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No Love for ♥ DC

In a case before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”), the Board cancelled and abandoned the trademark registration and trademark application for the I "Heart" DC marks owned by an individual, Jonathan A. Chien...more

When Trademark Registration is a Nice Gesture

Representations of gestures can be trademarks. For example Facebook’s Application No. 85020073 covers a depiction of a thumbs up gesture followed with the word “LIKE” in a rectangle...more

More Than Zero: Under the Lanham Act, One Interstate Sale Qualifies as Actual Use of a Trademark in Commerce

In 2009, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected shoe manufacturer Adidas’s application to trademark the phrase “ADIZERO,” due to a likelihood of confusion with an existing mark: “ADD A ZERO,” a clothing trademark held...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

Supreme Court to Decide if Disparagement Provision in the Lanham Act is Invalid Under the First Amendment

On September 29, 2016, the Supreme Court agreed to review Lee v. Tam, better known as “THE SLANTS” case, to assess the constitutionality of the Trademark Office’s refusal to register disparaging marks under Section 2(a) of...more

Leaked Playboy Photographs Case Considers How Hyperlinking Can Infringe Copyright

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has blurred the lines between primary and secondary copyright infringement in a decision concerning hyperlinks to leaked photos of a Dutch celebrity’s Playboy photoshoot. For...more

Electronic Frontier Foundation brings suit over anti-circumvention provisions in the DMCA

On July 21, 2016, the Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF") filed a complaint against various agencies and members of the U.S. government over Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"), arguing that this...more

Lee v Tam

The Supreme Court agreed on September 29 to consider whether a provision of the Lanham Act that allows the USPTO to refuse to register “disparaging” trademarks violates the constitutional right to free speech. The case is...more

Medina v. Dash Films Inc. - USDC, S.D. New York, July 14, 2016

District court dismisses trademark infringement action against Kanye West and others, finding that defendants’ film series title “Loisaidas” is protected by First Amendment because it has artistic relevance, title is not...more

Trade secrets law in the Internet age

How do you maintain a trade secret in the Internet age? As in the punch line to an old joke, “VERY CAREFULLY.”...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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trademark Review | February 2016

The Federal Circuit Considers Constitutionality of Refusal to Register Scandalous and Immoral Marks - The Lanham Act prohibits registration of marks that are defamatory, scandalous or immoral. Last month, in In re Tam,...more

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