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Newsletter | 23 March 2021 | Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

The fight over the Radler term, and Adobe protecting older versions

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Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Good morning everyone. I hope your week is going well and you are enjoying spring and the warmth. For this week’s news:

Mahou wins the fight for the Radler beer

Back in the summer of 2018, Mahou launched its new product “La primera Radler Cinco Estrellas” (the name of the product is Cinco Estrellas – 5 stars, the company is playing with words here). Heineken, which already had its very own radler since 2014, considered that this was misleading advertising and unfair competition. Indeed, according to Heineken's claims, consumers would be led to believe that Cinco Estrellas is not a trademark but a qualification of the product, also leading to believe that this is the best radler on the market. In addition, Heineken tried to argue that, by calling it the “first Radler”, Mahou was somehow trying to pretend that it was the creator of this mixture (mix of beer, soda, or lemon juice).

The matter went up to the Audiencia Provincial de Madrid, which finally established that no evidence of misleading advertising or unfair competition was found. Radler is not a trademark, it is a generic term used to describe the special mixture of beer with soda or lemon juice. In this case, when advertising its product, Mahou’s slogan appeared on the bottle very clearly, with no doubt about the origin of the product, and the advertising campaign suggested that this was the first product of this type that the Spanish brand launched, not that Mahou was the creator of the mixture.

Adobe’s fight against piracy: protecting a 27-year-old version

Nowadays, there are many popular PDF readers available but Adobe’s original “Acrobat Reader” is still the go-to software for many of us. Unremarkably, Adobe doesn’t want third parties to pirate its software, so the company regularly sends out DMCA notices to remove infringing copies. (Note to readers: DMCA notices are takedown requests based on US copyright law).

While this is totally understandable when it comes to newer releases, F-Secure researcher Mikko Hyppönen went through a unique experience. In a recent tweet, Hyppönen shared with his followers that Adobe removed one of his tweets that linked to an old copy of Acrobat Reader for MS-DOS. This software, hosted on WinWorld, came out more than 27 years ago. This tweet was originally posted 5 years ago, with no problems, and was recently reposted by his “bot account” (yes, there are bot accounts on Twitter re-uploading random tweets that you published years ago). The tweet that was targeted is this repost and not the original one. While the original tweet is still up, the reposted message was swiftly removed by Twitter, and the bot’s account was locked.

While we understand Adobe’s stance to fight piracy, if Adobe had serious issues against this copy of a 27-year-old version, the most effective way to have it removed would have been to target the site where it is hosted, not the person who links to it in a tweet. This leads us to think that this is probably the result of automated filters.

And this is all for this week! You can expect a new monthly article on Thursday.