Communications & Media Intellectual Property

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Communications & Media issues written by leading professionals.
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Sorry Beliebers, But Justin Bieber Has Been Sued For Copyright Infringement.

Justin Bieber is headed to the land of the Grand Ole Opry. Not for concertizing, but for plagiarizing. Allegedly. On May 26, 2016, “the Biebs” was sued in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee for...more

When Is Internet Speech Protected Petitioning Activity? Federal Court Grants Anti-SLAPP Motion In FIRE CIDER Trademark Suit

On May 12, 2016, the District of Massachusetts held that that an online campaign in support of the cancellation of a registered trademark (FIRE CIDER) was protected petitioning activity, even though the campaign was organized...more

Trademark Review | May 2016

Surname Not Registrable Absent Substantially Exclusive Use - As a result of various third-party uses of the surname “Ayoub” for similar services, Applicant’s use of AYOUB did not meet the requirement of Section (f) that...more

Second Circuit Highlights Splits on Nominative Trademark Fair Use

The Second Circuit disagrees with sister circuits and rejects arguments that nominative fair use is an affirmative defense that is available even when confusion is likely and that the traditional nominative fair use analysis...more

Southern District Still Screams For Ice Cream – And Attorneys’ Fees – In Master Softee Trademark Dispute

Memorial Day weekend is coming, marking the unofficial start of summer. The Southern District of New York has marked the occasion by entering a judgment for attorneys’ fees and costs against Mister Softee copycat, Master...more

Top 5 Legal Mistakes Business Clients Make

Starting a business can be fraught with potential legal issues that are often overlooked by first-time entrepreneurs. Many details that don’t seem pressing at the start can mean the difference between success and failure...more

The Hashtag / Trademark Paradox: #Trending, but #Proprietary?

As the hustle and bustle of the INTA 2016 Annual Meeting drew to a close yesterday, I reflected on the session “#HASHTAGS #EverythingYouNeedToKnow” from Tuesday. It seems trademark protection may not (yet) fit comfortably...more

Philip Morris Asia Limited (Hong Kong) v. The Commonwealth of Australia: Permanent Court of Arbitration Tribunal Publishes...

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (“PCA”) has just released the full award of the Tribunal in Philip Morris Asia Limited (Hong Kong) v. The Commonwealth of Australia, which was rendered in late 2015. We previously published...more

Comic-Con, Costumes, and Copyright Concerns

Get ready, nerds! This summer’s Comic-Con season is almost upon us and your costume is not going to make itself. But before you squeeze into your tights and cape, do you need to worry about copyright infringement? This blog...more

Oracle vs. Google: More Than Just Coffee

Java – what does it mean to you? If you are like me, it’s your favorite morning beverage. It’s also an island in Indonesia that you hope to visit someday on a dive trip. If you are the owner of an Android smartphone, Java...more

Second Circuit Holds Manufacture and Sale of Counterfeit Goods Not an Advertising Injury

In its recent decision in United States Fidelity & Guarantee Co. v. Fendi Adele S.R.L., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 8973 (2d Cir. May 17, 2016), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, applying New York law, had...more

Tyson Foods Knocks It Out of the Park in Lanham Act Dispute over Hot Dogs

Baseball parks and hot dogs are staples of Americana. So, it is no surprise that both were recently on display in a Lanham Act dispute in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The court’s...more

New Online Opportunities for .store and .stream Domain Names

Several new unrestricted generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), such as .store and .stream, are now available, with several others set to launch soon. You are afforded a short window of time, referred to as the Sunrise...more

What Are We Going to Do About Amazon?

My client Sarah is a talented graphic designer who developed the idea of printing unique designs on curtains. She began selling them on Amazon and the product became wildly successful. Due to this popularity, counterfeiters...more

News of Note in IP

Each week, Sheppard Mullin brings you News of Note in IP: The latest news in the IP-related fields of technology, privacy, fashion, advertising, music, and social media, curated by our IP team. Here are some of the stories...more

USPTO Throws in the Towel in Dispute With Federal Judge

In an earlier post, we discussed at length the curious case of The Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama and Paul W. Bryant, Jr. v. Houndstooth Mafia Enterprises LLC et al. Surprisingly, this dispute came to an...more

Federal Court Travels “Wayback” and Takes Judicial Notice of Internet Archive

Trademark attorneys often must determine when a third-party used a mark in commerce and the extent and nature of such use, particularly when considering whether to take legal action against a third party for the unauthorized...more

Beer Lawyers Rally to Stop Federal Registration of the Mark "CRAFT BEER ATTORNEY"

You know you’re in for a fight when 14 different law firms come together to launch an opposition--an administrative proceeding before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board--against registration of your trademark application....more

The Internet Archive Wayback Machine: A Useful IP Litigation Tool, But Is It Admissible?

The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine archives copies of websites every few weeks or months, going back to 1996. The Wayback Machine currently has almost 500 billion archived webpages. By entering a website into the Wayback...more

EU Retail News - May 2016

UK: How to comply with consumer protection laws — are you faking it? On 4 March 2016, the UK Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") published guidance for businesses on how to comply with consumer protection law...more

America’s Most Watered-Down Beer (Name)?

Last week the Twittersphere was chirping loudly and negatively in response to reports that Belgian-owned Inbev would be replacing the Budweiser brand name with “America” on beer cans, as shown above. No bow-tie can shape in...more

Microbranding Leads to Big Success

From your local watering hole to Nordstrom’s, microbranding is making a big impact in retail. Microbranding is brand recognition experienced by small-scale businesses in a particular marketplace. The expansion of the internet...more

Sign O’ the Times: the Right of Publicity Comes to Minnesota

The ability to control the use of one’s name, likeness, voice, and other personal attributes is known as the right of publicity. Unlike trademarks, patents, and copyrights, which are types of intellectual property governed...more

Tenth Circuit Affirms Lower Court Ruling on Meaning of “User” in DMCA §512(c) Safe Harbor

Title II of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) offers safe harbors for qualifying service providers to limit their liability for claims of copyright infringement. To benefit from the Section 512(c) safe harbor, a...more

Eastern District of Texas Finds Website Labeling Patent Invalid Under §101

Nearly one third of all patent cases filed in the United States are heard by a single judge - J. Rodney Gilstrap of the Eastern District of Texas. Many of these cases involve e-commerce or other internet-based patents such...more

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