Tag Archives: Internet

GOOGLE and Genericide

It was bound to happen that someone would take a swipe at Google, claiming that the registered trademark should be cancelled because people use the word as a verb in a “generic” and “indiscriminate” way, which constitutes “genericide.”  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the effort. Here is a synopsis of the Ninth Circuit’s reasoning, as posted by Justia:

“U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Opinions
Elliott v. Google, Inc.
Docket: 15-15809
Opinion Date: May 16, 2017
Judge: Richard C. Tallman
Areas of Law: Intellectual Property, Internet Law, Trademark
A claim of genericness or “genericide,” where the public appropriates a trademark and uses it as a generic name for particular types of goods or services irrespective of its source, must be made with regard to a particular type of good or service. Plaintiffs petitioned for cancellation of the GOOGLE trademark under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1064(3), based on the ground that it is generic. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Google, Inc., holding that plaintiffs failed to recognize that a claim of genericide must always relate to a particular type of good or service, and that plaintiffs erroneously assumed that verb use automatically constitutes generic use; the district court correctly framed its inquiry as whether the primary significance of the word “google” to the relevant public was as a generic name for internet search engines or as a mark identifying the Google search engine in particular; the assumption that a majority of the public uses the verb “google” in a generic and indiscriminate sense, on its own, could not support a jury finding of genericide under the primary significance test; and plaintiffs have failed to present sufficient evidence in this case to support a jury finding that the relevant public primarily understands the word “google” as a generic name for internet search engines and not as a mark identifying the Google search engine in particular.

You can read the entire opinion here: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/…/opini…/2017/05/16/15-15809.pdf.

Eric Goldman’s analysis can be found here: http://blog.ericgoldman.org/…/google-gets-big-ninth-circuit…

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HIRING: IP & ENTERTAINMENT ATTORNEY

Our Santa Barbara firm is growing, and we are looking to immediately hire a full-time, career oriented attorney with 3 – 14 years’ experience to join the team. We have an eclectic practice, the foci of which are entertainment (filmed entertainment, music, publishing, and licensing), non-patent intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets), Internet, business, and litigation in state and federal courts. We work with entrepreneurs, start-ups, and maturing companies, serving as outside general counsel, and represent a wide variety of businesses, including multi-media companies, music publishing companies, film and music producers, artists, photographers, songwriters, and others. We are looking for someone wanting a high quality, high energy, low key environment, who values relationships, innovation, and technology; is resourceful; and operates (or is willing to operate) on the principle that “THERE IS NO BOX.” Law review, great writing skills, and/or equivalent problem-solving and collaboration skills are highly valued here. We are willing and able to mentor the right person in any areas that may be needed. A book of business (small, medium, or large) is welcomed, although not necessary. This position is open now. Please let us know if you are the right person or know someone who is.  You may send resumes and writing samples to miblawgrp@gmail.com.  Please view our website at mbergerlaw.com and our LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewberger/ for more information about who we are and what we do.

Net Neutrality Rules Upheld

The Net Neutrality Rules have been upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals: https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-appeals-court-rejects-challenge-obama-net-neutrality-142305055–finance.html?ref=gs.  It appears that everyone on the Internet is going to get to be treated the same.

Some Legal Issues About Websites

Most every business now has a website, among the purposes of which are to attract customers, disseminate information to attract customers and inform the population, provide the means for customers to purchase products and/or services, and to become better known as a credible expert in a chosen field, ultimately to attract customers. A brief survey of websites reveals some similarities, broken down into two categories: those with Terms of Use and Privacy Policies, and those without.

It may seem like a small thing, but the consequences of not having Terms of Use and Privacy Policies on the webpages may have serious repercussions. This is especially so when the website provides an opportunity for its visitors to leave Personal Identifiable Information (PII), such as an e-mail address, when subscribing to a blog; or name, address, telephone number, and credit card information when purchasing a product through eCommerce. California and Federal law each impose various requirements, and additional requirements are imposed when there is a likelihood that children 13 and under may visit the site. There are other areas that require compliance, such as rules promulgated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding endorsements and testimonials, as well as misleading and deceptive advertising.

The Womens’ Economic Ventures (WEV) maintains an online library of webinars and other materials, including a webinar that the Matthew I. Berger Law Group presented on the Legalities of Websites. The following are the links that will begin the download of the files for the audio portion: http://wevonline.org/index.php/about-wev/learning-library/doc_download/352-legalities-of-web-sites, and the PDF file containing the slides: http://wevonline.org/index.php/about-wev/learning-library/doc_download/351-legalities-of-web-sites-pdf. If you would like to merely browse the library, click here: http://wevonline.org/index.php/about-wev/learning-library/cat_view/48-main-categories/49-thrive-in-five/37-webinars

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the many areas of compliance for all aspects of eCommerce, the Internet, and websites. Our phone number is (805) 456-1200 You can find us on the web at www.mbergerlaw.com.

Author’s Guild Case Against Google Dismissed

The case brought by the Author’s Guild and others against Google for copyright infringement relative to the Google Books and Library Project has been dismissed by the Court following the grant of summary judgment for Google.  The case sought damages on behalf of authors arising out of Google’s scanning of more than twenty million books, the delivery of digital copies to participating libraries, the creation of an electronic database of books, and the making of text available for online searching through the use of “snippets.”  Most of the books were protected by U.S. Copyright Law, and Google did not obtain permission from the copyright holders.

The Court (Circuit Judge Chin of the the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York [Manhattan]) granted Google’s Motion for Summary Judgment (and denied the Author’s Guild’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment).  Assuming that the Author’s Guild had established a prima facie case of copyright infringement against Google under 17 U.S.C. section 106, the Court found that Google’s effort provided significant public benefits and, upon consideration of the four Fair Use factors set forth in 17 U.S.C. section 107, ruled that Google’s actions were Fair Use.

The entire opinion, which contains a very good analysis of the Fair Use defense, can be found through http://www.pacer.gov/, and likely will be posted by others soon.  The case name and number are Authors Guild v. Google, 1:05-cv-08136. More news articles are available on the Internet for your information.

We shall see whether the ruling is affirmed on appeal.

Federal Trade Commission Rules: Endorsements & Testimonials on the Web: Watch What You Tweet

The Federal Trade Commission has issued rules regarding disclosures required for endorsements.  As can be seen, these rules apply to Twitter tweets, as well as Facebook, individual websites, and the like.  This article is very instructive and should be heeded by everyone who posts endorsements of products, investments, or services: http://www.martindale.com/labor-employment-law/article_Haynes-Boone….Endorsements on the Web.