1. Ninth Circuit Finds Jack Daniel’s-Style Dog Toy is Expressive Work 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision in VIP Products LLC v. Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. in which the appellate court vacated a permanent injunction preventing sales of a “Bad Spaniels Silly Squeaker” dog toy after finding that the toy styled to look like a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey is an expressive work entitled to First Amendment protections. VIP Products (“VIP”) sells the “Bad Spaniels Silly Squeaker” dog toy, which resembles a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Black Label Tennessee Whiskey, but has light-hearted, dog-related alterations. After Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. (“Jack Daniel’s”) demanded that VIP cease selling the toy, VIP sought a declaration that the toy did not infringe Jack Daniel’s trademark rights, or, in the alternative, that Jack Daniel’s trade dress and bottle design were not entitled to trademark protection. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that the district court erred in finding that the Bad Spaniels toy was not an expressive work.  

2. Ice Cube sues Robinhood over an image in a newsletter

Californian rapper and actor Ice Cube has filed a lawsuit against stock trading platform Robinhood for the alleged unauthorised use of his image to promote its “garbage trading platform”. Ice Cube, legal name O’Shea Jackson Sr., points to a March 8 blog post on Robinhood Snacks, a daily newsletter dedicated to finance. The post—titled “Why are tech stocks falling?”—features a still shot from the 2007 film Are We Done Yet? co-starring Ice Cube and John C. McGinley. The image is captioned with “Correct yourself, before you wreck yourself,” an obvious reference to Ice Cube’s 1992 hit “Check Yo Self.” The complaint goes on to mention Robinhood’s role in the GameStop saga, and the company’s controversial decision to freeze trading for some investors. The lawsuit states that Ice Cube’s image and likeness has been misappropriated to promote Robinhood’s products and services and to things which Ice Cube would not want to attach his image and likeness. 

3. Shimla Lad Files for Eight Patents 

In a rare feat, a local lad from Fagu in the suburbs of Shimla, Piyush Chauhan, who is pursuing masters in computer designing, manufacturing and robotics from the Chandigarh University, has developed innovative devices in 3D printing, biomedical and automobile sectors and filed eight patents. He has filed patents in all three categories — product, process and material — and his innovations include non-rotating cardholder apparatus, liquid dispensing device for 3D printers, filament feeding device, vehicle occupant supporting apparatus, cloth drying apparatus, patient immobilisation apparatus, automobile defogging apparatus and fins straightening device. “The patient immobilisation apparatus is useful for immunisation of small children under which vacuum is created in the buckles which restrict the movement of kids and helps in keeping the patient stable for injecting the injection,” he said.

4. WWE Files Trademark for Kushida 

WWE has filed a trademark for the ring name “Kushida”. Kushida is currently being used by Yujiro Kushida, a Japanese professional wrestler and mixed martial artist who is part of NXT. The trademark was filed on March 29 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The usage description is for “entertainment services, namely, wrestling exhibitions and performances by a professional wrestler and entertainer”. This is usually the usage description used when the WWE or any other wrestling promotion is attempting to trademark a ring name or performer nickname. Before he began wrestling in WWE, Kushida was already making a name for himself as part of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). He is a former six-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and a two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion. He won the Best of the Super Juniors Tournament twice, in 2015 and 2017. Kushida signed with WWE in 2019, making his in-ring debut in May. He is currently embroiled in a storyline feud with Pete Dunne over who is the better technical wrestler. The two will have a singles match on Night 1 (April 7) of NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver.

5. Nike wins lawsuit against Lil Nas X’s ‘Satan Shoes’ with human blood

Nike had asked a federal court in New York to stop MSCHF from selling a particular brand of shoes in a trademark infringement case. The shoes were produced by them in partnership with rapper Lil Nas X. The trainers featured a drop of human blood on the soles, an inverted cross, a pentagram, and the words “Luke 10:18,”. The federal court granted a temporary restraining order against the sale of the trainers produced by MSCHF. The lawsuit has come to an end with Nike winning the battle against the art collective MSCHF.

6. We have copyright over Dalai Lama reincarnation: Tibetan govt-in-exile prez

The Tibetan Government has dismissed the Chinese claims on appointing the next Dalai Lama and has stated that it is the Tibetans who have copyright over his reincarnation. They also stated that Beijing has plans to have a “duplicate” copy. Sangay who is the political successor to Dalai Lama responded to questions relating to this by saying “for almost 1000 years, we the Tibetans have selected our own reincarnate lamas, including the Dalai Lamas. So we have the patent and copyright over reincarnation. So we are the original and Chinese will have duplicates. Original hota hai, duplicate, duplicate.” 

7. Vietnam boosts intellectual property index score

The Intellectual Property index which is released by the US Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center has stated that Vietnam’s score has jumped from 36.62%  to 37.49%. For reaching a trade agreement with the EU last year, Vietnam has earned a higher score. Vietnam now ranks in the 41st position. The category in which it performed the best was International Treaties. Whereas, it performed the worst in design rights.

8. Chinese short video platform advances music copyright protection

It was announced in late March that a short video platform in China called Kuaishou announced a new set of copyright clearance standards for music that will apply to both short video and live stream services. Music Royalties can also be collected by Composers, Lyricists and independent artists and that there is no ceiling for income. This is the first time such a platform created music royalties for both short videos and live streams.

Image Sources:

  1. IPwatchdog.
  2. Adam Bielawski on Wikimedia
  3. Numerounovedant on Wikimedia
  4. WWE on Wikimedia
  5.  Carolyn Davidson On wikimedia
  6. Gerd Eichmann On wikimedia
  7. Bag of Anything On wikimedia
  8. Drawn by User:Cheetahze Drawn by User:SKopp, redrawn by User:Denelson83 and User:Zscout370 On wikimedia