Communications & Media Civil Procedure Constitutional Law

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Of Slants, Skins And Signs: The March To The Supreme Court

This week saw developments in the two cases challenging the application of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act to their registration: In re Tam and Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc....more

Judge in High-Profile Case Obtains Attorney Agreement Not to Engage in Juror Social Media Snooping

It seems that almost everyone uses social media today. Of course, this means that most every juror is a social media user, and that courts are dealing with the thorny questions that arise out of the proliferation of social...more

Paul Watler Speaks: Texas Supreme Court Opinions Firm Up Anti-SLAPP Rights For Online Journalists

Online journalists and scholars from the Americas and around the globe recently gathered at the University of Texas at Austin to assess the state of internet-based journalism. The keynote address of the 16th annual...more

Federal Court Paves Way for TCPA Defendants to Attack Class Actions on Constitutional Grounds

A recent, seemingly innocuous decision out of the Western District of New York sheds new light on a compelling constitutional argument against high-dollar class action lawsuits brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection...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

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

Mooting Class Actions by Offer of Judgment – Episode 2: The Ninth Circuit Strikes Back

In Campbell-Ewald v. Gomez, 136 S. Ct. 663 (Jan. 20, 2016), the Supreme Court resolved a split among courts and held that an unaccepted settlement offer of complete individual relief does not moot the plaintiff’s lawsuit. ...more

In re Tam Redux: The PTO seeks Certiorari

On April 20, 2016, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Federal Circuit seeking Supreme Court review of that Court’s decision in In re Tam, 117 USPQ2d 1001...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

Microsoft Sues Justice Department Claiming Statute That Authorizes “Gag Orders” Is Unconstitutional

Adding to the number of recent, high-profile confrontations between the government and tech companies concerning the limits of government investigations and the protection of privacy interests, last week, Microsoft filed a...more

The Slants’ Trademark Application Remains in Purgatory as Federal Circuit Passes on Pushing PTO to Publish

Late last year, Simon Tam and his legal team scored a big-time victory: they convinced the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (sitting en banc) that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act violated the First Amendment. The Court...more

Class Cert Denial Redux: Plaintiff’s “Manufactured” Standing Falls Short in Yakult Yogurt Action

A California federal district court recently denied a plaintiff’s second attempt to certify a class of Yakult consumers allegedly misled by Yakult’s packaging and advertising claims touting the health benefits of its yogurt,...more

Of Slants, Skins and Signs: No Relief For Trademark Applicant Until Supreme Court Weighs In

As part of our continuing monitoring of this issue, we bring you the latest chapter in the saga over the registration of THE SLANTS trademark. After the en banc Federal Circuit struck down Section 2(a) as facially...more

Ninth Circuit Revives Chobani Yogurt Action, But Puts Claims on Ice and Leaves Questions Unanswered

There has been much recent discussion of the primary jurisdiction doctrine, as well as stay motions based on the doctrine, related to FDA’s review of its evaporated cane juice (ECJ) draft guidance. Now, in its recent...more

Point Counterpoint: New York Federal Court Holds Payment of Plaintiff’s Claim Ends Lawsuit Under Campbell-Ewald

A New York federal court has held that a defendant’s payment of the amount of plaintiff’s TCPA claim plus costs to the clerk of the court required entry of judgment for the plaintiff and ended the case. Leyse v. Lifetime...more

Ninth Circuit Retcons Its “Dancing Baby” Fair Use Decision and Creates More Confusion

Apparently, George Lucas is not the only party in California who can edit his own work after release in order to change aspects he does not like. While perhaps not as culturally significant as changing Star Wars: A New Hope...more

U.S. Supreme Court Punts on Dispute Involving NFL Players’ Publicity Rights

The Supreme Court passed on an opportunity to review a recent appellate court decision holding that a video game publisher is not protected by the First Amendment for using the likenesses of former NFL football stars in the...more

Examining The Amarin/FDA Off-Label Promotion Settlement

A lot of firms have already expended a lot of ink discussing the proposed memorandum of settlement filed on March 8, 2016 in Amarin Pharma’s First Amendment litigation against the FDA We’ll try not to be repetitive of what...more

DC Court of Appeals Affirms February 2012 Denial of Anti-SLAPP Motion in Newmyer v. Huntington

Waaaaaaay back in early 2012, after a defendant (Huntington) filed a counterclaim against a plaintiff (Newmyer) for defamation, false light and related torts, Newmyer responded by filing an anti-SLAPP motion. Newmyer’s...more

Apple Argues It Should Not Be Compelled to Write Software for the F.B.I.

On February 16, 2016, Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym in the United States District Court for the Central District of California issued an order compelling Apple, Inc. to provide technical assistance to the F.B.I. so it can access...more

USPTO To Suspend New Trademark Applications Containing Scandalous Or Disparaging Material

On March 10, 2016, The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) issued new examination guidance for trademark applications containing potentially immoral or scandalous matter, which is expressly prohibited by...more

Food for Thought: California Court Prevents Second Bite at the Yogurt - Torrent v. Yakult U.S.A., Inc., No. 8:15-cv-00124-CJC-JCG...

Plaintiff Nicolas Torrent filed a putative class action alleging yogurt drink manufacturer, Yakult U.S.A., Inc.’s marketing and advertising claims concerning digestive health benefits were false and deceptive. Plaintiff...more

Amarin Settles Off-Label Promotion Case Against the FDA

The Amarin settlement represents another important development in the FDA’s enforcement of off-label promotion. On March 8, 2016, US District Court Judge Paul A. Engelmayer entered a Stipulation & Order of Settlement in...more

Amarin/FDA Settlement: A Significant First Amendment Victory for Off-Label Marketing

On March 8, 2016, Amarin Pharma, Inc. and FDA entered into a formal settlement, close to a year after the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted a preliminary injunction against FDA’s threats to...more

The Law Behind the Apple vs. FBI iPhone Unlocking Debate

By now, you have probably read about how the FBI is asking Apple to create software that would help the FBI unlock the iPhone of one of the deceased San Bernadino attackers. You have probably heard the talking heads scream...more

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