Communications & Media Civil Procedure Art, Entertainment & Sports

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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

Entertainment and Media Litigation Update - February 2016

Be Reasonable: The U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Review the Standard for Awarding Attorneys' Fees to the Prevailing Party in Copyright Infringement Suits - Why it matters: On January 15, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court...more

The Game Goes On: Sheppard Mullin Obtains Dismissal With Prejudice of Class Action Alleging Social Gaming Micro-transactions...

Another lawsuit alleging illegal gambling in a social game has been dismissed. Over the last year, social gaming mobile applications have come under attack from the Plaintiffs’ bar as gambling in disguise. Plaintiffs’...more

From Runway to Replica: Intellectual Property Strategies for Protecting Fashion Designs

Designers like Alexander Wang, Rebecca Minkoff, and Michael Kors are all gearing up to premier their 2016 fall/winter collections this month during New York Fashion Week. Fashion Week draws more than 230,000 attendees each...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

Rapper rumble leads to legal rumble over use of tweet

If you have any remaining doubts that even tiny tweets can lead to major litigation, consider the “Ri-Ri’s Rumble” case. The case has everything: rappers, Rihanna, an eruption at a nightclub and the threat (or maybe...more

The ITC Tries an En Banc Shot to Redefine Its Regulatory Authority

In our recent post, Living in a Nonmaterial World: Determining IP Rights for Digital Data, we discussed the potential impact of the Federal Circuit decision in ClearCorrect v. ITC, 2014-1527, in which the appeals court held...more

Katy Perry, Last Year’s Super Bowl, and a Shark with a Mark

With Super Bowl 50 quickly approaching, it’s a perfect excuse to check in on one of the IP issues that made big waves at last year’s “Big Game.” You may recall that the Super Bowl halftime show last year featured Katy Perry...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

Second Circuit Holds Google Books Is Fair Use

In a much anticipated decision, handed down in October of last year, the Second Circuit held Google Books to be a fair use of the copyrighted works Google digitized, catalogued, and offered for on-line searching. The Second...more

Balancing Copyright Owners' Rights With ISP Immunities

When an online user violates copyright law, the copyright owner will frequently turn to the user's internet service provider (ISP) for relief. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) includes a safe harbor provision that...more

Should You or Any of Your C&D Team be Caught or Killed the Client will Disavow any Knowledge

Late in December, the attorneys for Metallica sent a Cease and Desist letter to Sandman, a Metallica tribute band playing in Toronto. Sandman lead, Joe Di Taranto, posted a copy of the letter on his Facebook page. After...more

Don’t Let Your Super Bowl Promotion Get Sidelined

Every year at this time clients call who want to take advantage of Super Bowl frenzy, whether by running an online sweepstakes, offering a special deal to customers on Super Sunday, posting memes on their Facebook pages,...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

MLB Pitches Around Consumers by Settling Suit, Avoiding Further Litigation on the Scope of Its Longstanding Antitrust Exemption

We’ve previously written about litigation involving the scope of Major League Baseball’s long-standing antitrust exemption. Earlier this week, on the eve of trial, MLB settled Garber v. Office of the Commissioner of...more

Are the San Diego Chargers Moving to Los Angeles?

The Chargers are still in San Diego, but is the team moving to Los Angeles? A clue to the organization’s intentions may be found in its trademark filings. On January 14, 2016, the team filed a trademark application for the...more

Louis Vuitton and My Other Bag – Do You Get The Joke?

In a recent post, we discussed the trademark parody defense in the context of a California district court decision holding that the owner of the Superman “S” logo had adequately stated infringement claims asserted against a...more

Texas AG Hits Deep in the Heart of DFS

On January 19, 2016, the Texas AG issued an opinion that paid Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) are illegal under Texas law, but noted that “traditional” fantasy sports leagues are, as a general rule, legal under Texas law. In so...more

The Complicated Relationship between DMCA Takedown Notices and the Word “Expeditious”

Hours. Days. Weeks. Months. When it comes to acting on copyright infringement takedown notices, just how fast is fast enough for social media platforms? Some recent (and not-so-recent) cases reveal how difficult the question...more

Arbitration Award Overturned Under The FAA Because The Panel Was Not Impartial

The New York Supreme Court vacated the award entered in an arbitration of television rights between Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (“MASN”), the Baltimore Orioles, the Commissioner of Baseball (“MLB”) and the Washington...more

Court tells Brooklyn Artist to “Fugetaboutit” on Her Copyright Claims against Starbucks

Maya Hayuk is a Brooklyn artist known for her vivid murals that use a variety of geometric shapes punctuated by bright hues and layers of dripping paint. In June of 2015, Hayuk filed a complaint against Starbucks on copyright...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

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

Judge Leval Illuminates Google Books Fair Use Issues Second Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment for Defendant in Massive Copying Case

Based on the defense of fair use, the Second Circuit affirmed summary judgment for Google in the decade-long copyright battle between an authors group and the Internet search giant. The lawsuit concerned Google’s right to...more

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