Art, Entertainment & Sports Intellectual Property

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Who’s Got PRINCE Control?

My home state of Minnesota prides itself primarily on three things: our ability to withstand our winters, our 10,000 lakes, and our dearly beloved Prince. While we take a beating when it comes to our sports teams, all of...more

Weekly Web Wrap-Up

Welcome to Sheppard Mullin’s Weekly Web Wrap-Up, a quick list of the past week’s top news in the social media, gaming, and virtual goods and currencies industries curated by Social Media & Games Team. Here are some of the...more

The Slants and the Future of Disparaging Trademarks

Trademark and copyright law are in a constant struggle with the right of free expression guaranteed under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. This is unavoidable. Copyright laws were enacted to protect authors of...more

Google Books Survives Legal Challenge - Supreme Court Declines to Address Book-Digitization Project

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to grant certiorari over a Second Circuit decision (Authors’ Guild v. Google Inc.) affirming that Google’s project of digitizing, and making available online for searching, tens of millions of...more

Pro Football Calls SCOTUS Audible

As we noted here last week, the Director of the USPTO filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court requesting that it review the Federal Circuit’s en banc decision, In re Tam. That decision held Section...more

The Right of Publicity: How Much Control Do NFL Players Have Over Their Names?

How much control should athletes have over their names? Not an unlimited amount, according to one recent court ruling. Late last month, in Dryer v. National Football League, the Eighth Circuit denied an appeal by three...more

Hyperlinking to unauthorised content does not itself constitute copyright infringement, says Advocate General

The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has stated in a legal opinion that posting a link to a website that contains “freely accessible” copyright infringing content should not itself amount to copyright...more

Supreme Court Decides Not to Reopen the Google Books Litigation

Last October, the 2nd Circuit held that the Google Books project qualified as fair use. The decision came after a decade long legal battle between the Authors Guild and Google. The Authors Guild appealed the case to the...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

Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio, Inc. - USCA, Second Circuit, April 13, 2016

In dispute over The Turtles’ pre-1972 recordings, Second Circuit asks New York high court to determine whether right of public performance for creators of sound recordings exists under state law....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

Williams v. Bridgeport Music, Inc. - USDC, C.D. California, April 12, 2016

District court refuses request of Marvin Gaye’s family for $3.5 million in attorneys’ fees following jury verdict in “Blurred Lines” trial. On March 10, 2015, the jury in the “Blurred Lines” trial returned a verdict...more

USPTO to SCOTUS: SOS on the Lanham Act ASAP

On April 20, 2016, the USPTO made it official: It formally requested the U.S. Supreme Court to review the en banc Federal Circuit decision that held Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act violated the First Amendment. At issue...more

Stairway To Heaven: Did Led Zeppelin Spirit It Away?

Last year, I wrote a post about a case that was about to be filed challenging the authorship of Led Zeppelin’s rock classic, “Stairway to Heaven.”. Two weeks after that post, a lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Federal...more

Central District of California Holds That the California Resale Royalty Act Is Preempted by Federal Copyright Law

As previously discussed on this blog, the validity of the California Resale Royalty Act (the “RRA,” Civil Code Section 986), a 1976 law that requires resellers of fine art to pay a royalty of 5 percent to the artists behind...more

China’s New Film Industry Promotion Law (Draft)

China is now on track to overtake the United States as the world’s largest film market in the next few years. The global box office has grown slowlywith worldwide receipts reaching US$38 billion in 2015, up from US$36.4...more

Celebrity Trademark Watch: Beyoncé Sues Feyoncé and Fame is the Name of the Game

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, known to most as simply Beyoncé, and as “Bey” to those who like to pretend they know her, is about as famous as one can be. She transitioned from the acclaimed group “Destiny’s Child” to...more

Court Silences Sound Spark Studios’ Trademark Claims

In the summer of 2012, Jeremy Southgate applied with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to register a design mark for “Sound Spark Studios.” A little over a year-and-a-half later, Southgate formed Sound Spark...more

Foundation for the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan v. Alcon Entertainment (N.D. Georgia, March 23, 2016)

Rarely does one think of copyright issues surrounding how research is conducted for feature films that are based on real life events, but 54 Sudanese refugees are forging that new connection between research and copyright in...more

Federal Judge vs. TTAB – Trademark Battle over Bear Bryant’s Houndstooth Hat

The case of The Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama and Paul W. Bryant, Jr. v. Houndstooth Mafia Enterprises LLC et al. showcases an unusual clash between a federal judge and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board...more

Did Led Zeppelin Steal the Stairway to Heaven?

Did Led Zeppelin copy the opening of its iconic song “Stairway to Heaven” from a lesser-known band? A jury in California will decide in May whether the song copied elements of “Taurus,” a 1967 instrumental track from the...more

Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin - USDC, C.D. California, April 8, 2016

In copyright infringement action over iconic Led Zeppelin song “Stairway to Heaven” filed more than 40 years after song was first released, district court partially denies defendants’ motion for summary judgment, allowing...more

“And if You Listen Very Hard” . . . Zeppelin Going to [Trial in] California

Central District of California Judge Gary Klausner ruled the founders of rock band Led Zeppelin – and more particularly, front men Jimmy Page and Robert Plant – must face a jury trial to determine whether the band’s most...more

California Resale Royalty Act Claims Dismissed as Preempted by Copyright Law, Despite 1980 Ninth Circuit Holding to the Contrary

Just three months after the Supreme Court denied certiorari review of last year’s Ninth Circuit decision finding California’s Resale Royalty Act unconstitutional under the Dormant Commerce Clause in part—but also valid in...more

Linebacker Vs. Teddy Bear

Former NFL player Shawne Merriman’s company sued the Vermont Teddy Bear Company over the trademark “Lights Out” last week....more

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