Tag Archives: declaratory judgment

Filter maker says Apple’s trademark threats a bunch of hot air

“Lowest perceptive capabilities.” Is that code for “a moron in a hurry“?

Chicago-based BlueAir, Inc. has apparently been getting some threats from Apple over BlueAir’s pending trademark registration for the mark AIRPOD, to be used in connection with desk top air purifiers. Apple says AIRPOD will infringe on the IPOD mark.

BlueAir has gone on the offensive, asking the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to enter a declaratory judgment of no infringement.

The heart of BlueAir’s allegations are as follows:

“There is no reasonable likelihood of confusion, mistake, or error in the marketplace for persons of even the lowest perceptive capabilities who are seeking an iPod music player considering or buying an AIRPOD desktop air cleaner instead.”

This dispute has been going on for a few months, and it is interesting to see suit filed now, to essentially coincide with the introduction of the MacBook Air.

BlueAir, Inc. v. Apple, Inc., No. 08-427 (N.D. Ill. filed January 18, 2007)
[Download the Complaint]

Booklocker.com on the copyright offensive in Maine

Booklocker.com, Inc. v. Sartain, No. 07-0176 (D. Me., Filed November 21, 2007). [Download the Complaint]

Online, on demand book publisher Booklocker.com has filed a declaratory judgment action against Utah-based artist Julie Sartain, in response to a cease and desist letter Sartain sent to Booklocker alleging copyright infringement.  In the case, Booklocker seeks a determination by the United States District Court for the District of Maine that Booklocker’s use of artwork on book covers does not infringe on any copyright right held by Sartain.

The allegations are a bit sparse, as one may expect to see in federal pleading, but it appears that Booklocker believes Sartain does not own the copyrights in the cover artwork, but that such artwork is owned by the authors who have Booklocker print their books on demand.  In the alternative, Booklocker asserts that it has some sort of implied license to reproduce the artwork through the course of dealing between the parties during the past four years.

In asserting that the individual authors — and not Sartain — own the copyrights in the individual pieces of cover art, Booklocker is putting a lot of faith in the process whereby the authors may have commissioned Sartain to create those works.  The complaint says that there are more than a thousand works at issue.  Are we to believe that there is a detailed, written agreement in place for each one of those works, in which Sartain assigned her copyright rights to these authors?