ARBRE MAGIQUE FILES A CLAIM AGAINST BALENCIAGA.

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New legal issues for Balenciaga. The fashion house owned by continues to make people argue about the choice to take inspiration from 'pop' consumer products for their creations. After the luxury versions of the Ikea bag, Balenciaga, who is headed by designer Demna Gvasalia proposed this time a pine-shaped key ring that seems inspired by the famous Arbre Magique car perfumes . The Balenciaga key ring is on sale at 195 euros in light blue, pink, green and black and is made of soft calf leather, while the car perfume costs around two euros.

Car-Freshner Corporation and Julius Sämann Ltd, owner of the Arbre Magique products, has thus decided to sue the Kiering for not asking permission to use the famous colored pine, as they did other brands by starting a cooperation.

The famous stylized tree has already been adopted by other companies producing goods different from perfume diffusers, including Anya Hindmarch, but always in agreement with the right holders.


THE PURPLE (RAIN) COLOR TRADEMARK.

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An many might know, Pantone is an American company that deals mainly with technologies for graphics, color cataloging and color identification systems.

In August 2017 Pantone deposited a new color called Purple One, “Love Symbol # 2” in homage to the late Prince Rogers Nelson known to most as simply "Prince" who died in 2016 at only 59 years.

Pantone's marketing operation followed the recent restored edition of the film Purple Rain, whose soundtrack was actually composed by Prince in 1984.

After these recent events, Paisley Park Enterprises the company that holds the of the late Prince, has filed with the USPTO (the US patent and trademark office) a color mark consisting of a particular shade of purple.

Perhaps not everyone knows that among the signs that can be registered as a trademark, the Industrial Property Code also includes combinations or shades of color, if these are suitable for distinguishing the products or services between competitors.

Today, colors and color combinations are, by now, increasingly used by companies to identify their products in the market; it is no coincidence that we often refer to the "blue" Tiffany or the bright "red" of the soles of the Louboutin shoes.

Italian and Eu Courts tend to exclude the registration of pure colors or shades of colors; the principle was already affirmed in 2003, by the Court of Justice of the European Union, in the "Libertel" case concerning the use of the orange color for telecommunications services.

More recently, the Court of Milan has stipulated that the registration of a specific color mark may be allowed only if it does not unduly restrict the availability of colors for the other parties that offer products or services of the same type as those applied for in the registration application.

As for Prince's filing, this will be examined by the USPTO and then published in the bulletin, thus giving the opportunity to other parties who believe that the trademark registration will be damaged by the opportunity to oppose it.

CONDE NAST SUES BLACK VOGUE FOR TRADEMARK INFRINGMENT

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Vogue Magazine (Conde Nast USA's Advance Publications Parent Company) recently sued the Black Vogue brand for trademark infringement. Advance Publications, filed a complaint in front of the federal court in New York against the designer Nareasha Willis for selling some garments bearing the brand "Black Vogue" without authorization. According to Advance Publications, in fact, Willis would be using a brand (Black Vogue) which is easily confusing by name and graphics, with the most famous "Vogue" by Condé Nast.

In recent months, Willis has already tried to register the Black Vogue brand, but received a refusal by the US Patent and Trademark Office, as confusingly with the Vogue brands already registered by Advance Publications.

ITALY ADOPTS THE DECREE TO THE GDPR

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The expected legislative decree for the adaptation of the national legislation to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was finally published.

The Legislative Decree 10 August 2018, n. 101 - issued in implementation of Article 13 of the 2016-2017 European Delegation Act (Law 25 October 2017, 163) - is aimed at harmonizing the Privacy Code with European legislation, which became fully operational as of 25 May.

The Privacy Code is not completely repealed (as assumed in the first formulation of the decree) but remains in force, with the changes aimed at harmonizing it with the principles set out in the General Data Protection Regulation, first of all to that of accountability.

The provision provides that the Privacy Guarantor establishes simplified procedures for the fulfillment of the obligations of the data controller with regard to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

The provisions of the Privacy Guarantor continue to apply, as compatible with the GDPR and with the same decree.

For the first eight months from the date of entry into force of the decree, the Privacy Guarantor must take into account, for the application of administrative sanctions and in so far as it is compatible with the provisions of the GDPR, the first application phase of the provisions sanctions.

THE COURT OF ROME ON THE MONITORING DUTIES OF SOCIAL MEDIA.

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A recent decision by the Court of Rome established that social media platforms such as Facebook  have no duty to monitor the legitimacy of the contents published, but they are obliged to carry out a subsequent control in case  a user's reports the posting of defamatory content. In its decision, the Court analyzed the possible obligation to remove content from a provider: one wonders, in essence, if, faced with a user's grievance asocial media must proceed without delay or any other investigations to the immediate removal of potential unlawful content. The answer according to the Court of Rome is negative. There is no duty of a preventive monitoring of published contents since the only duty that is burdened and a social media is a subsequent check on a certain content, following the reporting of an unlawful post.
In the opinion of the Court of Rome, therefore, a reported abuse of defamatory content gives rise to an immediate assessment of the reported contents, but an ex parte removal obligation arises only where a manifest and evident illegal nature of the contents appear.
All in all, it is a shareable decision, because on the one hand contemplates the need to make the online service operator responsible, but, on the other hand, it does not attribute a social media with the role of censor.

THE FIRST ROUND OF THE BATTLE DIESEL/ZARA GOES TO...

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Otb, the group founded by Renzo Rosso, which includes brands such as Diesel, Maison Margiela and Marni, recently won a judgment before the Milan court against the Inditex group that controls the well-known Zara brand. The company founded by Renzo Rosso has seen to welcome from the Court of Milan its arguments sustained in the case started in 2015 against the Spanish company, accused of having reproduced with the Zara brand of jeans produced by Diesel and sandals designed by Marni.

Although the Iberian group supported the existence of substantial differences between its own products and those of Otb, claiming the impossibility of the Court award damages being a foreign company without headquarters in Italy, the judges decreed violation of the registered design of the Skinzee-sp jeans model and the unregistered design of the Fussbett footwear.

It is not the first time that the Iberian group is involved in such accusations. Just over a year ago, the Danish "Rains" label specializing in rainwear has brought a lawsuit to Inditex in front of the Danish Commercial Court for breach of design and unfair competition by requesting the immediate termination of the sales of an allegedly infringing model and the compensation for damages for the loss of the corresponding profits.

The Point on the EU's Copyright Reform

The European Union is working on reforming the copyright by forcing websites to enable “upload filters” and to pay for linking to other websites.

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One of the biggest issues with the new EU copyright reform proposal is the Article 13, which mandates that websites that accept user content (anything from videos to online comments) must have an “upload filter” that would block all copyrighted content that's uploaded by users. Critics, such as Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Julia Reda, have also called upload filters “censorship machines.”

Under the censorship machine proposal, companies would be required to get a license for any copyrighted content that is uploaded to their site by its users. In other words, websites would be liable for any content their users upload to the site.

Some argue that upload filters wouldn’t be able to recognize “legal uses” of copyrighted content, even if they were 100% effective in identifying whether or not a piece of content is copyrighted or not. In this category would enter parodies and citations, which typically make references to licit copyrighted content.

It is disputed if uploading filters is legal or if it violates fundamental rights to privacy, freedom of expression, freedom of information and freedom to conduct a business.

Another article under dispute is the so called “link tax” proposal in Article 11 of the copyright reform directive is another idea that’s not just seemingly bad, but it has also failed in countries such as Spain and Germany, where it has already been attempted. Instead of getting companies such as Google or other publishers to pay for the links, or article excerpts and previews, those companies simply stopped linking to content coming from Germany and Spain.

Critics believe that a link tax would significantly reduce the number of hyperlinks we see on the web, which means websites will be much less connected to each other.

These two articles seem to be the most controversial by far and critics believe that the directive would probably have a negative impact on companies

Christian Louboutin's Red Shoe Soles are a valid Trademark.

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According to a recent decision by the Court of Justice, the red color of the Christian Louboutin shoe sole is a mark of position and not a mere form and as such constitutes a valid right of property.

This is the decision rendered by the EU Court of Justice, after the French maison had sued the Dutch company Van Haren for selling women's shoes with high heels and red soles.

The Dutch company in 2012 had started selling the "5th avenue by Halle Berry" model - and was sued by Louboutin for counterfeiting. Van Haren defended itself by invoking the "nullity" of the Louboutin brand, appealing to the fact that "the EU Directive on trademarks lists several grounds for invalidity to registration, in particular, with respect to signs consisting exclusively of the shape that gives a substantial value to the product ".

The decision c-163/16 establishes instead that the "protection" of the Louboutin brand red sole "does not concern a specific shape of high-heeled shoe sole (which would not be protected as a EU trademark), as the description of said mark expressly indicates that the outline of the shoe is not part of the mark, but only serves to highlight the position of the red color to which the registration refers. The Court also added that a trademark cannot be considered to be "exclusively from the shape where the main object of this sign is a color specified by an internationally recognized identification code".

The fashion house speaks of a "Victory for the Maison Christian Louboutin" because "the protection of the Christian Louboutin red sole brand is strengthened by the European Court of Justice". According to the company today's ruling in Luxembourg "has confirmed that the legal regime that governs the shape trademarks does not apply to the 'red sole' of Christian Louboutin", which is on the contrary "a position mark, as it has supported the Maison for many years ".

A FEW FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE GDPR

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As many may know, starting from 25 May 2018, the 2016/679 EU Regulation, known as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) - relating to the protection perosnal data will be directly applicable in all Member States.

 

 

 

 

In a nutshell, the GDPR:

  • introduces clearer rules on information and consent;
  • defines the limits to the automated processing of personal data;
  • lays the foundation for the exercise of new rights;
  • establishes strict criteria for the transfer of these outside the EU;
  • sets strict rules for data breach cases.

Theses rules also apply to companies located outside the European Union that offer services or products within the EU market. All companies, wherever established, will therefore have to respect the new rules. Companies and institutions will have more responsibility and case of non-compliance with the rules risk heavy penalties.

The "One Stop Shop"

To solve any difficulties, the "one stop shop" rule has been introduced, which will simplify the management of treatments and guarantee a uniform approach. Companies operating in several EU countries may contact the Privacy Guarantor of the country where they have their headquarters.

Data portability

The regulation introduces the right to "portability" of personal data to transfer them from one data controller to another. The rule is an exception in cases where the data are contained in archives of public interest, such as the registry offices. In this case, the right can not be exercised, as is the transfer of personal data to non-EU countries or international organizations that do not meet the security standards for protection.

The principle of "accountability"

There are other important elements of novelty. In fact, the accountability of the data controllers (accountability) has been introduced and an approach that takes into greater consideration the risks that a particular processing of personal data may entail for the rights and freedoms of the interested parties. This new right will facilitate the transition from one service provider to another, facilitating the creation of new services, in line with the Digital Single Market strategy.

Data breach

The data controller must report any violation of personal data to the Guarantor. Responding effectively to a data breach requires a multidisciplinary and integrated approach and greater cooperation at EU level. The current approach has numerous flaws that need to be corrected. It is not simple but it is necessary to do so in order not to lose the opportunity provided by the GDPR. The first fulfillment to be put in place for Italian companies is certainly the adoption of the Register of processing of personal data, but even before the bureaucratic queries, the company must understand the importance and value of the data, as well as the huge economic damage due to a loss of information If the data breach poses a threat to people's rights and freedoms:

The owner must inform all interested parties in a clear, simple and immediate manner and offer indications on how he intends to limit the damages;

You may decide not to inform interested parties if you believe that the violation does not pose a high risk for their rights or if they demonstrate that they have already taken security measures; or, finally, in the eventuality in which to inform the interested ones could involve a disproportionate effort to the risk. In this last case it will have to provide with a public communication;

The Guarantor Authority may in any case require the data controller to inform the data subjects on the basis of an assessment of the risks related to the violation committed.

The figure of the DPO (Data Protection Officer)

It is no coincidence that the figure of the "Data Protection Officer" (Data Protection Officer or DPO) was set up, responsible for ensuring the correct management of personal data in companies and institutions and identified according to professional qualities and specialized knowledge of the legislation and data protection practice.

The Data Protection Office reports directly to the company’s summit and is independent, as it does not receive instructions regarding the execution of the tasks.

In reality there are still too many doubts on the figure of the DPO is. It is a relevant figure, but certainly it is not the "center" of the system established by the GDPR, which in the new system is always the Data Controller. The DPO must have a specific competence "of the regulations and practices concerning personal data as well as the administrative rules and procedures that characterize the sector". It is no less important, however, that it also has "professional qualities appropriate to the complexity of the task to be performed" and, especially with reference to sensitive sectors such as health, can also demonstrate specific competences with respect to the types of treatment put in place to the holder. The decision-making autonomy and the extraneousness of the DPO with respect to the determination of the purposes and methods of data processing is equally important if we want to return to those affected that sovereignty over the circulation of their data.

THE COURT OF TORINO ON THE PROTECTION OF KWAY'S THREE BAND STRIPE.

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The Court of Torino recently ruled in a lawsuit promoted by Basic Net, owner of the well-known brand K-Way, against Giorgio Armani due to the marketing, by the latter, of products bearing the known K-Way colored.

Basic Net is the owner of a registered color Community trade mark which reproduces the famous colored strip which characterizes the clothing items branded by K-Way.

In its decision, the Court of Turin shared the arguments of the Court of the European Union concerning the application for registration of Basic Net’s Community figurative mark consisting of strips. On this occasion, the Court of Torino confirmed the rejection of the application for registration of the sign due to lack of distinctiveness. However, the Court also verified the acquisition of a distinctive character following use (so-called "secondary meaning") in four European Union States, including Italy.

The Court of Torino therefore concluded that the famous colored stripes of a K-Way constitute "a valid mark of fact, endowed with autonomous distinctive capacity even when used in combination with the K Way brand".

The Italian Court then ruled that the products they identified are "at least very similar (in the sense that they belong to the same line of casual / casual clothing) and sold at entirely comparable prices". This implies a risk of confusion between the brand of the actress Basic Net and the colored band that appears on the Armani garment. According to the Court, the likelihood of confusion arises from the use of the colored band, the overall visual impact it generates and its positioning on the sides of the hinges, and the fact that both products bearing the strip in question are marketed at the same stores and that their cost is almost similar. Such circumstances "can in fact concretely induce the consumer to believe that between the two companies there are ongoing non-existent co-branding operations". Finally, the Court of Turin ruled out the principle of the application of the c.d. “imperative of availability” opposed by the defendant

According to this principle third parties must always differentiate themselves through distinguishing additions or other arbitrary variations, sufficient to eliminate the risk of confusion with other products.

In this case, however, the additions made by Armani (aka the famous stylized eagles and the "AJ ARMANI JEANS" brand) are not considered sufficient to differentiate the product.

According to the Court of Torino the affixing of a notorious mark on the product does not exclude the counterfeiting of the figurative mark of another; if this were not the case "we would arrive at the paradoxical consequence of allowing the owners of the former to appropriately take possession of the latter, with the only precaution to use it in association with their distinctive mark, highly established on the market and highly distinctive and recognizable". For all the above, the Court concluded by declaring that the behavior established by Giorgio Armani "Constitutes an act of trademark infringement and as well as an act of unfair competition". The Court therefore issued against Armani an injunction order from the import, export, sale, marketing and advertising of class 25 products (in particular jackets) bearing the trademark object of the case or other mark containing the sign in question extended to the territory of the European Union and an order of destruction in Italy of counterfeit products.

THE PRICE OF CONSENT

Recently the Court of Torino has decided a case on the unauthorized publication of photographs on a website without the Author’s prior authorization and determining the quantification of damages on the basis of the principle of "price of consent".

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The author of certain photographs, realizing that they appeared on a web platform, asked the court to be recognized as the owner of the rights of economic exploitation on them and, secondly the quantification of damages .

The Court of Torino ruled that the illegitimate publication on a website of other people's photographs by unauthorized third parties is a violation of an author’s exploitiation rights, but also that damages violation should be calculated by applying the principle of "Price of consent".

More precisely, according to this criterion, damages for the illegitimate exploitation of copyrights must be quantified on the basis of the sum that the rights holder would have received as consideration following the reaching of an agreement with the user. And the quantification of the "price of consent" must be based on the amount previously requested by the holder for the transfer of each individual photograph, to third parties.
 

THE PROTECTION OF BIOGRAPHICAL WORKS

Can we freely write, publish or tell the lives of famous people?

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On this point the Court of Milan (IP Section) recently rendered a descision to settle a dispute between two authors (Antonio Prestigiacomo and Marcello Sorgi) on the life of the Sicilian Prince Raimondo Lanza di Trabia, the man who invented the soccer transfer market and who was Rita Hayworth's lover and a close friend of Onassis.

The Court ruled that in the case of biographical works of well-known personalities, the facts and events that affected them belong to the common patrimony and are not autonomously monopolizable by anyone. Copyright protection protects instead the formal choices, the stylistic and editorial techniques, created by an author.

The Court ruled that the text of plaintiff Antonio Prestigiacomo, "The Restless Prince. The life of Raimondo Lanza di Trabia "undoubtedly enjoys copyright protection both in terms of originality and novelty. As for the originality, Prestigiacomo’s Book is in fact configured as the personal result of the harmonization of real facts, also historical, and true facts, organized and stylistically reworked with a particular technique. The text is in fact the fruit of the alternation, in the narrative fabric, of interviews articulated in questions and answers, clearly identifiable by the presence of the quotation marks, made by the author to various characters who have had direct knowledge of the Prince.

However, the Court ruled that with respect to the identity of the main character and of many events narrated, there is a certain distance between the two stories, so to believe that they are autonomous creative works, belonging to different genres, each individually protected.

The work of Prestigiacomo cannnot in the end be considered plagiarized by that of Marcello Sorgi and that the biographical works of well-known personalities, but not with reference to the facts and the events that concerned them,are not monopolizable.

Embedding a Tweet could be Copyright Infringment

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Rejecting years of settled precedent, a federal court in New York has ruled that you could infringe copyright simply by embedding a tweet in a web page. Even worse, the logic of the ruling applies to all in-line linking, not just embedding tweets. If adopted by other courts, this legally and technically misguided decision would threaten millions of ordinary Internet users with infringement liability.

This case began when Justin Goldman accused online publications, including Breitbart, Time, Yahoo, Vox Media, and the Boston Globe, of copyright infringement for publishing articles that linked to a photo of NFL star Tom Brady. Goldman took the photo, someone else tweeted it, and the news organizations embedded a link to the tweet in their coverage Goldman said those stories infringe his copyright.

Courts have long held that copyright liability rests with the entity that hosts the infringing content—not someone who simply links to it.

This is generally known as the “server test,” originally from a 2007 Ninth Circuit case called Perfect 10 v. Amazon, and provides a clear and easy-to-administer rule. It has been a foundation of the modern Internet.

We hope that the Ninth’s Circuit ruling does not stand. If it did, it would threaten the practice of in-line linking that benefits millions of Internet users every day.

The Shape of Water accused of Plagiarism.

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As the Academy Awards night apporaches, controversy grows around the films selected by the Jury.

"The shape of water", the film by Guillermo del Toro, nominated for 13 Academy Awards, is accused of plagiarism: the film would be based on the 1969 play 'Let Me Hear You Whisper' of the Pulitzer Prize Paul Zindel . The legal action against the film's director, producer and movie house was presented by David Zindel, the son and heir of the famous playwright, who blames them for not having "shamelessly copied the story, the elements and the characters" of his father's comedy, even using the same words.

 The word is now up to the Court, called to determine whether Zindel's allegations are founded. However, it is not the first time in Hollywood that there have been battles on accusations of plagiarism, especially in the presence of films of expected success.

The classic Western by Sergio Leone For a handful of dollars is one of the peaks of its kind, thanks to the incredible performance of Clint Eastwood, a tramp gunner who, during his wanderings, ends up in the middle of a conflict between two families in a small village on the border with Mexico. Unfortunately, the film is also an unauthorized remake of a film by Akira Kurosawa entitled Yojimbo. Kurosawa sent Leone a letter saying "Nice movie, but it was my Movie", and sued him asking for a percentage of the proceeds. The two agreed for a reimbursement of 100 thousand dollars and 15% of profits worldwide.

Another striking case was that of Terminator. Harlan Ellison is one of the most litigious authors in the American science fiction world, and there are now dozens of lawsuits against people accused of stealing his ideas. However, the lawsuit he filed against James Cameron for The Terminator was slightly different. Ellison wrote an episode of Beyond the Limits called Demon With a Glass Hand, which told the story of a robot soldier who, disguised as a human, is sent back in time. Orion Pictures decided to pay compensation before the case arrived in court, and Ellison earned money and was credited to the film.

Last we hanve to mention the case of "Coming to America” a movie starrign Eddie Murphy.

In 1982, the well-known screenwriter Art Buchwald wrote a treatment for Paramount entitled King for a day, in which the protagonist was a rich and arrogant African ruler who traveled to America. The protagonist should have been Eddie Murphy. Paramount bought the treatment and spent a few years in a vain attempt to find someone who wrote the screenplay before leaving the project in 1985. The rights returned to Buchwald, which sold them to Warner Brothers. Later Paramount made a film with Eddie Murphy who played the part of a rich and ignorant African ruler traveling to the United States. The film was titled The Prince Looking Wife. Buchwald was neither paid nor credited, so he sued but Paramount agreed privately with him for an unknown figure.

The Shape of Audermar's Piguet "Royal Oak" is not a 3d Trademark.

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The Court of Milan has recently expressed its opinion on the protection of the shape of the well-known "Royal Oak" watch created in 1972 by the Swiss company Audermars Piguet initially protected as a three-dimensional trademark.

Audemars Piguet recorded the shape of the relative lunette as an international figurative mark and complained on a trademark counterfeiting and unfair competition case for the sale of watches marketed by the Milan based start-up “D One”.

At first, the court issued an iaudita altera parte restraining order prohibiting the future commercialization of such watches however, the court overturned its initial decision and dismissed the appeal of Audemars Piguet on the grounds that "there are numerous elements of doubt about the validity of the operated trademark", as evidenced by the fact that its registration as a Community trade mark has been denied by the competent office (EUIPO).

In particular, according to the Court, the trademark seems to lack distinctive capacity, ie the ability to "distinguish products from those of another manufacturer and, therefore, perform the function of identifying the entrepreneurial origin of the product";

Again, according to the court of Milan, the three-dimensional distinctive sign does not even seem to have acquired distinctive capacity through use (so-called "secondary meaning"), "not having been documented uniform use" of the sign itself ".

Finally, the registration of the shape in question as a trademark does not even seem compatible with the provisions of art. 9 CPI, according to which "signs constituted exclusively ... from the form that gives substantial value to the product can not be registered as a trademark".

 In terms of unfair competition, the judge recalled that, to integrate the unfair competition law, the servile imitation of the product of others must "invest characteristics that are totally inexistent with respect to the function they are intended to perform", or those "arbitrary and whimsical" and "new with respect to the already known" characteristics that give originality to the product and have distinctive capacity, so that the public is led to bring them back to the company from which the product originates: only when these characteristics are concerned, servile imitation invests "elements capable of generating confusion in the public" and thus integrates unfair competition with confusion.

In this case, the judge did not recognize the existence of such an imitation, stating essentially - on the basis of what was found at the point of counterfeiting of the mark - that the imitated forms would be "structural and non-distinctive", as well as in some cases "Now acquired to the collective taste, having undergone a certain standardization", and that in any case there would be "significant differences" between the two products.

Surprise Decision on Steve Jobs Trademark.

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The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has upheld its prior decision to grant the registration of trademark STEVE JOBS, in the name of two Neapolitan brothers, Vincenzo and Giacomo Barbato.

The trademark  was not only for STEVE JOBS, but also for a stylization, and a very particular letter J, that likely reminds consumers of another company’s logotype.

The Neapolitan brothers noticed that Apple had neglected to register its founder’s name as a trademark and, unwilling to let this opportunity go by,  registered the trademark as shown above before the EUIPO (Registration No. 011041861), in International Classes 9, 18, 25, 38 and 42.

After noticing this, Apple Inc. attacked this registration before the EUIPO, arguing that the letter J was a copy of Apple Inc.’s own apple device, with a very similar leaf, and a bite taken off it, as shown here:

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After years of arguments, the EUIPO ruled in favor of the Barbato brothers, arguing that letter J is not edible, and consequently there is no relation between the bitten apple of the technological company and the “bitten” J of the Italian brothers.

Consequently, the registration was sustained, and there are now clothes being sold under the STEVE JOBS trademark. The trademark owners have also indicated that they would eventually be interested in selling electronic devices with this trademark and, with the Class 9 protection, this is very likely to happen.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to foresee how a company or market will develop and these situations cannot always be avoided, but it is important to note that comprehensive planning, and to proactively protect through trademark registration those terms important to a company.

Note: Trademark STEVE JOBS was also applied for before the USPTO (Serial No. 79141888), but rejected by said institution.

The New law on Live Music Entertainment.

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The Italian Parliament has recently approved the new law on live entertainment, a long-awaited regulation by industry players which sets new rules and allocates more resources and tax benefits to the entertainment sector: the novelties provided by the new Law include increased resources of Fund for the Performing Arts (€ 9.5 million for the years 2018 and 2019 and € 22.5 million from 2020), € 4 million for performances to be organized in the areas of Central Italy hit by the 2016 and 2017 earthquakes, the extension of the Art Bonus to all sectors of the show business, the stabilization of tax credit music, the grant for producers and live music performers of funds uo to € 4.5 million starting from 2018, the extension of State support for live performance of popular music and street performances.

The German Battle for the Balck Friday Trademark.

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In 2013, a trade mark application for Black Friday was filed in Germany. Today, the German trade mark is registered for Super Union Holdings Ltd., Hong Kong which has licensed the trade mark “Black Friday” to Black Friday GmbH, a company based in Vienna.

Since 2016, Super Union Holdings Ltd. has started to attack companies using the term Black Friday by sending warnings, such as the US e-commerce marketplace Groupon in 2016, as media reported. Another party concerned is a German entrepreneur who hosts the domain black-friday.de, a platform offering Black Friday deals.

In 2017, Super Union Holdings Ltd. sued Amazon for its use of the sign „Black Friday“ in Germany by raising, inter alia, forbearance and damage claims („Black Friday“ wird Fall für die Gerichte, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, November 6, 2017).

Of course, some companies, affected by the attacks of Super Union Holdings Ltd., have started to fire back. It is no surprise that there are more than twelve pending cancellation actions against the German trademark Black Friday. In addition, just recently a court in Düsseldorf / Germany has issued a preliminary injunction against Super Union Holdings Ltd. and its licensee Black Friday GmbH to refrain, inter alia, from claiming against clients of the operator of the aforementioned website black-friday.de, that the use of “Black Friday” in an ad is a trade mark infringement.

In Germany, the registration of a trade mark can be cancelled on request of any third party if it has been registered despite absolute grounds for refusal, e.g. if the mark is descriptive or does constitute an indication which needs to be kept freely available. So, what is your opinion?

THE POINT ON THE ITALIAN LINK TAX.

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The last few days have been extremely turbulent for web companies with the government always looking for new measures to tax the network.

The proposal to reform the Copyright Directive, one of the most discussed European Commission regulations, does not appear to be in consensus during the discussions in the European Parliament. In particular the new Directive tries to introduce rules (art. 11) in favor of the publishers (the so called "Google Tax") and the requirement (art. 13) for intermediaries to set up filters for content that users enter in order to delete those that are in violation of copyright. The mechanism attempts to monetize one of the genetic activity of the web, hypertext but the fear is that it can occur  what as already happened in Spain and Germany, where publishers have the right to get paid by Google News. The result was a traffic collapse of publishers' sites. Recently, however, the apparent negative consequences of adopting the link tax in Spain appear to have not dissuaded the Italian government from taking such an initiative. Apparently the government is studying a rule that oblige news aggregators like Google News to reach a commercial deal with publishers. In the event of this agreement failing, a mediation process may arise before the AgCom or the dedicated section of the Council Presidency before leading to a judicial proceeding.

EVEN A WINE GUIDE IS A PROTECTED CREATIVE WORK.

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In a recent decision, the Court of Rome ruled on an unfair competition case between two wines guides "Bibenda" (published by Bibenda Editore) and "Vitae" owned by AIS (the Italian Sommelier Association). The Court found relevant similitudes both relating to the physical format of the Guide and the descriptions of companies and wine production data, and "strong elements of consistency in the sequence of arguments".

Immediately after the interruption of a collaboration between the two parties, AIS  began to distribute a new Wine Guide to its members, called "Vitae", but it appeared to the authors of "Bibenda" too similar, under a multiplicity of points of view, to the one created by them according to well-defined editorial criteria. Criteria which, according to the judgment, are sufficiently similar to those adopted by Ais for "Vitae". For this reason the Court upheld Bibenda Editore's requests and stopped the publication of future editions of "Vitae". Ais was also sentenced to pay damages (still to be quantified) in favor of Bibenda Editore.

According to the judgment of the Court "an analysis of the guide published by the defendant (AIS) shows significant similarities with the Bibenda’s Guide in relation to the volume size, the material used for the cover, the binding and the fonts used and the format.

Significant similarities can be found in company descriptive descriptions, in both guides, with the same sequence and within an identical structural context and according to a common graphical presentation, data relating to company name, address, internet site, mail address, year of foundation, property, bottles produced, vineyards, direct sales, company visits, introductory part, name wine, typology, grapes, alcohol content, price, bottles produced, tasting, winemaking and matching.

It is also common to evaluate products with symbols placed on the right side of the pages.

As already noted, the two guides have strong similar elements in the sequence of arguments (...) ". On the basis of these arguments, the Court of First Instance upheld Bibenda’s claim and prevented the Italian Sommelier Association from publishing Vitae's guidebook unless significant adjustments would be made to substantially differentiate it from Bibenda's guide.