Communications & Media Updates

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Communications & Media issues written by leading professionals.
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Judge Koh Issues First Blow to “Added Sugars” Plaintiffs

The Big Picture: On Tuesday, Judge Koh granted Kellogg’s Motion to Dismiss in its entirety in Hadley v. Kellogg Sales Company, No. 5:16-cv-04955-LHK (N.D. Cal.). Hadley is one of three cases against well-known cereal makers...more

Checking In on Background Checks

Background checks are a valuable (and often essential) part of the hiring process. They help employers find good employees and avoid risky hires. Failure to check applicants’ backgrounds can amount to negligence and may...more

Keyword ads — Only infringing if they’re confusing

Neighbors can be helpful. Our Canadian neighbors may have just helped U.S. trademark owners who wonder about the legality of use of their trademarks in Google AdWords ads, and other search-engine keyword ads....more

Trump Budget Raises Questions about Approach to Cybersecurity

On Thursday, March 16, 2017, President Trump unveiled his “America First” budget blueprint. One of the most important quandaries for those in the cybersecurity world is how the proposal to reorganize the executive branch to...more

Client Alert: Supreme Court Finds Cheerleading Uniforms Copyrightable in Landmark Apparel Copyright Case

In the first apparel copyright case ever considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., the high court found on March 22, 2017 that decorative elements of a cheerleading uniform could be...more

The Battle of the Kylies Over the “Kylie” Trademark

In one corner, you have the 19-year-old breakout star of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, Kylie Jenner, who is making a name for herself with her cosmetics and fashion empire. In the other corner, you have the 48-year-old singer,...more

Give me…“Separability!” Supreme Court Holds Cheerleading Uniform Designs Copyrightable

The Supreme Court, in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., 580 U.S. ___ (2017), resolved “widespread disagreement” among the circuits, and adopted a single test to determine the copyrightability of designs...more

Three Stripes and You’re Out

On March 17, Adidas American, Inc. sued Juicy Couture, Inc., in the District of Oregon (3:17-cv-00437), alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution, deceptive trade practices, and breach of...more

Advertising Law - March 2017 #3

Stop Pulling My Leg: Pully Block Systems Not “Made in USA” - A distributor of pulley block systems agreed to stop making what the Federal Trade Commission said were false, misleading and unsupported claims that its...more

Federal Court in Los Angeles Dismisses Website Accessibility Claims

On March 20, 2017, a federal district judge in Los Angeles granted Domino’s Pizza’s motion to dismiss a website accessibility lawsuit in a ruling that raises hopes for those battling the massive wave of web accessibility...more

Spokeo and the TCPA: Mere Receipt of Fax with Non-Compliant Opt-Out Notice is Not “Concrete Injury”

In ARcare v. Qiagen N. Am. Holdings, Inc., No. CV 16-7638 PA (ASX), 2017 WL 449173, at *1 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 19, 2017), the district court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss a TCPA class action, finding that the simple...more

Litigation Alert: Supreme Court Clarifies Copyright Eligibility for Useful Articles

While much of the legal press may be speculating about the future of the Supreme Court’s Chevron test, yesterday the Court considered a very different kind of “chevron”—a design on a cheerleader uniform. In Star Athletica LLC...more

Privacy TIp #79 – Consumer Reports Will Help Us With Privacy + Security of Products

What a great idea! Trusty Consumer Reports has announced that it is collaborating with three cybersecurity firms to “create a new standard that safeguards consumers’ security and privacy—and we hope industry will use...more

Searches of Devices at the U.S. Border

Seyfarth Synopsis: Although longstanding policy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorizes searches of electronic devices in the possession of travelers arriving in the United States, recent reports of such searches...more

Third Circuit Holds Criminal Defendant in Contempt for Refusing to Decrypt Hard Drives

In a precedential ruling, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals this week upheld a lower court’s ruling holding a criminal defendant in contempt for refusing to decrypt two external hard drives that were seized during a child...more

Supreme Court Defines Test for Copyright Eligibility of Useful Article Design Features

Yesterday, in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., the Supreme Court resolved an issue that previously had been the subject of “widespread disagreement” in the federal courts—the proper test for determining when a...more

DSM Watch: Germany suggests ramping up regulation of Digital Platforms by establishing a “Digital Agency” with a robust antitrust...

Will Germany establish a “Digital Agency” to monitor compliance with competition law rules in digital markets? Will a German “Digital Antitrust Enforcer” become a role model for a European protectionist approach against...more

Supreme Court Expands Copyright Protection for Designs Originally Produced on Useful Articles

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court (in a 6-2 decision) ruled that a stripes and chevron pattern on a cheerleading uniform may be eligible for copyright protection and that the separability test under 17 U.S.C. §101 did not...more

Lessons from the Historic ZTE Enforcement Action

On March 7, 2017, Chinese telecommunications company, Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corp. (ZTE), signed on to three separate settlement agreements with the United States, agreeing to pay $892 million for violations...more

Sis Boom Bah – Supreme Court Extends Copyright Protection to Cheerleading Uniform Designs

In a decision announced today, the Supreme Court held that Varsity Brands is entitled to assert copyright protection in two-dimensional designs featured on its cheerleading uniforms. These designs consist of various lines,...more

FTC Issues Order Against Debt Relief Company for Alleged Misrepresentations

On February 27, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) entered into a stipulated order for permanent injunction and monetary judgment with defendants United Debt Counselors, LLC, a debt relief company, and its principals,...more

U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Designs Are Copyrightable Under 17 U.S.C. § 101

The U.S. Supreme Court dramatically simplified and expanded the world of fashion and copyrights today, ruling that the chevron striping of a cheerleading uniform (and any other design on clothing, furniture, or other "useful...more

USPTO launches new proof of use audit program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has launched a new program that will require some trademark owners to submit more “specimens” (i.e., proof of use) and information than was required in the past. As a...more

Amazon’s Latest Trademark Battle: A Race Against “Chime”

Last month, Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) announced a new application, Amazon Chime, for online meetings, including video and voice conferencing, chat, and screen sharing. Amazon Chime will compete against a crowd of other...more

To The Relief of Sergeants Everywhere, Forever 21 Challenges Adidas’ Three Stripe Marks

On March 3, Forever 21, Inc. sued Adidas American, Inc. in the Central District of California (2:17-cv-01752), asking for a declaration that its clothing decorated with stripes does not infringe Adidas’ trademarks, and...more

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