The Traklight Blog

Explore the world of intangible assets and IP with guest blogs, business owner interviews, and more.

Intel Staring Down $2.28 Billion Patent Infrigement Judgment

Much of the narrative about IP lawsuits carters around the separate and seemingly unequal systems of justice that exist depending on net worth. Bigger businesses with more resources can afford better lawyers for longer, and in many cases indefinitely, as in-house legal teams are a thing for those select corporations. Small businesses can struggle to put together a defense, and can only maintain it for as long as the money holds out, and so are less likely to get the outcome to which they are justified. IP lawsuits are a cost of doing business for some, and an existential threat for others. 

Read More

Apple Loses $308 Million Patent Infringement Case

Multiple things can be true at once; we can agree on the notion that patent trolls are bad, and that they and others who abuse the currently broken system of adjudicating IP law are doing considerable harm, and also concede that, in the case of some of the companies targeted by these entities, the eventual judgment (should there be one) isn’t enough to really cause them lost sleep. That’s not to say that something shouldn’t be done to curtail patent trolls and their practices, just that their actions serve to slow down some of these megacorporations not one bit. 

Read More

Supreme Court Sides With Google In API Copyright Case

Cast your mind, if you will, back to 2010; do you recall what you were doing? Who you were, and how different your life was then to how it is now? A decade is a long time in the course of human life, and it’s a long time for a court case to wend its way up to the Supreme Court for a definitive declaration on the matter at hand. 

Read More

Lil Nas X's Controversial Shoes Draw Trademark Suit From Nike

If you’re not up on shoe culture, stories about old and new kicks going for occasionally eye-watering prices can boggle the mind. Regardless of how you feel about it, though, there is a lot of money in the buying and selling of collectible shoes, and notably, a lot of that money is made on secondary markets. Given that shoe companies are doing alright as it is, they’re probably ok (for now) getting only a portion of that market as opposed to the whole thing. But someone striking out on their own and using their trademarks? That’s clearly going to be a big no-no.

Read More

Colleges Shutting Down Virtual Tours on Trademark Grounds

For those fortunate enough to go to college (or unfortunate, depending on your reaction to that first student loan bill) picking the institution to attend is a big and thrilling step in your journey into adulthood. For many it’s the first time they’ll be living independently of their parents, sometimes hundreds or even thousands of miles away from home. And a big part of choosing a school is the campus tour: your opportunity to get a feel for the feel, the environs of your potential home for the next four(ish) years. 

Read More

The NCAA Owns "March Madness". Why Can't The Women's Tournament Use It?

Any remaining pretense the NCAA may have tried to maintain about their supposedly fair and equitable treatment when it comes to men’s and women’s athletics went out the window in the early days of this year’s tournament, when it was revealed that the men’s teams were granted a full array of workout equipment and the women’s teams...well, there are better setups in hotel gyms. The NCAA at least had the decency to not simply lie to everyone’s faces after the inevitable backlash, admitting that the women’s accommodations were lesser and eventually rectifying the situation at the risk of further public embarrassment at the hands of private companies that offered to provide the missing equipment. 

Read More

Taylor Swift Files Suit Against Evermore Over Unlicensed Songs

Many lawsuits, by their nature, come to resemble a back-and-forth or tit-for-tat or whichever colloquialism you may prefer; few are willing to sit idly by and let a case be brought and then built against them without taking some recourse, particularly given that many suits result from an inability to resolve the matter at hand without the intervention of the courts. Thus lawsuits breed countersuits, business becomes personal and disputes turn into feuds that can potentially run for years. 

Read More

Monster Energy Goes After Another Small Business Over Trademarks

It’s probably too much to hope that those companies that have adopted trademark bullying as a course of action to change their stripes and take a more measured approach, but it is nevertheless disappointing and disheartening to see every new instance wherein they take aim at an invariably small business over some imaginary offense. For the bullying company that case is but one mark on a ledger or one chapter in an ongoing story, but for those small businesses these lawsuits can be hugely damaging, if not an existential threat.

Read More

NCAA Goes After Urologists In Trademark Case

If this March seems a little different than those in years past, well, that’s mostly the pandemic we’re hopefully nearing the end of. But it’s also different in that this year’s edition of the NCAA’s college basketball tournament is to be experienced largely alone, shorn of the communal experience that has made it the institution that it is. The tournament is both big business for the NCAA and something of a drain on business for others, costing companies billions in lost productivity over the course of the month. And on the former point, the NCAA is vigilant in protecting that business against even the notion that someone else might make a buck without their say-so. 

Read More

Metallica Has Twitch Performance Dubbed For Playing Metallica Songs

While Twitch may have started as a platform for gamers to stream their exploits, it’s evolved into one of the primary venues for live streaming of any sort (along with the ubiquitous YouTube.) Gaming is still a huge component of the audience, to be sure, but a quick look at the homepage reveals that the site even has a Music tab for viewers to browse live performances from any number of artists around the globe. Which makes the platform’s somewhat fraught history with songs and copyright a bit curious, or more likely vexing. 

Read More

First Do No Harm: Patents In The Age of Vaccines

It would be fair to say that while this blog is generally in favor of intellectual property rights and the ability of creators to protect and profit from their creations, I’m skeptical of the harm that comes from an overly muscular approach to enforcing those rights. Creation or ownership comes with benefits, but nowhere is it outlined that those rights extend so far as to prevent others from exercising their own, whether it be fair use or any other right protected under the law. 

Read More

Colorado Roofers Run Into Trouble With Vodka Makers

A common refrain in this space is that intellectual property law is meant to protect, both in deterring would-be violators from messing with your IP and in instances where defending means taking an offensive approach against infringers. It’s a measure of power, and for small businesses, it can be the most considerable power afforded in those earliest days before there’s a customer or client to speak of. 

Read More

Rose Bowl Trademark Battle Promises Better Contest Than Actual Game

If you’re any sort of fan of college football, or at least aware of the product, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the proliferation of bowl games and associated sponsorship and branding around it. It’s that association with such august businesses as TaxSlayer, AutoZone and Cheez-It that give lie to the NCAA’s purported notion that the endeavor of college football itself is about shaping young men or the spirit of competition or whatever they put forth, and is not in fact a nakedly capitalistic enterprise meant to bring in millions to each respective university and billions in aggregate. Which is fine, by the way — colleges should just be honest about the pursuit, and pay the players like the income earners they are. 

Read More

Taylor Swift in Trademark Dispute With Evermore Park

The nature of celebrity would seem to make someone a target for intellectual property lawsuits, as noted in this space over the years, but that reading is a bit reductive, and elides the responsibility that the celebrity in question might bear. Sure, there may be cases where individuals or entities are looking for an easy payday, but the intoxicating mix of fame and power that accompany celebrity might make those people more prone to stepping on the rights of those of us living and working in the world they long ago left behind. 

Read More

Call of Duty Hit With Another IP Lawsuit

The story of entertainment across decades is seemingly one of misappropriation or credit unduly denied, if the historiography of the various composite industries are to be believed. Really, they’re stories about power: who holds it, who doesn’t, and how those with the power are able to use it to exploit those without power or recourse. 

Read More

Trademark Caution Delays Cleveland Name Change

In what speaks to the relative strangeness of our times, speculation on new names for sports teams via trademark filing observations is now something of a pastime for sports fans, adjacent to the pastime itself. It happened with the now-Football Team of Washington, and is still happening as the team has yet to settle on a new long-term name: intrepid reporters dive into the USPTO database to uncover what trademarks the team’s ownership group holds and tries to suss out the most likely candidate for the new moniker. It’s as yet proved unfruitful for Washington fans, who will have to wait longer yet to learn what they will scream at their team as they squander yet another game.  

Read More

Does Article 17 Do More Harm Than Good?

If there is anything that has been learned over the past few years of observing the portion of the internet wherein regular folks interact with one another, it’s that moderation and monitoring are hard but necessary chores incumbent upon the platforms that to this point have wanted all of the perks of an enormous user base with with a minimal amount of the responsibility. Hand-in-hand with questions about speech have come concerns about copyright, which as a statutory measure has served as no deterrent at all; if people know about copyright, they often simply don’t care. 

Read More

Google Reaches Deal With French Publishers Over Copyright Payments

One of the paramount concerns of our time (among the seemingly dozens of them pressing down upon us at any given moment) is how to contend with the power of big tech. It’s something that every industry and sector has grappled with, although the matter has been something more existential for journalism and online publications. Where once the vast majority of the population paid for newspapers and magazines as one of the main sources of news, the shift towards everything being online has left most publications in something of a cash crunch, and left companies like Google as something of a hegemon when it came to how people got their news. 

Read More

SCOTUS Declines Trademark Case Involving Dog Toy

Where exists the line between homage and infringement? It’s perhaps a too subtle a distinction at items, and one likely at the heart of many an intellectual property suit over the years. The winking nod to another work or product can be seen as a joke, or would be, if most corporations had a sense of humor when it comes to their IP. Alas, they do not, and the court system and our IP news is all the busier for it. 

Read More