Intellectual Property Communications & Media Constitutional Law

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Federal Circuit Rejects Disparaging Trademarks’ Ban on First Amendment Grounds

A December ruling by the Federal Circuit emphasized the value of commercial speech through trademark registration, and the case may have implications for the Washington Redskins. The NFL team’s Super Bowl dreams may be over,...more

Naruto v. Slater - USDC, N.D. California, January 28, 2016

District court dismisses copyright infringement action brought on behalf of macaque monkey who took “selfies” using defendant photographer’s camera, holding that animals lack standing under the Copyright Act....more

2015 U.S. Trademark Developments Every Food and Beverage Lawyer Should Know

In 2015, U.S. courts provided trademark practitioners with several issues to discuss and debate. Identified and summarized below are the top five most discussed issues....more

Sue-per Bowl Shuffle II: The Year in NFL-Related Intellectual Property Litigation

Around this time last year, I started worrying about what would happen if someone at a Super Bowl party asked me to explain an NFL-related lawsuit, particularly one of those IP-ish lawsuits that I’m supposed to know about. So...more

2015 IP Law Year In Review

Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 1920 (May 26, 2015) - ..Does a defendant’s belief that a patent is invalid serve as a defense to charges of inducing infringement? NO - ..Inducement requires...more

Trademark Review | January 2016

Federal Circuit Holds Refusal to Register Disparaging Trademarks is Unconstitutional - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, issued a ruling that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act violates the...more

In re Simon Shiao Tam - USCA, Federal Circuit, December 22, 2015

In case with potentially far-reaching effects, including on Washington Redskins’ ongoing legal battle to maintain federal trademark registration, Federal Circuit sitting en banc strikes down federal statute that permits...more

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Refusal to Register Disparaging Trademarks Struck Down on First Amendment Grounds

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in a 9-3 decision in In re Tam, has declared a provision of the federal trademark law unconstitutional as violating the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. The...more

Of Slants, Skins and Signs: Another Step Closer to the Showdown

In September, we discussed In re Tam and the potential for a showdown over the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act. At that time, a panel of the Federal Circuit had recently upheld the PTO’s refusal to...more

Washington Redskins Haven’t Won Yet: Why the Constitutionality of Section 2(a) is Not Yet Final

What do Washington D.C.’s NFL team, the Redskins, and Mr. Tam’s rock band, The Slants, have in common? Both have enjoyed unexpected victories recently and both have been called “disparaging” by the Patent and Trademark Office...more

Trademark Wars: The First Amendment Strikes Back – Lanham Act’s Disparaging Trademark Registration Ban Struck Down as...

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, en banc, has ruled that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act precluding “disparaging” trademark registrations is unconstitutional, rejecting the argument that trademark...more

Federal Circuit: Disparagement Proscription of § 2(a) of the Lanham Act Unconstitutional

In the last several decades, the disparagement provision of § 2(a) of the Lanham Act has become a more frequent basis for rejection or cancellation of trademarks by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and...more

Federal Circuit Rules Federal Trademark Statute Ban on Disparaging Marks to Be Unconstitutional

On December 22nd, 2015, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the section of the Lanham Act which bans registration of “disparaging” trademarks is an unconstitutional violation of First Amendment free...more

Billy Mitchell v. The Cartoon Network Inc. - USDC, New Jersey, November 23, 2015

District Court grants Cartoon Network’s motion to dismiss right of publicity claim brought by plaintiff, well-known figure in video-gaming community and antagonist in documentary film The King of Kong, finding that cartoon...more

Garçon to FanDuel: Check please!

What are a veteran NFL player’s name, image, and likeness worth in the burgeoning (but recently beleaguered-by-lawsuits) daily fantasy sports gaming industry? NFL wide receiver Pierre Garçon’s putative class action lawsuit...more

Entertainment and Media Litigation Update - October 2015

The "Dancing Baby" Case—Ninth Circuit Rules That "Fair Use" Must First Be Considered Before Sending Takedown Notices Under the DMCA - Why it matters: On September 14, 2015, the Ninth Circuit ruled in Lenz v. Universal...more

Ray Charles Foundation Can Challenge Heirs’ Attempt to Reclaim Copyrights - Ray Charles Foundation v. Robinson et al.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court’s dismissal of a suit brought by the sole beneficiary of the Ray Charles estate, concluding that the Ray Charles Foundation had standing to challenge...more

Of Slants, Skins and Signs: The Coming First Amendment Showdown

Are we heading for a constitutional showdown over Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act? Will the Supreme Court strike down this prohibition on disparaging marks as an abridgement of First Amendment rights? It is certainly...more

The Dancing Baby Grooves to Mixed Victory in the Ninth Circuit: Court Holds That DMCA Takedown Notices Require Consideration of...

Behind the scenes of the Internet’s current swirl of memes, mash-ups, and other viral content is a massive system of takedown notices and counter-notices passing back and forth between content owners, web hosts, and users,...more

Court Dismisses City’s Copyright Claim Against Critic for Using Council Meeting Clips in YouTube Videos

A California city cannot hold one of its citizens liable for copyright infringement for using clips of city council meetings in his critical YouTube videos, a federal judge has ruled. The August 20, 2015, Order in City of...more

Former In-House Attorney Cannot Duck Trade Secrets Allegations with Anti-SLAPP Motion

On July 17, 2015, a California appellate court affirmed the denial of an intellectual property attorney’s anti-SLAPP motion against his former employer. Terrence Wyles, the defendant and former in-house counsel for medical...more

Hidden Risks? What Liability Can Private Colleges and Universities Have for Their Student Newspapers and Publications?

It is well-settled that public institutions are generally not liable for statements made by their student publications because the First Amendment prohibits them from exercising control over such publications. See, e.g.,...more

JMOL Is Granted In Telecommunications Case

Sprint Communications Company L.P. v. Comcast IP Holdings, LLC, et al., C.A. No. 12-1013 - RGA, August 7, 2015 - Andrews, J. Defendants’ motion for JMOL is granted and in the alternative their motion for a new trial is...more

Texas Anti-SLAPP Law: The Expanding Scope of the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act – Part 3

The basics of the Texas Anti-SLAPP law In part three we are going to deep dive into a specific case that has garnered a lot of attention-Schlumberger v. Rutherford which is currently on appeal to the Houston Court of...more

Washington’s NFL Team and U.S. Customs

Last week the NFL franchise that plays football near — but not in — our Nation’s Capital, was dealt another significant legal and public relations blow that would have any rational brand owner working overtime on its...more

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