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Brandmarking: Taylor Swift’s Excellent Brandmarking Adventure - March 2015 - Volume 4, Number 2

Taylor Swift’s Excellent Brandmarking Adventure - Making a splash is more or less what pop stars and other celebrities do for a living. But not many of them do it by applying for federal trademark registrations....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

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

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

Celebrity Trademark Watch: Who Owns Marilyn Monroe’s Image? – Right of Publicity vs. Trademark Rights

In her posthumously published autobiography, My Story, screen legend Marilyn Monroe wrote: “I knew I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful but because I had never belonged to...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

Seattle Seahawks’ Star Running Back Marshawn Lynch Scores a Federal Trademark Registration—Did The Examiner Misread The Playbook?

Various media outlets were abuzz recently about how Marshawn Lynch received a federal trademark registration for “I’m Just Here So I Won’t Get Fined” for t-shirts and other apparel items. He uttered that phrase more than 20...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

"Let's [Not] Go Crazy" with Copyright Takedown Notifications

Stephanie Lenz posted a short home video on YouTubein February 2007 of her two young children dancing to a barely audible recording of the Prince song “Let’s GoCrazy.” In June of the same year, YouTube received a takedown...more

Artist Richard Prince Sued for Use of Photo from Instagram

It is not the first time artist Richard Prince has made headlines for appropriating others’ artwork into his own without attribution or license. But this time, he has done so in a way that may have implications on the use of...more

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Refusal to Register Disparaging Trademarks Struck Down on First Amendment Grounds

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in a 9-3 decision in In re Tam, has declared a provision of the federal trademark law unconstitutional as violating the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. The...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

Latest DMCA Triennial Review Permits Jailbreaking, Video Game Preservation, And More

Most readers of this blog are well-acquainted with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the anti-circumvention provisions codified therein, 17 U.S.C. § 1201 et seq., which prohibit the circumvention of...more

Bright Bulbs Bring Bank Branding Battle

Just as the Minnesota Vikings exceed expectations this year and push into the NFL playoffs, the Vikings’ still-unfinished new stadium is producing some interesting (if not expected) branding-related litigation....more

Trademark Wars: The First Amendment Strikes Back – Lanham Act’s Disparaging Trademark Registration Ban Struck Down as...

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, en banc, has ruled that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act precluding “disparaging” trademark registrations is unconstitutional, rejecting the argument that trademark...more

Federal Circuit: Disparagement Proscription of § 2(a) of the Lanham Act Unconstitutional

In the last several decades, the disparagement provision of § 2(a) of the Lanham Act has become a more frequent basis for rejection or cancellation of trademarks by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and...more

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