Is Gareth Bale ‘selling out?’

Commentary on intellectual property, data privacy, social and digital media developments

The IPO has recently approved footballer Gareth Bale’s application to trademark his ‘Eleven of Hearts’ goal celebration (pictured below). This means that Bale will be able to put the trademark on clothes, shoes, and jewellery, commoditising his image in the same way other football stars have in the past, including David Beckham and Cristiano Renaldo. While this will undoubtedly generate huge profits for Bale (and consequently for Real Madrid, who’ve just bought him from Tottenham Hotspurs for £93m), it’s lost him a lot of respect among his fans and this will be difficult to regain.

bale heartA lot of footballers have identifiable goal celebration gestures, ranging from the fairly normal (hugging teammates, fist pumps) to the downright bizarre (dancing, simulated sex acts).  Peter Crouch performs the ‘Robocrouch’ after scoring, and Cristino Luciarelli famously started humping his jersey in a 2007 match, much to the crowd’s amusement. Francesco Totti, Luis Garcia, and…

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Can I trademark my last name?

Briskin, Cross & Sanford - Business Law Blog

The short answer is, “Generally, no.”  People try it all the time, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office politely rejects the applications and keeps the filing fees.  If you disagree with the Trademark Office’s rejection, or if you think someone else is trying to grab your surname for a trademark and you want to file an opposition to their application (or even seek to cancel their mark if it has already registered), you can take it up with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, or TTAB.  Trademark litigation is a specialized type of practice that runs a bit like a federal court trial, though most of it happens in writing rather than “live and in person.”  A good illustration of this is the recent (January 7, 2013) case that pitted Mitchell Miller d/b/a The Miller Law Group against Michelle Miller d/b/a, you guessed it, The Miller Law Group.

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What Protection Of Traditional Knowledge Means To Indigenous Peoples

The Noah Project

By Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch

World Intellectual Property Organization member states in July concluded the biennium work of the committee tasked with finding agreement on international legal tools to prevent misappropriation and misuse of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore.

Indigenous peoples and local communities are holders of a substantial part of this knowledge and are demanding that it be protected against misappropriation but also against its use without their consent.

Intellectual Property Watch conducted two interviews with different indigenous groups attending the 15-24 July WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) (IPW, WIPO, 25 July 2013).

The IGC is working on the protection of genetic resources (GR), traditional knowledge (TK), and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs or folklore) against misappropriation mainly by commercial interestsOther concerns include knowledge that has been claimed for collection purposes, or research…

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In IP, Words Are All We Have.


Intellectual Property is strictly a creature of law and language- it exists only in word and in law. (Unless it also exists in ethics and metaphysics…)

Why do I keep writing about language on a blog about IP law and videogames? With most things we talk about in our day-to-day lives, there’s a tangible object that correlates to our discussion. If we argue about who owns a piece of land, a TV, a sandwich- there’s a THING that we can point to and say “THAT is what I’m talking about.” But there isn’t a physical object of “right to publish.” Sometimes there’s a contract, but the contract is only words- which brings us right back to language. The only “thing” we have is a linguistic representation of an intangible and [I argue] abstract idea.  For me, this sets IP law apart from every other type of law. And yet, IP…

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Copyright Alert System Begins

Astronomy and Law

The Copyright Alert System officially has begun. The system, also referred to as the “Six Strikes” program, is intended to deter copyright infringement committed through illegal file sharing.

The Center for Copyright Information (CCI) operates the alert system. Members of the coalition include the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc., the Recording Industry Association of America, and major ISPs, including AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon.

The system allows content owners to notify Internet service providers (ISPs) when they believe their copyrights are being infringed. The ISP will then notify the subscriber that his/her account may have been misused for potentially illegal file sharing. If the activity continues, the warnings issued to the subscriber will escalate and can ultimately result in “mitigation measures,” which include slowing the subscriber’s Internet connection.

Now that the program is officially underway, content holders can begin sending notices of alleged copyright infringement to…

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The Atlantic: Why Martin Luther King’s ‘Dream’ Speech Is So Hard to Find Online

Murray State Business

Students often assume everything they need is available online. Here’s an example of why that isn’t the case: Why Martin Luther King’s ‘Dream’ Speech Is So Hard to Find Online by Dustin Volz for The Atlantic.

Photo source: Library of Congress

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The Atlantic: Why Martin Luther King’s ‘Dream’ Speech Is So Hard to Find Online

Murray State Business

Students often assume everything they need is available online. Here’s an example of why that isn’t the case: Why Martin Luther King’s ‘Dream’ Speech Is So Hard to Find Online by Dustin Volz for The Atlantic.

Photo source: Library of Congress

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How New Zealand banned software patents without violating international law

Should Dr. King’s family be able to control his “I have a dream” speech?