Monday, February 25, 2008

Wintry Mix

Good afternoon, everyone. I am recovering from Toy Fair last week and another winter illness that hit me this weekend. I hope everyone is in good health!

The College Board is suing a company called Karen Dillard's College Prep that has its own review courses for the SAT and PSAT, claiming that some of the questions in the review course are active questions on the SAT and PSAT. Those claims would mean that KDCP is infringing the College Board's copyright on those questions.

This reminded me of PMBR (now partnered with Kaplan), one of the companies that has a review course for the bar exam. PMBR's specialty is aiding in getting a better score on the Multistate Bar Exam, the multiple choice test that is a part of most states' bar exams. PMBR finally lost a case in 2006 in which copyright infringement was alleged by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, who writes the Multistate Bar Exam. PMBR was fined almost $12 million. Wow.

The standardized-review-test industry is in a difficult position. If a company exists, it has to have a mix of its own questions (which may or may not be good enough) and questions that have been used on exams (they're good enough because they were on exams). If I remember correctly - and I can find no outside source to confirm this - one of the founders of PMBR claimed to have a photographic memory (do any lawyers who took this course remember those claims) and that PMBR had been sued before for copyright infringement (but no success were in those suits). It's a tough balance, having to rely upon a template in an industry that comes from another.


An attorney is trying to register a trademark. That's not unusual. His mark? "Cyberlaw." Seriously.

I find this to be rather egregious. After all, I took a class in law school called Cyberlaw that was a mix of law and technology. It's easy to find a Wikipedia page on the topic. Even though the word was registered as a trademark in 1995, it expired in 2000 and today it must be considered a generic term that's not right for a trademark registration in legal services.


I look forward to reading more about the case a man filed in Maryland, claiming that the Baltimore Ravens used the logo he created. The Ravens have claimed that they never saw the logo and then changed their logo when they were made aware of the possibly infringing logo.

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