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Federal Circuit Review | July 2015

Nunc Pro Tunc Assignments Insufficient To Confer Retroactive Standing - In ALPS SOUTH, LLC v. OHIO WILLOW WOOD CO., Appeal Nos. 2013-1452, 2013-1488, 2014-1147, and 2014-1426, the Federal Circuit reversed the denial of a...more

Fifth Circuit Revisits Copyright Preemption of Trade Secret Law

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently revisited the issue of the Copyright Law preemption of trade secrets claims in Spear Marketing, Inc. v. Bancorpsouth Bank. The decision not only resolved the...more

Intellectual Property Alert: Federal District Court Affirms Cancellation of “REDSKINS” Marks on Summary Judgment and Holds that...

On July 8, 2015, the Federal District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s cancellation of the REDSKINS federal trademark registrations owned by Pro-Football, Inc....more

Washington’s NFL Team and U.S. Customs

Last week the NFL franchise that plays football near — but not in — our Nation’s Capital, was dealt another significant legal and public relations blow that would have any rational brand owner working overtime on its...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

Catching-Up On House Judiciary Committee’s Revised Innovation Act

Recently the House Judiciary Committee voted 24-8 to approve a revised version of the Innovation Act. As we previously discussed, the Innovation Act was re-introduced in the House earlier this year in the same form approved...more

Federal Judge Permits MPHJ’s Suit Challenging Vermont’s Bad Faith Patent Demand Letter Law To Proceed

We previously discussed the Vermont attorney general’s enforcement action against MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC, a non-practicing entity that has recently been the subject of regulatory scrutiny. The attorney general’s...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

No Bond for You: Patentee Not Entitled to Bond or Preliminary Injunction While Case Stayed Pending IPR

Order Granting Motion to Stay, Security People, Inc. v. Ojmar US, LLC, 14-cv-04968 (Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr.) - A recent opinion analyzes what relief, if any, a patentee is entitled to when its District Court case is...more

Federal Circuit Finds Nunc Pro Tunc Agreement Does Not Confer Standing

The tenuous nature of an exclusive licensee’s standing to enforce a patent was something I learned early in my legal career, when I was a judicial clerk at the Federal Circuit. In Alps South LLC v. Ohio Willow Wood Co., the...more

Patent Licensee’s Standing to Sue for Infringement

Although you might not think so, given the proliferation of litigation, courts are actually very particular about who can bring a lawsuit. In order for a plaintiff to file a lawsuit, it must have ’standing’ or put another...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

Fourth Circuit Finds that First Amendment Trumps Trademarks

The Fourth Circuit recently ruled that a Defendant’s online article entitled “NAACP: National Association for the Abortion of Colored People” did not violate the trademark rights of the NAACP, the National Association for the...more

Trademark Review | May 2015

Attorneys’ Fees Might be More Readily Granted in Trademark Cases - Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court relaxed the standard for awarding attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party in patent infringement cases. Octane...more

The First Amendment Trumps Trademark Rights in Radiance Found, Inc. v. NAACP

When a pro-life columnist publicized a biting article criticizing the NAACP’s stance on abortion rights, the NAACP retaliated with a cease and desist letter accusing the columnist of trademark infringement. When the dust...more

Fatwas & the First Amendment: 9th Circuit Reverses Takedown Order of Video that Preceded Benghazi & Cairo Protests

A young actress agreed to appear in a low-budget, Middle Eastern themed action film. The producer re-cut and over-dubbed the video, which included five seconds of the actress’ performance, fashioning it into “Innocence of...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

Another One Bites the Dust: Action Dismissed for Lack of Standing Where Plaintiff Could Not Prove Ownership of the Patent-In-Suit

America's Collectibles Network ("ACN") filed a patent infringement action in which it claimed to own U.S. Patent No. 8,370,211 (the "211 Patent"). It brought this action against the Genuine Gemstone Company ("Genuine...more

First Look at False Marking Under the AIA

In Sukumar v. Nautilus, Inc., the Federal Circuit took its first look at the standing requirements to bring a false marking case under the American Invents Act (AIA). The court rejected Nautilus’ arguments that only “market...more

Rights in Bob Marley's name and likeness trump free speech where defence not properly pleaded | World Trademark Review

Fifty-Six Hope Road is a company run by some of Bob Marley's children, and it owns the property rights to Bob Marley's name, voice and likeness. Hope Road licensed Zion Rootswear the exclusive right to use Marley's name and...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

An Easy First Impression: Joint Dismissal of Appellate Review - Versata Software, Inc. v. Callidus Software, Inc.

Addressing for the first time the propriety of vacating an appellate opinion when the underlying appeal is rendered moot before issuance of that opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit determined that it...more

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