Good morning everyone. Hope you all had a great month of August (vacation or not). We are back to normal and ready to bring you August’s IP news.
Triller vs.TikTok over patent infringement
The claim was filled at the end of July in the US and, according to Trilller, TikTok is infringing their patent that establishes the system and method to create videos synchronized with an audio track (with its new function, is Instagram also infringing this patent?). The complaint is focused on “Green Screen Video,” a feature TikTok presented last December and that allows users to shoot multiple videos and synchronize them with an audio track. Triller is now seeking an injunction and damages against TikTok.
This is coming at an already tense moment for TikTok, as the company’s Chinese ownership has drawn attention from the White House and U.S. lawmakers, raising privacy and national security concerns including whether user data might be shared with the Chinese government.
Le Tote claims theft of confidential information
Le Tote, pioneer in the “fashion for rent” business, claims that executives from Urban Outfitters induced it into providing them with confidential information its business in views of a potential acquisition, only to abandon the M&A discussion and launch their rental service (in direct competition with Le Tote’s) using the information it had expressly agreed not to steal from Le Tote.
Le Tote is a pioneer in the fashion rental business and has built its successful model through a trial and error process that has allowed them to build a strong and reliable business model. In 2018, they started discussing with Urban Outfitters regarding a potential M&A, and, amid these discussions, valuable information regarding Le Tote’s business was shared (after signing the proper non-disclosure agreement). Things seemed to be going well until… they didn’t and a few months later, Urban Outfitter abandoned the negotiations.
Apparently, within a month, Urban began preparations to set up its own competing fashion rental subscription business, Nuuly using the unique infrastructure and algorithms that made Le Tote successful (and led by the very same individuals that were leading the M&A negotiations).
Now, Le Tote has filled its complaint before US courts, claiming trade secret infringement. However, Le Tote is also claiming breach of contract, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment, and seeking injunctive relief and the corresponding damages.
Xiao-I against Siri
Shanghai Zhizhen Intelligent Network Technology (better known as Xiao-i) has filed a claim against Apple. Indeed, the Chinese company claims that Apple has infringed its AI patent when developing Siri.
Xiaoi owns a patent for a virtual assistant, which has some similarities to Siri and other virtual assistants. Principally, it is capable of answering spoken questions and holding simple conversations.
The Chinese company is now seeking hefty damages, as well as for Apple to be prevented from “manufacturing, using, promising to sell, selling and importing” its devices in China. Since Siri is incorporated into almost all of Apple’s devices, a ruling to oust Siri from China would in effect push Apple entirely out of the country(although this is highly unlikely).
Deniece Waidhofer sues ThotHub over copyright infringement
Deniece Waidhofer, is a model known for selling access to “sexy” photos of herself online. In recent years there’s been an influx of models who share sexy pictures and videos in exchange for a monthly subscription (these influx has increased since the beginning of the pandemic as many creators turn to the online world). These creators use platforms such as Patreon and Onlyfans to share and monetize their work.
This is the case for the Texas model DeNiece Waidhofer, who has gathered a following over the years. Waidhofer offers different subscription levels for her photos, going all the way up to $1,000 per month for the sexiest footage.
However, she has discovered that Thothub offers her photos and videos for free on its websites. Obviously, this did not sit well with the model who has stopped sharing photos through Snapchat and has filled a copyright claim infringement against Thothub and third-party companies it works with, including CDN provider Cloudflare and advertisers Bangbros and Multi Media.
As you can see, copyright protects all kind of content and it is not subject to personal judgments. Whether it is innocent or more mature content, it is still a work protected by copyright.
Dior fails to block “Pretty Savage” in the UK
Dior has failed to block another party’s “confusingly similar” trade mark from being registered in the UK.
Indeed, according to Dior the “Pretty Savage” trade mark application filed for the “soaps, hair care products, and exfoliants” category, as well as soap holders and dishes, is too similar to its “Sauvage” cosmetics trade mark, and thus, should be denied registration. Dior considers that the marks are similar, their goods identical or similar and, therefore, there is a likelihood of confusion whereby the relevant public will believe that the marks are used by the same undertaking or think that they are somehow related. Dior also considers that “Sauvage” benefits from a reputation and thus, Savage’s use of the “Pretty Savage” mark would take unfair advantage of said reputation.
Now, the UK examiner who received the opposition did not agree with Dior’s reasoning. First, there are differences between the 2 marks. “Sauvage” is a single word and does not have any meaning in English (it is a French word), whereas “Pretty Savage” is a two word mark made of English words. Hence, even when used for similar products, the risk of confusion is low.
Second, perfumery products are typically bought with less frequency and at greater expense than soaps and other toiletries. This usually requires a higher level of attention from consumer further removing the likelihood that consumers will be confused as to the source of the product.
Chrome Hearts vs. Fashion Nova.
Chrome Hearts has been active in the fashion industry for 32 years and among its well-known marks are a number of horseshoe-inspired ones.
CH claims that Fashion Nova has used similar designs on its apparel in an attempt to confuse consumers as to the origin of the goods. CH considers that consumers will buy a t-shirt from Fashion Nova thinking that they are purchasing the original CH one.
Take a look at the image below, and you can see that Fashion Nova is “inspired” by the CH horseshoe trade mark, change the text inside the horse show (Love Warrior instead of Chrome Heart) and has a rose instead of a Celtic cross.
What do you think?
Apple vs. Prepear
An app that lets users store and organize recipes, and create custom meal plans.
Apple has filed a notice of opposition against this company because its fruit logo (a pear) is too close to Apple’s own trade marked logo which is, of course, an apple.
Apple claims that since it offers identical and/or highly related goods and services (services related to computer software, as well as healthcare, nutrition, general wellness, and social networking) a meal planning services app could be a logical next step in the Apple strategic market plan. To put it simply, customers may look at Prepear’s logo and assume the recipe app is an Apple product because it’s something Apple might do.
So now Apple is seeking to have the Prepare trade mark application denied. We will keep you updated.
- The Fashion Law – is TikTok a copyright lawsuit waiting to happen? - https://www.thefashionlaw.com/is-tiktok-a-copyright-lawsuit-waiting-to-happen/
- Publication date
- 1 September 2020
- Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises