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The New Copyright Moriarty

This story begins when an author undertook the publication of a collection of new tales, which was tentatively titled In the Company of Sherlock Holmes. The Estate of Sir Conan Doyle (“Estate”) purports to own the copyrights in and to Mr. Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes body of works and demanded that the author obtain a paid license, leading the author to file a declaratory judgment action. The Estate, however, declined to litigate the issue by filing any responsive pleading. Not being satisfied with a possible default judgment, the author has filed a summary judgment motion, requesting that the court definitively hold that all of the novels and most every story in the Sherlock Holmes body of works are in the public domain in the United States by reason of the fact that they were first published in the U.S. prior to January 1, 1923. Could it be that the court, and not Moriarty, finally does Holmes in? The final chapter may just be written in the next few months when the court rules on the pending motion.

Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd., 1:13- cv-01226, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago)

 

Tiffany…Generic?

Recently Tiffany filed a complaint against Costco in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for trademark infringement and related claims. According to the complaint, for many years Costco has sold diamond rings, describing them as “Tiffany” rings. However, Tiffany never authorized Costco to sell its goods and Costco never actually sold Tiffany products. This, Tiffany argues, has resulted in “hundreds if not thousands of people who mistakenly believe they purchased and own a Tiffany engagement ring from Costco.” Rather than throwing in the towel, Costco has counterclaimed, arguing that “Tiffany” is generic for a style or type of ring setting.

This could get interesting.

Tiffany & Company and Tiffany (NJ) LLC v. Costco WholesaleCorp, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 13-1041 Continue reading

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