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*First Twitter Trademark Infringement Case Settled

The settlement between Twitter and La Russ a isn’t a big surprise as the (trademark infringement) claim against Twitter wasn’t very strong but it is interesting that emphasis had been placed on the fact that “no money has changed hands“. In my opinion Twitter has been very lucky that their first case was such an easy one and they managed to avoid a “bad precedent”.

A more detailed analysis of the case can be found on Law.com,  or SPAMNOTES.

*First Trademark Infringement Case Against Fake Twitter Account

I was already wondering when this would happen. I’m a bit late reporting it, but according to Jim Salter of the The Associated Press he story goes like this:

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is suing the social-networking site Twitter, [the complaint can be accessed >>here<<] claiming an unauthorized page that used his name [...] damaged his reputation and caused emotional distress. [...] The lawsuit claims that someone created a false account under La Russa’s name and posted updates, known as “tweets,” that gave the false impression that the comments came from La Russa. The suit said the comments were “derogatory and demeaning” and damaged La Russa’s trademark rights. The account bearing La Russa’s name is no longer active. The lawsuit includes a screen shot of three tweets. One posted on April 19 said: “Lost 2 out of 3, but we made it out of Chicago without one drunk driving incident or dead pitcher.

I am wondering if La Russa can really prove that his “trademark rights” got infringed as the fake La Russa account was not selling any products or services. This will make it difficult to prove consumer confusion. I am more of the opinion that maybe his personality rights got infringed, while bearing in mind that the fake account was according to Balasubramani clearly labeled ad a parody and thus should thus be protected by Fair Use  / The First Amendment.

As the parties are apparently  unwilling to settle, let’s  see how the Superior Court of California in San Francisco decides.

If you are interested in this issue you might be interested in Venkat Balasubramani‘s opion on this case.

*Grabbed Facebook Vanity URLs offered on the web for sale

In a post about two weeks ago I’ve pondered about the fact that facebook users might “grab” Vanity URLs  anf thus infringe thrid party trademark rights. So it happened and accoring to Jenna Wortham of the NY-Times some of these grabbed domains (eg. Facebook.com/Nasa, Facebook.com/iPhones and Facebook.com/HPComputers; for more please click >>here<<) have already been offered on a Assetize, a marketplace for Web domains, Twitter and Web accounts.

Picture 1

Facebook has already acknowledged the issue and Mr. Yu said that the company would look at rescinding a vanity Web address when the registering party who did not have legal right to it. Futhermore he said that “If it’s a dispute between two users – then it’s first come first serve. But if the user’s name isn’t actually the vanity URL he registered, the user shouldn’t have a right to grab that. We want it to be associated with user identity. I don’t want to be completely definitive but that is the one thing we want to actively encourage.

So, let’s lean back and wait for the first FB-Vanity-URL-Grabbing-Case :)

*Changes about Facebook status updates and fighting Twitter

Picture 7To coverup the waiting time until the ECJ publishes any new facts about the Keyword Advertising prelim runings I’d like sum up two new functions I’ve found online:

Firstly: you will be able to precisely configure who shall see your status updates.

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Secondly: Facebook is trying to catch up with twitter by enabling to have status updates (fb calls it Live Stream Box) being included into a website / fb profile.Picture 8And now, I’ll go back to writing my dissertation… :(

*Trademark infringement through facebook usernames?

[to see a more recent post on this issue please click >>here<<]

Facebook yesterday announced that it will allow users, from Saturday 12:01am EDT on, to sign up for individual user-names stating that

“to make it easier for people to find and connect with users and Facebook Pages. [...] Your username must be at least five characters in length and only include alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9), or a period or full stop (“.”). [...] Think carefully about the username you choose. Once it’s been selected, you won’t be able to change or transfer it.”

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-still-

“If you signed up for a Facebook Page after May 31 or a user profile after today at 3 p.m. EDT, you may not be able to sign up for a username immediately because of steps we’ve taken to prevent abuse or “squatting” on names.”

______________________

The registration seems already very well prepared:

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______________________

But of course also the possibility of unauthorized use of third party trademarks (among other rights) had to be considered:

In some cases, your desired username may not be available because someone has already selected it or because we’ve reserved certain names that have been brought to our attention in an effort to help third parties protect their intellectual property and other rights. If your username is unavailable or you wish to report that another username infringes your intellectual property rights, please fill out our automated IP infringement form.”

______________________

…or object against the use of your trademark here: (What about name rights by the way?)

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Still, knowing that “people ain’t no good” and that some trade mark holder will not objected to the use of their TM on facebook …  I am quite positive that we can look forward to some squatting litigation about “facebook username-grabbing” (a word I’ve just invented myself ;)

*Lawrence Lessig on outdated IP-laws

Although I don’t agree with Lessig on all issues, I think he’s got a point, that’s for sure! Enjoy the video…

Picture 10

After the show instantly remixes of the interview appeared on the internet (some of which are quite good actually) which lead Colbert to come back to this topic a week later.

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