Constitutional Law Intellectual Property

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Paramount Pictures Corp. v. Axanar Productions, Inc. - USDC, C.D. California, May 9, 2016

District court denies motion to dismiss copyright infringement claims against producers of unauthorized “Star Trek” films that incorporate numerous elements of famous motion picture and television franchise, including Klingon...more

Certain Provisions of California Resale Royalty Act Are Preempted by the Copyright Act

On April 11, 2016, in Estate of Robert Graham, et al. v. Sotheby’s, Inc., D.C. No. 2:11-cv-08604-MWF-FFM (C.D. Cal. 2016), U.S. District Court Judge Michael Fitzgerald concluded that certain provisions of the California...more

Advertising Law - May 2016

Kanye's Promise of Exclusivity a Siren Song, Suit Says - Kanye West's latest drama involves the courtroom—specifically, a putative class action complaint alleging false advertising, unfair competition, and unjust...more

A Hail Mary to the U.S. Supreme Court? Owner of REDSKINS Marks Petitions for Hearing on Constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the...

Pro-Football, Inc., the owner of multiple U.S. service mark registrations for REDSKINS, REDSKINETTES, and WASHINGTON REDSKINS, took the somewhat unusual step last week of petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of...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

Employment Practices Newsletter - May 2016

Department of Labor's Persuader Rule Convinces No One - The Department of Labor's controversial Final Rule on Persuader Reporting became effective April 25, 2016. The Rule significantly strengthens a union's rights under...more

Principles of Equity: Denying Inventors their Constitutionally Promised Exclusivity

Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution, empowers the United States Congress: - ..To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the...more

In Onboard Wi-Fi Case, Covenant Not To Sue Has Wide Range

Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer of the District of Connecticut recently released an opinion that is significant to litigants on either side of a covenant not to sue. In a complex case with a host of claims and counterclaims...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

Washington Redskins’ Hail Mary Pass: Petition SCOTUS to Sack USPTO

INITIAL CALL ON THE FIELD - In June 2014, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) stripped the Washington Redskins (Washington) of their federal trademarks, finding the term “Redskins” was disparaging under Section...more

Washington Football Franchise Calls an Audible, Tries to Score at the Supreme Court

Last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in Lee v. Simon Shiao Tam, asked the United States Supreme Court to reverse the decision of the United States Federal Circuit, which held that trademark law’s...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

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

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

Supreme Court Battle Set Over Prohibition of Disparaging Trademarks

Section 2(a) of the Lanham act bars the registration of “scandalous, immoral or disparaging trademarks.” The USPTO has used this applied this provision to refuse the registration of marks such as F**K PROJECT, PORNO JESUS,...more

California Resale Royalty Act Claims Dismissed as Preempted by Copyright Law, Despite 1980 Ninth Circuit Holding to the Contrary

Just three months after the Supreme Court denied certiorari review of last year’s Ninth Circuit decision finding California’s Resale Royalty Act unconstitutional under the Dormant Commerce Clause in part—but also valid in...more

The USPTO Says “Yes” But the TTB Says “No” To LSD

Government approval of commercial speech has been a hot topic of discussion by trademark nerds here and elsewhere in light of recent decisions regarding the Redskins and The Slants marks. As those decisions proceed up...more

The History, Purpose and Benefits of Patents

Britain has the longest known continuous patent system. British patents can be traced to the 15th Century, when the British Crown began granting exclusive rights, called “Letters Patent,” to certain manufacturers and traders....more

Absent Contemporaneous Objection to Order for Single Trial on Subset of Claims, No Due Process Violation - Nuance Communications...

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that a patent owner’s due process rights were not violated when a district court found that the defendant did not infringe all of the originally asserted patents, even...more

In re Tam: Still No Trademark Registration for The Slants

In the continuing saga of whether Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment, the rock band The Slants will have to wait a little longer before it knows whether it can register...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

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

Freedom of Speech Protects “Disparaging” Marks, Federal Circuit Holds

In a recent landmark ruling, the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, held that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act’s ban on “disparaging” marks violates the First Amendment. Section 2(a) provides that no trademark shall be refused...more

Federal Circuit Review | March 2016

Under O2 Micro, a District Court Must Provide a Claim Construction if the Parties Dispute the Meaning of a Claim Term - In Eon Corp. IP Holdings LLC v. Silver Springs Networks, Inc., Appeal No. 2015-1237, the Federal...more

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