31 October 2017Copyright

Happy Halloween: five spooktacular IP stories to devour

On a day when pumpkins and the supernatural take centre stage, WIPR brings back to life five spooky IP stories for you to enjoy.

Netflix swaps horror for humour

The much-awaited Season 2 of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” premiered on Friday, October 27, but the series hit the IP headlines weeks before.

In late September, Netflix sent a themed cease-and-desist letter to an unauthorised “Stranger Things” bar based in Chicago.

Emporium Arcade Bar had launched a pop-up called The Upside Down, which was “inspired by and paying homage” to the series, but it received the letter from the streaming service on August 23.

Netflix sent the letter requesting that the pop-up be closed after its six-week run, in September.

“My walkie talkie is busted so I had to write this note instead,” began the letter. “Look, I don’t want you to think I’m a total wastoid, and I love how much you guys love the show,” it added.

Netflix went on to say: “But unless I’m living in the Upside Down, I don’t think we did a deal with you for this pop-up.”

It’s all gone bananas

Although some opt for terrifying and blood-curdling costumes for Halloween, others take a ‘healthier’ approach and dress as a giant banana.

In September, a company called Rasta Imposta took on retailer Kmart in a lawsuit (pdf) filed at the US District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Rasta Imposta accused Kmart of copying its banana costume and selling its own “Totally Ghoul” product.

The claim said that Kmart had purchased Rasta Imposta’s costumes since 2008, but decided not to buy them this year.

But, on October 17, the suit was dismissed without prejudice, after Rasta Imposta filed a notice of voluntary dismissal.

Rasta Imposta also filed a copyright claim centring on the banana costume against Kangaroo, an e-commerce retailer.

Paranormal activity?

An author of a book on paranormal investigators took aim at Warner Bros in a 355-page amended complaint in March this year.

Gerald Brittle, the author of “The Demonologist” (published in 1980), accused horror film franchise “The Conjuring” of copying his book and requested $900 million in damages.

“The Demonologist” tells the story of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren who, according to the claim, had entered into a 1978 agreement for the book, which included a “no competing work” provision that precluded the Warrens from making or contracting for any works based on the “same subject”.

Lorraine allegedly granted Warner Bros and the other defendants, including James Wan, director of the franchise, the right to use the Warren case files, but she should not have done so, said the claim.

The dispute is ongoing.

Severing a name

Last October, Valhalla Entertainment, the producer of TV series “The Walking Dead”, filed a complaint against a film company called Valhalla Studios for allegedly infringing its trademarks.

According to the claim, Valhalla Studios was “deceiving the public” by using the name for “under-construction motion picture and television production facilities in Atlanta”.

Valhalla Studios allegedly rejected the producer’s requests to stop using the name, so Valhalla Entertainment turned to the court for an injunction and damages.

The dispute was put to rest (dismissed) in January.

Red eyes in the night

Creatures of the night may possess red or black eyes, but us normal humans should be wary of changing our eye colour, it seems.

Last October, three US government authorities warned consumers against buying counterfeit contact lenses that were being sold online and in shops in the days before Halloween.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Food and Drug Administration, and Customs and Border Protection seized 100,000 pairs of fake and unapproved contact lenses as part of an “ongoing effort” to target the illicit importation and distribution of fake and unapproved contact lenses.

Under the investigations, the organisations found that the fake contact lenses had high levels of bacteria that could cause significant health problems.

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