Weekly IP Buzz for week ending in July 20, 2018
Here's a summary of interesting developments in intellectual property, technology, social media, and Internet law for the week ending July 20, 2018.
Whataburger Versus Wonder Woman
What Do Whataburger and Wonder Woman Have In Common?
With the reemergence of Wonder Woman in popular media, Texas hamburger chain Whataburger has found itself embroiled in a potential trademark dispute with DC Comics over the ubiquitous “W” logo.
Since 1972, Whataburger has been using a “flying W” to represent its burger chain.
In 1985, DC Comics registered a similar flying W for use with Wonder Woman’s merchandising and comic books.
Although the logos were similar, Whataburger did not take issue with the registration because DC Comics’ use did not overlap with Whataburger’s use. More specifically, DC Comics did not register the logo for use with food and beverage at that time. As such, Whataburger did not seem to take issue with DC Comics’ registration of the logo despite the similarity in appearance. Read more about Trademark Enforcement.
Super Fight Over 'Superhero' Trademark
In this day and age, geek is chic. Superheroes and comic book characters dominate movies, video games, and even television shows now. Brands like DC Comics and Marvel have experienced a resurgence in popularity, and with it, new intellectual property disputes have taken front stage.
While the more common narrative in intellectual property law concerns licensing rights of superhero names and personas to movie studios, newer issues regarding branding and trademark rights have recently come to light. For instance, DC Comics made the news several times this year due to cease-and-desist letters they have sent out. Read more about Trademark Protection.
Does Online Privacy Persist through Death?
At the end of September, New York became the 20th state to pass the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (“RUFADAA”). The RUFADAA governs access and control to one’s digital assets upon death. In other words, the RUFADAA determines who may get access to your Google or Snapchat account after you die.
As estate law in the United States is regulated at the state level, currently no federal law specifically controls the distribution of one’s digital assets, and as such, experts anticipate that most states will adopt or pass some form of the RUFADAA by the end of 2017. Read more about Online Privacy.
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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.