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Weekly Issues in the News

By Geisa Balla


Facebook Inc. moved to dismiss Paul Ceglia's complaint on March 26, 2012. Paul Ceglia filed a lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook in 2010, claiming that pursuant to a contractual agreement with Zuckerberg, he owns 50 percent of the social media site. In his complaint Ceglia had attached documents, now at issue, to show that this agreement existed. In its motion to dismiss, Facebook called the claims a "fraud and a lie", and depicted Ceglia as desperate for cash. The motion discusses the results of months-long investigations and forensic analysis of emails from Zuckerberg's college days. This investigation, according to Facebook, showed that Mr. Ceglia forged the contract and then attempted to cover his tracks with fake emails. Facebook claims that the second page of the contract produced by Ceglia does in fact contain Zuckerberg's signature, but the contract that Zuckerberg singed had a different first page. Facebook alleged that Mr. Ceglia baked the contract in the sun so the ink would appear aged and could not be tested by experts. Facebook also claimed that none of the emails in Mr. Ceglia's complaint showed in its search of Harvard's servers.


Nike v Reebok

Southern District of New York judge Kevin Castel issued an order on March 28, 2012 in favor of Nike Inc., blocking Reebok International from selling New York Jets apparel featuring the name of Tim Tebow. Nike filed a licensing dispute lawsuit against Reebok on March 27, 2012. The Denver Broncos traded Tebow to the Jets on March 21st. The order prevents Reebok from manufacturing, selling and shipping the alleged unauthorized apparel for the NFL team and bearing Tebow's name. The order also requires Reebok to offer to buy back any such apparel from retailers and recall products from shipping channels. The court denied Nike's demand to destroy any unauthorized Tebow products. Nike's complaint alleged that Nike will begin an exclusive five-year contract with the NFL to sell uniforms and related apparel for all 32 NFL teams on April 1, 2012. Nike claims that Reebok has no current agreement to sell Tebow/Jets products and that Reebok's licensing agreement with the NFL expired prior to this month. Nike's lawsuit does not concern Broncos products, or those made before March 1, 2012. A hearing is set for April 4, 2012, to decide whether the ban should be extended.

Gucci v. Guess

Gucci's trademark infringement trial against Guess in the Southern District of New York began on March 28, 2012. Gucci first filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Guess in 2009, claiming that Guess was selling items with logos that are "studied imitations of the Gucci trademark." The trademarks in questions are a green and red stripe design, a square G, the designer's name in flowing script and a diamond pattern with repeating interlocking G's. Gucci claims that Guess knocked off over $221 million in Gucci products. Guess had argued in court filings that Gucci cannot claim infringement because it sat on its rights for at least seven years before taking action against Guess. In his opening argument, Guess attorney Daniel Petrocelli also argued that the two brands are different, that Guess had no reason and did not scheme to be like Gucci, and while Gucci uses leather, Guess uses plastic. He noted that Guess products are less than $100 and are geared toward women who cannot afford luxury goods like Gucci. Gucci is seeking damages of more than $124 million. The trial is expected to last two weeks.

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabanna filed a lawsuit in the South African Western Cape High Court against gift shop Dolce & Banana. The lawsuit demands Dolce & Banana to change its name, and accuses Dolce & Banana of "objectionable conduct and of "diluting" the luxury brand's name. Shop owner Mijou Beller promptly changed the name of the shop to " ... & Banana."


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 30, 2012 9:35 AM.

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