Communications & Media Constitutional Law

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U.S. Supreme Court Proposes Change to Rules Applicable to Searches of Electronic Data

The United States Supreme Court — which establishes rules of civil and criminal procedure, subject to the objection of Congress — has proposed a significant amendment to the rules applicable to searches of electronic data...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

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

Are Changes in Store for the Stored Communications Act?

Last week saw action on two fronts regarding the Stored Communications Act (SCA) – the US federal statute regulating government searches of online accounts in criminal investigations. In Congress, a proposal to reform the SCA...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

Schilling Firing: Can You Fire An Employee for What They Say on Social Media?

This week ESPN fired pitcher-turned-broadcaster Kurt Schilling for an allegedly offensive tweet about the recently passed law in North Carolina requiring persons to use the restroom associated with the sex of their birth. As...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

Anti-SLAPP Statute Raised in Planned Parenthood Protest Lawsuit

The DC anti-SLAPP statute has been invoked in a Superior Court lawsuit in which plaintiffs arguing that students need to be free from disruptions in the school environment are facing off against anti-abortion protestors....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

Government Access to Private Data: Microsoft Opens a New Front in the Battle for Consumer Privacy

Prior to the Information Age, sensitive papers were stored in file cabinets and drawers. When home computers arrived, information was digitized and moved to hard drives or other electronic media, still possessed by the user....more

Another Successful First Amendment Challenge to the Prohibition of Off-Label Promotion for FDA-Approved Drugs: Part Two

The Free Speech Clause notched another victory in the latest and, perhaps, final chapter of the lawsuit between the FDA and Amarin Pharma, Inc. concerning off-label marketing of an FDA-approved drug. On March 8, 2016, the FDA...more

Third Circuit Follows Gomez on Mootness Issue, But Narrowly

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in Campbell-Ewald Company v. Gomez that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer of complete relief does not moot a plaintiff's individual claims, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third...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

Hulk-Sized Damages in Sex Tape Privacy and Publicity Case

In 2006, Terry Gene Bollea, better known as “Hulk Hogan,” had sex with his best friend’s wife, Heather Clem. Apparently unbeknownst to either of them, his best friend Todd Alan Clem, now legally known as “Bubba the Love...more

Will Big Pharma’s free speech rights trump FDA, regulatory safety?

Recent developments in the law may have opened a new path for drug makers to exercise corporate free speech rights in ways that don’t look healthy for consumers. The case that concerns health watchdogs started when...more

FDA and Amarin Pharma Reach Milestone Settlement Allowing Off-Label Drug Promotion

A milestone Settlement Agreement was reached March 8, 2016 between the Food and Drug Administration and Amarin Pharma, Inc. that expressly allows Amarin to promote its drug product, Vascepa®, for unapproved – i.e.,...more

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