Art, Entertainment & Sports Constitutional Law

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That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles – Court Grants Motion for Summary Judgment in Favor of “Empire” TV Series

On February 1, 2016, U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson ruled that Twentieth Century Fox Television’s (“Fox’s”) use of the term “Empire” in the network’s hit TV series was protected by the First Amendment. Judge Anderson...more

Federal Circuit Rejects Disparaging Trademarks’ Ban on First Amendment Grounds

A December ruling by the Federal Circuit emphasized the value of commercial speech through trademark registration, and the case may have implications for the Washington Redskins. The NFL team’s Super Bowl dreams may be over,...more

Naruto v. Slater - USDC, N.D. California, January 28, 2016

District court dismisses copyright infringement action brought on behalf of macaque monkey who took “selfies” using defendant photographer’s camera, holding that animals lack standing under the Copyright Act....more

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. Legislature Delays Passage of a Tax Conformity Bill - The Appropriations Committee worked on...more

Sue-per Bowl Shuffle II: The Year in NFL-Related Intellectual Property Litigation

Around this time last year, I started worrying about what would happen if someone at a Super Bowl party asked me to explain an NFL-related lawsuit, particularly one of those IP-ish lawsuits that I’m supposed to know about. So...more

Court Enters Final Dismissal of “Monkey Selfie” Case

As anticipated, the judge presiding over the “monkey selfie” copyright case has dismissed the complaint for copyright infringement brought by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), ostensibly on behalf of a...more

The Door Is Open To Disparaging Trademarks

Federal Circuit Rules § 2(A) of tThe Lanham Act Unconstitutional - Refusal to Register Disparaging Marks Held Unconstitutional - On December 22, 2015, the Federal Circuit in In re Simon Shiao Tam ruled that Section...more

Trademark Review | January 2016

Federal Circuit Holds Refusal to Register Disparaging Trademarks is Unconstitutional - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, issued a ruling that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act violates the...more

Georgia Weekly Legislative Update

The Georgia General Assembly closed out the second week of the legislature’s two-year session Friday, busying itself with the governor’s budget recommendations and consideration of a host of controversial religious liberty...more

In re Simon Shiao Tam - USCA, Federal Circuit, December 22, 2015

In case with potentially far-reaching effects, including on Washington Redskins’ ongoing legal battle to maintain federal trademark registration, Federal Circuit sitting en banc strikes down federal statute that permits...more

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Refusal to Register Disparaging Trademarks Struck Down on First Amendment Grounds

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in a 9-3 decision in In re Tam, has declared a provision of the federal trademark law unconstitutional as violating the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. The...more

Of Slants, Skins and Signs: Another Step Closer to the Showdown

In September, we discussed In re Tam and the potential for a showdown over the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act. At that time, a panel of the Federal Circuit had recently upheld the PTO’s refusal to...more

Washington Redskins Haven’t Won Yet: Why the Constitutionality of Section 2(a) is Not Yet Final

What do Washington D.C.’s NFL team, the Redskins, and Mr. Tam’s rock band, The Slants, have in common? Both have enjoyed unexpected victories recently and both have been called “disparaging” by the Patent and Trademark Office...more

The Federal Circuit Breathes Life into the Redskins’ Appeal

If you’re a fan of intellectual property or the National Football League, you may have heard about last July’s ruling in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. There, Judge Gerald Bruce Lee...more

Federal Circuit: Lanham Act “Disparaging” Mark Prohibition Unconstitutional

On December 22nd the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its sua sponte en banc In re Tam decision regarding the constitutionality of the “disparaging” marks bar under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act. A Federal...more

Trademark Wars: The First Amendment Strikes Back – Lanham Act’s Disparaging Trademark Registration Ban Struck Down as...

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, en banc, has ruled that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act precluding “disparaging” trademark registrations is unconstitutional, rejecting the argument that trademark...more

Alert: Federal Circuit Strikes Ban on "Disparaging" Trademarks

On December 22, 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, overturned decades of case law by holding that a statute barring federal registration for trademarks that "may disparage" people,...more

Federal Circuit: Disparagement Proscription of § 2(a) of the Lanham Act Unconstitutional

In the last several decades, the disparagement provision of § 2(a) of the Lanham Act has become a more frequent basis for rejection or cancellation of trademarks by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and...more

Intellectual Property Alert: Tam Trademark Victory May Provide Game Plan for Washington Redskins

Last week, the Federal Circuit held en banc that the disparagement provision of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act is unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment. Writing for the majority in In Re Simon Shiao Tam on...more

In re Tam: Section 2(a) Unconstitutional Under The First Amendment

In a landmark First Amendment decision relating to the Lanham (Trademark) Act, the Federal Circuit, en banc, struck down § 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), the statutory provision barring registration of...more

Disparaging Trademarks Afforded First Amendment Protection

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled last week that Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. 1052(a), the provision used as a basis to bar registration of “disparaging” marks, is...more

Federal Court Ruling May Assist D.C. Football Team Win Back Trademark Rights

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a ruling yesterday that could lead to reinstatement of the Washington Redskins trademark registration. The Court declared that the Federal government’s ban on...more

Christmas Comes Early for The Slants (and the Washington Redskins)

On December 22, 2015, in a potentially far-reaching decision, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals held that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which prohibits registration of disparaging trademarks, is unconstitutional under...more

Federal Circuit Rules Federal Trademark Statute Ban on Disparaging Marks to Be Unconstitutional

On December 22nd, 2015, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the section of the Lanham Act which bans registration of “disparaging” trademarks is an unconstitutional violation of First Amendment free...more

In re Tam en banc decision—Lanham Act 2(a) is unconstitutional

In a highly anticipated decision, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, ruled today that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which bars registration of marks that “disparage” a group of persons,...more

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