Intellectual Property Art, Entertainment & Sports

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“Knock-Offs” Beware: SCOTUS Makes a Fashion-Forward Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court has settled the closely watched Varsity Brands Inc. et al. v. Star Athletica LLC copyright dispute, holding that cheerleading outfits contain distinct design elements that allow for copyright ownership....more

SCOTUS Determines That Decorations on Cheerleading Uniforms Are Conceptually Separable From Uniforms and Eligible For Copyright...

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a 6-2 ruling in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., et al., holding the decorative elements on Varsity Brands’ cheerleading uniforms were...more

Supreme Court Outlines New Test for Copyrightability of Useful Articles

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc. significantly expands copyright protection for useful articles. On March 22, 2017, the US Supreme Court set out a new standard for copyrightability...more

Supreme Court Clarifies Copyright Protection for Artistic Features in Clothing

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court held that a two- or three-dimensional work of art on a useful article, such as clothing, is protectable under copyright law if: (1) the work of art can be perceived as separate from the...more

Client Alert: Supreme Court Finds Cheerleading Uniforms Copyrightable in Landmark Apparel Copyright Case

In the first apparel copyright case ever considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., the high court found on March 22, 2017 that decorative elements of a cheerleading uniform could be...more

The Battle of the Kylies Over the “Kylie” Trademark

In one corner, you have the 19-year-old breakout star of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, Kylie Jenner, who is making a name for herself with her cosmetics and fashion empire. In the other corner, you have the 48-year-old singer,...more

Give me…“Separability!” Supreme Court Holds Cheerleading Uniform Designs Copyrightable

The Supreme Court, in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., 580 U.S. ___ (2017), resolved “widespread disagreement” among the circuits, and adopted a single test to determine the copyrightability of designs...more

Three Stripes and You’re Out

On March 17, Adidas American, Inc. sued Juicy Couture, Inc., in the District of Oregon (3:17-cv-00437), alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution, deceptive trade practices, and breach of...more

Hip, Hip, Hooray for Copyrightable Decorative Elements

After months of standing on the sidelines of the most closely watched case impacting the fashion industry in recent years, legal practitioners and fashion designers now have a framework for protecting decorative elements of...more

United States Supreme Court Confirms Works of Art Incorporated Into Useful Articles Are Protected Under Copyright Law

Copyright law has long provided protection for original works of art. There has been some uncertainty as to whether this protection is extended to artistic features that are incorporated into useful articles, which are not...more

V-I-C-T-O-R-Y for the Fashion Industry: SCOTUS Establishes Uniform Test for Protection of Artistic Works Applied to Apparel

The overall design (such as the shape and cut) of a garment, bag or shoe is not protectable under current U.S. Copyright law because such items are considered “useful articles.” However, Section 101 of the Copyright Act...more

Three Stripes and You’re Out: adidas Seeks to Protect its Mark

On March 17, 2017, athletic apparel giant, adidas, filed suit against Juicy Couture, Inc. asserting trademark infringement and unfair competition claims. The case is styled adidas America Inc. et al. v. Juicy Couture Inc.,...more

Litigation Alert: Supreme Court Clarifies Copyright Eligibility for Useful Articles

While much of the legal press may be speculating about the future of the Supreme Court’s Chevron test, yesterday the Court considered a very different kind of “chevron”—a design on a cheerleader uniform. In Star Athletica LLC...more

Hip Hip Hooray! Supreme Court Upholds Copyright Protection for Cheerleader Uniforms

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court, in a 6-2 opinion by Justice Thomas, affirmed the Sixth Circuit’s holding that the two-dimensional graphic designs on Varsity Brands’ cheerleading uniforms are eligible for copyright...more

Supreme Court Defines Test for Copyright Eligibility of Useful Article Design Features

Yesterday, in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., the Supreme Court resolved an issue that previously had been the subject of “widespread disagreement” in the federal courts—the proper test for determining when a...more

Supreme Court Expands Copyright Protection for Designs Originally Produced on Useful Articles

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court (in a 6-2 decision) ruled that a stripes and chevron pattern on a cheerleading uniform may be eligible for copyright protection and that the separability test under 17 U.S.C. §101 did not...more

Sis Boom Bah – Supreme Court Extends Copyright Protection to Cheerleading Uniform Designs

In a decision announced today, the Supreme Court held that Varsity Brands is entitled to assert copyright protection in two-dimensional designs featured on its cheerleading uniforms. These designs consist of various lines,...more

U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Designs Are Copyrightable Under 17 U.S.C. § 101

The U.S. Supreme Court dramatically simplified and expanded the world of fashion and copyrights today, ruling that the chevron striping of a cheerleading uniform (and any other design on clothing, furniture, or other "useful...more

Brewery and Beer Distributor Sued over Promotional Contest

A North Carolina woman has commenced legal action against Anheuser-Busch, LLC (“Anheuser-Busch”) and its North Carolina distributor, R.A. Jeffreys Distributing Company (“R.A. Jeffreys”), in connection with Anheuser-Busch’s...more

"Supreme Court Seeks to Clarify Copyrightability of Design Features on Useful Articles in Cheerleading Uniform Case"

On March 22, 2017, in a 6-2 decision in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., et al., 580 U.S. ___, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a design feature incorporated into a useful article may obtain copyright...more

Supreme Court Rules on Cheerleader Uniform Case

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court rendered its decision in what many refer to as the cheerleader uniform case. Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc....more

Photographer hits retailer over photo of player hitting Joey Bats

One of the best sports photographs in recent history captured a 2016 incident where Texas Rangers’ second baseman Rougned Odor hit Toronto Blue Jay José Bautista in the face. That memorable image is at the center of a new...more

Remember – “March Madness” is a Trademark

We are in March. The minds of many turn to March Madness as the NCAA hosts its annual tournament to crown college basketball’s national champion. Of these, many want to take advantage of the tournament to promote their...more

A “Thriller” in Tax Court: The Estate of Michael Jackson and IRS Dispute Valuation of Pop Star’s Image

How much were the late King of Pop’s name and image worth when he died? His estate put the figure at $2,105 but the IRS believes the value is at least $434 million. That’s a huge discrepancy and with penalties and interest...more

Defendant Wipes Out After Getting Caught in the Riptide and Is Sanctioned for Ill-Conceived Motion to Compel in Surf Tech...

This case presents an example of a district court’s use of the “proportionality” requirement of Rule 26 to limit overbroad discovery. On March 9, 2017, Magistrate Judge Barbara L. Major of the District Court for the Southern...more

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