The Licensing Blog

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eOne Cracks Down on Counterfeit Merchandise and Unlicensed Events for Peppa Pig and PJ Masks

eOneEntertainment One Licensing (eOne) today outlined the stance it will take to reduce the global sale of counterfeit merchandise and unlicensed events for Peppa Pig and PJ Masks.

Beginning this year, eOne seized more than 250,000 counterfeit products globally via port seizures and market raids, and removed more than 50,000 infringing listings on more than 40 leading e-commerce platforms including Alibaba, Mercado Libre, and Amazon. eOne also enforced against social media platforms, removing more than 1,000 infringements across iTunes, GooglePlay, and YouTube. Additioanlly, several infringing stage shows and unlicensed events have been cancelled via legal action across the Latin American region. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Should You Hire a Licensing Attorney?

Judge gavelby Andrew J. Levison, Esq.

So you have decided to license your artwork, your invention, your story, your unique concept, or your patentable intellectual property, to a person or entity, or, you are a manufacturer seeking to the intellectual property of a person or company to use in conjunction with the items you make. DO YOU NEED A LAWYER TO HELP YOU?

What follows are some key reasons why you should hire an attorney to help you with a licensing agreement. Some pertain to the creative community as licensors, and others relate to manufacturers, as licensees. However both creative individuals and manufacturers should be familiar with both. Read the rest of this entry »

Genesis Pattern Technologies Partners with Trademarketing Resources for KLOAK Licensing TRI

Trademarketing Resources Inc. has been retained to help KLOAK execute the licensing of its growing line of camouflage patterns, trademarks, and proprietary design concepts to the outdoor industry, military, and consumer goods markets.

Trademarketing Resources Inc. currently manages brands and licensing programs for Chrysler’s MOPAR Division, Polaris Industries, Saleen Automotive Inc., National Rifle Association, HillBilly Brand, and other top-tier companies.

Since the launch of the KLOAK brand last year, Genesis Pattern Technologies has partnered with numerous brands and celebrities to roll out its cryptic camouflage patterns—as well as proprietary patterns—to various tactical, hunting/shooting, fishing, birding, snowmobile, and casual wear markets.

For information on licensing KLOAK patterns or details on proprietary pattern development, visit www.trilicensing.com, or contact Trademarketing Resources Inc, 5710 Bella Rose Blvd., Suite 100, Clarkston, MI 48348. (248) 922-9678. rhorton@trilicensing.com

New KLOAK patterns, based upon mimicry patterning and cryptic colorations found in the natural world, will debut during the SHOT Show in Las Vegas, January 14-17.

LIMA Webinars to Tackle Legal and Cultural Issues that Impact Licensing Deals Worldwide

The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association’s (LIMA) bi-monthly webinar series continues May 15 with programs designed to help marketing professionals build stronger brands, partnerships, and retail strategies on a global scale. The session, Thinking About Cultural Cues—And How to Avoid Mishaps, will delve into the key legal issues that attendees need to know when doing business in European markets, as well as important cultural concerns to take into consideration when developing licensed product.

Elie Dekel, President of Saban Brands; Jessica Metcalfe, blogger of Beyond Buckskin; and Adrienne Keene, blogger of Native Appropriations, will discuss how the Paul Frank brand went through a learning process with the Native American community, and the broader lessons that can be learned.

All LIMA webinars take place from 12:00-1:30pm EDT and are free for all LIMA members ($200 per site for non-members.)

Kent Press’ Basics of Licensing Book Series Emerges as Go-To Industry Reference Guide

Kent Press’ Basics of Licensing, the two-book series co-authored by industry heavyweights Gregory J. Battersby and Danny Simon, has emerged as the go-to resource for those seeking the most comprehensive information on the structure and operation of a successful licensing program.

Last year, the International Licensing Industry Merchandiser’s Association (LIMA) offered their endorsement. Battersby and Simon will continue their collaboration this year, which will include the completion of a new volume in the Basics of Licensing series. Basics of Licensing: International Edition will be available this summer.

The Basics of Licensing book series explores every aspect of licensing from the perspectives of top professionals in the industry. A supplement provided in each edition offers readers a wealth of practical and useful documents, including licensing and agent agreements, and administrative templates.

4Kids May Close London Office

According to sources, 4Kids Entertainment is in the process of closing its London office. The company has yet to make a formal statement. 4Kids has seen several upheavals over the past few years, including reports of financial difficulties, the departure of chairman and CEO Al Kahn, and entering into Chapter 11 bankruptcy following a lawsuit concerning the Yu-Gi-Oh property. The company has also discontinued operations in four of its divisions: 4Kids Ad Sales, 4Kids Production, 4Kids Entertainment Music, and 4Kids Entertainment Home Video.

Hasbro Files Lawsuit Against Asus over Transformer Prime Tablet

Hasbro is accusing Asus of trademark infringement with the release of the Transformer Prime tablet.

The toymaker claimed in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court last week that the electronics maker is creating confusion by blending the Transformers and Optimus Prime names. Hasbro said in a statement that Asus is counting on consumers associating the new tablet with children’s toys to sell the Transformer Prime. Hasbro is seeking damages and an injunction preventing sales of the tablet.

The 10.3-inch tablet transforms into what is essentially an Android-based laptop when connected to an optional keyboard/dock.

Central News Agency’s Focus Taiwan news channel reported that production of the Asus Transformer Prime tablet will continue and will not be affected by a trademark infringement lawsuit, according to Asus spokesman Chang Wei-ming. Internal assessments conducted by the company found no patent infringement issues, and the company feels that the lawsuit is unlikely to affect production, Chang said.

Marketing the Muppets, One Joke at a Time

The Muppets movie doesn’t hit theaters until November 23, but Disney is making sure everyone is aware that The Muppets are coming. The Muppets’ official trailer even declares: “Get ready for Muppet domination.” While four months away from release, the movie’s promotion relies on spoof marketing.

Coinciding with the July 22 release of Captain America, The Muppets’ marketing team rolled out a poster of Sam the Eagle as Captain America. We’ve also seen two other promotional posters this month, showing the whole Muppets gang back together. Enjoyable as those posters may be—who doesn’t smile from seeing a Muppet? —Captain America in Muppet form and Green Lantern Kermit have greater potential for retweets.

Disney released a Muppets teaser trailer parodying the Green Lantern film the day it hit theaters in June. Even if you’re weirded out by seeing Muppet feet, you have to admit Kermit makes a captivating Green Lantern in the accompanying poster.

Aside from the spoofs, plans have begun to roll out for the merchandise program. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will launch a new Muppets publishing program this fall in conjunction with the film. The Muppets book program will comprise seven titles in an array of formats featuring Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, and other favorite characters. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers’ launch consists of a junior novel that features eight pages of full-color photos from the film, two early readers, a giant sticker book, and a punch-out-and-play Muppet theater. The line also features a hardcover joke book perfect for holiday gift giving and the first in an original illustrated middle-grade series about a boy who wakes up as a Muppet.

Beginning August 23, Starbucks will have The Muppets: The Green Album available for purchase. Described as a tribute to the music of the Muppets, the album includes “Muppet Show Theme Song” recorded by OK Go, “Mahna Mahna” by The Fray, and “Bein’ Green” by Andrew Bird, among its 12 tracks. The album cover uses the artists’ names to form an image of Kermit’s face.

For those in New York City, the Museum of the Moving Image launched an exhibition and film screenings from July 16-January 16. Muppet fans can reminisce by watching the classic Muppets films dating back to 1979 and 1980s and the concept Muppet films of the 1990s—perfect preparation for Jason Segel’s approach to creating the upcoming film.

“I’ve just grown a little disappointed with ‘Muppets in the Old West,’ ‘Muppets Under Water,’ and all these weird concept movies,” Segel told MTV. “I just want to go take it back to the early ‘80s, when it was about the Muppets trying to put on a show. That’s what I’m trying to bring back.”

The Awl’s Elizabeth Stevens looks further at the evolution of The Muppets. And see The Licensing Blog’s roundup of The Muppets trailers.

Judge Rules Marvel Owns Copyright to Comics
In other licensing news, a federal judge in New York granted a summary judgment to Marvel Entertainment and its parent company, the Walt Disney Company, regarding their dispute with the heirs to comic book artist Jack Kirby, according to Michael Cieply’s article in The New York Times. The judge denied the Kirbys’ request for judgment against the two companies.

The ruling rejects the Kirby family’s claim to comics and characters, including the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, and the X-Men, created by Jack Kirby, and instead declares them as works for hire.

Fox Partners with Santa Cruz Skateboards

Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products signed Santa Cruz Skateboards to produce a line featuring characters and iconography from The Simpsons. Available this fall, board designs include a custom Bart Simpson skateboard with his spiky-hared skull and cross bones on the base plate, and a board shaped like a can of Duff Beer. The line is geared toward the hardcore skater or collector.

Melissa Tinklepaugh

Zuckerberg Says “No” To Action Figure

According to a recent report by Gawker, if you want to add a Mark Zuckerberg figurine to your pop culture action figure collection, you might just be out of luck.

M.I.C. (Made in China) Gadget, the company behind the “Zuckerdoll” action figure, has ceased Zuckerdoll sales following a legal letter from Facebook’s legal counsel in China.

According to the letter, by selling the figurines on a website, the company used Zuckerberg’s portraiture “for commercial purpose and infringed his legitimate right.”

Facebook’s trademark “F” was also used on the action figures, which has also infringed Facebook’s trademark right.

M.I.C. issued an apology and said they will comply.

Cautionary Tale About a Couch

Celebrities license their names to all sorts of things. You name it, a celeb is probably backing it. Ideally, permission is given well in advance of the product hitting the shelves. This, however, was not the case concerning the “Ian Leather Sofa” from Crate & Barrel.

A tribute to the Studio 54 owner turned hotelier Ian Schrager, the businessman is putting the furniture company over a barrel with a cease-and-desist letter concerning the namesake couch.

Why? Schrager reserves the use of his name for his own brand.

Crate & Barrel take note: Discussing a licensing agreement with Schrager right off the bat probably would have avoided some embarrassment.

You live and you learn, right?

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