Weekly IP Buzz for week ending March 30, 2018
Cryptocurrency Hacks; Urban Outfitters and Copyright Infringement; Trademark Squatting in China and Michael Jordan
Here's a summary of interesting developments in intellectual property, technology, social media, and Internet law for the week ending March 30, 2018.
Cryptocurrency Hack – Conversion under Texas Law?
This post discusses the elements of a claim for conversion under Texas law, and whether that type of claim would cover a cryptocurrency hack situation such as Bitcoin theft. As discussed below, a claim for cryptocurrency conversion likely would be treated by Texas courts similar to theft of a bank account or bank deposit such that Texas law would not recognize a claim for conversion of cryptocurrency or any other kind of digital currency. Plaintiffs should look to other Texas law to remedy such a theft. Read more about cryptocurrency.
Lessons from Urban Outfitters' Willful Copyright Infringement Case
In April 2017, Urban Outfitters and Century 21 were found liable for willful copyright infringement of a fabric design owned by Unicolors, Inc. Unicolors has filed over 60 lawsuits to enforce its copyright registrations in its fabric designs. The trial court awarded $164,400 in damages and $366,910.17 in fees and costs. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit upheld the infringement ruling and agreed with the district court that the striking similarity between the registrations and the accused designs allowed the court to infer that Urban copied the design even thought there was no evidence of Urban having access to the design. Importantly, the Ninth Circuit rejected Urban Outfitters’ argument that knowledge is a requirement of willful infringement, holding that reckless was sufficient. Read more about copyright infringement.
Trademark Squatting in China: Michael Jordan and Hope for Other Brands
Earlier this month, China’s Supreme People’s Court passed down a decision in favor of basketball star, Michael Jordan. Jordan had been waging a four-year battle with a Chinese sporting goods company, Qiaodan Sports Company, Ltd. (“Qiaodan”). In finding for Jordan, China’s Supreme People’s Court held that “Jordan” in its Chinese character equivalency still referred specifically to Michael Jordan, and as such, the Supreme People’s Court declined to maintain protection of the Qiaodan’s trademark that had been registered for use in multiple classes in connection with Jordan’s surname. In finding for Jordan, China’s Supreme People’s Court overturned the previous ruling of a lower court that had granted the protection to Qiaodan. Read more about trademark squatting.
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Darin M. Klemchuk is founder of Klemchuk LLP, a litigation, intellectual property, and transactional law firm located in Dallas, Texas. He also co-founded Project K, a charitable movement devoted to changing the world one random act of kindness at a time, and publishes Thriving Attorney, a blog dedicated to exploring the business of the practice of law, productivity and performance for attorneys, and other topics such as law firm leadership and management, law firm culture, and business development for attorneys.
Click to learn more about Darin M. Klemchuk's law practice as an intellectual property lawyer.