Friday, May 27, 2011

Online Insurance Application Constitutes Writing for Purposes of Waiving Insurance Coverage under UETA

Barwick v. Government Employee Insurance Co., Inc., 2011 Ark. 128 (March 31, 2011) [link]

I guest-blogged about this case on Eric Goldman's Technology & Marketing Law Blog. We've had very few cases decided under the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) over the past ten to twelve years, so it's nice to see the court recognize that UETA applies and get the analysis correct. The court affirmed that, under UETA (which has been adopted in almost every state), a writing cannot be denied effect just because it is in electronic form.

The basic facts are that a woman signed and submitted an online insurance application to GEICO, in which she specifically declined coverage for medical payments. This is permitted under Arkansas insurance law so long as the waiver is "in writing". After an accident, her husband tried to claim benefits under the policy, but also tried to argue that the insurance company should make medical payments because the on-line waiver was not "in writing." The Arkansas Supreme Court applied UETA and shot down the argument. You can read about it in more detail at Eric's blog.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hasbro to Relocate Global Games Business to RI

Hasbro announced yesterday that it will create a Center of Excellence for Hasbro Games in Rhode Island, and will move its marketing and games development employees from East Longmeadow, Massachusetts to Rhode Island. The move is expected to add about 70 jobs to the RI economy. More importantly, by relocating these employees to Rhode Island, Hasbro will be building on the efforts of 38studios, which relocated its game development business from Massachusetts to Rhode Island earlier this year.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Two New Trademark Cases Filed in DRI

Fuelbelt, Inc. v. Penguin Brands, Inc., No. 1:11-cv-00203-S (filed May 18, 2011).

JJI International, Inc. v. The Bazar Group, Inc., No. 1:11-cv-00206-ML (filed May 19, 2011).

Two new trademark cases were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island this week. This brings the number of trademark cases filed in Rhode Island so far in 2011 up to 5 cases, one more than the same period a year ago.

The Fuelbelt case involves the trade dress for "molded holsters" that hold water bottles for runners and other athletes. Penguin Brands claims trade dress in its molded holsters sold under its SWIFT 2R, SPEED 2R and SPEED 4R brands. Fuelbelt seeks a declaratory judgment that its REVENGE series hydration belts having a molded holster do not infringe Penguin's trade dress and that the Penguin trade dress is functional. What do you think?

SPEED 2R Belt and Holster:

REVENGE Belt and Holster:

The case has been assigned to Judge Smith.

The JJI International case involves competitors selling gold and silver plated necklaces, earrings and rings. JJI sells a branded line of jewelry under the SPLASHES & SPARKLES trademark, for which JJI obtained a federal registration in 2005. JJI claims that in June 2010 Bazar started using a SPARKLE trademark in connection with competing jewelry products. JJI seeks injunctive relief and damages on counts of federal trademark infringement and federal and state law unfair competition. The case has been assigned to Judge Lisi

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

RI to Host Major League Gaming National Championships

Did you know there is a Major League Gaming (MLG) Pro Circuit? We'll find out for certain in November, when Providence plays host to the MLG Pro Circuit National Championships on November 18-20. The world's best video game players will compete for the right to be the 2011 Pro Circuit National Champion (and cash prizes), in games like StarCraft 2, Halo: Reach, and Call of Duty: Black Ops. Competitions leading up to the National Championships are being held in Dallas, Columbus, OH, Anaheim, CA, Raleigh, NC, and Orlando. Should be fun! Not to mention a nice boost to the Providence economy just before the holidays.