Ideas, exchange of ideas and their clashes! Let’s talk about the battle of ideas and the intellectual property wars some giants have gotten themselves into! From tattoo ideas to color to calculus, laws have spared none.

Let’s take you on a journey on 5 such intellectual property battles. Read on!


  1. Vanilla Ice v Freddie Mercury/David Bowie

Vanilla Ice released Ice, Ice Baby and Under Pressure  was not credited there. Vanilla Ice claimed that the two melodies are distinct because of the beat between the notes. Vanilla Ice later famously claimed that it was a mere joke. Mercury and Bowie weren’t clearly in the mood for a joke as they filed a copyright infringement suit.

The case was later settled out of court and it cost Vanilla Ice an undisclosed sum of money!



  1. Clash of the Toy giants- Mattel & MGA Entertainment

Mattel’s former employee Carter Bryant sent his sketches to MGA Entertainment while still working with Mattel and attracted a suit for breach of employment. He ended up creating the now famed and Barbie’s arch rival, the Bratz dolls. Because of the suit, the Bratz dolls were pulled down but just for a year. MGA claimed trade-secret misappropriation which was met with other counter-claims. After countless reversal of orders, the saga finally came to an end, with zero damages.


Source, Source

  1. The Hangover Part II Tattoo case

S Victor Whitmill, who created the iconic tattoo on Mike Tyson’s face, sued Warner Bros for using the same design on Helms’ character in the movie Hangover Part II. Now, artworks are supposed to be protected no matter the surface on which it is created. Again, it could be argued that the design is trans-formative or a mere parody. An injunction was even sought. Though the case was amicably resolved later, no other details were divulged.



  1. The Star of IPR wars- Star Wars v Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica was made as early as 1977 when the world was still buried in Starwars buzz. Twentieth century Fox sued Universal Studios for copyright infringement. It was alleged that Galactica had borrowed a lot of elements from Starwars including characters, plotlines et. al.. Universal Studios counter sued and stated that Starwars has heavily borrowed from the 1972 film the Silent Running and the Buck Rogers serials of the 1940s. A couple of years later, the case was decided in Galactica’s favour.



  1. Adidas and Payless and Stripes

Adidas had been using the three stripe mark as its logo and had just registered the same, when Payless started selling arguably perplexingly similar sneakers with two and four parallel stripes. This was in 1994 and they reached a settlement but come 2001, Payless started selling similar sneakers again. Adidas  demanded trial and was awarded $305 million dollars.



Stay tuned for our next installment of famous Intellectual Property cases.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s