Intellectual Property Art, Entertainment & Sports

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Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Cheerleader Apparel Copyright Case

The issue the Supreme Court has agreed to decide involves how to separate the artistic elements of a product’s design from the useful or “utilitarian” elements. That distinction matters for copyright purposes, because to...more

Is Social Media Sharing of Sports Clips Copyright Infringement? Recent UK Judicial Clarification and International Implications

In our annual review last year “Sports Industry 2015: A Year of Unprecedented Landmark Change”, we predicted that the battle against media piracy would be a key area for rights holders in 2016, highlighting “social media...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

TVEyes on the Prize: Clarifying the Law of Copyright Fair Use

TVEyes is a media monitoring service, claiming, “to organize the world’s TV and radio broadcasts and make them universally searchable by the spoken word.” Founded in 1999, the service uses innovative “audio mining”...more

Summary Judgment Upheld In Avatar Creators’ Favor After California Appellate Court Determines That Film Is Not Substantially...

James Cameron’s 2009 box-office hit Avatar is the subject of a California idea submission lawsuit that was decided in Cameron’s favor both at the trial and appellate level, in Eric Ryder v. Lightstorm Entertainment, Inc., et...more

The Supreme Court - May 2016

The Supreme Court of the United States issued one decision on May 2, 2016: Ocasio v. United States, No. 14-361: Petitioner Samuel Ocasio, a former police officer, was tried and convicted under the Hobbs Act for...more

Give me an S-C-O-T-U-S! Supreme Court To Decide Apparel Copyright Case

Straight off the heels of a 2-1 Sixth Circuit decision protecting copyright in design elements of cheerleading uniforms, the U.S. Supreme Court today decided to consider the issue of when a useful article is protectable under...more

Is Evidence of Confusion Really Necessary to Succeed in a Trademark Infringement Case?

It is not every day that a massive international TV hit show is found to infringe a trade mark. A decision of the English High Court, approved recently by the Court of Appeal, held that the popular 20th Century Fox teenage...more

Reason to Cheer – SCOTUS Suits Up to Hear Copyright Clash Over Cheerleading Uniforms

Hold onto your pom-poms, copyright fans. On May 2, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to address a question that has vexed lower courts across the land: What is the appropriate test to determine when a feature...more

In re Tam Redux Redux: Redskins Petition for Certiorari, Trying to Skip 4th Cir.

In response to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) petition for writ of certiorari in to the U.S. Supreme Court In re Tam (“THE SLANTS” case), the owners of the Washington Redskins filed their own...more

“Happy Birthday” Lawyers Look to “Overcome” Another Copyright

Moving from the celebratory to the spiritual, the lawyers who (literally) brought you “Happy Birthday” once again find themselves looking to overcome entrenched copyright interests related to one of the country’s most...more

Prince in Perpetuity: Preserving a Legacy through Trademarks

Art often lives on long after the artist, serving as the artist’s legacy for generations. After an extraordinary career, Prince Rogers Nelson, suddenly passed away on April 21, 2016. He leaves a legacy of undisputable...more

The Ink Isn’t Dry

What rights based in copyright law does a tattoo artist have in a tattoo itself, and to what extent can an artist use those rights to restrict the rights of others, including the people whose skin has been inked?...more

Living Like a Prince, but not Dying Like One

The media seems to be concerned with two primary subjects lately, and both topics continue to trounce each other in turn on social networks for attention: 1. The presidential elections 2. The death of Prince,...more

Fowling Proprietor Gets Bonked -- Lessons in Avoiding Loss of Trademark Rights

Will Rogers once said “Letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back in.” While he surely didn’t intend it that way, this is sage advice to incipient trademark owners. Consider, if you will, the...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

Who’s Got PRINCE Control?

My home state of Minnesota prides itself primarily on three things: our ability to withstand our winters, our 10,000 lakes, and our dearly beloved Prince. While we take a beating when it comes to our sports teams, all of...more

Weekly Web Wrap-Up

Welcome to Sheppard Mullin’s Weekly Web Wrap-Up, a quick list of the past week’s top news in the social media, gaming, and virtual goods and currencies industries curated by Social Media & Games Team. Here are some of the...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

Google Books Survives Legal Challenge - Supreme Court Declines to Address Book-Digitization Project

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to grant certiorari over a Second Circuit decision (Authors’ Guild v. Google Inc.) affirming that Google’s project of digitizing, and making available online for searching, tens of millions 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

The Right of Publicity: How Much Control Do NFL Players Have Over Their Names?

How much control should athletes have over their names? Not an unlimited amount, according to one recent court ruling. Late last month, in Dryer v. National Football League, the Eighth Circuit denied an appeal by three...more

Hyperlinking to unauthorised content does not itself constitute copyright infringement, says Advocate General

The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has stated in a legal opinion that posting a link to a website that contains “freely accessible” copyright infringing content should not itself amount to copyright...more

Supreme Court Decides Not to Reopen the Google Books Litigation

Last October, the 2nd Circuit held that the Google Books project qualified as fair use. The decision came after a decade long legal battle between the Authors Guild and Google. The Authors Guild appealed the case to the...more

News of Note in IP

Each week, Sheppard Mullin brings you News of Note in IP: The latest news in the IP-related fields of technology, privacy, fashion, advertising, music, and social media, curated by our IP team. Here are some of the stories...more

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