In the IP world, it’s a big week for big names. Coach, Eminem, Google, and Superman… court is now in session!
- Coach won a major court victory last week, not only for itself, but for other fashion companies. The luxury-goods manufacturer took home $267 million in a lawsuit filed against several hundred Internet sites for selling counterfeit goods. Coach also won control of at least 570 web site domain names, all containing the word “coach,” which sold infringing items.
Coach had begun a major campaign against counterfeiting in 2009 called “Operation Turnlock.” Since then, it has collected financial awards from wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers, and web site operators who have played a role in selling fake Coach products. Earlier this year, the company won a judgment against a mother-daughter duo selling counterfeits online.
- Universal Music Group has settled a lawsuit with FBT Productions, better known as Eminem’s producers, over royalties from digital music sales. FBT brought suit in 2009, requesting more royalties for Eminem than his standard album sales royalties. (The rapper himself was not a party in the lawsuit.) A jury found in favor of Universal, but the decision was reversed the following year. Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed and the lawyers are providing no comment.
- The Federal Trade Commission is purportedly set to recommend that the government sue Google for various violations of antitrust law. In the U.S., patents that are critical to developing industry-standard products must be licensed for fair and reasonable terms. However, Google has allegedly tried to block imports of certain Apple and Microsoft products on the grounds that these products infringe on Google-owned patents. This isn’t the first time the FTC has set its sights on Google. The search giant was sanctioned this summer for bypassing certain privacy settings on Apple’s Safari web browser.
- DC Comics has been locked in one of its most epic battles of all time, against the heirs of Superman’s creators. The creators, Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster, entered into an agreement with DC’s predecessor in 1938; Siegel’s daughter now seeks to terminate the agreement. DC claims that Siegel is attempting to breach the terms of a new agreement she made with the company in 2006 because she was offered more money by another party. A 2008 court ruling found that, as of 2001, there was no binding contract. DC is requesting a trial to determine whether there was a valid agreement.