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Wednesday, 15 February 2006


Bulge battlers do battle

The Daily Telegraph reports that two dieting companies are having a trade mark tiff. Sin & Slim is applying to register SIN & SLIM as a trade mark, but the application is being opposed by Slimming World. The latter company designated foods which can only be eaten in limited amounts as “sins”, though recently it has changed the speling to “syns”. Slimming World is claiming that it has rights in the term SIN thanks to 35 years of use (and possibly a registered trade mark, though the article’s not clear on this point). Said Slimming Word:

"Since they [Sin & Slim] have attempted to register the name as a trademark they should not be surprised nor under any illusion that any organisation that has built up years of goodwill in a trademark would not look to protect it when necessary".

The original sinful foodstuff

The IPKat says that SIN has to be the ultimate example of an immoral trade mark and, as we all know, immoral trade marks are not registrable.

9/11 Photo Copyright

The New York Daily News reports on a copyright controversy concerning publicly funded pictures of the 9/11 clean-up operation. Photographer Gregg Brown was paid $300,000 to document the aftermath of the terrorist attack, but no contract concerning ownership of the copyright in the photographs was ever signed. Brown refused to sign papers granting the copyright to the City of New York, but he was allowed continued access to NYPD helicopters, from which he filmed, until May 2002. Later in 2002, he registered his photographs and video footage with the US Copyright Office. He now says that his written permission is needed before the photographs can be used. He has caused outrage amongst the families of 9/11 survivors by including footage in a documentary named ‘Words”, which features topless women and naked men.

The IPKat reckons that this is certainly a case in which it would be justified to imply a contractual assignment of the copyright into the contract to give it business efficacy. As an ideal situation though, it’s best to sort things out expressly and contractually beforehand, though the IPKat can understand why, in this case, this may have been overlooked.

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