Court Rules against ‘GTA V’ Cheat Makers over Copyright Infringement

England and Wales Intellectual Property Enterprise Court has recently ruled against a pair of cheat developers in association with Epsilon (a former outfit related to GTA games) for infringing on the copyright by coding and selling the software.

The Grand Theft Auto (GTA) games are all about bad behavior for making money. Nevertheless, in the real world, their developer and publisher – Rockstar Games, Inc. and parent Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. – go hard on getting any hint about rules being broken, and thus, all the way to suing cheat app makers for Copyright Infringement.

The recent ruling is in relation to one such legal action that has gone well for the UK Company. It is a summary judgment meaning that the case would not go to trial.

Rockstar’s original Copyright Infringement Application for a summary judgment named five defendants, three of which have settled the case in the meantime. Rest two who chose to try their luck in court though affirmed their involvement with Epsilon, yet made efforts to invalidate the violation argument. They did so by saying that their team provided a disclaimer of liability to users of their cheat for the online gameplay GTA V. Nonetheless, the court said that this was a mere window-dressing.

In general, these cheats are known as the ‘mod menu’ and allow gamers to enjoy several advantages while playing. These sometimes unlock virtual in-game items and currency for which they would otherwise need to pay the real money.

Another thing the defendants said in their defense was that the Epsilon developed its software by forking the already existing code, which is available online. It means they downloaded the source code from a popular and well-known public cheating website. But, the court rejected this argument also and ruled in favor of Rockstar’s claim of violation of the contract against one defendant, dropping the charge against the other because he was a minor when the offense took place.

Although the case won’t go to the trial in association with the copyright charges, the issue related to legal cost may still require a trial. But Justice Falk, who signed the order, said that she hoped the parties would try to settle this matter. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Philippines Marks Higher Score in International Intellectual Property Index

With the implementation of new anti-counterfeiting and piracy measures, the Philippines has improved its score by around 4 percent in the United States Chamber of Commerce’s (USCC) 2020 International Intellectual Property Index.

Ranking 37th out of total 53 economies, the Philippines scored 39.94% in 2020 index in comparison to its 36% score in 2019. Reports showed that the key strength of the Philippines is in the IP framework that includes:

  • Amendments to the IP code to strengthen criminal sanctions
  • The fast-tracking procedure for Trademark Registration
  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) given in legislation
  • Incentives for research and development (R&D)
  • Growing specialization
  • Capacity Building.

On the other side, gaps in life sciences and content-related IPRs, online and software piracy, and barriers for licensing technology are reported as some of the weaknesses of the Philippines.

Abbreviated as IPOPHL, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines said that considering three additional economies in the index, Philippine standing reached 70% to the top, from 74% in the previous year.

IPOPHL officer-in-charge, Director General Teodoro Pascua, said that they welcome the verdicts of USCC-GIPC (Global Innovation Policy Center). They are happy and thankful for its positive and careful observation of the progress of their nation’s IPRs environment, especially on enforcement entrenched in IPOPHL’s effort to protect creativity and innovation.

Considering the Philippine Online Infringing Act, the USCC-GIPC is expecting that the Philippines would score higher in the 2021’s report. Under this Act, IPOPHL will be allowed to order the cancellation of an internet service provider’s operating license if it fails to remove the infringing content within ten days of notification.

IPOPHL added that these kinds of positive steps would lead to an increase in scores on relevant indicators, which will then make the index to monitor the developments in 2020 and upcoming years.

Mr. Pascua then added that 2020 would be an interesting year for IPRs Enforcement Office (IEO) and IPOPHL’s enforcement team who will be ironing out enforcement suggestions and guidelines to keep up with modern business models. He also said that IEO had identified some critical players in the supply chain of false trade with whom they believe they should engage. They desire to motivate them to set up their mechanisms to prevent counterfeiters, including those who are contributing to counterfeit trade by utilizing their channels for criminal operations, Pascua ended.  For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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SaskTel Sent 30,000 Copyright Infringement Notices to Internet Customers

As it turns out that a lot of SaskTel customers are allegedly involved in internet piracy, the company, since January 2019, has sent out around 30,000 Copyright Infringement notifications to customers, who are accused of engaging in downloading or uploading copyrighted materials.

A spokesperson for SaskTel said that the number of notices the Crown tends to issue has remained steady in recent years. The spokesperson explained that receiving one of such notices doesn’t mean that the user is being sued by Hollywood studio. However, it can lead to a suit if the user continues with the activity causing infringement.

Although SaskTel doesn’t monitor the customers’ online activities, it is obligated under the Copyright Act of Canada to issue notices related to infringement on receiving communications from copyright owners.

Halifax-based lawyer David Fraser, who specializes in internet privacy and technology law, warned SaskTel customers by saying that they shouldn’t take the notices lightly. Mr. Fraser, during a recent telephonic interview, said that he would neither ignore it and nor laugh it off; rather, he would take it seriously. The lawyer continued and provided an example saying that if he were to receive a notice in his house or to discover that one of his kids was doing something like a violation, he would have a conversation with the kid as he wouldn’t want the thing to go further.

According to Mr. Fraser, copyright owners can track SaskTel users with the help of companies that possess the technology to detect the IP addresses that access copyrighted materials, like movies through peer-to-peer file-sharing software. Nonetheless, the copyright holders don’t get aware of the users’ names, and SaskTel wouldn’t provide that information to anyone unless a court orders it to do so.

Fraser then said that Hollywood studios have sued around thousands of individuals in Canada for piracy. While representing Canadian residents against whom the lawsuits for copyright infringement have been filed by the studios, Mr. Fraser revealed that these lawsuits often fall within the range of $5,000.

Companies usually provide individuals with several notices before deciding to sue them for copyright infringement. If you receive one or two notices, then there’re possibilities that you could be sued in case you continue doing the same thing as you were doing it before. Moreover, once you get sued, you will be sued again and again. You cannot ignore it, as if you do so, then the studio gets a default judgment against you, said Fraser.

A default judgment takes place when a defendant fails to respond to summons or unable to appear in court. SaskTel said it received one court application asking for information about copyright infringement, but the data wasn’t available because the Crown stores the information only for six months. Pirating copyrighted material is in infringement of the Crown agency’s Internet use policy.

According to this policy, customers should not upload, transmit, publish, or reproduce literary work, software, or other material, which is protected by any Intellectual Property (IP) right without obtaining the prior written permission of the copyright holder.

SaskTel, at last, said getting a copyright infringement notice doesn’t affect the customers’ internet access, but the continuation in piracy-related activities can result in the suspension of service. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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What Should You Know About A Trademark Search?

Intellectual Property (IP) alertness and the number of trademark applications are rising gradually. Therefore, it is significant for existing businesses as well as the new businesses who want to register their marks to be aware of the appropriate procedure to do so. It will help them in preventing the rejection of their Trademark Applications, and thus, save their hard-earned money and precious time from being wasted. One of the main reasons why most applications related to trademark registration get rejected is that the mark mentioned within them is either identical or confusingly similar to an already existing trademark in the market. So a trademark search, which lets you have an idea if a trademark similar to your mark is available in the market, is the best way to know whether your mark is eligible to get registered or not. It, in this way, can prevent your application’s refusal.

What is a Trademark search?

It refers to an action taken for determining whether or not a trademark is already being used in commerce. Although often appears narrow in scope, trademark searches can include results from almost all avenue for Trademark Protection for every mark, which is remotely similar to the mark that’s the subject of the search.

An appropriate Trademark Searching Technique or strategy will consider determining the nature of the mark, the nature of the products or services the mark covers, the timeline for bringing the mark to commerce, and the applicant’s allocation of all resources. A Trademark Search Report, in general, is based on:

  • Deep analysis of the elements included in the trademark
  • An intense search of prior trademarks that may impede registration
  • Opinions of an experienced Trademark Attorney on several aspects related to trademark application or registration
  • Suggestions for enhancement of registration probabilities when needed.

Most of the time, the relevant trademark registration office refuses to register any mark because of finding the applied mark either the same or similar to an already existing trademark. However, the office could refuse the registration based on many other factors, such as:

  • Merely descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive
  • Scandalous or immoral trademarks, like racial slurs
  • Trademarks that wrongly suggest a relationship with persons or entities
  • Geographically descriptive or deceptively geographically misdescriptive
  • Prohibited signs like flags, Olympic symbols, etc.

Since rules for registration for trademark vary from country to country, you may obtain different search reports for different countries. For instance, if your mark complies with all the factors essential for Trademark Registration in Maldives, it doesn’t mean that the same satisfies the requirements to get registered in India as well. In the same way, the trademark search report obtained in one nation could be different from that obtained in another nation. Besides, the trademark attorney’s recommendations, along with registration possibilities, can also vary according to the country. Some common reasons responsible for these variations in trademark search reports and trademark registrations in different countries are:

Differences in Interpretation: Trademark Offices interpret what can be and cannot be registered in a different manner. For example, countries like Switzerland will never accept any design that eventually resembles a red cross, no matter how small, big, or deconstructed it appears. However, other nations are more relaxed about what constitutes a red cross and often accept similar designs.

Differences in National Trademark Law: A mark with an image of a crown is not at all an issue in most countries. Nevertheless, in some countries like the United Kingdom, representation of the Royal Crown or similar would be refused.

Wrapping Up

With lakhs of trademarks and thousands of companies in the world, conducting a precise trademark search is essential. The trademark search process, in general, includes all the classes that are registered within that country. One can check the availability of his slogan, logo, brand, or name easily in just one trademark search. Dexterous Intellectual Property Law Firms are available with services that can make things easier for you. With years of experience, these firms can help you choose the right class, etc., by using the free but excellent Trademark Search Tool. The experts within these can also assist you through the entire Trademark Registration Process. In other words, these organizations can make you enjoy robust trademark protection for your mark without facing issues and wasting time or money. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Google Files Trademark Application for Pigweed – A new Operating System

Over the years, Google has been developing its fair share of operating systems, including Android, Chrome OS, and Fuchsia. And now, according to a new Trademark Application filed by Google, it appears that the search giant may be working on increasing the share by adding another operating system (OS) codenamed Pigweed.

Although the search giant has filed the trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the Pigweed OS recently, this isn’t the first time when the world heard of Pigweed with Google.

Pigweed was first found in a code from Google while developing Fuchsia OS. It happened due to a code change for Fuchsia, where the developers mentioned ‘pigweed,’ but that was changed to ‘Fuchsia.’ From this, it can be estimated that Google’s Pigweed and Fuchsia are possibly related. However, as nothing much has been revealed about Pigweed, the two operating systems could be different as well.

Pigweed’s appearance was also spotted in the Google Chromium code repository, where ‘pigweed’ was mentioned in a code associated with ‘Monorail,’ an issue tracker used by the search giant for Chrome and other projects.

These are the two known incidents showing the appearance of Google’s Pigweed in the past. Nevertheless, as per the latest trademark application, Pigweed is a ‘computer operating system.’ For now, this’s what the world knows about Google’s Pigweed. In other words, there isn’t anything else other than this information regarding Pigweed for now. Moreover, there’s no word on ‘will Google make Pigweed official.’ It is also not clear if Pigweed would be a new OS for smartphones in addition to computers. Hence, until Google decides to reveal more regarding Pigweed, no one can figure out what purpose the OS will actually serve.

Another big question is, ‘when can the public expect Google to take the wraps off of Pigweed?’ Well, there’s no easy way to guess the answer to this question also. For instance, the term ‘Android’ was trademarked just five days prior to the OS was first exposed in 2007. Conversely, the name ‘Chromebook’ wasn’t trademarked for months even after the first Chromebook began shipping in 2011. Furthermore, the word ‘Fuchsia’ has been trademarked for around two years now without being officially unveiled. Fuchsia OS, on which the search giant has been working for over twenty-four months now, is expected to replace Android, the most famous and widely used OS for smartphones. Although Google hasn’t confirmed if Fuchsia would be the next Android or Chrome OS, it already started testing Fuchsia OS on smartphones. Nonetheless, the search giant is expected to provide more concrete information with respect to Fuchsia OS and the new Pigweed OS altogether later this year. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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An Overview of Intellectual Property Protection in Maldives

In the past few years, Maldives has seen good economic growth in many areas, including tourism, trade, fisheries, construction, etc. It shows that the market possesses sufficient talent and will require the government to promulgate a law or some provisions to safeguard the interests of the people as well as the nation at large. It is believed that this will contribute to the economic growth of the country by promoting international trade and commerce. Once the expected legislation has been put in practice, the local talent can look for and enjoy the protection for their rights in products and services they are marketing or want to market. They will be able to ensure that no counterfeit goods are being sold in the market, along with to make a distinction amid products and services available in the market. There would also be increased employment opportunities. In any field, hence, Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) need to be protected not only for profiting local talents but also to benefit others like consumers. It is, therefore, essential that an Intellectual Property Law should be enacted in regards to the same. However, Maldives has no law that has been enacted in terms of IPRs. To circumvent this, a concept of sufficient Trademark Protection has been provided by way of obtaining public recognition through cautionary notices.

Some Vital Laws, Acts, and Rights Used in Maldives

In Maldives, any legal dispute is settled under Common law. An IP Unit, which was established by the Ministry of Economic Development in 2007, has been working to educate the masses about several aspects of IPRs. The Copyright and Related Rights Act was passed in October 2010 but became operative in April 2011. Apart from the cautionary notices, the Ministry strives for enacting legislation on Geographical Indication Law, Industrial Property Right, and Trademark Law of Maldives. The nation also benefits from the World Trade Organization that provides legal protection under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, i.e., the TRIPS agreement.

IP Protection in Maldives

Considering the remarkable rise in applications for Copyright Registration of eligible works, it is worthy to say that there has been a high demand for Copyright Protection in Maldives. The industrial property rights, which aim to secure inventions that do not cover patentability, are also vital. Trademarks and Servicemarks also play a crucial role in regards to IP Protection in Maldives.

The protection of Intellectual Property in Maldives, in general, is sought by the publication of cautionary notices in journals or newspapers.  These notices act as a warning to third parties against the use of marks that can lead to infringement. The notice does not just suggest whether it is related to a trademark, patent, or copyright, but also provide details of the proprietor. Such notices can be published for individual classes or multiple classes, and the time set for acquiring protection under this notice is around 3 to 4 weeks. Although the publication fee can vary depending on the length of the notice, the NICE classification of goods and services would apply to all.

Conclusion

Maldives, due to its economy and population, appears as a small market. However, its trade sector is undoubtedly well regulated, but the legislation on IPR should be enacted to facilitate free and fair trade of goods and services in the market. Besides, Maldives should also become a member of some relevant International treaties such as Madrid Agreement and Protocol for Registration of International Trademarks, Berne Convention for protection of literary and artistic works, etc. The nation can also be a member of the Hague Agreement for International Registration for Industrial Designs and the Lisbon Agreement for the protection of appellations of origin. With the significant role of Foreign Direct Investment in Maldives in addition to several countries possessing a direct entry into the market, the nation’s economy has been observing a substantial growth. It has further created noticeable employment opportunities. Hence, we can conclude that to aid economic growth and competitiveness in the market, IP Rights and Laws need to be in place, no matter whether it is Maldives or any other nation. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Cypriot Cheese Producers Re-secure Trademark Protection for ‘Halloumi’

Cypriot farmers have recently won back the exclusive right to sell their cheese products as ‘Halloumi’ in the UK after re-securing the trademark it lost in 2018.

Participating on the part of these farmers, the Cypriot ministry first obtained Trademark Protection for ‘Halloumi’ from the UK Intellectual Property Office in 1990. However, in association with a legal challenge brought by the UK-based cheese producers, the trademark had been revoked in the year 2018. The verdict was a result of an administrative error as the Cypriot ministry failed to respond to the legal requests within the asked time frame. Nevertheless, now the ministry has secured the protection again.

According to a Patent and Trademark Attorney, this significant win for the Cypriot farmers means that they have regained an exclusive right to use the mark ‘Halloumi’ while selling their cheese product in the UK. Because of the growing market for this product in the UK, this is expected to prove profitable for them. However, the farmers are unlikely to limit themselves there. They have already filed a Trademark Application for achieving ‘protected food name’ status to the European Commission, and if successful, their application would bring permanent protection. But as it’s likely to take some time, trademark protection in the UK will be beneficial to them in the meantime.

The attorney said that the food and drink producers in the UK might not be aware that they are allowed to apply for ‘protected food name’ status to secure protection for products with unique characteristics that can be linked to a specific geographical location or specified product. The attorney continued that this Trademark Registration certification would affect those who are producing cheese products. It is so because they could not label the product as ‘Halloumi’ unless it meets the certification mark requirements. Hence, restaurants should take care of not to define something as ‘Halloumi’ wrongly.

The attorney further added that if there’s no food name protection in place, and the misuse isn’t spotted as soon as possible, the use of the name or product could become generic. As a consequence, it would lose its eligibility for protected status. For example – ‘Cheddar’ is a name that has now become generic, and thus, no longer capable of obtaining such protection.

The Protected Food Name scheme, which was established by the UK government in 1993, is helpful for producers who want to use a geographical place name as part of their product’s brand identity for preventing others from marketing their items under the same name.

Since a large number of products have achieved the ‘protected food name’ status, there is no reason why Halloumi producers should not look for the same. Still, the application by these producers has been affected by many delays. Nonetheless, now it has gained the approval, meaning that the producers have re-secured ‘Halloumi’ trademark protection in the UK. ✅ For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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