Intellectual Property Communications & Media

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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

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

Use It or Lose It: USPTO to Conduct Post-Registration Trademark Use Audits

Trademark owners take note: Affidavits to renew your U.S. trademark registrations may be getting a closer look. On March 21, 2017, the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") implemented a new rule aimed at...more

Keyword ads — Only infringing if they’re confusing

Neighbors can be helpful. Our Canadian neighbors may have just helped U.S. trademark owners who wonder about the legality of use of their trademarks in Google AdWords ads, and other search-engine keyword ads....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

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

Searches of Devices at the U.S. Border

Seyfarth Synopsis: Although longstanding policy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorizes searches of electronic devices in the possession of travelers arriving in the United States, recent reports of such searches...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

USPTO launches new proof of use audit program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has launched a new program that will require some trademark owners to submit more “specimens” (i.e., proof of use) and information than was required in the past. As a...more

Amazon’s Latest Trademark Battle: A Race Against “Chime”

Last month, Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) announced a new application, Amazon Chime, for online meetings, including video and voice conferencing, chat, and screen sharing. Amazon Chime will compete against a crowd of other...more

To The Relief of Sergeants Everywhere, Forever 21 Challenges Adidas’ Three Stripe Marks

On March 3, Forever 21, Inc. sued Adidas American, Inc. in the Central District of California (2:17-cv-01752), asking for a declaration that its clothing decorated with stripes does not infringe Adidas’ trademarks, and...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

gTLD Sunrise Periods Now Open

As first reported in our December 2013 newsletter, the first new generic top-level domains (gTLDs, the group of letters after the "dot" in a domain name) have launched their "Sunrise" registration periods. Please contact us...more

Federal Court of Appeal upholds interlocutory injunction directed at retailers of set-top boxes loaded with copyright-infringing...

As reported previously, the Federal Court issued an interlocutory injunction on June 1, 2016 directed at retailers of set-top boxes that are configured, or “pre-loaded”, with various applications that provide their users with...more

New Lawsuit Highlights Risks of Using User-Generated Content

In 2014, Anheuser-Busch ran a contest on Facebook in which consumers were invited to submit photos of themselves “acting natural.” The contest rules stated that entrants could only submit their original works, and that the...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

Navigating the Lifecycle of an Eponymous Brand (Part 1)

In Steven Covey's book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he espouses the idea that "all things are created twice … a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation" (see link here). This idea applies aptly to...more

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