Communications & Media Civil Procedure Intellectual Property

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EU Trade Mark Regulation (EU) 2015/2424 in force

On 23 March 2016, European Union Trade Mark Regulation (EU) 2015/2424 came into force. The new Regulation amends Community Trade Mark Regulation 207/2009/EC, and makes a number of procedural and substantive changes to EU...more

Is Social Media Sharing of Sports Clips Copyright Infringement? Recent UK Judicial Clarification and International Implications

In our annual review last year “Sports Industry 2015: A Year of Unprecedented Landmark Change”, we predicted that the battle against media piracy would be a key area for rights holders in 2016, highlighting “social media...more

Fair Use Copyright Ruling Stands For Google Books

Last month, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Authors Guild v. Google, Inc., the long-running copyright case involving Google’s Google Books project. The high court’s refusal to hear the case leaves in place the Second...more

What Happens in the U.S. Stays in the U.S.: IP Dispute Against Canadian Company Will Not be Moved to Canadian Forum

Although motions to dismiss or transfer a case based on a forum non conveniens theory typically focus on the relative merits of two U.S. jurisdictions, this theory may also be applied when a party claims that a case brought...more

TVEyes on the Prize: Clarifying the Law of Copyright Fair Use

TVEyes is a media monitoring service, claiming, “to organize the world’s TV and radio broadcasts and make them universally searchable by the spoken word.” Founded in 1999, the service uses innovative “audio mining”...more

China Supreme Court Has Spoken: Long Anticipated Decision on OEMs and Trademark Use

China has been the factory of the world for the past few decades. Countless foreign brand owners have taken advantage of the low-cost manufacturing environment and have flocked to the middle kingdom to source their goods –...more

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Jurisdiction: No “Situs of Injury” Merely Because Copyrighted Material Is Accessible

Because content posted online can be accessed nearly anywhere, courts regularly face the issue of whether they have personal jurisdiction over a defendant who posted material to the web or a social media site. Recently, one...more

Is Evidence of Confusion Really Necessary to Succeed in a Trademark Infringement Case?

It is not every day that a massive international TV hit show is found to infringe a trade mark. A decision of the English High Court, approved recently by the Court of Appeal, held that the popular 20th Century Fox teenage...more

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

Trademark Series: Confusion (Part 2)

By Richard Stobbe So much confusion, so little time. The Trade-marks Act teaches us that the use of one trade-mark causes confusion with another trade-mark if the use of both trade-marks in the same area would likely lead to...more

Panera and Great Harvest Argue over Tagline

Panera Bread and the Great Harvest Bread Co. will not be breaking bread together anytime soon. To the contrary, Great Harvest recently filed a trademark lawsuit against Panera over Panera’s “food as it should be” campaign,...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

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

Apple’s Quest for the “Ownable” Mark

No company’s branding strategy is studied more meticulously than Apple, Inc.’s — and of late, Apple has taken a turn for the descriptive with its various operating systems. Every company wants its brands to be...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

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

Who Should Own a Trademark Registration? The Case of the Not-So-Related Parent Company

A recent precedential Trademark Trial and Appeal Board decision provides valuable guidance on the proper allocation of trademark registration ownership as between a corporate parent and a subsidiary, highlighting the perils...more

What’s That Sound? It Might Just Be a Trademark.

Trademarks are not only words or logos, but can come in many other forms, including sounds. In the words of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in the case In re Gen. Electric Broad. Co., 199 USPQ 560, 563 (TTAB 1978),...more

FLANAX: Protecting Foreign Marks from US Unfair Competition Under Section 43(a)

In today’s increasingly global economy, trademark owners are more frequently butting up against the territorial limitations of trademark law. It has long been a matter of black letter law that trademark rights are...more

Intellectual Property Risks With School And Teacher Websites

Teachers and school districts continue to find new ways to use technology both in and out of the classroom. For example, it is becoming more and more common for teachers to launch their own classroom websites. ...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

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