Art, Entertainment & Sports Civil Procedure

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Paramount Pictures Corp. v. Axanar Productions, Inc. - USDC, C.D. California, May 9, 2016

District court denies motion to dismiss copyright infringement claims against producers of unauthorized “Star Trek” films that incorporate numerous elements of famous motion picture and television franchise, including Klingon...more

News of Note in IP

Each week, Sheppard Mullin brings you News of Note in IP: The latest news in the IP-related fields of technology, privacy, fashion, advertising, music, and social media, curated by our IP team. Here are some of the stories...more

Is Graffiti Ineligible for Copyright Protection Just Because the Act of Tagging is Illegal?

After reports of a settlement proved premature, designer Moschino S.p.A. and its creative director Jeremy Scott have moved for summary judgment on the copyright claims filed last year by street artist Joseph Tierney, better...more

USPTO Drops 11th Circuit Appeal of ND Alabama Order In Houndstooth Case

We previously blogged on Judge Proctor’s (ND Ala.) order directing the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “Board”) to comply with the Court’s prior order, approving a settlement agreement between the University of...more

Social Casino Survives Latest “Gambling” Lawsuit

It’s a familiar sight: rows of men and women, on a bus or a subway, hands and eyes glued to their phones. But they’re not talking or texting or e-mailing. They are playing slots, though not for real money. This is the world...more

Protecting Fashion through Copyrights: The Supreme Court Will Decide Whether Cheer Uniform Designs Are Protectable

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will address the issue whether apparel can be protected by copyright law—a question described by the petitioners in the case as “the single most vexing, unresolved question...more

Guelph Treasure Heirs Explain Why Case Belongs in U.S. Court

We filed yesterday the opposition to the motion to dismiss my clients’ claims over the 1935 forced sale of the Guelph Treasure, or Welfenschatz. The motion was filed two months ago by defendants Germany and the Stiftung...more

Deflategate Update

An appeals court recently reinstated the four game suspension issued to Tom Brady by the National Football League. The Patriots quarterback previously had his four game suspension reversed by the United States District Court...more

Spotify, NMPA Accused of a Concerted Effort to Taint the Class Pool

In a putative class action alleging widespread copyright infringement commenced in December 2015 against Spotify, Plaintiff, the lead singer for the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, recently moved pursuant to Federal...more

Rah! Rah! Sis Boom Bah! Supreme Court to Decide Whether Copyright Act Protects Cheerleader Uniform Designs

In August 2015, the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held in Varsity Brands, Inc.. v. Star Athletica, LLC, 799 F.3d 468 (6th Cir. 2015), that the stripes, chevrons and other visual elements that appear on a...more

A Hail Mary to the U.S. Supreme Court? Owner of REDSKINS Marks Petitions for Hearing on Constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the...

Pro-Football, Inc., the owner of multiple U.S. service mark registrations for REDSKINS, REDSKINETTES, and WASHINGTON REDSKINS, took the somewhat unusual step last week of petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of...more

Consumer VPPA Class Action Against CNN Dismissed

The Northern District of Georgia recently granted CNN’s motion to dismiss a consumer class action that alleged CNN committed a violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act (“VPPA”), 18 U.S.C. § 2710. Perry v. Cable News...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

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Cheerleader Apparel Copyright Case

The issue the Supreme Court has agreed to decide involves how to separate the artistic elements of a product’s design from the useful or “utilitarian” elements. That distinction matters for copyright purposes, because to...more

Brady's Benching Gives Lesson in Court Review of Arbitration Decisions

Earlier this week, Bills and Jets fans (and at least one Packer fan) rejoiced as the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the NFL’s four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady based on a finding...more

Is Social Media Sharing of Sports Clips Copyright Infringement? Recent UK Judicial Clarification and International Implications

In our annual review last year “Sports Industry 2015: A Year of Unprecedented Landmark Change”, we predicted that the battle against media piracy would be a key area for rights holders in 2016, highlighting “social media...more

Fair Use Copyright Ruling Stands For Google Books

Last month, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Authors Guild v. Google, Inc., the long-running copyright case involving Google’s Google Books project. The high court’s refusal to hear the case leaves in place the Second...more

TVEyes on the Prize: Clarifying the Law of Copyright Fair Use

TVEyes is a media monitoring service, claiming, “to organize the world’s TV and radio broadcasts and make them universally searchable by the spoken word.” Founded in 1999, the service uses innovative “audio mining”...more

Summary Judgment Upheld In Avatar Creators’ Favor After California Appellate Court Determines That Film Is Not Substantially...

James Cameron’s 2009 box-office hit Avatar is the subject of a California idea submission lawsuit that was decided in Cameron’s favor both at the trial and appellate level, in Eric Ryder v. Lightstorm Entertainment, Inc., et...more

The Supreme Court - May 2016

The Supreme Court of the United States issued one decision on May 2, 2016: Ocasio v. United States, No. 14-361: Petitioner Samuel Ocasio, a former police officer, was tried and convicted under the Hobbs Act for...more

Give me an S-C-O-T-U-S! Supreme Court To Decide Apparel Copyright Case

Straight off the heels of a 2-1 Sixth Circuit decision protecting copyright in design elements of cheerleading uniforms, the U.S. Supreme Court today decided to consider the issue of when a useful article is protectable under...more

Is Evidence of Confusion Really Necessary to Succeed in a Trademark Infringement Case?

It is not every day that a massive international TV hit show is found to infringe a trade mark. A decision of the English High Court, approved recently by the Court of Appeal, held that the popular 20th Century Fox teenage...more

Legal Lessons from Tom Brady

The state of Massachusetts collectively groaned last week as the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in the “Deflate-Gate” saga. A brief recap of this strange...more

Reason to Cheer – SCOTUS Suits Up to Hear Copyright Clash Over Cheerleading Uniforms

Hold onto your pom-poms, copyright fans. On May 2, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to address a question that has vexed lower courts across the land: What is the appropriate test to determine when a feature...more

In re Tam Redux Redux: Redskins Petition for Certiorari, Trying to Skip 4th Cir.

In response to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) petition for writ of certiorari in to the U.S. Supreme Court In re Tam (“THE SLANTS” case), the owners of the Washington Redskins filed their own...more

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