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Week in Review

By Martha Nimmer

Unleash the Secret Weapon: McBrunch

First there was the McRib, and now, it appears that fast food giant McDonald's has its sights set on a new venture: brunch, or, "McBrunch," specifically. With fast food dining options increasing around the world, and with the move towards more health-conscious food choices becoming more popular at home, the world's largest restaurant chain seems eager to regain some its lost market share by launching "a new secret weapon," i.e. brunch. To that end, McDonald's has begun the process of securing a trademark for the term "McBrunch," according to documents filed this summer with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

This move into the brunch market suggests that McDonald's intends to "expand its late-morning weekend menu in an effort to boost sales." A report released earlier this month by Fortune showed that the burger giant's global sales fell 3.7% in August, while sales decreased domestically by 2.8% during the same period. This change in the U.S. is due, in part, to new breakfast options being offered by Taco Bell and Starbucks.

Hopefully, McDonald's knows not to offer McEggs Benedict.


Return to Peru

Nine works of art by the 18th-century artist Miguel Cabrera will be returning to Peru this month, six years after having been stolen from a church in downtown Lima. Thieves in July 2008 made off with almost 80 paintings and other objects from La Casa de Ejercicios Espirituales in the Peruvian capital over the course of two separate burglaries. In October of that year, a man named Brian Bates "consigned [one of the Cabrera works] to an unspecified New York auction house." The FBI eventually seized the work, entitled "The Resurrection of Lazarus," on February 18th of this year. According to a separate forfeiture order, the remaining eight paintings were given to an auction house in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The individual who consigned the eight paintings denied "knowing that the works had been reported stolen, and the FBI seized them" in early 2009.

In a news conference announcing the works' repatriation to Peru, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said that no arrests had been made in connection with the stolen artwork, but noted that the investigation was ongoing.


Don't Mess With the Honey Badger

The man behind the YouTube sensation of 2011 has sued two T-shirt companies for using his trademarked phrase, "Honey Badger Don't Care," on their merchandise. Christopher Gordon, the creator of the viral video "The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger," took old National Geographic footage of an African honey badger and dubbed the video with his own wacky, profanity-laced narration that described the animal's outlandish behavior. Gordon's video quickly went viral, and currently has more than 69 million views on YouTube. Seeking to capitalize on the wild popularity of the hit, Gordon copyrighted his video narration and trademarked the phrase "Honey Badger Don't Care" for merchandise, including T-shirts.

Now, the YouTube star is accusing companies Tanga.com and LOL Shirts of trademark and copyright infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition. In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court, Gordon alleges that: "Defendants not only sold infringing merchandise, but strategically chose to advertise their infringing merchandise by using plaintiff's video, which was generating millions of views." The complaint goes on to state that "[d]efendants even provided a website link to plaintiff's video, right alongside their advertisements of infringing merchandise, causing customer confusion and ramping up unlawful sales in the process." Gordon claims that he asked representatives from the companies to stop producing and selling the merchandise, which they agreed to do "only after generating substantial sales" and "only after sales of the infringing merchandise began declining."


Where's the Warhol?

A Florida couple has sued a Scottsdale, Arizona-based art gallery for conversion and breach of fiduciary duty arising from the gallery's unauthorized sale of the couple's Andy Warhol painting. The painting, entitled "Red Shoes," depicts women's shoes sprinkled with diamond dust.

According to the complaint, filed in Maricopa County by Amy Koler and Stephen Meyer against American Fine Art Editions, Phillip Koss, Jacqueline Carroll and Jeff Dippold, the gallery was supposed to store the work for the couple while they relocated to Florida. The plaintiffs claim that Phillip Koss, who worked as a gallery manager at American Fine Art, and employee Jeff Dippold, "suggested that plaintiffs keep the Red Shoes piece at AFAE's gallery and an arrangement by which AFAE would agree to store and insure the piece through AFAE's business insurance in return for plaintiffs' agreement that AFAE could display the piece and use it to help market sales of other similar works." The complaint goes on to state that defendants Koss and Dippold knew from discussions with the plaintiffs that they did not want to sell the painting. Koler and Meyer claim that they even had to tell Koss and Dippold, on more than one occasion, that they wanted to keep the painting.

Eventually, the couple returned to the Scottsdale gallery and learned that "Red Shoes" had been sold. The defendants claimed that the sale had occurred months earlier, and refused to produce any paperwork from the sale or even discuss the price paid for the piece. One of the defendants offered to pay the plaintiffs $65,000--the amount the plaintiffs paid in 2005 for the work--but Koler and Meyer adamantly refused, saying the painting is worth a lot more today.

The plaintiffs are seeking the return of "Red Shoes", and damages for conversion, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, fraud and unjust enrichment.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 22, 2014 10:03 AM.

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