Intellectual Property rights have become a focus area as most companies have started looking at IP as invaluable assets that can increase the value of the company. But with this focus, the efforts required to protect Intellectual property are also increasing. Internet has been one of the major contributors in the increase of these IP disputes.
Here we look at some of the Landmark disputes in the area of Intellectual Property Rights.
In September 1999, Amazon was granted a patent for its 1-click technology. 1-click technology allowed a user to complete an online purchase with just one click without the hassle of putting in the shipping details or account information. This information is retrieved from the user’s online account. 1 month after this patent, Barnes and Noble filed for a similar patent for its “Express Lane” technology. This led to a patent infringement lawsuit which was settled in 2002 with undisclosed terms. Many even suspected notorious behaviour on the part of Barnes and Noble similar to what we’ve witnessed in the recent Joe Exotic - Carol Baskin case.
Trademark Keywords by Google
This was a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Rescuecom against Google in April2009. The reason behind this lawsuit was that Google was selling “Rescuecom” as a keyword to its clients while “Rescuecom” was trademarked. The implication was that the search results of Rescuecom included the competitors of Rescuecom as well. Google has faced multiple lawsuits of a similar nature and this one led to modification to its trademark policy in order to protect trademarks while also allowing keywords to its clients.
Da Vinci Code Case
This was a famous case involving Dan Brown. It was filed by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh against The Random House Group Limited. The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail alleged that Dan brown had copied the manner in which they had expressed historical facts in their novel. Since there was no text copied, they filed this case on the grounds of “non-literal” copying. This case was later dismissed in 2006 as the authors couldn’t prove any literal or non-literal infringement.
This is a landmark case where RIAA or the Recording Industry Association of America sued Napster on the grounds that Napster shared music without owning the rights to the music. Napster was a file-sharing site started in 1999 that allowed its users to share music files online without buying CDs. But Napster did not own this music. The users were uploading music which was being downloaded by other users. This case was won by RIAA and it led to the Napster later transforming its service into a fee-based music sharing service.
Bratz Dolls vs. Barbie
Mattel Inc was the maker of Barbie dolls and MGA Entertainment was the maker of Bratz dolls. Mattel had sued MGA and Carter Bryant claiming that MGA had stolen its idea of selling such dolls and had introduced the Bratz dolls in the market. Carter Bryant, the designer of Bratz dolls was an employee at Mattel and a consultant at MGA. This meant that Barbie dolls was a trade secret and hence the court sided with Mattel imposing a $100 mn fine on MGA as damages.