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New Year IP round-up

4 January 2005

Happy New Year!

Own It may have been away for a couple of weeks, enjoying an (arguably) well-earned festive break but the world of intellectual property news has just kept on turning. So while we re-adjust to normal office life, here’s a quick round up of some of the IP stories that have broken over Christmas…

In California, two women have sued Lego for allegedly stealing their design for one of last year’s ‘hottest’ toys. Joni Lynn Spiers and Katrina Parish Videnovich claim that the toy giant stole the concept of ‘Clikits’, a DIY jewellery-making kit, after asking for a demonstration at their Danish headquarters. Clikits went on to sell over 2.5 million units for Lego in the run up to Christmas despite Spiers and Videnovich having a patent in the idea since 1997.

Reuters has more on the story.

And so to Detroit, where an even stranger story may be finally drawing to a close. The story involves an ongoing legal dispute between civil rights activist Rosa Parks and hip-hop duo Outkast. Representatives for 91-year-old Parks are suing the band for five billion (yes, billion) dollars after they named a song after her without permission. The song also contains the line "Ah ha, hush that fuss, everybody move to the back of the bus”, a reference to the iconic incident in 1995 when Parks refused to give up her seat for a white man on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. The filing of a law suit brings the matter one step closer to resolution, AFP is reporting. 

And finally, staying with the twin theme of racial controversy and copyright, the New York Post reports that a legal dispute between rapper Eminem and hip-hop magazine The Source will go to trial. The case centres on a set of lyrics written by Eminem when he was a teenager and which were later published, without permission, in The Source. The lyrics contained allegedly racist language and Eminem was later forced to apologise for writing them, however the musician maintains that The Source still breached his copyright by re-printing them. Expect a verdict later in the year.

Aaaaand you’re up to date.

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