You are what you eat: EAT MORE CHIKEN versus EAT MORE KALE.

It is perhaps the first time in memory that chicken and kale were the subject of comparison – as reported in the Associated Press, Chick-fil-A has gone after a Vermont artist and his mark EAT MORE KALE, alleging that there is a likelihood of confusion between this mark and Chick-fil-A’s own mark EAT MORE CHIKEN. Bo Muller-Moore, the artist in question, produces various goods with the phrase EAT MORE KALE printed on them. Muller-Moore states that his mark began as a statement on t-shirts supporting local farmers – kale apparently grows quite well in Vermont. Sale of the shirts took off, so Muller-Moore expanded his “kale” product line to include sweatshirts, bumper stickers and the like.

This isn’t the first time that Muller-Moore and Chick-fil-A have crossed paths. A few years ago, the two engaged in a battle of legal letters that eventually burned itself out. Muller-Moore continued making his products under the assumption that the issue had gone away. (more…)

In the Matter of Facebook: FTC Forces Privacy Fix

Like ButtonFacebook settled with the FTC today over its chameleon-like  privacy policy reports Gizmodo, putting the user into the driver’s seat for privacy settings. No more Big-Daddy-Knows-Best privacy changes.  FTC announced that given the long history of Facebook privacy changes and broken promises, it issued an order that Facebook be barred from making misrepresentations about the privacy of user’s personal information and users must opt-in to future privacy changes. Facebook must also prevent access of a user’s materials more than 30 days after his or her account is deleted, address privacy issues in new and existing products and services available on the site, and obtain regular third party audits of its privacy practices to ensure ongoing compliance with the FTC order.

Supreme Court oral argument in Mayo v. Prometheus method patent suit almost upon us.

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the method patent infringement case of Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. The question presented is as follows:

“Whether 35 U.S.C. § 101 is satisfied by a patent claim that covers observed correlations between blood test results and patient health, so that the claim effectively preempts all uses of the naturally occurring correlations, simply because well-known methods used to administer prescription drugs and test blood may involve ‘transformations’ of body chemistry.” (more…)

Lady Gaga left “Speechless” after domain name dispute ruling.

Despite all of “The Fame,” even Lady Gaga doesn’t win them all. Recently, Gaga was on the losing end of a domain name dispute regarding the domain “ladygaga.org.” Gaga had brought a domain name complaint under the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (“ICANN”) Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”) against a fan operating the domain ladygaga.org. Gaga alleged that the domain had been registered and was being used in bad faith, that the fan had no rights or legitimate interests in the domain, and the domain infringed Gaga’s mark LADY GAGA.

The fan countered that she was operating an unofficial, non-commercial fan site about Gaga. The fan explained that the site did not contain any sponsored or otherwise commercial links, and as such, the fan was making a legitimate, non-commercial fair use of the domain name. (more…)

Comment period ending soon on FTC’s proposed amendments to the Mail Order Rule – clarification of applicability to Internet sales.

The Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule was established to provide telephone or mail-order customers comfort as to when their merchandise would be shipped. If merchandise cannot be shipped within the time promised, the seller must either secure the customer’s consent to delay shipping or refund the customer’s payment. The FTC had concerns as to the applicability of the Rule to Internet sales, and proposes amending the rule to clarify this point. The Rule changes proposed by the FTC would also (1) allow refund notices and refunds to be provided by any reliable means, (2) clarify seller responsibilities applicable to non-standard payment methods such as gift and debit cards, and (3) establish a time limit for refunds. The FTC is taking public comments through December 14, 2011.