Intellectual Property Communications & Media

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News of Note for the Internet-Minded – 4/28/16

Several companies cast an eye toward the Internet of Things, Twitter’s AI gets pretty good at live video, some industry giants get behind the driverless car, and more … Samsung launches a place in the cloud just for...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

Vacation rental websites create difficult choices for hotels

In just a few years, vacation rental websites have exploded onto the scene, commanding a significant market presence in the hospitality industry and redefining traditional “vacation rentals.” In particular, websites like...more

Trademark Series: Confusion (Part 2)

By Richard Stobbe So much confusion, so little time. The Trade-marks Act teaches us that the use of one trade-mark causes confusion with another trade-mark if the use of both trade-marks in the same area would likely lead to...more

Launch of New Generic Top Level Domains .store and .shopping

From time to time, new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) become available for registration. Among the many gTLDs newly available is .store. This gTLD is intended to provide brand owners with a domain that is instantly...more

Panera and Great Harvest Argue over Tagline

Panera Bread and the Great Harvest Bread Co. will not be breaking bread together anytime soon. To the contrary, Great Harvest recently filed a trademark lawsuit against Panera over Panera’s “food as it should be” campaign,...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

Million Dollar Martini: How to Shake Up Your Network and Mix Up Big Deals

You’ve taken the traditional marketing routes: ads in the local paper, perhaps a quick spot on the radio or a basic web page. But, how do you mix in that extra ingredient that will put your company on top? What can push your...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

In re Tam Redux: The PTO seeks Certiorari

On April 20, 2016, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Federal Circuit seeking Supreme Court review of that Court’s decision in In re Tam, 117 USPQ2d 1001...more

Apple’s Quest for the “Ownable” Mark

No company’s branding strategy is studied more meticulously than Apple, Inc.’s — and of late, Apple has taken a turn for the descriptive with its various operating systems. Every company wants its brands to be...more

Advertising Law - April 2016 #3

SPECIAL FOCUS: #Twitter at Ten: Ten Times Twitter Made Ad Law History - Ten years ago the world was introduced to Twitter, a microblogging site offering users the chance to express themselves just 140 characters at a...more

USPTO to SCOTUS: SOS on the Lanham Act ASAP

On April 20, 2016, the USPTO made it official: It formally requested the U.S. Supreme Court to review the en banc Federal Circuit decision that held Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act violated the First Amendment. At issue...more

Central District of California Holds That the California Resale Royalty Act Is Preempted by Federal Copyright Law

As previously discussed on this blog, the validity of the California Resale Royalty Act (the “RRA,” Civil Code Section 986), a 1976 law that requires resellers of fine art to pay a royalty of 5 percent to the artists behind...more

Who Should Own a Trademark Registration? The Case of the Not-So-Related Parent Company

A recent precedential Trademark Trial and Appeal Board decision provides valuable guidance on the proper allocation of trademark registration ownership as between a corporate parent and a subsidiary, highlighting the perils...more

What’s That Sound? It Might Just Be a Trademark.

Trademarks are not only words or logos, but can come in many other forms, including sounds. In the words of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in the case In re Gen. Electric Broad. Co., 199 USPQ 560, 563 (TTAB 1978),...more

What Your Employees Download Can Cost You Protecting Against Copyright Infringement

Liability for copyright infringement can be a very costly matter. The scary part for businesses is that liability for copyright infringement can arise very easily and often without the knowledge or participation of...more

U.S. Market Entry for the German Healthcare IT Company

The healthcare market in the United States is massive, with total spending in excess of $3 trillion. Federal government incentives for the adoption of electronic health records has resulted in an increasingly interoperable...more

FLANAX: Protecting Foreign Marks from US Unfair Competition Under Section 43(a)

In today’s increasingly global economy, trademark owners are more frequently butting up against the territorial limitations of trademark law. It has long been a matter of black letter law that trademark rights are...more

Intellectual Property Risks With School And Teacher Websites

Teachers and school districts continue to find new ways to use technology both in and out of the classroom. For example, it is becoming more and more common for teachers to launch their own classroom websites. ...more

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