Intellectual Property Art, Entertainment & Sports Constitutional Law

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Alert: Federal Court Upholds Cancellation of REDSKINS Trademark Registration

On July 8, 2015, a federal district court in Virginia upheld a ruling canceling six federal trademark registrations incorporating the term REDSKINS owned by the Washington, D.C. football team. The court agreed with the...more

Copyright Law Unavailable for Removal of Anti-Islam Video - Cindy Lee Garcia v. Google Inc. et al.

Overturning a hotly debated district court decision, in a case involving numerous amicus curiae briefs, the en banc Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court’s denial of a motion for a preliminary...more

Right of Publicity Claims by Athletes Nearly Shut Out in 2015

When we published our Sue-per Bowl post, 2015 looked like it would be a good year for right of publicity claims brought by athletes. On January 6, 2015, the Ninth Circuit in Davis v. Electronic Arts held that the First...more

Copyright Law: The Silent © in Same-Sex Marriage

Last week, the focus of the legal world was not on intellectual property, to put it mildly. However, copyright law did have a small and somewhat silent, but still important, role in the Supreme Court jurisprudence that led to...more

In re Tam – Federal Circuit Orders En Banc Review of Trademark Act’s Ban Against Registration of Disparaging Marks

The Slants is a Portland-based band composed of musicians of Asian-American descent who characterize their genre as “Chinatown Dance Rock.” The band’s bassist, Simon Tam, filed a trademark application for THE SLANTS for...more

Michael Jordan Defends His Right to Remain in Court to Protect His Likeness

On March 19, 2015, Wilson Elser published “Michael Jordan Denied Summary Judgment on His Right of Publicity Claim against Illinois Grocer,” an Alert concerning a case in which Michael Jordan was denied summary judgment on his...more

“Desert Warrior” Vanquished: Google Defeats Cindy Lee Garcia’s Copyright Claims

Cindy Lee Garcia thought she was playing a bit part in “Desert Warrior,” an adventure film being made by an amateur film maker. The film was never completed. Instead, Ms. Garcia’s performance was re-purposed, and her physical...more

Lawyer Who Started Fight Over "R-Word" Mascot Awaits Decision

About a quarter century ago, Steve Baird — at the time, a freshly minted graduate of the University of Iowa law school clerking for a federal judge in Washington, D.C. — was spending most of his free weekends working on an...more

Full Ninth Circuit Nixes Controversial Copyright Decision

On Monday, May 18, 2015, the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, overturned a highly-controversial opinion in Garcia v. Google, Inc., in which a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit reversed the trial court and held that an...more

Ninth Circuit Draws Fine Line Around Fine Art Resale Royalties

In a partial victory for artists such as Chuck Close and the Sam Francis Foundation—and for other visual artists who sold early works for rent money before establishing their name and value—the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals...more

Slanted Perspective?

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I refer you to “the Slants?” Is it a non-perpendicular or horizontal line? Is it the news coverage of MSNBC or Fox News? Is it a derogatory term for Asians? Or, perhaps its...more

Second Circuit to Weigh In on Copyright Owner-Digital Broadcaster Dispute Over Pre-1972 Sound Recording Performance Rights

On April 15, 2015, the Second Circuit granted digital broadcaster Sirius XM Radio, Inc.'s (Sirius XM) petition for interlocutory appeal of U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon's November 2014 ruling that New York state law...more

The Dark Knight, Black Panthers, Ghosts and Ginger Rogers: Increasing Protection for Use of Trademarks in Promotions for...

Content creators of all stripes strive for realism in their depictions of the world. This is for good reason – media is more effective, and more immersive, when viewers recognize it as a reflection of the real world. Despite...more

TufAmerica v. Diamond - USDC, S.D. New York, March 24, 2015

TufAmerica v. Diamond - USDC, S.D. New York, March 24, 2015 - District court awards summary judgment to defendants, members of the Beastie Boys, holding that plaintiff did not have standing to file suit for...more

California Jury Finds “Blurred Lines” Infringed “Got to Give It Up”: Society’s Mixed Signals on Copying and Intellectual Property...

On Tuesday, March 10, 2015, a California federal jury returned a verdict finding that Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams had copied Marvin Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up” when writing Thicke’s 2013 hit, “Blurred Lines.”...more

Court Finds Misappropriation Claims Arising From Licensing of Copyrighted Photographs Are Preempted

Judge André Birotte Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has dismissed a lawsuit brought by former college athletes alleging that the licensing of copyrighted photographs from their NCAA...more

Celebrity Trademark Watch: Can Taylor Swift Shake Off Accusations of Trademark Greed?

Had enough of Taylor Swift yet? For those of you who hate to love her, you might consider Swiftamine, because she is not going anywhere anytime soon. If anything, her media foot print continues to grow. And while one...more

Trademark use within an expressive work must only pass the Rogers test, not a likelihood of confusion analysis: Mil-Spec Monkey v....

The likelihood of confusion test is often called the “cornerstone” of trademark infringement law. It may be in many circumstances, but it does not apply to allegations of infringement within expressive works, as the recent...more

For the Redskins, NFL Playoff Season Means. . . Constitutionality Questions?

The NFL playoffs aren’t the only big football news happening this month! The U.S. Department of Justice recently decided to intervene in the Washington Redskins trademark litigation over the constitutionality of certain...more

USA: Ninth Circuit Rejects EA’s “Incidental Use” Defense in Madden-Related Right of Publicity Suit

On January 6, 2015, the Ninth Circuit decided that Electronic Arts Inc.’s (“EA”) unauthorized use of former NFL players’ likeness as avatars in the Madden NFL video game series does not qualify for First Amendment protection....more

First Amendment Protects Use of Third-Party’s Trademark in Video Game

Mil-Spec Monkey, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard, Inc. et al. - Confirming that video games, including customizable multi-player games, qualify as expressive works entitled to First Amendment protection, a California...more

The US Department of Justice Seeks to Intervene in the Washington Redskins’ Trademark Suit to Defend the Constitutionality of the...

The Washington Redskins professional football team will soon not only be battling Native Americans over the registrability of the REDSKINS trademark, but will also have to cross swords with the US Government. Last week, the...more

Valencia v. Universal City Studios LLC

USDC, N.D. Georgia, December 18, 2014 - District court dismisses all claims of hip-hop dancer Honey Rockwell, who alleged that films Honey and Honey 2 violated her privacy rights and trademark rights, holding that some...more

USA: Do Athletes Have Rights of Publicity in Live Broadcast Footage? Minnesota Court Offers Guidance

U.S. courts have recognized that “there is no judicial consensus on how to resolve conflicts between intellectual-property rights and free-speech rights.” Indeed, courts have adopted varying approaches to analyzing right of...more

Henley Is Not Taking It Easy

According to music icon Don Henley, intellectual property rights are not a joking matter....more

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