Art, Entertainment & Sports Intellectual Property

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Art, Entertainment & Sports issues written by leading professionals.
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Losing Control of V

A common client question is: “Can I ‘get in trouble’ for copying a picture, drawing, or cartoon and pasting it into my report, PowerPoint, etc.?” Before you can answer, they try to answer their own question, adding “Everyone...more

qech wej QaD trademark nIH (Trademarks Don’t Protect Ideas)

Lucas Film Limited has sued Michael Brown and his Light Saber Academy for trademark infringement, unfair competition, dilution, cybersquatting, state unfair competition, and dilution, arising from Mr. Brown’s running an...more

Court Holds That Fashion Designer Karen Millen Cannot Use Her Name in Connection with Future Clothing Lines

A recent UK court held that Karen Millen, a fashion designer and co-founder of the Karen Millen brand, was prohibited from using her name, KM or K.Millen or any other confusingly similar names in connection with clothing and...more

Kullberg v. Pure Flix Entertainment LLC - USDC, C.D. California, October 12, 2016

District court dismisses screenwriters’ copyright infringement suit against Christian film “God’s Not Dead” for lack of substantial similarity to plaintiffs’ screenplay. ...more

TCA TV Corp. v. McCollum - USCA, Second Circuit, October 11, 2016

Second Circuit rejects fair use defense in copyright action brought by Abbott and Costello heirs for use of comic duo’s “Who’s On First?” routine in play “Hand to God,” but affirms dismissal on grounds that plaintiffs failed...more

A Handy List of Star Wars References that Might Get You Sued

With its purchase of Lucasfilms and the Star Wars franchise, Disney did not wait long to begin exploiting the works. Episode VII: The Force Awakens was released on Dec. 18, 2015 and grossed more than $2 billion at the box...more

10 Copyright Cases Every Fan Fiction Writer Should Know About

If you are a Star Trek fan, the name Axanar has almost certainly crossed your lips or your computer screen recently. Axanar is a film (well, at least a very good trailer aspiring to be a film) set in the Star Trek universe,...more

Contributing to a patent claim might not make you a co-inventor

A decision by the Full Federal Court of Australia has found that even if you have contributed to an invention and your contribution has led to a patent claim, you may not be a co-inventor for that claim. The case...more

Iron Man Composer Battles Tech Giant Sony and Ghostface Killah

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in favor of the composer of the 1960s Iron Man theme song, finding material facts in dispute as to whether the song was commissioned as a work for hire. Jack Urbont v. Sony...more

Pleading Standard Defined– CAFC Holds that Joint Infringement Complaint Requires Identification of All Required Claim Steps

Plaintiffs bringing patent infringement complaints under the Iqbal/Twombly pleading standard should take notice. On September 30, 2016, a panel of the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a deficient...more

Infringement of Microscope Photos Yields Magnified Damages

Addressing several issues concerning damages in a copyright infringement case, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed a jury’s award of $1.6 million to a stem-cell photographer, but vacated and remanded the...more

Ninth Circuit Provides a Second Look at Willful Copyright Infringement **WEB ONLY**

In a case stemming from a copyright dispute over photographs of the legendary hip hop group Run-DMC, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a music...more

Copyright Infringement – Plaintiff Not Required to Prove Copies Are Unauthorized **WEB ONLY**

Correcting a transcription error in a prior decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit confirmed that a plaintiff does not have to prove that infringing copies are unauthorized as part of a prima facie case of...more

Federal Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Joint Infringement Allegations under Iqbal/Twombly Pleading Standard

On September 30, 2016, the Federal Circuit issued an opinion affirming the District Court for the Southern District of New York’s dismissal of the plaintiff ’s complaint under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) because the complaint...more

O’Bannon’s End: Supreme Court Rejects Appellate Review

The lawsuit against the NCAA over whether Division I men’s basketball and football players can be compensated for the commercial use of their names, images and likenesses came to an abrupt end on Monday as the U.S. Supreme...more

Austin’s SXSW Festival Wins Trademark “Fight” with the Australian Labor Party

Austin, Texas is well-known for its food, music scene, and of course its University of Texas Longhorns. The exclamation point on Austin’s notoriety though is the annual South by Southwest (a.k.a. SXSW) festival. Since its...more

Supreme Court Rejects Effort By Redskins to Join Slants

The Supreme Court rejected the effort by the Washington Redskins to skip the 4th Circuit and Join the hearing of the USPTO appeal of the SLANTS case....more

Brandmarking - Volume 5, Number 2 - October 2016

Supreme Court Review of “Disparagement” Trademark Case May – or May Not – Implicate First Amendment, Impact Washington Redskins Case - The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday agreed to hear one of two high-profile cases that...more

Supreme Court Benches Dan Snyder’s Team

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Mr. Simon Tam’s arguments and review the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s majority decision striking as unconstitutional Lanham Act Section 2(a)’s bar against the...more

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Redskins’ Petition to Join SLANTS Case

Further to our post last Friday on the SLANTS trademark case, the U.S. Supreme Court today, without comment, refused the Redskins’ Petition to join the SLANTS case challenging the U.S. Trademark Office’s ban on “offensive”...more

Federal Circuit Clarifies the Applicability of Alice to Software Patents

A recent decision by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (Federal Circuit) reversed a summary judgment of invalidity due to patent ineligible subject matter. The two patents at issue cover automating a 3-D animation method...more

The Slants Set To Rock at the U.S. Supreme Court

Simon Tam and The Slants now have a gig at the biggest judicial venue in the country: The U.S. Supreme Court. On September 29, 2016, the Court decided it will take the case of Lee v. Tam....more

Supreme Court Set to Settle Dispute over Washington Redskins Trademark Registration

There has been another twist in the story of the long battle by Native American interest groups to obtain revocation of the U.S. registration of the infamous Washington Redskins trademark. This is another step in the 20-year...more

Supreme Court Grants Cert. in USPTO Appeal of Slants Decision: Whether The Ban On Offensive Trademarks Violates The First...

The Supreme Court granted the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s petition for certiorari in In re Tam, 117 USPQ2d 1101 (Fed. Cir. 2016). In that case, the USPTO denied registration of an application to register the...more

The SLANTS Trademark Will Play One More Gig: U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Constitutionality of Ban on Disparaging Trademarks

The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it will review whether the U.S. Trademark Office can deny registration of offensive trademarks or whether such prohibition violates the First Amendment. The dispute affects the...more

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