Intellectual property: Top High Profile cases; Louis Vuitton, Addidas and A&M case studies
From Large scale businesses to individual Instagram sellers, everyone wants to protect their unique selling idea, an idea which sets them apart from other businesses. This especially holds in today’s age where sharing music, pictures and text has become very easy and common. Now this is where intellectual property laws come in as they are a means to protect these ideas and therefore lead to the creation of an environment in which businesses easily find ways to blossom.
However from recent history we see some of the biggest names in businesses being caught up in intellectual property rights cases. These cases have made the world headlines numerous times and also act as a guideline for other businesses to know what intellectual property rights are. Here are some of the famous high profile cases where both companies and individuals have filed for a lawsuit to protect their intellectual rights.
In 1999, Shawn fanning; an 18-year-old teenager, and his friend Sean parker, created Napster a music sharing service that allowed its users to download audio songs for free. To this A&M Records along with 17 other companies went to court against Napster for copyright infringement. Big names like Rock star band Metallica and hip hop star Dr. Dre also filed separate lawsuits against Napster Inc. for the same reason. The case was transferred from United States district court to the United States court of appeal for the ninth circuit. Here a Federal judge found Napster Inc. to be guilty of all charges and so it was ordered to close its free-file sharing database. Therefore in 2002, Napster Inc. was shut down. According to The Smithsonion magazine The Company declared bankruptcy when it re-opened as now a “paid” online music service. This case holds significant importance as it is one of the first in such cases to address online copyright infringement and so is a lesson to online businesses to date.
Another major news headline was seen fashion house Louis Vuitton Decided to file a lawsuit against a pet product company, Haute Diggity Dog based in Nevada. This case wouldn’t have been such a head-turner had Louis Vuitton not lost their case. It happened so according to edology that Haute Diggity Dog introduced a line of “parody” products named “Chewy Vuitton”. The lawsuit accused the company of copyright infringement and also named fashion brands like “Chewnel” and “Sniffany and Co” which too, according to Louis Vuitton, were guilty of the latter crime. However surprisingly enough the US court of appeals gave the verdict that Haute Diggity Dog’s product line was a successful parody and so they had not infringed the Copyrights or Trademarks of Louis Vuitton. The court believed that this product line was differentiated from Louis Vuitton’s products.
The famous 3 stripes have been well defended by Adidas as a registered trademark. In 1994, Adidas sued Payless over these same stripes. Adidas has been using the three 3 stripes design since 1952. Payless confusingly enough started to sell nearly identical athletic shoes but with 2 and 4 parallel stripes. At first, the two companies settled in that year but then again in 2001, Payless again started to sell shoes which were the cause of their scuffle. Therefore now in fear that their customers might be tricked into buying the same shoes from their competitors, Adidas decided to demand a jury trial. This trial lasted for seven years, during which a total of 268 pairs of payless shoes were examined. In the end Adidas came out victorious and was awarded $305 million, which is roughly $100 million for each strip.