Skip to main content
European Commission logo
IP Helpdesk
News blog17 November 2020Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises3 min read

Copyright infringement in LA, Thermomix vs Mr Cuisine, Mequila Mariachi trademark cancelled, CEDRO fights against Google Discover, another succesfull operation against pi

Good morning everyone. Hope you all had an amazing weekend and a good Monday. For today’s news we are bringing you:

Diesel and Terry Richardson sued for copyright infringement

Haleigh Nickerson, a multidisciplinary artist living in Los Angeles, has filed a copyright infringement complaint against Diesel and Terry Richardson. According to Nickerson, she began developing the concept behind her “Sista Soulja” photo in early 2016, a photo that was eventually published on all her social media platforms and featured in an art show in August 2016. Due to the exposure that the photo gained and the continued interaction that Nickerson had with relevant fashion personalities, it was very easy for Diesel to become aware of its existence. This seems to have been the case since Nickerson discovered an image from Diesel that unequivocally copied the most recognisable elements of her Sista Souja photo (a woman of colour dressed predominantly in black, red and green standing in a power stance pose in front of a red background covered with white stars) without her knowledge or authorisation.

Let’s see where this complaint heads.

Thermomix vs Monsieur Cuisine

The Thermomix vs Monsieur cuisine trial was heard last week before Spanish courts and is now awaiting the judge’s decision. Vorwerk, the German manufacturer of the Thermomix, filed a patent infringement complaint against Lidl for importing and selling in Spain a household appliance very similar to its Thermomix, quickly becoming a bestseller (with similar characteristics, Mr Cuisine costs 360 euros vs 1000+ for Thermomix). According to Vorwerk, Mr Cuisine infringes several patents, including a patent that stops the rotation of the blades once the cup is removed. Based on the alleged violation, Vorwerk is now claiming damages amounting to 10% of the benefits that Lidl made by selling Mr Cuisine.  

“Mequila Mariachi” declared invalid in Portugal

Mequila Mariach has been a registered trademark in Portugal since 2013. However, following a complaint filed by the Tequila Regulatory Council a year ago (understanding that its name was making a clear reference to Tequila), the Court declared this trademark invalid due to the risk of confusion for consumers, who could wrongfully associate the trademark with Tequila. Because Tequila is a protected Denomination of Origin, any appropriation by third parties or phonetic resemblance might be susceptible of cancellation.

CEDRO files a complaint against “Google Discover” for copyright infringement

Google Discover is an app that substitute the old Google News, that was shut down in Spain in 2014. Thanks to Discover, users can receive extracts of news from different newspapers. The Spanish Reproduction Rights Centre (CEDRO) is a non-profit association of authors and publishers of books, magazines, journals, newspapers and sheet music, published in any format. The association oversees the protection and collective management of intellectual property rights stemming from the secondary use (reproduction, distribution, public disclosure and transformation) of these publications.

CEDRO recently filed a complaint against Google Discover, based on article 32.2 of the Spanish IP law, requiring 1,1 million euros in damages for infringement. According to article 32.2, although news aggregators do not need to seek prior authorisation before sharing non-essential extracts of news articles, they have to pay fair compensation for the use and for sharing said extracts. CEDRO already contacted Google back in 2016 regarding said compensation but received no response from the company.

According to CEDRO, other aggregators such as Upday or Squid are paying compensation to editors and authors of news articles.

Another successful blow to piracy

Europol supported law enforcement agents from France, Germany, Monaco, the Netherlands and Switzerland to take down an organised crime group involved in intellectual property infringement. 

A Swiss company put a multimedia box on the market that enabled the distribution of over 82 000 movies and TV series, all protected by copyright. The company used a dedicated website to stream the content while advertising its illegal services on social media. An illegal application system enabled viewers to use the system and access the media. The company also played an active role in the management of the hosting servers broadcasting the content. The investigation was triggered by complaints filed with the Swiss authorities against the Swiss company.

In a coordinated operation, law enforcement officers seized eleven servers in different countries, arrested three suspects and seized eight bank accounts in Switzerland.

Swiss police blocked the website, which illegally distributed pirated multimedia content. Europol supported the action through the coordination centre hosted by Eurojust.

This is all for today. Hope you have a good day and see you on Thursday for our monthly blog post.


Publication date
17 November 2020
Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises