Intellectual Property Communications & Media

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Using Pop Culture References in Advertisements? Just Do It Right

In this age of smartphone cameras and hashtags, an impromptu remark or a right place-at-the-right-time snapshot can “go viral” and create instant and immense goodwill. Businesses today use social media as a tool to promote...more

Trick or Tweet? Team Trump Gets Sued Over Skittles Twitter Pic

Life may not be bowl of cherries for Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign these days. It’s more like a bowl of Skittles, as that is exactly what landed Team Trump in a copyright infringement suit filed in Chicago federal court...more

Should Hotels, Restaurants, Bars, and Shopping Centers Stop Offering Open WiFi Connections?

The answer in Germany is “yes.” To understand why, you have to understand the principle of “co-liability” or Störerhaftung. Under the principle of co-liability, operators of an open WiFi network can be held liable for the...more

Hillary Clinton's IP Litigation Experience

Many people are surprised to learn that Hillary Clinton was an intellectual property attorney when she practiced law from 1977-1992 for the Rose Law Firm. While the New York Times has reported that former colleagues cannot...more

Electronic Frontier Foundation brings suit over anti-circumvention provisions in the DMCA

On July 21, 2016, the Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF") filed a complaint against various agencies and members of the U.S. government over Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"), arguing that this...more

Trade-Marks in Canada: Proper Use and Maintenance

Proper usage is essential to protecting and maintaining valuable rights in trade-marks. The general rule is ‘use it or lose it’: unless a trade-mark is actually used continuously in connection with products or services,...more


In D.C. One Wholesaler, Inc. v. Chien, [Opposition No. 91199035/Cancellation No. 92053919] (TTAB October 4, 2016), the TTAB was called upon to resolve a dispute over the ownership of the trademark I ♥ DC. The TTAB...more

Trademark satire is no joke to the City of Atlanta

Check out this City of Atlanta Facebook page. The funny thing is that it’s not run by the City of Atlanta. Although the posts are titled “City of Atlanta” and use the City’s official seal, the page consists of satirical...more

PUT YOUR DOCS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM: Seattle Police Enjoined From Disclosing Software Secrets in Public Records Act Dispute

What happens when trade secret protections collide with laws granting public access to government records? This question took center stage in a recent case involving the Seattle Police Department (“SPD”). A federal district...more

Four T’s at Four: What Breweries Need to Know About Their IP Before They Consider an Exit

“Forties at 4” was a time-honored Friday tradition among my engineering classmates in college. After our last class, several of them would purchase Miller (if we could find it in a 40 oz) or Old English or some other malt...more

Lee v Tam

The Supreme Court agreed on September 29 to consider whether a provision of the Lanham Act that allows the USPTO to refuse to register “disparaging” trademarks violates the constitutional right to free speech. The case is...more

Know Thy Software Vendor: Website Operator Cannot Sidestep Copyright Infringement Claims over Link to Allegedly Infringing...

Last month, a New York district court refused to dismiss most of the copyright infringement claims asserted against a website operator based on an allegation that the website linked to an infringing copy of plaintiff’s...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

O’Bannon’s End: Supreme Court Rejects Appellate Review

The lawsuit against the NCAA over whether Division I men’s basketball and football players can be compensated for the commercial use of their names, images and likenesses came to an abrupt end on Monday as the U.S. Supreme...more

Beyond Black and White

Last month, Federal Express announced that all of its logos moving forward would use the brand's recognizable purple and orange color scheme. Before this change, each division of the company used different colors paired with...more

Retailers: Embrace Virtual Reality Now (But Also Be Careful)!

We’ve previously addressed the hype that it is only a matter of time until brick and mortar retail succumbs to its online competitors. While we concluded that brick and mortal retail is not in danger of immediate extinction,...more

Nihilist Arby’s: We Have The Tweets

I recently came across this new piece of merchandise available for sale online...more

MarkIt to MarketTM - September 2016

The September 2016 issue of Sterne Kessler's MarkIt to MarketTM newsletter discusses protecting color as part of brand identity, and announces the new gTLD sunrise periods. Please see full Newsletter below for more...more

Trademark Review | September 2016

BLACK GIRLS ROCK! and BLACK MEN ROCK Deemed Confusingly Similar - This opposition involved a straight-forward likelihood of confusion analysis. Opposer owned a registration for the mark BLACK GIRLS ROCK! for clothing and...more

Perspective: The Accenture Blockchain Patent

Blockchain innovators need to understand that they are working in an early-stage, evolving IP landscape where the potential risks are still very difficult to evaluate....more

No Small Potatoes: Patenting Spuds in an Era of Gene Silencing

During a 1911 journey—in which he would discover Machu Picchu—Hiram Bingham’s exploration party came across native Peruvians who “lived almost entirely on gruel made from chuño, frozen bitter potatoes. Little else than...more

“Processing System” Does Not Render Claims Indefinite

The Federal Circuit relied on Nautilus to preserve functional language of a method claim in a decision published last Friday. In Cox Comm, Inc. v. Sprint, No. 2016-1013, the Federal Circuit held that the term “processing...more

Can Using Social Media Lead to a Lawsuit? (Part 3)

In this third and final part of this blog series, I will address the intersection of social media and intellectual property rights, as well as how and when social media may be used as evidence during trial....more

Social Copycats: Is a Social Media User Infringing On Your Intellectual Property Rights?

Social media platforms present great opportunity for brands to gain visibility and attract followers.   But what if another user is using your brand name or a confusingly similar brand name to promote a competing business?...more

How Would You Pronounce Infringement?

Last week, we discussed Caribou Coffee’s billboard ad referencing transparency — this week another installment from Caribou’s current Minneapolis skyway billboard campaign: That one made me think of this one, a post from a...more

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