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AR Game Maker Launches First Amendment Challenge

Candy Lab AR, makers of the augmented reality poker game Texas Rope ‘Em, sued Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, over an ordinance alleged to be violating the First Amendment. The ordinance states: “Permits shall be required before...more

Litigation Alert: Ninth Circuit Rules on Copyright Preemption of Right-of-Publicity Claims

by Fenwick & West LLP on

Last week, in Maloney v. T3 Media, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that claims under state right-of-publicity law are preempted by the Copyright Act “when a likeness has been captured in a...more

Defamation Law Series: California Court of Appeal SLAPPS Several Claims Asserted Against Boxer Floyd Mayweather

by Kelley Drye & Warren LLP on

The California Court of Appeal recently dismissed several claims asserted against the famous professional boxer, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., by his ex-fiancé, Shantel Jackson. Mayweather and Jackson had been involved in an...more

Disparaging (or Maybe Not) Trademarks: The Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on In Re Tam

On January 18, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding whether the Lanham Act’s provision refusing federal trademark registration to disparaging marks is invalid under the Free Speech Clause of the First...more

Louis Vuitton Left Holding the Bag

In Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. My Other Bag, Inc., [16-241-cv] (December 22, 2016), the Second Circuit affirmed summary judgment for My Other Bag that its parody bag did not infringe or dilute Louis Vuitton’s trademark...more

What's Happening with the Redskins Case?

For the past few years, the first question us trademark lawyers get asked at cocktail parties is, “What’s going to happen to the REDSKINS trademark?” – and now lawyers and football enthusiasts will have to wait until at least...more

From sports and entertainment to politics and social justice—when worlds collide in your workplace

by FordHarrison on

It’s everywhere. Whether you like it or not, you can’t escape it. While the topics of politics and social justice are undoubtedly important discussions to have in our country, the reality is that they now seem ever present....more

Eighth Circuit Privacy Class Action Fails to Clear Second Hurdle

by Carlton Fields on

In Carlsen v. GameStop Inc., plaintiff ­– a paid subscriber to defendant’s online gaming magazine – brought a putative class action lawsuit against defendant for alleged breach of its privacy policy by disclosing plaintiff’s...more

Private Bankrolling of Defamation and Privacy Suits

by LeClairRyan on

The New York Times recently reported that famed Silicon Valley investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has been secretly bankrolling “Hulk Hogan’s” (real name Terry Bollea) invasion of privacy suit against Gawker Media....more

Spotify, NMPA Accused of a Concerted Effort to Taint the Class Pool

In a putative class action alleging widespread copyright infringement commenced in December 2015 against Spotify, Plaintiff, the lead singer for the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, recently moved pursuant to Federal...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

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

The Slants and the Future of Disparaging Trademarks

by Sullivan & Worcester on

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

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

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

USPTO to SCOTUS: SOS on the Lanham Act ASAP

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

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

The Slants’ Trademark Application Remains in Purgatory as Federal Circuit Passes on Pushing PTO to Publish

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

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

Hulk-Sized Damages in Sex Tape Privacy and Publicity Case

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

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

Ninth Circuit Retcons Its “Dancing Baby” Fair Use Decision and Creates More Confusion

by Davis Wright Tremaine LLP on

Apparently, George Lucas is not the only party in California who can edit his own work after release in order to change aspects he does not like. While perhaps not as culturally significant as changing Star Wars: A New Hope...more

U.S. Supreme Court Punts on Dispute Involving NFL Players’ Publicity Rights

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

The Supreme Court passed on an opportunity to review a recent appellate court decision holding that a video game publisher is not protected by the First Amendment for using the likenesses of former NFL football stars in the...more

USPTO To Suspend New Trademark Applications Containing Scandalous Or Disparaging Material

by Tucker Arensberg, P.C. on

On March 10, 2016, The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) issued new examination guidance for trademark applications containing potentially immoral or scandalous matter, which is expressly prohibited by...more

New Game Plan: Federal Circuit Decision May Revive “Redskins” Trademarks

by Latham & Watkins LLP on

Federal Circuit finds that barring the registration of disparaging trademarks is unconstitutional, creating potential running room for the Washington Redskins. An appeal of the 2014 decision to cancel the REDSKINS...more

Ninth Circuit Finds First Amendment Protects Against Right Of Publicity Claim Involving Film “The Hurt Locker”

The Ninth Circuit has confirmed that right of publicity claims purporting to arise from expressive works, like films, are content-based restrictions on speech that are presumptively unconstitutional, and generally should not...more

Scandalous, Immoral And Disparaging Patents In Light Of Tam

by WilmerHale on

The Federal Circuit sitting en banc recently held in Tam that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which prohibits the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from registering trademarks that “may disparage” persons, institutions, or...more

Trademark Wars: Fox’s “Empire” Strikes Back

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

In another episode involving the First Amendment and the Lanham Act, Twentieth Century Fox’s “Empire” notched a win for the First Amendment. In Twentieth Century Fox Television, et al. v. Empire Distribution Inc. the United...more

Disparagement Proscription of § 2(a) Is Unconstitutional - In re Simon Shiao Tam

by McDermott Will & Emery on

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 (PTO) and the...more

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