Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Patents Businesses

Dept. of Homeland Security Enforces Expired Patent 1006

Fouquet writes "Apparently the Department of Homeland Security does not have enough to do in keeping the US safe, and now is enforcing copyright law as well. The AP reports that a toy store owner in Oregon was requested by Homeland Security officials to remove a potentially copyright-infringing Rubik's cube-like toy from her shelves. The patent for Rubik's cube was issued in 1980, and so it is expired."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Dept. of Homeland Security Enforces Expired Patent

Comments Filter:
  • Um... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28, 2004 @11:44PM (#10660100)
    Copyright != Patent, Copyright != Trademark, Trademark != Patent.
  • Confusion (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28, 2004 @11:48PM (#10660122)
    The title says, "trademark", the blurb says, "copyright" then takes about "patent". These terms are not interchangeable. The article clearly says this is a trademark issue.

    Customs is part of Homeland Security and customs has been enforcing these laws for as long as I can remember. These are imported goods.

  • by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @11:57PM (#10660168)
    It's probably a typical case of government spending. If you don't spend the funds allocated to you this year, you don't have them next year. This perpetuates so much government waste. So they probably ran out of leads on terrorist cells and went after this person so they have a reason to request another million dollars in extra funding next year.

    What makes this so sad is that slowly the terrorists are winning. I don't mean that as a joke. Their goal seems to have been to make our lives as shitty as theirs and they're are making progress.

    And no, John Kerry in office isn't going to change anything because you still have Republicans in the house and senate. And yes, I am a Republican and no I don't agree with everything that they do.
  • Useless summary. (Score:5, Informative)

    by praksys ( 246544 ) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @11:57PM (#10660170)
    Trademarks don't expire. Trademark, copyright, and patent are entirely different things. Reading the summary you can't tell which of these areas of law was involved and you get the impression that the action was taken on expired IP.

    The article states that the action was taken on the basis of a trademark. With a name like "Magic Cube" if the toy is anything at all like a Rubic's Cube then it almost certainly does infringe on the Rubic's Cube trademark.

    And why all the fake wonderment about the department of Homeland Security handling the case? In case anyone missed the press release the department is not some niche organisation that deals specifically with terrorism. It's a big tarball of a whole bunch of departments and old law enforcement angencies that used to deal with all manner of federal law enforcement issues. They do lots of things besides deal with terrorism.
  • Re:So which is it? (Score:5, Informative)

    by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @11:59PM (#10660177) Homepage
    Patents expire. Copyrights nominally expire, but even if they don't you can make other stuff that does the same thing from scratch (unlike patents). Trademarks never expire, but they're only supposed to be for names/designs/similar. (Supposed.)
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:01AM (#10660184)
    These are US Customs agents. Customs agents enforce, among other things, import regulations against counterfiet goods.

    The Customs Service is now part of Homeland Security. Ergo, DHS agents were the ones who investigated this incident.

    (This is cut and pasted from below. It should be near the top... or in the summary)
  • by praksys ( 246544 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:18AM (#10660300)
    Now the DHS seems to see its role as more than a simple anti-terrorist investigative agency.

    The DHS was never intended to be just an anti-terrorist agency and it never had a narrow charter. The whole idea was to put everything relating to domestic security under one roof. Among the many [] former departments and agencies that it includes are Customs, Immigration, the Coast Guard, and the Secret Service.
  • Re:rUSsiA (Score:3, Informative)

    by mlyle ( 148697 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:22AM (#10660318)
    Here's the post [] from google's cache that prompted the secret service-- get it while it's still hot.

    From the post:

    Please kill George Bush. I hate him so much. I think he is a giant dick and I want terrible things to happen to him. I'm not really big on the specifics of how he dies, but if you could at least arrange it so that the authorities find his dead body on top of an underage black male prostitute surrounded by a mountain of cocaine and child pornography, that would really be super-awesome. And maybe you could have some media people there when the police find the body, so they can take pictures and stuff. That'd be fucking GREAT.

    I can see why the Secret Service would want to visit someone after they say something like that.. (sure, context weakens it a bit, but it is borderline nutty and definitely can be construed as a threat against the president.)
  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

    by bluekanoodle ( 672900 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:25AM (#10660346)
    St. Helens, OR is not far (about 20 minutes) from the Port of Portland. These agents were from Customs, which has an office near the port. The article sensationalizes the fact that these were DHS agents, which Customs is now part of. Nobody mentioned it was in anyway related to terrorism until /. got a hold of the story.
  • by AlterEd ( 67760 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:27AM (#10660356) Homepage
    No, you most certainly do not speak for me.

    Firstly, because you can't manage to spell "retarded" correctly, but mostly because you demonstrate a gross failure to understand the issue. For one thing, many federal agencies have been subsumed into the Department of Homeland Security, including the Customs Service (which as sulli pointed out is the agency that actually investigated this incident). For another thing, either Fouquet doesn't understand that there are very important differences between patent, copyright and trademark law, or he wants you to overlook that fact. Furthermore, you failed to recognize that fact and have perpetuated the myth that there's some vast conspiracy apparently with the purpose of keeping toys out of the hands of children which means either the entire post is stupid, or you are or both.

    What's most probably really going on here, is that the Customs Service is following up on a complaint that Pufferbelly Toys is selling toys that are infringing on the *trademark* rights (which loyal fans know *must* be defended zealously or lost) of Seven Towns Limited and will hopefully eventually follow up to the manufacturer. I believe the very cube itself is covered by the trademark. This is just basic police work folks, not some conspiracy to revoke your rights to waste time playing with your Rubik's Cube.

    But thanks for wasting my time anyway.

  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:28AM (#10660367)
    From the article:
    After the agents left, Cox called the manufacturer of the Magic Cube, the Toysmith Group, which is based in Auburn, Wash.
    So it wasn't imported. It was made in Amerika.
  • by general_re ( 8883 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:29AM (#10660374) Homepage
    Too bad it's not imported.

    Yes it probably is, and it took me a whopping 45 seconds on Google to figure that out - "Founded in 1981, Toysmith is an importer/distributor of toys, gifts and novelties from all over the world."

    source [].

  • Re:So which is it? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lehk228 ( 705449 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:31AM (#10660379) Journal
    actually trademarks do expire, but only once they fall into disuse, or go undefended, unlike patent and copyright which is a fixed time.
  • Re:POE (Score:3, Informative)

    by paulydavis ( 91113 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:31AM (#10660383)
    I can back up my BULLSHIT sir with facts di ckens.htm
  • by general_re ( 8883 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:37AM (#10660414) Homepage
    So it wasn't imported.

    Of course it was. They don't make stuff like that in America - spelled with a "c", by the way, for the benefit of illiterates who fancy themselves clever - any more, because it's the sort of thing you can get in China for a fraction of the price that a domestic manufacturer would charge you. But don't take my word for it - "Founded in 1981, Toysmith [] is an importer/distributor of toys, gifts and novelties from all over the world."

  • Re:rUSsiA (Score:5, Informative)

    by menscher ( 597856 ) <menscher+slashdot@uiuc. e d u> on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:43AM (#10660440) Homepage Journal
    Here's the context you so carefully snipped out:

    a prayer for dubya

    Dear God:

    Wassup? How's it hanging? Yeah, I know it's been a long time since we talked. This probably stems from my belief that you do not exist. Anyway, the reason why I'm calling you is because last night, President Bush said that he could feel it every time we prayed for him, and since he apparently doesn't listen to anyone but you, Lord, I thought you might pass this along to him.

  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:43AM (#10660443) Homepage Journal
    Magic Cube(TM) is an active and fairly famous trademark. The Magic Cube(TM) is a toy for toddlers that makes a crapload of electronic noise when you push buttons on it.

    A rubik's cube like toy is fine to import into the US, just don't call it Magic Cube(TM), GameCube(TM), or XBox(TM).
  • by Dr. Mu ( 603661 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:44AM (#10660449)
    The trademark "Magic Cube", as it applies to "manipulative puzzles", is owned by Atico International USA Inc. of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. You can find out stuff like that here []. The manufacturer/importer of the Magic Cube puzzles in the story is the Toysmith Group of Auburn, WA. This could be nothing more than the rightful owner of a trademark pressing its case against a possibly unwitting party who didn't do any trademark research before naming their product. It probably has nothing to do with Erno Rubik, his expired patent, or any copyrights.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:4, Informative)

    by rjkimble ( 97437 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:45AM (#10660459) Homepage Journal
    If you do a little research on the web, you can find this page [], which explains that such work is the
    responsibility of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a part of the Department of Homeland Security. They received a trademark infringement complaint, and they followed up on the complaint. That's their job. Why are you getting your knickers in a bunch because some federal agents are doing their job? Nowhere does the inflammatory and poorly written article suggest that they accused the store owner of being a terrorist. Get a grip.
  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:56AM (#10660531) Homepage Journal
    Yup, it's the customs agents who are responsible for trademark violations for imported goods. Not sure who if the goods are domestic, which is the case here.

    The problem here is the agents didn't do their homework. They MERELY ACCEPTED THE COMPLAINT ON FACE VALUE. This makes the agents look stupid.

    If they'd done their homework, they'd know that the only potentially valid claim is a trademark claim, and in order to be clear-cut, they'd have to be something so close to "Rubik's Cube" as to cause confusion. If they'd been misspelled as "Rubick's Cubes" or even "Rubick's Boxes" I could see the feds having a case, but "Magic Cube" has no confusion. The "Cube" part is "merely descriptive" and not worthy of protection.
  • Re:OK, so, (Score:3, Informative)

    by general_re ( 8883 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:00AM (#10660550) Homepage
    What does Customs have to do with enforcing copyright?

    This. []

  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:5, Informative)

    by querencia ( 625880 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:59AM (#10660819)
    Your job is to read the article. You didn't do so, because if you did you'd know that no trademark was infringed, and the patent's already expired.

    Which article did you read?

    The article said, "...Agents went to Pufferbelly based on a trademark infringement complaint...." So, this is a trademark issue -- the patent expiration is irrelevant. It also said, "A representative [of Magic Cube's manufacturer] told her that ... the Magic Cube did not infringe on the rival toy's trademark." Of course the manufacturer said that. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the owners of the trademark who filed the complaint obviously disagree.

    Please U[understand]TFA before you tell me to RTFA.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_quark ( 101253 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @02:05AM (#10660842) Homepage
    Well, the patent's a total red herring, anyway, it has nothing to do with the raid. The government never said they were enforcing a patent, whether it's expired or not seems to have nothing to do with it.

    The only evidence the article presents that no trademark was infringed is "a representative" of the manufacturer, via hearsay testimony from the owner of the store, both of whom presumably have some interest in claiming not to be breaking the trademark.

    Unfortunately, the only evidence the article presents that a trademark was infringed was a spokesperson for DHS stating there was a complaint. There is a lot we don't know - it's quite possible the Magic Cube does infringe on Rubik's trademark. Contrary to the title of the /. article, it's not expired; they're running around suing people [] for violating it.

    But, beyond that, nowhere in the article does it say Rubik was the one complaining. People just jumped to that conclusion. There is a live trademark on "Magic Cube" [] for a "manipulative puzzle" filed in December, 2001 by Atico, International. It would seem reasonable to me that Toysmith's product violates this trademark. There is no information in the AP article to conclude "no trademark was infringed," in fact the reporter seems to have done no research at all but calling DHS and the toy store operator. It's a terribly done article that is mostly about how weird it is that the people who enforce trademarks now work for DHS. But that's hardly new or news.

  • Re:rUSsiA (Score:5, Informative)

    by mvdwege ( 243851 ) <> on Friday October 29, 2004 @02:11AM (#10660858) Homepage Journal

    Can I point out two things?

    1. The country code in his URL is .dk. Would it be so hard to look up the ISO country codes before going off on your anti-German rant? Because Denmark suffered as much as the rest of Europe under the Nazis. You know you are not helping if you perpetuate the stereotype of the ignorant American, no?
    2. The German anti-Nazi laws are pretty strong, yes. Guess where they got them from? They were dictated to the German Federal Republic by the Allied Powers, and given the relative power levels in those days, that means by the United States of America.

    Here's a clue boy: go get yourself an education, you seem to need it.

  • by HBI ( 604924 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @02:23AM (#10660908) Journal
    Imagine you get a speeding ticket. You follow 'due process' and fight the ticket. Let's say you win (I have done this). You will be made to pay court costs, which are probably as much as the ticket. If you lose, the fine will be outrageous and the judge might slap community service or some incarceration atop of that if you piss him off too much.

    That ticket is just a cop telling you he accuses you of doing this. The DHS people were doing the same thing. If they want to fight it, go to court. Expect to pay a lot of money and really be screwed if you lose, though.
  • by Robocoastie ( 777066 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @02:26AM (#10660915) Homepage
    >>95% of shipping containers coming into this country aren't being inspected, yet we have law enforcement agents to spare... Ok wait just a minute. I am sick and tired of the left making that statement. As a former Coast Guardsman I can speak to this issue with authority. Do you have any idea how many "shipping containers" come into this country? Millions my friend - millions. There is a system and always has been for what needs inspected just like your local town cops have for what to look for for drunk drivers late at night or suspect vehicles and so on. I guarentee you that at least 95% of all cars driving through town late at night or from bars also are not inspected. So you see that statement is just a scare tactic, it has no helium in its balloon. The suppossed 5% that are getting inspected do so because they meet certain guidelines that are used to weed through it all! It would take absolutely millions of people to inspect them all! The CG has less than 50,000! Most of which are E3 and below who do grunt work, havn't been sent to the LE school yet, or hazmat school and so on. Get some facts before you continue to spew Kerry's unqualified quotes like that. And yes Bush has some whoppers he spews out over and over so I aint letting him off the hook either it's just this one is a whopper that people are completely ignorant about how it works. It should show you how stupid Kerry thinks the American people are that we'd fall for this scare tactic.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @02:33AM (#10660937)
    My dad told me that a few days ago Homeland Security officials visited his office. They walked up to my dad's secretary and asked to speak with the person in charge. However, when my dad came to speak with them, they told him that they would talk to his secretary first. They started asking her various questions about the operations of the company, and she told them that my dad would be the best person to talk to. Then they supposidly told her that they were only interested in speaking to American born U.S citizens. Hello? Heard of the 1st Amendment? The funny thing is that my dad's secretary was actually born in Poland and came to the U.S as a child, and my dad, a man of South Asian origin, has actually lived in the U.S longer than her. On the way out, they told my dad that they will "keep an eye" on business in a threatening tone. Too bad my dad's business is 100% legit. I don't know how long it will take Americans to realize that it is attitudes like this that cause people around the world to hate them.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @02:38AM (#10660951) Homepage
    There really is a National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center [] in the Department of Homeland Security. They even have a convenient online form [] for reporting "intellectual property violations".

    This is part of the Cornerstone Initiative [], "Protecting the Homeland through Economic Security". Their site is "being revised", but their newsletter [] lists what they're up to.

  • by greenrom ( 576281 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:05AM (#10661041)
    You dont see every country in the world being attacked by militant islamic extremist foreigners now do you?
    Not every country, but there are a lot of them. Here are a few terrorist attacks from 2003 (the 2004 report isn't out yet). I excluded attacks on Americans, British, and Jews, because everyone knows we are evil and deserve it. I also left a lot of others out because I got tired of typing. All told, there were 208 significant terrorist attacks in 2003 resulting in 625 deaths and 3646 injuries. None of them occurred on U.S. soil. (source: Patterns of Global Terrorism 2003 [])

    2/25/03 - Venezuela - 2 bombs explode simultaneously at spanish and columbian embassies. 1 Columbian and 3 Venezualans killed.

    3/4/03 - Philippines - bomb explodes at airport. 21 killed, 149 injured.

    3/20/03 - Lebanon - bomb explodes in apartment building. 2 killed, 9 wounded.

    3/22/03 - Greece - bomb explodes at ATM.

    3/24/03 - India - 11 men, 11 women, and 2 boys shot execution style by armed militants

    3/25/03 - Serbia - 4 bomb attacks on UN interim administration

    3/26/03 - Chile - bomb explodes at bank

    3/29/03 - Greece - hand grenade tossed into a McDonalds

    3/31/03 - Cuba - plane carrying 46 passengers hijacked

    4/2/03 - Philippines - bomb explodes on passanger warf. 16 killed, 55 wounded.

    4/5/03 - Lebanon - two bombs explode at restaurant. 10 wounded. undetonated C-4, TNT, and gas containers found.

    4/8/03 - Algeria - 1 Swede and Dutch citizen kidnapped

    4/11/03 - Algeria - 2 Austrians kidnapped

    4/12/03 - India - multiple grenade attacks kill 1, wound 43.

    4/12/03 - Venezuala - C-4 bomb explodes at OAS office

    4/14/03 - France - militants set fire to car and destroy restaurant

    4/15/03 - Turkey - bombs explode at 2 different McDonalds. 1 injured.

    4/22/03 - India - bomb explodes at dairy. 6 killed, 12 wounded.

    4/25/03 - India - bomb explodes at courthouse. 3 killed, 34 wounded.

    5/5/03 - India - bomb and grenade attacks kill 1, injure 26.

    5/16/03 - Morocco - 5 bombs explode simultaneously damaging Belgian consulate. 33 killed, 101 wounded.

    6/4/03 - Belgium - Letters found containing the nerve agent adamsite. 10 hospitalized.

    6/9/03 - Peru - 71 workers of an Argentine company kidnapped

    6/17/03 - Italy - bomb explodes in front of spanish school

    6/18/03 - France - militants destroy 2 villas with bomb blasts

    6/26/03 - Kenya - aid workers attacked with hand grenades

    7/3/03 - Columbia - 5 swiss citizens kidnapped

    8/5/03 - Indonesia - bomb explodes in front of hotel 12 killed 149 wounded. Al-Qaida claims responsibility.

    8/8/03 - Spain - mail bomb sent to Greek consulate

    10/5/03 - Malaysia - 3 Indonesians and 2 Filipinos kidnapped. 1 escaped, 4 found executed.

    11/11/03 - Greece - bomb found outside bank

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:20AM (#10661083)
    You too can fill out an Intellectual Property Snitch form and have the stormtroopers harass the enemy of freedom and democracy and motherhood and apple pie. Provide us with as much dirt as possible so we can identify the proper tactics to deter any possible violations that may occur , have occurred , or will occur.

    (end of humor, start of straight up reality)

    A quote from the site: At m.htm
    National IPR Coordination Center Complaint Referral Form

    The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center)
    works to protect the United States and its people by deterring, interdicting, and investigating threats arising from the movement of illegal goods into and out of the United States. The IPR Center serves as the focal point for the collections, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence involving copyright and trademark infringement, signal theft and theft of trade secrets. When reporting a suspected violation to the IPR Center provide as much detailed information as possible. The information received and analyzed by the IPR Center will be disseminated for appropriate investigative and tactical use.

    NOTE: Please fill out the form as completely as possible. Although all fields are optional, completing the fields marked with an "*" will greatly enhance our ability to effectively process your complaint. This form can be used by the general public, industry, trade associations, law enforcement, and Government agencies to report IPR violations.

    If you encounter any problems while trying to submit this form please contact the IPR Center Hotline at (202) 344-2410."
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:4, Informative)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <sd_resp2@earthsh[ ] ['od.' in gap]> on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:40AM (#10661136)
    it was a crime in progress, in a public place
    Bzzzzzt! Wrong. It was in a shop, which is private property. Members of the public are admitted strictly by invitation of the rightful occupier -- and can be excluded for any reason they like.

    I don't know about US law, but in the UK, trespass goes from being a simple civil offence to a full-blown criminal offence once you start disrupting a lawful activity {Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 s.61, from memory}.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:29AM (#10661261)
    has a website and is still selling magic cubes! []
  • by geg81 ( 816215 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:31AM (#10661266)
    The summary is going all over the place, talking about "enforcing copyright law", "expired patents", and "trademarks".
    • the three kinds of IP are based on entirely separate bodies of law
    • trademarks don't expire
    • copyrights do, but not for a long time

    Please try to keep the three concepts apart. One thing is clear: the DHS should have no business enforcing any of them.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:3, Informative)

    by querencia ( 625880 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:38AM (#10661464)
    Perhaps you'd like to point us to the trademark being infringed.

    Perhaps you'd like to look one post down [].
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:5, Informative)

    by rjkimble ( 97437 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:52AM (#10661505) Homepage Journal
    The trademark infringement complaint, according to the article, ....
    Sigh. I guess dealing with the caliber of typical posters on slashdot is a waste of time. The author of the article didn't even grasp the difference between patents and trademarks. On top of that, the source that denied the existence of trademark infringement was the distributo of the infringing goods. Hello????

    Of course, what else would you expect from the likes of an Associated Press reporter?

    A little research turns up the fact that not only has Seven Towns Limited trademarked Rubik and Rubik's Cube, they have trademarked its appearance. You might want to check out this [], this [], and this [] before continuing your sophistry. Realizing that one might actually have to search a bit on the last referenced page to find the relevant commentary, I'll post it here:

    March 2004

    Section: 7th Circuit.

    Gary Ropski was quoted in the March, 2004 publication of Corporate Legal Times in an article discussing the Seven Towns v. Hazco lawsuit concerning the Rubik's Cube. Mr. Ropski, counsel for Seven Towns, commented on Hazco saying that, "they know how valuable the Rubik's Cube trademark and trade dress are because they tried to get a license from Seven Towns to use it. . . After being refused permission, they used it anyway." He continued by saying, "The U.S. Patent and Trademark Association granted Seven Towns a trademark for the appearance of the Rubik's Cube. It's a violation of federal law to infringe that trademark by making a product that's confusingly similar."
    So it turns out that the Customs agents knew their job and were doing their job, just as I stated. I'm sorry if you don't like the facts.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:5, Informative)

    by rjkimble ( 97437 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @06:06AM (#10661543) Homepage Journal
    No. I'm advocating that they do their job, which they did. It turns out that Seven Towns Limited has a trademark on the terms "Rubik" and "Rubik's Cube" as well as on the appearance of the Rubik's cube. So the "Magic Cube" mentioned in the story was probably infringing on the appearance trademark. A little research reveals that Seven Towns had already won a lawsuit over this very issue. It's highly likely that the Customs agents had all the relevant information they needed to take their course of action.

    I think you are the one who needs to do some cursory research before jumping to inaccurate conclusions and flaming professionals who are competently performing their jobs.

  • by Eunuchswear ( 210685 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @06:09AM (#10661553) Journal
    4/14/03 - France - militants set fire to car and destroy restaurant
    Wow, serious terrorism. Let's look at what the report said:
    14 France On 14 April 2003, in Sergy [sic] , France, militants set fire to a car parked outside the rear entrance of a McDonald's restaurant. The blaze partially destroyed the restaurant. No one claimed responsibility.
    "militants... no one claimed responsibility"

    Huh? Someone sets fire to a car in a "difficult suburb" (read ghetto) and all of a sudden it's "militants"?

    From the Reuters report:

    A police source in Cergy declined to speculate on whether the incidents were related, adding that there was no graffiti or other immediate clue to indicate why [ or even if ... ] the McDonald's might have been a target.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kryos ( 45369 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @06:11AM (#10661558)
    Yes, they can. I usd to own a store, and specifically had a lawyer look up the relevant laws because I was having trouble with a disruptive "patron" coming in frequently.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @06:30AM (#10661619) Homepage Journal
    But it wasn't an infringing product, so they didn't do their job properly.

  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:3, Informative)

    by SlamMan ( 221834 ) <squigit@gmail.cAAAom minus threevowels> on Friday October 29, 2004 @07:38AM (#10661775)
    The way it was explained to me by a judge I know, is that you can exclude (same goes for firing, btw) someone for good reason. You can exclude someone for NO reason. But you can't exclude some one for a bad reason.

    You can tell a customer to get out because you feel like it. You can tell a customer to leave because they're causing a disturbance. But you can't throw a customer out because you dislike their wheelchair.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jameth ( 664111 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:11AM (#10662232)
    Some quick Google research revealed that the Rubik's Cube has colors of: Green, Blue, Orange, Yellow, White, and Red, all in as close to pure tones as possible. By contrast, the Magic Cube ( has colors that are off-tones. Only three sides are visible in the image, and they are Fuschia, Teal, and Yellow.

    Although the yellow overlaps with that in the Rubik's Cube (even if a few shades darker) the other colors are definitely different. Although the Magic Cube resembles the Rubik's Cube, they are clearly different in appearance. Seeing as having differently-colored sides is required for the Rubik's Cube to be functional, there is no way I can see that this trademark is reasonable.
  • Re:Civil vs Criminal (Score:2, Informative)

    by ajkessel ( 539491 ) <> on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:34AM (#10662384) Homepage
    I'm an attorney. There are criminal statutes relating to all of these areas of intellectual property. It shouldn't surprise anyone that copyright infringement is a criminal act (read the notices at the beginning of DVDs). Counterfeiting--related to trademark infringement--also can carry criminal penalties. I don't believe there is any statute imposing criminal liability for ptaent infringement, however.
  • by arete ( 170676 ) <> on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:37AM (#10662412) Homepage
    Definitely my award for worst slashdot writeup And that's saying a LOT.

    A Rubik's cube can't be copyrighted - there's no text. The INSTRUCTIONS could be...

    A trademark on it could be valid - but only if it was confusingly similar - ie, if a reasonable person buying it might THINK they were buying a Rubik's cube, or something from the same company.

    The patent is apparently expired, at least if can trust the article. Which we can't.

    Patent law != copyright law != trademark law != trade secret law. THEY ARE ALL TOTALLY SEPERATE.

  • Fact Check (Score:2, Informative)

    by Chrontius ( 654879 ) on Friday October 29, 2004 @11:27AM (#10663303)
    Erhm... 22mm is almost an inch. That's a friggin' antivehicular cannon of the sort mounted on attack helicopters.

    Or were you talking about a .22 caliber toy gun?
  • by ArtStone ( 745847 ) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @12:41AM (#10670234)
    The last line of the AP story mentions that the Oregonian newspaper was the source of the story:

    Here is the original story before AP edited / rewrote it: sf ?/base/front_page/109896512934940.xml

    It contains significant details that the AP decided not to include:

    [The call came in late July or early August. A man identifying himself as a federal Homeland Security agent said he needed to talk to Cox at her store.

    Cox asked what it was all about.

    "He said he was not at liberty to discuss that," she said.

    They agreed to meet in early August, but the agent later canceled. Cox thought the matter had blown over when the agent called back Sept. 9 to say he was coming out there. ]

    Keeping in mind that this is *her* opinion of the events... So this didn't just come out of the blue... This story is 7 weeks old... it didn't just happen yesterday...

    [Kice also said Homeland Security officials routinely investigate such complaints and follow up if they determine they are valid. ]

    Paragraph dropped. The clear message of that paragraph is that they did make a determination that the TRADEMARK infringement was valid prior to visiting the store.

    [After gaining assurances from Toysmith officials, Cox put the Magic Cube back on the shelf soon after the agents left. ]


    The author of the original story [printed at the bottom of the above linked page] is:
    Ashbel "Tony" Green: 503-221-8202; if you have any questions...

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.