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This week's IP news round-up

5 April 2005

Hello, good afternoon and welcome to this week’s Own It intellectual property news round up, brought to you – as ever - by the letters I and P.

We kick off this week with news of an IP battle of potentially epic proportions, between author Author James Reston Jr and film-maker Ridley Scott. According to Reston, Ridley Scott’s forthcoming film Kingdom of Heaven borrows heavily from research in Reston’s 2001 book, Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade. According to The Times, ‘Mr Reston obtained a leaked copy of the script and is seeking acknowledgement in the credits and compensation for the alleged loss of $500,000 (£266,000), plus 5 per cent of the net takings. He says that Sir Ridley, whose films include Gladiator, Blade Runner and Alien, and Twentieth Century Fox may have violated international copyright law…’. Meanwhile, Scott denies having even read Reston’s book. So – an IP rip off or a case of ‘great’ minds thinking alike? Looks like we’ll have to wait for the jury to decide.

And so to Bermuda where the national patent office has handed us a great excuse to make weak Bermuda Triangle jokes by accidentally losing over 18,000 trademark registrations. It seems that the Bermudan trademark office neglected to back up their database prior to a huge computer crash which lead to almost half of their records being lost. But all is not – er – lost. Fortunately there is a hard copy of the register and some poor sap is, as we speak, manually re-entering years of records. Thanks to the IPKitten for the heads-up.

Also from the IPKitten comes the interesting story of Hertz and the pop-up ads. The German arm of the international car rental giant has just successfully applied for an injunction to prevent pop-up adverts for rival companies being shown to their website visitors. The unwanted ads were being automatically delivered to users of a free web search tool called Gator which forces its users to see ‘targeted’ ads when they surf the web. In this case, the targeted ads happened to be for Hertz’s biggest competitors prompting the company to take legal action. But Gator was lucky. According to IPKitten, German law allows for fines of up to 250,000 euro or six months’ imprisonment for people who are found to be engaging in anti-competitive practices.

Until next week – keep ‘em peeled.

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