The federal government implemented the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (“DMCA”) to protect those that use copyrighted material in a digital format. This provides significant liability protection for those who host interactive online media.
“Service providers” are especially vulnerable to infringement. The DMCA defines a service provider as “an entity offering the transmission, routing, or providing of connections for digital online communications, between or among points specified by a user, of material of the user’s choosing, without modification to the content of the material as sent or received” and “a provider of online services or network access, or the operator of facilities therefore.”
Safe Harbor Protection
Unfortunately, copyright infringement is still valid even if you did not know the work was copyrighted. This is because the DMCA highlights this exact problem, and the responsibility of obtaining Safe Harbor protection is solely on the owner of the platform. It is especially important to apply for this protection if you do not know if your website has copyrighted material.
The DMCA protects work that is primarily displayed by service providers, which means your platform could be at risk for infringement without this protection. Copyrighted material on a website can include stock images, music, photography and others of the like.
The good news is that applying for Safe Harbor protection is quite simple. To achieve this, you’ll need to create a DMCA Designated Agent account and assign a registered agent. A registered agent can be anyone of your choosing, so once you’ve selected an agent, you can click on the following link to set up an account: https://dmca.copyright.gov/osp/p1.html. Once registered, your platform is immediately covered under Safe Harbor protection. This is an easy step to take to prevent an infringement headache waiting to happen.
Having trouble with copyright infringement?
Schedule a free consultation with Lloyd & Mousilli to discuss how to avoid committing infringement as well as how to protect yourself from infringers.
The metaverse is essentially an immersive experience that integrates the virtual world and reality, allowing users to interact with one another even if they are not physically in the same space. People can work, shop, and socialize in the metaverse the same way they do in real life. This inevitably translates to a digital economy; users can sell and purchase virtual products, like clothes and real estate, that only exist in the metaverse.
Who is trademarking in the Metaverse?
Major brands are preparing to enter the metaverse by trademarking their logos and products.
Nike has filed seven trademark applications with the USPTO in which the company indicated its intent to make and sell virtual apparel.
CVS Health filed to trademark its pharmacy and health clinics with the USPTO, intending to patent sales of virtual goods like wellness and beauty products, prescription drugs, and non-emergency medical services.
Walmart has filed several trademarks that indicate its intent to market virtual goods. In a separate filing, Walmart specified that it would offer customers NFTs and a virtual currency.
Most notably, Facebook has dedicated itself to total immersion in the metaverse. Last year, the company officially changed its name to Meta.
Why are trademarks in the Metaverse important?
Your intellectual property is valuable and should be protected- both physically and virtually. Creators are already taking advantage of the unprecedented circumstances created by the introduction of the metaverse. For example, third-parties filed two trademark applications last year to use Prada and Gucci logos on “downloadable virtual goods” on metaverse platforms. The third parties are unaffiliated with the real Prada and Gucci, but their attempt to capitalize on major brands in the metaverse marketplace is an indication of what is to come.
Shielding your brand’s name and image in the virtual world is crucial. Lloyd & Mousilli can guide you through the complexities of obtaining a trademark for use in the metaverse to ensure you are afforded the protection your brand is entitled to.
What protections does a trademark in the Metaverse offer?
Fraudulent use of your intellectual property by unaffiliated third parties can be detrimental to your brand’s image. The last thing you want is your customers being exposed to confusingly similar products being sold by infringers. A trademark will legally protect your brand in the event that your products or intellectual property are infringed upon. Even if your brand has already obtained trademark registrations for the “real world,” you should consider filing separate applications for those existing trademarks that cover distinct virtual goods and services. This will ensure that such rights are recognized and protected in the metaverse virtual marketplace.
How are trademarks in the Metaverse enforced?
The first course of action to enforce a trademark is typically to send a cease and desist letter to the infringer. If this is unsuccessful in stopping the infringement, the next step is to file a lawsuit. Trademarking in the metaverse is a relatively new concept so it is still too early to say exactly how trademark enforcement in the virtual world will unfold, but the general process of stopping an infringer will be the same. Lloyd & Mousilli is prepared to preserve the integrity of your brand by counseling you in the event of trademark infringement.
You Want In: Where Do You Start?
Filing a trademark application for your brand is the first step. Lloyd & Mousilli's trademark attorneys understand the complexities of intellectual property, as well as the intersection of technology and law. Book a consultation to discuss more in depth about the trademark process as it pertains to the metaverse.
Examiner interviews are the not-so-secret weapons of patent prosecution. If conducted strategically, an interview with your patent examiner can potentially be the driving force that leads to a successful registration.
An examiner interview can provide several benefits, including:
Examiners are only human; misunderstandings in the written communication between the examiner and the applicant can often be clarified with a face-to-face discussion. Your conversation may unearth information you otherwise would not have obtained. For example, your examiner may have misunderstood your claim as you’ve written them. A verbal explanation may provide the necessary clarity that the examiner was missing.
Cost and time reduction
On average, each Office Action response costs about $3,000. An interview with the examiner can potentially reduce the number of refusals issued against your application, saving you money and cutting down the prosecution time.
When and how can you request an interview?
Once a first refusal has been issued, patent applicants are entitled to an interview with their examiner. There are three ways to submit a request for an interview:
(3) Call your examiner directly to request an interview
Tips for a successful interview:
Simply attending the interview isn’t enough; preparation is key. Some ways to prepare for your interview are:
Prepare an itinerary
Come prepared. Examiner interviews are typically 30 minutes long - make the most of your time by being as concise and efficient as possible. Prepare an itinerary for your discussion, including all questions and arguments you have for the examiner.
Ask for input
An interview allows you to directly request the examiner’s recommendations for improving the claims in your application. For example, making note of the claim language the examiner uses is a strategic way to improve your arguments; they are not likely to reject their own language, so take advantage of this opportunity to receive their direct input.
Ready to take the plunge on a patent application?
Patent applications are tedious and complex. It can take the average person months to learn the ins and outs of patent prosecution. Applying on your own is always a risk, as one small mistake can lead to drastic consequences regarding cost and time delays.
Lloyd & Mousilli has dedicated intellectual property attorneys who are experienced in the patent application process. We can assist with the preparation and filing of your application, as well as offer strategic guidance on your overall intellectual property protection.
La Dart’s official complaint is largely predicated on her assertion that the stylistic elements of her book are not typical, and that they are not present within other published works. Therefore, she alleges that there is a substantially similar overall impression of the two works that constitutes infringement.
In order to prove her allegations, La Dart has the burden of proving two elements:
She owns a valid copyright
Swift copied constituent elements of La Dart’s original work
La Dart’s complaint establishes that she obtained a valid copyright registration for her book in 2010. The more difficult element to prove is the second, as it relies on La Dart using circumstantial evidence to support her claims.
For example, La Dart’s complaint asserts that Swift had “repeated and long-term access” to her book “Lover“ as it was available through various channels after its publication. If she is unable to provide evidence that the work was actually accessed, she must show that there is a “striking similarity” between her work and Swift’s.
La Dart claims that Swift’s album and accompanying book contain a “substantially similar” format, color scheme, and design. The identical titles, of course, are also at issue. The complaint also alleges that the photographs of the two women on the covers of their respective books are similar enough to warrant infringement, as they are each shown in an “upward pose.”
An additional element often used to prove copyright infringement is that the defendant sought commercial advantage or private financial gain. While La Dart’s complaint does not explicitly accuse Swift of such, it certainly implies it by referring to the considerable number of sales and subsequent monetary gains of Swift’s Lover album.
The complaint, filed on August 23rd, 2022, declares that La Dart has been irreparably harmed by Swift’s album. She is seeking $1 million in damages, as well as Swift’s profits attributable to the infringement. At the time of this publication, there were currently no substantive updates on the case.
Injunctive Relief is a court-ordered act or prohibition against an act that has been requested in a petition to the court for an injunction. Usually, injunctive relief is granted only after a hearing at which both sides have an opportunity to present testimony and legal arguments (NOLO, n.d.).
What is a Temporary Restraining Order?
A Temporary Restraining Order is a court order that prevents someone from committing a certain action endorsed by the court. This type of order has a specified time limit and does not exceed 14 days, unless the court sets a time before that date.
What is a Permanent Injunction?
A Permanent Injunction is a court order that a person or entity take certain actions or refrain from certain activities. A permanent injunction is typically issued once a lawsuit over the underlying activity is resolved, as distinguished from a preliminary injunction, which is issued while the lawsuit is pending (NOLO, n.d.). Injunctions are decisions made by the court commanding or preventing a specific act. This is useful in Intellectual Property disputes when parties are arguing over ideas and intellectual rights owned by one of the parties.
When there is a patent, copyright, or trademark owned by a party, that party can prove to the court that they own that property protected by the law. With this document stating they own the rights to the specific property, they are able to request a permanent injunction from the court to prevent another party from using their property.
For example, if you owned a trademark for the company name “Amazing Star”, and you noticed that a store opened with the name “Amazing Star” across the street from your business then they would be infringing on your entity’s trademark. In order to receive injunctive relief from the court, you will need to provide the trademark declaration to the court for proof of ownership.
What does a Business need to prove to get a preliminary injunction awarded?
First, you must decide if your case should be heard in State or Federal Court. This can be deciphered by determining the questions or diversity involved in your case. Inter-state issues should be filed in Federal Court, whereas issues that are within state jurisdictions should be filed in state courts.
Once you have decided if the case should be filed in State or Federal Court, it would be beneficial to decide which court you would like to petition to hear the case. This is a crucial step to ensure that the judge you decide to request a hearing from is willing to hear – and potentially grant your case.
How Do I Request an Injunction?
Prepare Your Complaint
To begin your request to the court, you would likely want to start with the complaint. This is beneficial to the judge overseeing the case because it will give the judge an idea of what to expect during the hearings and the duration of the trial. You should be as descriptive as possible in your complaint, but not excessive. This complaint will be attached to the petition that is filed with the court.
Review Applicable Rules
Before you submit your petition to the court, you want to ensure that you have reviewed the local rules of the court. This will help to have a better understanding of how the process would go moving forward in the case. Most courts post their local rules on their respective websites. These rules are usually issued by the presiding judge and abided by their associates.
Proceed with Filing
Once you have reviewed all the facts needed and verified that you have included all necessary points, you can proceed with filing with the court. After reviewing all the rules associated with the court, you can adjust accordingly for a likely outcome. (American Bar Association, n.d.).
A Preliminary Injunctive Relief can benefit the Plaintiff in an Intellectual Property Dispute by bringing the seriousness of the damages to the court’s attention. This is most useful when there are other parties involved that seek to steal or misuse property that would otherwise cause the Plaintiff’s company harm. A Preliminary Injunction MUST show that the Plaintiff will suffer irreparable harm unless the injunction is granted.
If your request for a preliminary injunction is denied by the court, and sufficient evidence has been provided, the party requesting the preliminary injunction may file and interlocutory appeal (an appeal that occurs before the trial court’s final ruling on the entire case). There are three reasons that must be met in order to complete an interlocutory appeal. First, the order must have conclusively determined the disputed question. Second, the order must “resolve an issue completely separate from the merits of the action. Finally, the order must be “effectively unreviewable on appeal from a final judgment.” (Cornell Law School, n.d.)
Lloyd & Mousilli Can Help
This may seem like a lot of information, but there are resources out there to help with the questions you have. Selecting the best attorney that suits your needs and has the experience you need to get this case through is a hard task. At Lloyd & Mousilli, we are here to help get you through the difficult times and strive to get you the best outcome for you and your company.
While driving down the road, you might recognize that a McDonald’s is approaching your line of sight by identifying the infamous “golden arches” at the forefront of your dashboard. With this iconic symbol pinned at nearly every intersection, it is difficult not to recognize the fact that McDonald’s has some pretty serious brand establishment.
It is no easy feat to accomplish this type of remunerative stature, however, the process of protecting a brand’s identity is a great way to start. Submitting a trademark application is one of the first things a business can do to establish an economic profile and jump start a brand’s identity.
The word “trademark” can refer to both trademarks and service marks. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) defines a trademark as a word, phrase, symbol, design or a combination of any of the aforementioned that defines goods or services. This is how consumers are likely able to identify a brand from other potential competitors and can also protect a business from its economic rivalries.
With that said, any business entity or individual can apply for a trademark. It is an essential part of protecting a company’s intellectual property and can emphasize the marketability of a business.
Filing a Trademark Application
During the process of filing a trademark application, the mark will be evaluated as to whether it is registrable, and how difficult it will be to protect. After this has been determined, the application will be submitted to the USPTO for review and approval.
From this point forward, the proposed mark will live in the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) while awaiting review. TESS is a trademark database that allows anyone in the world to search for trademarks that have been registered or applied for in the United States. This platform is used to show the public what trademarks are currently awaiting registration, and which of those already have a registered status. This also give entities a closer look into the current climate of what companies are looking to register as their own mark.
Such as any publicly searchable database, TESS provides a great deal of public exposure to pending trademark applications, which can be a huge topic of concern for high-profile companies. Big fish brands have to go through the same process of filing a trademark application just like any other business, so a considerable amount of time, strategy and analysis goes into selecting the best course of action for submitting a trademark.
Concealing a Trademark Application
Recently, companies have gotten more sophisticated with how they approach submitting their trademark applications. With society’s ever-growing concern for the next big product, it has become harder and harder for brands to mask their newest creations inside the world of the internet, thus requiring concealment. The most recent example of a successful trademark concealment can be found in Apple’s latest addition to their tech roster, the iPhone 14.
September 16, 2022 marked the release of the new and improved iPhone 14, with some pretty distinctive upgrades. Most notably, what was once was a thick black indent on the top of the screen is now an interactive touch bar titled the Dynamic Island. This new upgrade allows the user to engage with the screen in a multitude of variations that are not privy to older iPhone generations.
Apple is no stranger to trademarks, so it can be assumed that their strategy on filing certain trademark applications is razor sharp. The submission of the Dynamic Island trademark was kept well under wraps without an inkling of potential for pre-exposure, and many ask how this was possible given the highly anticipated launch of the tech giant’s newest addition to the iPhone dynasty.
This concept of concealing trademark applications to prevent pre-exposure has become an increasingly used tactic amongst many big named brands. TESLA is another example of a very established company that utilizes this tactic to conceal their latest and greatest trademark. Other companies use this approach to prevent competitors from searching for technology gold.
With that, there are certain strategies you can implement into a trademark application to prevent the general public from viewing and potentially replicating a mark. Trademark concealment is most commonly utilized when a brand wants anonymity during the process of waiting for a trademark registration, which has consistently been met with success. This is accompanied by using foreign priority rights to keep the trademark filing a secret.
What is Section 44(d)?
Section 44(d) of the Trademark Act has allowed companies to jump over the hurdle of having their trademark applications displayed in the Trademark Electronic Search System by filing their trademark application in a foreign country such as Jamaica, or in any other country that does not have an online database viewable to the public. If someone wanted to view the recent trademark applications in Jamaica, they would need to go the physical Jamaican trademark office. This provides an extra layer of effort and determination for scouters to cross through in attempting to leak a mark.
Now, subject to scrutiny and public opinion, this loophole does not have a very long shelf-life. If a company intends on having their mark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, it is required that trademark applicants file with the U.S. claiming priority to the trademark within 6-months of filing the foreign application. Given the fact that the majority of brands use this tactic to prepare for the release of major products, the concern of the concealment lifespan is marginal to most.
Section 44(d) gives companies practically 6-months of secrecy to prepare for any necessary actions before the trademark is officially released as public record in the U.S. Whether that be a media event or a soft social media launch, it is imperative to a business that their secrets remain well hidden- and rightfully so.
This is an extremely useful way for brands to maintain the integrity of their most prized trademark applications, and a beneficial tool to utilize when there is concern over competitor poaching. If this alternative did not exist, some of our most beloved products might not be what they are today.
The protection of your trademark is one of Lloyd & Mousilli’s highest priorities. Our seasoned legal counselors can provide you with the necessary tools required to file a successful trademark application and maintain the integrity of your intellectual property.
In the e-commerce space, the available options are limitless for the consumer. There are endless amounts of products available from anywhere at any time, which is why brand identity is critical in the online marketplace. Considering the tremendous amount of e-commerce companies, there is always the possibility of infringement. This is why it is important that the consumer knows exactly who they are purchasing from.
What is the Amazon Brand Registry?
The Amazon Brand Registry is a program that assists brand owners in protecting their intellectual property on Amazon. The most pertinent feature in this context is its Project Zero Program. Once infringement is proven, the program allows you to blacklist those infringing users.
Why is Amazon's Brand Registry important?
A popular seller on Amazon is bound to attract infringing parties who seek to capitalize on that brand’s reputation and loyal customer base. The infringing party may produce subpar products and deliver poor customer service. This can result in financial loss and a damaged reputation for the true brand. A trademark registration, however, gives the Amazon seller recourse to take action against the infringing party.
Establishing a trusted brand that customers will return to is key, and the first step is to ensure that your brand identity is protected by a trademark registration. This will safeguard both your brand’s identity as well as your customers from infringing parties. Joining Amazon's Brand Registry gives you the ability to report those infringing listings to keep your brand safe, and your customers satisfied.
How do I join Amazon’s Brand Registry?
To be listed on the registry, your brand must have an active, registered trademark through one of the following government trademark offices: United States, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Australia, India, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Turkey, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Poland, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the United Arab Emirates.
Once you’ve obtained a trademark registration, you may apply for the registry.
How do I obtain a trademark registration?
Applying for a trademark:
Obtaining a trademark begins with filing an application. Lloyd & Mousilli specializes in intellectual property and can assist you with the trademark application process from start to finish. We will guide you through the process of crafting a goods and services description and selecting appropriate evidence of use. Additionally, our seasoned attorneys are well equipped to advise you on overall IP strategy.
Click here to book a free consultation with a member of our trademark team.
Can I join Amazon's Brand Registry if my application is pending?
There is a loophole that allows some sellers to apply to Amazon’s Brand Registry even if their trademark is not officially registered yet. Sellers in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and India are eligible to apply to the registry while their trademark is pending in the application/examination phase. This is especially advantageous considering the registration process is currently averaging 8 to 12 months for United States applicants.
If you are in one of the above mentioned countries, your brand is eligible to apply to the registry as soon as your trademark application is pending.
How Lloyd & Mousilli can help
Protecting your intellectual property is critical to maintaining your brand’s identity. Our experienced counsel can guide you through the trademark application process to ensure you have the greatest likelihood of achieving registration. We are well-versed in the Amazon Brand Registry process and are ready to help you claim your place on the registry.
Geoffrey the Giraffe is casting an ominous shadow over one Texas family.
Last summer, almost immediately following the news that Toys “R” Us and Macy’s were teaming up to relaunch the iconic toy store in the U.S., The Toy Bookreported on a detour from that forward movement as Tru Kids Brands Inc. — the WHP Global-owned parent of the Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us brands — took a step backward and filed a lawsuit against an independent toy store in New Jersey.
At the time, Tru Kids alleged “trademark infringement” as the store, Toys & Beyond, had moved into the space that was previously occupied by one of the two, short-lived Toys “R” Us concept stores that opened in partnership with b8ta in 2019. At the center of the complaint were issues regarding the colorful logo of Toys & Beyond and the reuse of fixtures and signage, including Geoffrey’s Treehouse, Geoffrey’s Magical Mirror, and the Play Around Theater, that were left behind when Toys “R” Us abandoned the space at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in January 2021.
On Oct. 25, 2021, The Toy Book was first alerted to a nearly identical lawsuit filed in Texas against TOYZ, a family-owned toy store that opened nearly 20 years ago. Farida Afzal immigrated to Houston from Pakistan and built a business that eventually grew to include a distribution arm and several retail stores, including a small location on the lower level of Simon Property Group’s Galleria Mall.
In its response to the complaint filed by attorneys at Baker Botts on behalf of Tru Kids Brands, Afzal Ali Enterprises, Inc. dba TOYZ noted that its store peacefully co-existed with Toys “R” Us during the time that both stores were open in the Galleria. According to the response, the scuffle began months after Toys “R” Us closed, when the Galleria landlord offered TOYZ the opportunity to expand into the former Toys “R” Us store.
In Texas, it appears that Judge Charles Eskridge might agree.
On August 23, Judge Eskridge issued a scathing order against Tru Kids Brands and Toys “R” Us.
In the filing, Judge Eskridge denies a motion by Tru Kids to amend its complaint against TOYZ, stating that “the motion itself evinces undue delay and dilatory motive,” and that “the motion could also be considered abusive.”
“Toys ‘R’ Us is trying to shutter a family-owned toy store in an attempt to set a precedent for shutting down any toy store in the country that has a multi-colored logo,” Lema Barazi, lead attorney representing TOYZ for Lloyd & Mousilli tells The Toy Book. “We must — and I am confident that we will — prevail against Toys ‘R’ Us in its malicious tactics of burying small businesses in protracted litigation based on frivolous and overreaching trademark claims.”
And the tactics being used by Tru Kids brands are under scrutiny by the court itself.
Judge Eskridge says in his order that “substantial question exists regarding whether Tru Kids has initiated this action primarily for the purpose of harassing or maliciously injuring a competitor, and whether it is using the law’s procedures only for legitimate purposes.”
Tru Kids Brands was ordered “to provide by Sept. 13, 2022, an iteration of all actions it has initiated against any defendant worldwide since acquiring its interest in the Toys ‘R’ Us brand in January 2019, wherein it has alleged claims, as here, of trademark and trade-dress infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition, or unjust enrichment relating to Toys ‘R’ Us intellectual property,” Judge Eskridge declared.
Attorneys for Tru Kids Brands did file documents to meet the Sept. 13 deadline but they did so in a sealed filing. Ahead of the deadline, The Toy Book reached out to WHP Global/Tru Kids Brands on Sept. 12, but the company did not respond to a request for comment.
While the legal dance continues to play out in court, Toys “R” Us is continuing to open its new store-within-a-store concepts in every Macy’s store ahead of an Oct. 15 completion date. Both the Galleria in Houston and the Westfield Garden State Plaza in New Jersey have Macy’s stores that are set to include Toys “R” Us departments.
Although Toys & Beyond closed its store in New Jersey, the space is currently occupied by yet another toy store: CAMP.
School children, college students, and professionals alike have all turned to the internet to find “just the right image” for a project or presentation at one time or another. With tens of thousands of options to choose from, it can be tempting to simply screenshot the one that stands out the most and be on our way…however as one of our recent clients discovered – that can have pretty stressful consequences.
A recent client of Lloyd & Mousilli’s contacted our firm after receiving what at first, she thought was scam correspondence from a copyright enforcement company. The correspondence related to her use of a “stock” image as part of a senior project from her university days…it appeared the owner of the photography she captured from an internet search had hired an enforcement agency to make demand and collect for the unlicensed use of his work. After receiving multiple communications from them, she sought out our counsel for peace of mind that “this was really nothing to worry about.”
Unfortunately for her, after a review, we determined that these were valid infringement claims on behalf of the original photographer. The images had been taken from an internet search and were clearly marked as registered copyrights. Just because an image can be found, does not mean it should be reproduced, even for non-commercial use, such as a school project.
What is a stock photo?
Stock photos, while generally available on the internet, are still pay to use creative works. The fees are typically determined based on type and duration of the intended use. For example, you might wish to run an artist’s photo as the heading on a particular issue of your newsletter and that would come with a fixed cost. If you then decided you also wanted to use the image on your website, it would require another negotiation and payment. All use is considered different and must be contemplated for and agreed to avoid infringement allegations.
What is a royalty free photo?
Royalty free photos typically come from a specific database where a one-time price is paid, and the image is then yours to use however you would like for as long as you would like. When using a royalty free image, there is no residual cost if you decide to increase or vary the way you are utilizing the photo in your projects or presentations.
The upside to using stock photography lies in the restrictions on their use. If you are planning a marketing campaign and wish to use a specific image – you can negotiate different rates to exclusive use of that image within your geographic area or industry. Before purchasing, you can often ask the agency who else is using the image and for what duration and purpose. This can help avoid duplicative branding, which can hurt the campaign due to confusion even if it’s lawful.
Understanding Photograph Ownership
Before clicking, screenshotting, editing, copying or in any way using a photograph on the internet it is a worthwhile endeavor to figure out who it belongs to. The internet and social media have made circulation and virality of creative work easier than ever before – but with that comes risk. Creators want to maintain control of the work and often may not seek enforcement until much later when potential infringement comes to their attention. This means that just because you may have escaped detection for now, doesn’t mean their may not be artists out their with legitimate claims against you, such as our recent client described above.
Intellectual Property as a Strategy
No matter which side of a copyright controversy you may find yourself, Lloyd & Mousilli prides itself in finding the best resolution possible. It is much easier to proactively make sound decisions such as verifying the owners of creative work before putting it into use or procuring the proper licenses to images.
Already accused of infringement?
If you have already received a cease and desist and demand for damages related to improper use of images– do not delay in reaching out to an intellectual property attorney. The potential damages continue to increase in connection with the length of improper use. In the event you have been wrongfully accused, you will need representation to defend the claims as well. As stated above, these are often legitimate claims and they will not go away on their own.
HOUSTON, TX – PIXI Universal, LLC (“PIXI”) was recently informed by TMZ reporters that Viacom International Inc. (“Viacom”), owner of the SpongeBob SquarePants franchise (“SpongeBob”), filed a lawsuit against PIXI for operating the whimsical, pop-up restaurant known as The Rusty Krab in Houston, Texas.
“The Rusty Krab is a parody restaurant concept inspired by SpongeBob giving it a new comedic purpose within the context of a restaurant. While Intellectual property law is complex, it is not a “secret formula.” Per U.S. copyright and trademark law, parody squarely fits into the fair use doctrine, which provides for the legal, unlicensed use of copyrighted material,” said Feras Mousilli, managing partner of Lloyd & Mousilli, the law firm defending PIXI against Viacom’s allegations.
“We have extensive experience prosecuting and defending against intellectual property infringement claims. It’s our bread and butter, so to speak. As with all of our cases, we intend on advocating zealously for PIXI,” added Lloyd & Mousilli’s litigation partner, Lema Barazi, who will serve as the lead attorney representing PIXI in court.
Unfortunately, Viacom asserts rather porous claims that The Rusty Krab misleads consumers to believe the restaurant is affiliated with Viacom’s SpongeBob franchise.
“Ever since Pop-Ups by PIXI started, we have clearly stated that we have no affiliation with the brands we are parodying. As with our prior well-known pop-ups, and with the Rusty Krab, potential customers are made aware prior to purchasing tickets that there is no affiliation to the brand itself,” said Sanju Chand, President of PIXI Universal, LLC.
The Rusty Krab is a place for fans of all ages to indulge in a paradoxical world reminiscent of SpongeBob SquarePants, as told through the eyes of PIXI.