Intellectual Property Communications & Media

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Don’t Copy “Bounty” Bars: Distributors of Chocolate Bars Prohibited from Imitating “Bounty Bar Shape”

Mars saw a violation of its three-dimensional “Bounty” trademark and filed a lawsuit against the distributor of the “Wish” chocolate bar....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

Can You Identify Your Trade Dress?

Trade dress is a type of trademark intellectual property right that can protect almost any unique identifying aesthetic design used by a company, from the shape of a product, to the appearance of a website, to the decor of a...more

Avatar Wins Against Another Copyright Owner… in an Unusual Manner

A recent decision from the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, ended the hopes and dreams of a copyright owner from receiving a share of the $2.8 billion earned by James Cameron’s Avatar film. In this...more

The Federal Trademark Statute Assumes Hillary Can’t Win

Today’s example of unintentional sexism comes to us from Section 2(c) of the Lanham Act. On its face, the language of the statute assumes that someone other than Hillary will win the 2016 presidential election – and it won’t...more

Melania Trump’s RNC Speech: Plagiarism, Copyright Infringement, or Both?

On the opening night of the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, delivered a speech from the convention floor in support of Trump’s nomination. The speech was infused with rhetoric about such things...more

The Pleads Of The Many: 50 Years of Star Trek Lawsuits

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the premiere of the original series of Star Trek, which first aired on NBC in September 1966. On July 22, this milestone will be marked in earnest when Paramount Pictures releases...more

Social Links: Appeals court opinions show reach of anti-hacking law; a virtual reality sickness cure; intrigue at Vine

The UK wants to use the blockchain to track the spending of welfare recipients. Some believe that a recent Ninth Circuit holding could turn sharing passwords into a federal crime under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act....more

Cannabis Trademark Strategy in Jeopardy

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Trademark Office (TTAB) just rejected a popular strategy for protecting cannabis-related marks at the federal level. Many forward-thinking cannabis businesses have applied to...more

#Trademarks?: Hashtags as Trademarks Revisited

Since our previous article on the emerging issue of trademark rights in hashtags, the use of hashtags in social media marketing has continued to grow. Described as the “ignition keys to a social media keyword search,”...more

Ninth Circuit Vastly Expands Scope of Criminal, Civil Liability for Computer Fraud

In a pair of highly anticipated decisions, the Ninth Circuit significantly reshaped criminal and civil liability under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The court’s recent decisions in United States v. Nosal...more

Riding the Initial “Pokémon Go” Phenomenon: Branding Basics

Pokémon Go, released July 6, has unleashed a swarm of hopeful Pokémon trainers into the world, seeking to, as Pokémon famously says, “catch ‘em all.” And while Pokémon Go users are traversing cities, towns and hamlets to...more

CFAA Double Feature: Ninth Circuit Issues Two Important Decisions on the Scope of Liability Related to Data Scraping and...

This past week, the Ninth Circuit released two important decisions that clarify the scope of liability under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. § 1030. The Act was originally designed to target...more

News of Note

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

Is Music Sampling Back En Vogue?

The mere mention of Madonna conjures many images and associations: feminism, reinvention, Kabbala, the cone bra, and her many memorable performances. But today we have yet another thing to associate with the Material Girl: an...more

Clark v. Dashner - USDC, D. New Mexico, June 30, 2016

District court dismisses author’s claims that film “The Maze Runner” and novel of same name infringed on copyright in his book The Maze, holding that similarities between works, including giant maze and robotic creatures, are...more

Brumley Heirs Win Fight over Rights to Old Gospel Song *WEB ONLY**

Addressing the termination right given to authors and their heirs under the Copyright Act, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit concluded that four siblings could use their right to terminate the transfer their...more

Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc. - USCA, Eleventh Circuit, June 29, 2016

In most recent decision over The Turtles’ pre-1972 sound recordings, Eleventh Circuit asks Florida Supreme Court to determine whether state law recognizes common law copyright in sound recordings and, if so, whether that...more

Second Circuit In Vimeo Narrows The Red Flag Knowledge and Willful Blindness Exceptions To DMCA Safe Harbors

The Second Circuit recently decided Capitol Records, LLC, et al. v. Vimeo, LLC (2d Cir. June 16, 2016) (“Vimeo”), a landmark decision concerning the interpretation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (the...more

(Trade)Marking Your Territory in the US: A Guide for Non-US Companies

Trademark rights exist on a country-by-country basis, and the laws in the United States differ in a number of significant ways from other markets. As a result, it is critical that before any non-U.S. company seeks trademark...more

Advertising Law - July 2016

Ad Company's Geotargeting Locates a $1M Penalty - InMobi, a Singapore-based mobile advertising company, will pay almost $1 million in civil penalties and implement a comprehensive privacy program to settle charges that...more

“Churrascos” Is Generic for Restaurant Services

On appeal from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the TTAB’s refusal to register a stylized form of the mark CHURRASCOS for restaurant services, finding that...more

Acquiescence Defense – Don’t Try to Use It Too Early

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed and remanded a district court decision, finding that the defendant’s attempt to have a trademark infringement lawsuit dismissed at the pleading stage based on an...more

Examiner.com Sails to Victory in DMCA Safe Harbor

Addressing whether the owner of a media website could invoke the safe harbor provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of...more

Copyright and Trademark Case Review: In "Vogue," Burning Man, Building Plans and More

Copyright Opinions - Samples in Madonna's “Vogue” Too Trivial to Be Infringing: VMG Salsoul, LLC v. Ciccone, Nos. 13-57104, 14-55837 (9th Cir. June 2, 2016) - Graber, J. In a suit claiming infringement of both...more

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