In the news
Paperless pleading proposed for UDRP
WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center, the leading service provider for domain name disputes filed by trademark owners under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) has submitted a proposal to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to move the UDRP to a system of electronic, paperless pleadings. Through targeted amendments to the UDRP Rules, WIPO’s “eUDRP proposal” offers a practical and fair solution particularly fitting for a dispute resolution process concerning online identifiers.
In order to avoid any potential prejudice to domain name registrants (the respondent in a case), a “safety-valve” in the proposal will ensure that respondents receive effective notice of the existence of a dispute. This notice will continue to be sent to respondents by post, fax and e-mail. However, the pleadings themselves will be sent by e-mail only. WIPO’s research indicates that its eUDRP proposal will yield clear time, cost and efficiency gains, while continuing to provide uniformly accessible means to participate in proceedings.
Already experienced in electronic communications, WIPO has previously used its Electronic Case Facility (ECAF) to facilitate such communications successfully in complex intellectual property arbitration cases under the WIPO Rules. WIPO has already this year instituted e-mail notification of Panel Decisions under the UDRP.
WIPO’s further proposals for additional dispute resolution mechanisms under ICANN’s planned expansion of the number of Top Level Domains in the future also foresees an increased reliance on information technology in case communications.
"Dr No" – No Trademark for James Bond
An eight-year legal battle over trademark rights to both Dr No and Dr NO came to end on June 30 with the ruling of the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg that the instantly recognizable name is not trademark protected. The German media group, Mission Productions, is now free to register the trademark in the European Union.
Danjaq, the U.S. media firm that manages IP rights in the Bond movies, claimed a risk of confusion because of the association of Dr No with James Bond, Agent 007. However, the Court decided that the use of Dr No in films, on DVDs and video cassettes was artistic, not commercial. The evidence showed that signs such as James Bond or 007 were instead used as commercial identifiers on DVD and video cassette covers. "In those circumstances,” said the Court, “the signs Dr No and Dr NO cannot be regarded as well known trademarks or non-registered trademarks that could be relied on in order to oppose the registration of a Community trademark."
When Danjaq’s first attempt to block the registrations was rejected in 2001, the media firm immediately started to register EU trademarks for all the Bond film titles. Of the 22 films in the series – Dr No, the first, was released in 1962 – 18 have been registered. Registration of Casino Royale, Octopussy and Golden Eye has been challenged.
Biking Green – A civic pride
Over the summer, Montreal, Canada, launched Bixi, a bike-sharing program such as is seen in many big cities – but with a difference. Montreal’s system is solar-powered, WiFi-enabled, accessible by credit card and entirely modular. The design requires no underground wiring or construction, so it is easy to move docking stations from one place to another and to store the entire system indoors for the winter.
None of those involved in the project will receive pay increases or any other benefits; they claim to have been motivated by civic pride. Three civil servants, employed by the city’s parking authority, had the idea of taking the computerized, solar technology used in parking meters and applying it to bikes. A renowned Montreal industrial designer, Michel Dallaire, created the award winning Bixi design then signed over the four commercially valuable patents that resulted from his work to the non-profit Public Bike System Company, which runs the program.
Ottawa, Canada’s capital, is already operating a Bixi pilot project. By 2010, London will create a Bixi network of 6,000 bikes with 400 docking stations and 10,000 docking points. Boston also plans to set up a Bixi network. New York, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver have expressed interest.
The King of Pop’s IP Legacy
The estate of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, generated US$55 million in revenue in 2008, over 30 years after his death. The purchase of 85 percent of Elvis Presley Enterprises, which manages his IP rights and Graceland, cost US$100 million in 2004. The estate of Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, is expected to dwarf those figures.
Mr. Jackson’s 50 percent stake in the music publishing partnership Sony/ATV, which owns the rights to the Beatles catalog, is estimated to be worth US$500 million. There is his own song catalog, which is expected to earn hundreds of millions; a film deal and merchandising contracts that have already earned US$100 million; and additional merchandising deals are expected to bring another US$100 million by the end of the year.
This is just a beginning and these amounts do not include the value of Neverland, which may turn into a theme park for his fans, and his huge art collection.