Copyright and Patent Fraud by David Lee Roth 12th hon. Government Mr. Pibb January 5, 1998 Roth 1 Today, more than ever before, products, goods, and services are being provided by businesses of all variations. Fewer and fewer people today are self-sufficient. Practically no one today makes his or her own clothes, and some people do not even prepare their own meals.Today’s business world and modern day technology make it possible for people to obtain almost anything and everything they need or want, provided they have the money to buy it. There are gardening, music, painting, moving, clothing, and countless other businesses all around the world. Undoubtedly, there is a business for practically anything one could think of, and many people have gained great success and wealth by finding these needs and filling them.
With all this success and wealth, it is not surprising that ideas are often stolen by other people in the hopes of gaining great wealth themselves. The success of many of these businesses has caused the copying of many materials.Although many diverse ideas and products are stolen, the biggest problems are clothing and software. The majority of copying and fraud involve software, like CDs, tapes, and computer programs, but there also is a huge market for clothing items like jeans, shirts, and sunglasses. Roth 2 CD piracy is currently the fastest-growing counterfeiting threat, with China and Bulgaria suspected as the largest of the counterfeiters, according to Mike Edwards of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Edwards claims that worldwide piracy from street bootleggers, to organized crime, robs the recording industry of about 2.
5 billion dollars or 6.5 per cent of the industrys annual sales. (Edwards 6) However, it is not always a product that is being copied.As in one case, Miller Brewing Co. has developed a new beer with a label that appears to be aimed at taking customers away from Anheuser-Busch Co.
The problem is that the new brand gives a prominent display of an eagle, like Anheuser’s label. Anheuser-Busch is currently the number one brewer in America, but Miller is planning to release a new flagship brand called Miller Beer. This new brew is aimed at taking sales away from the king of sales, and the king of beers, Budweiser.John N. McDonough of Miller claims that this new beer tastes different from anything out there. Miller plans to put some 65 million dollars into promoting the new beer. (Melcher 37) In another case it is golf clubs and accessories that are being copied.
In this case, however, the companies are not Roth 3 copying each other; rather, they are working together in an effort to stop production of cheaper, copy-cat clubs that are taking away from their sales. There are three main companies involved in this fight against the fakes.The companies are: Cobra Golf Canada Inc. and Taylor Made Canada, both companies based in Montreal, along with Calloway Golf, which is based in Carlsbad, California. (Estok 30) In one instance, the Taylor Made Burner Driver, the company’s top club, is being copied with the name The Tour Made Ruler. This fake club is almost identical to the Burner Driver.
The fake club has similar colors, markings, and the same shape as the Burner Driver.In addition to the Burner, there is also Tommy Man’s Bumber, which is an apparent knock-off of Taylor Made’s Burner Bubble. The Tommy Man’s Bumber even comes with similar stylized lettering and red flames. (Estok 30) Bob Cote, vice-president of Cobra, claims that he has been battling pirate clubs since 1994. Mr. Cote has even gone to the extreme of visiting retailers with a bailiff, and seizing imitation clubs off the racks.
Once the companies recognize imitations, they report them to a team of lawyers based in Montreal that sends out cease and desist letters to the stores with the imitation clubs. (Estok 30) Roth 4 Materials are being copied in many different ways by many different people ranging from the nice neighborhood man who copies a computer game for a friend of his, to large production factories called sweatshops.Sweatshops are illegal factories in which patent products are counterfeited for a profit. In these sweatshops workers slave to counterfeit expensive, top-quality products which are then sold illegally for high prices. Company and product logos are another category subject to copying. A logo is defined as an advertising symbol that represents a product or service or conveys a message about a product or service. Some logos like Coca Cola are known around the world, and symbols like McDonald’s golden arches are recognized by people of all generations.
One major component that leads people to recognize products is color, and just recently a Supreme Court decision ruled that the color of commercial dry-cleaning press pads can be trademarked. Justice Stephen Breyer ruled that, Qualitex can trademark its press pads’ ‘sun glow’ green-gold color because that color has attained a ‘secondary meaning,’ which in effect distinguishes a particular brand. (Reske 28) Roth 5 Obviously, ownership of logos and/or symbols can become complicated and difficult to maintain. For years, orange juice has been associated with the abbreviation of O. J.
Today, because of the fact that sports celebrity O. J. Simpson has become so famous, (and later infamous, as well), his initials have become the subject of dispute. Recently, Mr. Simpson agreed to share marketing rights of his initials with the Florida Department of Citrus. In turn, the agency that markets Florida’s citrus products has withdrawn opposition to his attempt to trademark his initials. According to Clark Jennings, a lawyer for the citrus agency, Mr.
Simpson was not paid any money; but Simpson can pursue his interests, and we can use O. J. in connection with orange juice. Simpson wants to control the use of his initials on about 50 products from apparel to toys.
(Wells 1) Logos and products can sometimes be protected from counterfeiting by filing for a U.S.patent, a document that enables Its owner to exclude others from making, selling, or using an invention. It is against the law to intentionally copy or imitate a product or logo. Any false products or slogans cannot be used anywhere at anytime without the written consent of the legal owner. Roth 6 Digital technology today presents a real challenge for graphic artists who are trying to protect their creations. The creator must register the copyright in order to sue for Fraud.
Images not copyrighted are in the public domain. Also, copyrights expire 50 years after the creator’s death. (Baer 163) Industry officials have estimated that China is the world leader in copyright piracy, another term used for the unauthorized use of another person’s or company’s product or invention.
Officials estimate that Chinese counterfeiting costs U. S. companies about 827 million a year.China exports gray-market, impostor products to the United States with familiar American names and labels that are trusted for quality, dependability, and safety. Some gray-market products like shampoo and toothpaste contain different ingredients than the U.
S. versions which sometimes leads to problems with American health and safety regulations. Some leading gray-market cosmetics contain Red Dye no. 2 which violates U.S. health laws.Other products such as children’s toys are not tested for safety and could prove to be safety hazards. (Ludwig and Koenig270) These gray-market products pose a great threat to the concept of reliance on brand names as indicators of safety and Roth 7 performance.
For instance, someone who has been buying a certain product for years suddenly falls upon a fake which dissatisfies them in some way, and the original company loses business due to the false impression. Gray market products include thousands of common items ranging from personal care products like soaps, toothpastes, perfumes, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics, to more expensive merchandise like cameras, watches, and crystals. (Ludwig and Koenig 26) Many stores that carry gray-market products place the fake products right next to the real products on the shelf, a clever tactic which often fools customers into buying the fake product without even knowing it. Later when the profits are made, the American company with the actual trademark loses out due to these false imitations. Another problem which arises is that the gray-market goods may have worthless warranties, or they may be damaged because they were not intended to be shipped internationally. (Ludwig and Koenig 26) One of the largest counterfeiting industries for the Chinese is the record industry.Chinese copyright pirates net about 2.5 billion dollars a year from these fraudulent records.
It is believed that, currently, one out of four albums is counterfeit, and the problem probably will not stop there. (Edwards 6) Roth 8 A Milwaukee court recently ruled that a hog is a Harley- Davidson Motorcycle and nothing else. Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company …