Intellectual Property Communications & Media Constitutional Law

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A Scandalous Mark to Some, Free Speech to Others: Federal Circuit to Decide Whether Controversial Limit on Trademark Registrations...

The Federal Circuit has decided to revisit the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act in the case of In re Shiao Tam, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6840 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 27, 2015). Section 2(a) of the Lanham act allows the...more

Constitutional Law vs. Trademark Law: Which Law Wins in the Battle of "Disparaging Trademarks": Part II

Earlier this week we covered Part I of this battle, trademark law. Now, let’s get to the second half: Constitutional law. Constitutional Law Considerations - Where do constitutional law considerations fit in...more

The Dark Knight, Black Panthers, Ghosts and Ginger Rogers: Increasing Protection for Use of Trademarks in Promotions for...

Content creators of all stripes strive for realism in their depictions of the world. This is for good reason – media is more effective, and more immersive, when viewers recognize it as a reflection of the real world. Despite...more

False Advertising Claim Washed Away for Lack of Standing

The issue of whether a party has standing to litigate in federal court can end up sinking a lawsuit. And as one bottled-water litigant in the District of Maine recently found out, failure to satisfy the standing requirements...more

Arkansas Narrowly Avoids Enactment Of Sweeping Publicity Rights Statute

Yesterday, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed Senate Bill 79. Governor Hutchinson noted that, while the intent of the bill was to “protect the names, voices, signatures, photographs and likenesses of the citizens of...more

Two Rights of Publicity Decisions Explore the Boundaries of Commercial Speech in Commemorating Public Figures

Two recent rights of publicity cases illustrated the parameters of using a public figure’s name, likeness, identity or image for commercial purposes, without consent for commemorative purposes. But when does commemoration...more

Liability for Commercial Speech: A Guide to False Advertising, Commercial Disparagement, and Related Claims

This volume summarizes related bodies of law – false advertising, commercial disparagement, and defamation – that govern the conduct of business communications. It sets forth elements, damages, and related defenses for each...more

Advertising Law - March 2015

NAD: A Product Can’t be The “#1 Prescribed Brand” Without Other Prescribed Brands - A “#1 brand prescribed” claim implies that professionals have a choice in prescribing brands, the National Advertising Division...more

Court Interprets Quebec French Language Sign Requirements, Trade-mark Exception

A recent, lengthy decision gives interesting guidance on Quebec language legislation as to the rules applicable to the predominance of French, the use of trade-marks on signs and in particular the protection for unregistered...more

Celebrity Trademark Watch: Can Taylor Swift Shake Off Accusations of Trademark Greed?

Had enough of Taylor Swift yet? For those of you who hate to love her, you might consider Swiftamine, because she is not going anywhere anytime soon. If anything, her media foot print continues to grow. And while one...more

Trademark use within an expressive work must only pass the Rogers test, not a likelihood of confusion analysis: Mil-Spec Monkey v....

The likelihood of confusion test is often called the “cornerstone” of trademark infringement law. It may be in many circumstances, but it does not apply to allegations of infringement within expressive works, as the recent...more

USA: Ninth Circuit Rejects EA’s “Incidental Use” Defense in Madden-Related Right of Publicity Suit

On January 6, 2015, the Ninth Circuit decided that Electronic Arts Inc.’s (“EA”) unauthorized use of former NFL players’ likeness as avatars in the Madden NFL video game series does not qualify for First Amendment protection....more

Advertising Law - January 2015

SPECIAL FOCUS: Fifth Circuit Clarifies the Law on False Advertising Involving “Scientific Debates” - In 2013, the Second Circuit issued an important opinion in Ony, Inc. v. Cornerstone Therapeutics, Inc., a false...more

USA: Do Athletes Have Rights of Publicity in Live Broadcast Footage? Minnesota Court Offers Guidance

U.S. courts have recognized that “there is no judicial consensus on how to resolve conflicts between intellectual-property rights and free-speech rights.” Indeed, courts have adopted varying approaches to analyzing right of...more

Dot Sucks: A Battle Between Trademark Rights and Free speech

When the organization responsible for assigning domain names announced several years ago that it would expand the generic top level domain name system from the previous 21 to an unlimited number, brand owners knew their legal...more

Socially Aware - Volume 5, Issue 7 - December 2014

In This Issue: - What’s in a Like? - R.I.P.: The Facebook “Like” Gate - Facebook Dislikes Fake Likes - Privacy in the Cloud: A Legal Framework for Moving Personal Data to the Cloud - Click...more

Mil-Spec Monkey, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard, Inc. - USDC, N.D. California, November 24, 2014

Mil-Spec Monkey, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard, Inc. - USDC, N.D. California, November 24, 2014: District court grants summary judgment in favor of publisher of military-action video game Call of Duty: Ghosts on trademark...more

Supreme Court Told That TTAB Preclusion Raises Constitutional Concerns

As reported in our September 23 Client Alert, the Supreme Court is set to hear argument on December 2 on the issue of whether likelihood of confusion findings by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) are entitled to...more

Litigation Alert: California Superior Court Finds Use of Likeness of Former Panamanian Dictator Manuel Noriega in Video Game...

Manuel Noriega v. Activision Blizzard, Inc., No. BC 551747 (Cal Super. Ct. filed October 27, 2014) - In recent years, federal and state courts have wrestled with how to assess right of publicity claims in the video...more

Status Updates - November 2014

..Cuffed links. The Spanish parliament has passed what is commonly known as the “Google tax,” although it’s technically not a tax and doesn’t apply solely to Google. Rather, it’s an intellectual property law requiring online...more

October 2014: Trademark Litigation Update

Supreme Court Opens the Door to More False Advertising Claims. In a unanimous decision, Lexmark International Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1377 (2014), the Supreme Court held that a plaintiff...more

Unincorporated Associations Can Own and Enforce Trademark Rights

Southern California Darts Association v. Zaffina - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a grant of summary judgment and a permanent injunction in favor of a common law trademark owner whose marks...more

Holy Non-Infringement, Batman!

Fortres Grand Corporation v. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. - The U.S Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a trademark infringement claim, finding that a real computer software product...more

Amici Weigh in on “Right to Register v. Right to Use” Trademark Case at Supreme Court

More than three months ago, we sounded the alarm about an important trademark case to consider the interplay between the right to register and the right to use a trademark:...more

Stacy Allen Speaks: Video Game Makers Strike Out In College Athlete Cases – Coaching Tips For The Virtual World

Over the past several years, I have written about a series of decisions in suits brought by former collegiate athletes against EA Sports and the NCAA, seeking compensation for the use of their likenesses and those of...more

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