1. Since the 1950s, Qualitex Company has used a special shade of green-gold color on the pads that it makes and sells to dry cleaning firms for use on dry cleaning presses. In 1989, Jacobson Products (a Qualitex rival) began to sell its own press pads to dry cleaning firms, and it colored those pads a similar green-gold. In 1991, Qualitex registered the special green-gold color on press pads with the Patent and Trademark Office as a trademark. Qualitex sued Jacobson for trademark infringement. Jacobson argues that the Lanham Act does not permit registering “color alone” as a trademark. Explain whether a trademark violation has been committed.
2. Napster, Inc. (Napster), facilitates the transmission of MP3 files (a digital format for the storage of audio recordings) between and among its users. Through a process commonly called “peer-to-peer” file sharing, Napster allows its users to (a) make MP3 music files stored on individual computer hard drives available for copying by other Napster users, (b) search for MP3 music files stored on other users’ computers, and (c) transfer exact copies of the contents of other users’ MP3 files from one computer to another via the Internet. These functions are made possible by Napster’s Music-Share software, available free of charge from Napster’s Internet site, and Napster’s network servers and server-side software. The plaintiffs include A&M Records, Geffen Records, Sony Music Entertainment, MCA Records, Atlantic Recording Corporation, Motown Record Company, and Capitol Records. The plaintiffs are engaged in the commercial recording, distribution, and sale of copyrighted musical compositions and sound recordings. The plaintiffs allege that Napster is a contributory and vicarious copyright infringer.Explain whether Napster should be enjoined “from engaging in, or facilitating others in copying, downloading, uploading, transmitting, or distributing plaintiffs’ copyrighted musical compositions and sound recordings, protected by either Federal or State law, without express permission of the rights owner.”
3. Bernard L. Bilski and Rand A. Warsaw sought patent protection for a claimed invention that explains how buyers and sellers of commodities in the energy market can protect, or hedge, against the risk of price changes. Claim 1 describes a series of steps instructing how to hedge risk. Claim 4 puts the concept articulated in claim 1 into a simple mathematical formula. The remaining claims explain how claims 1 and 4 can be applied to allow energy suppliers and consumers to minimize the risks resulting from fluctuations in market demand for energy. Bilski and Warsaw sought to patent both the concept of hedging risk and the application of that concept to energy markets. Explain whether a patent for this invention should be granted.
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