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Trademark Newsflash: Supreme Court Strikes Down Disparagement Clause

Since 1946, when the Lanham Act was enacted, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has denied registration of any trademark that “consists of … matter which may disparage [any] persons living or dead….” Today,...more

6th Circuit Joins Employee Class Action Bandwagon

Previously we wrote about the pendulum swing regarding employee class action waivers; first to one extreme, with the Supreme Court’s 2011 AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion decision, which looked like the death knell for...more

[Acapulco] Gold* Rush for California Cannabis Trademarks Countdown to January 1, 2018

Last week the California Assembly passed Assembly Bill 64 (AB 64), an omnibus bill regarding medical and recreational marijuana, sending it to the State Senate for review....more

FDA Recalls FDA Menu Regulations

FDA watchers may have experienced whiplash last week as the FDA did an about face and postponed restaurant nutritional disclosure regulations that were years in the making. ...more

California Releases Medical Marijuana Regulations: The Devil’s in the Details

In 1996, Californians passed Proposition 215, the first medical marijuana initiative in the United States. Since then, the California Legislature has enacted various laws relating to the medical marijuana industry, but there...more

Ethics Committee Blocks Judges From Joining California Cannabis Gold Rush

Yesterday, right on the cusp of 420, the California Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics issued an opinion regarding “Extrajudicial Involvement in Marijuana Enterprises,” stating that judges should refrain from owning...more

When States of Mind Collide: USPTO Rejects MARIJUANAVILLE as Confusingly Similar to MARGARITAVILLE

Could you write a legal opinion about Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville and Marijaunaville without displaying any trace of a sense of humor? The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) did. The USPTO wrote a 30-page...more

We’ve Got the Copyright, How ‘bout You? Supreme Court Protects Cheerleader Designs

We previously wrote about the copyright battle between two of the largest cheerleader uniform manufacturers. Plaintiff Varsity Brand, Inc. claimed that Star Athletica, LLC had infringed its copyrights by manufacturing...more

Smart Cannabis Businesses are Staking a Claim to Their Intellectual Property

Yes, cannabis is still listed as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance; and yes, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will not register trademarks for cannabis strains. But there are still a number of creative...more

Supreme Court’s Apple Decision Opens a Can of Worms on Patent Awards

Today the Supreme Court found an ambiguity in the Patent Act, reversing Apple’s $399 million infringement award against Samsung....more

USPTO Asks Supreme Court to Uphold Its Right to Deny “Offensive” Trademarks

I previously wrote about a Supreme Court case pitting the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) and Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act against the First Amendment, the Federal Circuit, the Slants and, lurking in the...more

U.S. Dept. of Education Joins Tide Against Class-Action Waivers/Mandatory Arbitration

There’s been plenty of news regarding a recent trend that contract provisions precluding class actions and mandating arbitration may have hit their high water mark and appear to be receding...more

We’ve Got the Copyright, How ‘bout You? Supreme Court Grapples with Cheerleader Uniforms

On Halloween, the highest court in the land heard oral argument on whether cheerleader uniform designs are subject to copyright protection. Varsity Brand, Inc. (“Varsity”), the country’s largest maker of cheerleader uniforms,...more

Another $50 Million Shoe Drops: DreamWorks Settles Wage-Fixing Class Action

In the latest sequel to the ongoing legal drama, DreamWorks has agreed to pay $50 million to settle a class-action based on DreamWorks conspiring with other animation studios not to poach/hire one another’s employees....more

“Disparaging” Federal Trademark Registrations: Gearing Up for the Main Event

Today the Supreme Court agreed to decide an ongoing conflict, pitting a trademark registrant’s First Amendment rights against longstanding law precluding trademark registration of “disparaging” marks....more

Class Actions Back from Verge of Extinction

Back in 2011 it looked like class actions would join the mastodon, the dodo bird and other extinct species. In AT&T v. Mobility v. Concepcion, Justice Scalia and the conservative majority held that the Federal Arbitration...more

The Legal Angle On General Mills Recall Of 10 Million Pounds Of Flour

What happened? On May 31, General Mills issued a voluntary recall (http://www.generalmills.com/flour/) of more than 10 million pounds of flour. Between mid-December 2015 and early May 2016, thirty-eight people have been...more

7th Circuit Sets Stage for Supreme Court Arbitration Show Down

Last week the Seventh Circuit's decision in Lewis v. Epic Systems Corporation, invalidated employment contract provisions requiring employees to arbitrate employment disputes and precluding them from bringing class-actions....more

New Agreements Required to Defend Your Trade Secrets

Companies should act now to protect their trade secrets in light of the new Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), which was signed by President Obama on May 11 and became effective immediately. The DTSA protects trade secrets,...more

Making a Federal Case Out of Trade Secret Misappropriation

It’s official. Defying all odds, the Senate and House passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) with bipartisan support and President Obama signed it. Now what?...more

Settlers and Snitches: Sony Breaks Ranks in Hollywood Wage-Fixing Claims

I previously wrote about two wage-fixing class actions, where some of the largest high-tech and Hollywood companies conspired not to hire one another’s employees to keep wages low. Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe attempted to...more

Washington Redskins’ Hail Mary Pass: Petition SCOTUS to Sack USPTO

INITIAL CALL ON THE FIELD - In June 2014, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) stripped the Washington Redskins (Washington) of their federal trademarks, finding the term “Redskins” was disparaging under Section...more

Deflate-Gate: Second Circuit Reinstates NFL’s Four Game Suspension of Tom Brady

That loud, horrible sound you may have heard this morning was New England Patriot fans gnashing their collective teeth. This morning the Second Circuit reinstated the NFL’s four game suspension of Patriot quarterback Tom...more

Can the USPTO Still Reject “Disparaging” Trademarks? Stay Tuned

Nobody knows, and that’s why the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) just filed a petition asking Supreme Court to settle its turf battle with the Federal Circuit Court....more

Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: Federal Circuit Court’s Slants Decision vs. Lanham Act Section 2(a) re: Disparaging...

We recently wrote about In re Tam, the Federal Circuit Court’s decision invalidating Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act. The Court held that Section 2(a), which precludes trademark registration of immoral, deceptive, scandalous...more

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