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First off today, MGA and their Bratz line is getting something of a reprieve following a ruling from the appeals court. The dollmaker had been sued by arch-rival and Barbie maker Mattel after Mattel discovered that the designer for the Bratz line was working for them at the time he created the first designs for the dolls. Mattel got a lower court to agree that the doll line was their intellectual property and ordered MGA to stop selling the dolls by year’s end and transfer ownership to Mattel.
However, an Appeals Court has taken up the case and has questioned whether the original order went too far, calling it “draconian” and also questioning Mattel’s employment contracts. It has suspended the order for MGA to stop selling the dolls but has not said when it plans on issuing a final ruling.
Bratz dolls are famous rivals to Mattel’s Barbie line. Mattel had said previously that they were prepared and able to take over the manufacture and sale of the Bratz line when the transfer took place though it now appears that will not be for some time.
Next up today, the Baltimore Ravens are also in an Appeals Court but they are arguing over their logo, or rather, their first one. In 1998, a jury ruled that the Baltimore Raven’s stole the idea for their logo from Frederick Bouchat but refused to award any damages. The American football team changed its logo the next year.
However, now Bouchat wants the court to bar any commercial use of the original logo, a shield with wings and a letter B in the middle, an issue that seemed to divide the panel.
The team no longer promotes itself using the logo but it routinely appears in “historical” items that are sold, including videos.
The panel is not expected to rule for several weeks but it may finally bring an end to what has been a long-standing and, at times, bitter lawsuit between the two sides.
Finally today, Google is trying out a new role for them, second fiddle. Google CEO Eric Schmidt was at a a music industry function announcing the launch of their new music video site Vevo, which Google is providing technical and marketing support to.
As the author of the article points out, there was a time when Google was very combative with major copyright holders of all types, including record labels, movie studios and TV networks, but has more recently begun to forge partnerships with many of its old adversaries, Vevo perhaps being the most dramatic example.
The author hypothesizes the change came from competition, including Hulu and Netflix, which has shown how successful such partnerships can be.
You can view an example of a Vevo video here.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.
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