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Trademark Review | March 2015

Registration Cancelled Where Services Related to Mark Not Provided - Playdom, Inc. filed a petition to cancel Couture’s mark, arguing that the registration was void because Couture did not use the mark in commerce as of...more

Michael Jordan Denied Summary Judgment on His Right of Publicity Claim against Illinois Grocer

In 2009, Michael Jordan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. To commemorate Jordan’s career, Time Inc. published a special Sports Illustrated Presents issue that included congratulatory “advertisements” from several...more

It’s a Complete Red Haring: Court Dismisses Wide Ranging Art-Authentication Lawsuit against Keith Haring Foundation

Art is no stranger to great controversy, although the arbiters of art world disputes are usually critics and artists rather than federal judges. Nevertheless, in early March, Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New...more

It’s Not All Rainbows and Butterflies: YouTube’s Beauty Guru Fights Back Against Ultra Records

Michelle Phan is a YouTube celebrity and beauty guru and has garnered over 7 million subscribers and one billion lifetime views. However, not everyone is a fan of Ms. Phan. On July 16, 2014, Ultra International Music...more

Summary Judgment Denied On “Fair Use” Defense In 9/11 Photograph Case

On February 10, 2015, the Southern District of New York denied Fox News’ motion for summary judgment in a copyright lawsuit involving the posting of a copyrighted image on its Facebook page. North Jersey Media Group, Inc. v....more

Business Round-Up: Eponymous companies and use of the designer’s personal name: Mr. Alviero Martini vs. Alviero Martini S.p.A.

Alviero Martini recently decided to bring an appeal against the decision of the Court of Milan, in the proceedings brought against Alviero Martini S.p.A., which acquired the trademark “Alviero Martini Prima Classe”....more

YouTube Kills Viral Video for Being Too Popular, Six Year Old Sues

Sure, there are lots of viral YouTube videos.  There’s Katy Perry’s left shark, the owls dance off  and of course the kitten sup-purr bowl, but it might surprise you to learn that YouTube removed a video for being too...more

Trademark use within an expressive work must only pass the Rogers test, not a likelihood of confusion analysis: Mil-Spec Monkey v....

The likelihood of confusion test is often called the “cornerstone” of trademark infringement law. It may be in many circumstances, but it does not apply to allegations of infringement within expressive works, as the recent...more

Australia: What is and is not a “royalty” for withholding tax purposes? Latest key court decision

By Jock McCormack, James Newnham, Matthew Cridland and Eddie Ahn Introduction The taxpayer, Seven Network Limited, has won a recent decision (22 December 2014) in the Australian Federal Court, Seven Network Limited v Federal...more

UK: Passing Off – How Rihanna “found love” in the Court of Appeal

On 22 January 2014 the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court decision in a claim for passing off brought by global superstar Rihanna against Topshop. The dispute centered on a t-shirt which was sold by Topshop in its...more

(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Enforce Your Copyrights!)

The Beastie Boys can look back on 2014 as a year of good copyright outcomes. The preceding years had seen their music used without authorization in two promotional videos, by Goldieblox and Monster Energy, despite the...more

Davis: Electronic Arts Gets a New Set of Downs and Still Can’t Score

Just over a month ago I wrote about the Davis v. Electronic Arts matter that was pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.  Specifically, I opined that the matter was ripe for Supreme Court review in light of the...more

Stan Lee Media, Inc. v. The Walt Disney Company

USCA, Tenth Circuit, December 23, 2014 - Tenth Circuit dismisses Stan Lee Media’s copyright infringement claim against Disney, finding that plaintiff was collaterally estopped from asserting copyright infringement...more

Beastie Boys v. Monster Energy Company - USDC, S.D. New York, December 4, 2014

Following jury verdict in favor of Beastie Boys on copyright infringement and Lanham Act claims, district court denies defendant Monster Energy Company’s motions for judgment as matter of law, for new trial, and for reduction...more

Mil-Spec Monkey, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard, Inc. - USDC, N.D. California, November 24, 2014

Mil-Spec Monkey, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard, Inc. - USDC, N.D. California, November 24, 2014: District court grants summary judgment in favor of publisher of military-action video game Call of Duty: Ghosts on trademark...more

The Sum of All Parts: Second and Ninth Circuits Poised to Address Movie “Authorship”

“There are no small parts, only small actors.” So says the film and theater maxim most frequently attributed to Russian actor and director Constantin Stanislavski. But how small a contribution is enough for an actor or...more

On December 15, 2014, The Ninth Circuit En Banc Will Hear Garcia v. Google, Inc./Actors And Producers Await The Result

On Monday, December 15, 2014, the Ninth Circuit en banc will hear argument in Garcia v. Google, Inc. 766 F3d 929 (9th Cir. 2014), amending 743 F.3d 1258 (9th Cir. 2014). A three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit previously...more

Music Publishers Bring Contributory Copyright Claims Against ISP for Infringing Activities of Subscribers

In a novel lawsuit that tests the bounds of service provider liability, two music publishers brought suit against an ISP for contributory copyright infringement for allegedly facilitating infringement by failing to terminate...more

Business Round Up: The News and the Views

Thomas Pink Ltd v Victoria’s Secret UK Ltd [2014] EWHC 2631 (Ch) Two particular points for brand owners to take away from the decision: 1. If faced with an invalidity challenge on the grounds of s3(1)(b) or (c)...more

China Court Ruled Infringement for Ambush Marketing in Film Industry

The term “Ambush Marketing” originally came from inappropriate sport advertisement in western countries. It involves a marketing strategy wherein the advertisers associate themselves with, and therefore capitalize on, a...more

Federal Government Wins Trademark Battle to Shut Down “Voice of America” Website with “Undeniable Governmental Aesthetic”

Since its first broadcast on February 1, 1942, the Voice of America radio service (VOA) has aired countless hours of programming in dozens of languages to what is currently an estimated global audience of over 100 million...more

Ninth Circuit to Reconsider the Curious Copyright Case Requiring YouTube to Take Down All Copies of Anti-Islamic Film

Earlier this year, Socially Aware noted a peculiar decision out of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals holding that an actress owns a copyright interest in her five-second performance in a film and thus could demand the...more

Use of Porn Star Images in “Romance Fraud” Dating Profiles Fails to Support Trademark and False Advertising Claims

The plaintiff in Avalos v. IAC/Interactive Corp. called it “one of the biggest conspiracies ever executed on the internet” — the unauthorized use of images of adult film stars in fake online dating profiles. But in an opinion...more

Aereo Loses Bid to Resume Operations

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that Aereo, Inc., an online streaming service, was violating copyrights by retransmitting television broadcasts without the networks’ permission. The Court’s decision was based upon its...more

Judge Posner Orders Sherlock Holmes Estate to Pay Attorneys’ Fees for “Form of Extortion”

Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd. - In another scathing opinion against the Sherlock Holmes estate, Judge Richard A. Posner ordered the estate to pay attorneys’ fees for bringing “nonexistent copyright claims” as a...more

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