I’ve been looking for an excuse to blog about the upcoming third-installment of the Batman movie series directed by Christopher Nolan.  The Dark Knight Rises is set for a July release   Here is the trailer from YouTube.  I put Nolan’s first two films in the series, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, on my personal list of Top 10 Movies.  Yes, I like these movies that much.
Here is my excuse for blogging about Batman: a federal judge has ruled that Batman’s techno-ride, the Batmobile, may be subject to copyright protection.  Click here for the story.
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Tootsie Roll is a candy and the subject of a trademark lawsuit and a funny personal story.  First the more serious trademark tale.  Tootsie Roll is, of course, a well-recognized trademark. Can the makers of Tootsie Roll prevent a footwear company from using the name Footzyrolls?

What do you think?  Here is a picture of the products: 

The makers of Tootsie Rolls recently sued the company that makes Footzyrolls, footwear that can be rolled up.  Trademark infringement usually occurs when one party uses a trademark similar enough to another party’s mark that consumers confuse the two parties’ products or services. But can a case be made if the goods in question are very different, like candy and footwear?  Yes, if the mark being infringed is considered famous.  This is called trademark dilution.  For more information on trademark dilution, read this article.

Here is the personal Tootsie Roll story.  When I was about 14 years old our family took a vacation to Florida. One night on the trip we were hanging out in the hotel room. My parents had bought my younger sister and me a bag of the bite-size Tootsie Rolls. Like most siblings we had to make sure the bag was split exactly even.  One for her – one for me.  Two for her – two for me.  You get the point.  The division of the bag was completed successfully.

After I left with my portion of the goodies, my sister noticed something on the hotel room floor. A small brown object. She beamed with joy believing I had dropped one of my precious candies and that she could claim it as her own. She greedily picked it up and discovered it was not a Tootsie Roll at all; it was a dead cockroach!  She screamed. I laughed. Really hard. We still laugh about it now.

By the way, Roach Motel is a federally registered trademark for roach traps and not the high-quality hotel my parents selected.

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Fashion and Copyright

September 29, 2011

Should our copyright laws extend to fashion designs? The so-called Fashion Bill has been reintroduced in Congress.

Read more here.

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The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), owner of the mark DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS, recently sought a restraining order against the bookstore chain Barnes & Noble, Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Club USA and author Christie Craig over the sale of Craig’s romantic novel entitled “Don’t Mess With Texas“.  U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks denied the order and cited First Amendment rights, the relatively small amount of revenue involved, and the diversity between good and services.  Although TXDOT owns registration in the slogan for a wide variety of printed materials, books is not one of them.

For more details about this case, read the article, “Judge: Author Can ‘Mess with Texas’ All She Wants“.

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For the last two decades, there have been a relatively small number of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) on the Internet. A gTLD is essentially the part of the domain name after the dot. But the number of gTLDs is about to increase dramatically.  On June 20, 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced that beginning on January 12, 2012, companies and organizations will be able to register virtually any gTLD they choose – for a price. The initial registration will be $185,000, with an annual renewal fee of $25,000.

For details about the implications of this change, read the article “New Top-Level Domain Names Available”.

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