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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

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

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

"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

Curiouser and Curiouser: Copyrights and Trademark Rights are Not Perfect Reflections

Much like the world of Underland created in Lewis Carroll’s book Alice Through the Looking Glass, the blurring between copyright and trademark rights can create a topsy-turvy universe....more

Just Like You and Me: Difficulties with Celebrity Trademark Applications

Under U.S. trademark law, any person (including a celebrity) can obtain a trademark registration for their name if they can establish that the public recognizes the name as a source identifier for certain products or...more

Your DMCA Safe Harbor Questions Answered

Do you need the answer right now to one particular question about the DMCA and its (so-called) “Safe Harbors”? Here you go! But be warned: we’re painting with a broad brush, so you will have to go further – including seeking...more

SpongeBob Restaurant Found To Infringe Viacom’s Trademark

On January 11, 2017, the Southern District of Texas granted Viacom International Inc. summary judgment on its trademark infringement claim against IJR Capital Investments, LLC’s name for its proposed restaurant, “The Krusty...more

Fictional Magazine Accused of Real Infringement

The Sporting Times LLC has sued Orion Pictures, inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc., and others because of the depiction of a publication titled The Sporting Times in trailers for, and in the actual movie, Spaceman — a...more

The Designer Formerly Known As…Intellectual Property Issues Arising From Personal Names As Fashion Brands

Kate Spade, Paul Frank, Joseph Abboud, Catherine Malandrino, and Karen Millen—aside from being well-known designers, all have something else in common; they no longer own the right to use their personal names as their brands....more

Disparaging (or Maybe Not) Trademarks: The Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on In Re Tam

On January 18, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding whether the Lanham Act’s provision refusing federal trademark registration to disparaging marks is invalid under the Free Speech Clause of the First...more

Sixth Circuit Drops the Beat: Social Media Relevant in Determining Likelihood of Confusion

The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a grant of summary judgment, holding that the plaintiff provided insufficient evidence to find that relevant consumers were likely to confuse the sources of his and the...more

Copyright and Trademark Case Review: Copyright Preemption, Software-as-a-Service and Popularity on the Internet

Copyright Decisions - Claim for Copying of Useful Article Design Preempted by Copyright Act: Ultraflo Corp. v. Pelican Tank Parts, Inc., No. 15-20084 (5th Cir. Jan. 11, 2017)...more

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