Google is telemarketing local advertisers.