IP Case Alert - Nov 2012


In This Issue:

Nominal Fair Use Doctrine Bars Winchester Mystery House Trademark Infringement; Fees Clause In Purchase Order And Invoice Entitled Fabric Wholesaler To Attorney’s Fees For Claims Made By Clothing Manufacturer; Latches Bars Copyright Infringement Action When The Suit Is Brought Ten Years After First Notice of Infringement; and Claims for Breach of Contract And Fraud Relating To Patent Licensing Contract Are Not Subject To Federal Jurisdiction Because They Do Not “Arise Under” Patent Law.

Excerpt from Nominal Fair Use Doctrine Bars Winchester Mystery House Trademark Infringement:

Winchester Mystery House LLC v. Global Asylum, ____ Cal.App.4th ___ (Cal. 2012); 2012 DJDAR 14815 -

The owners of a popular tourist attraction, The Winchester Mystery House, filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement and unfair competition against a motion picture producer, Global Asylum, when it released its film “Haunting of Winchester House.” On summary judgment, the trial court agreed that the first amendment as embodied in the nominal fair use doctrine barred the claim for trademark infringement. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the Lanham Act should be construed to apply to artistic works only where the public interest in avoiding consumer confusion outweighs the public interest in free expression. Since there was no suggestion that the film was authorized, endorsed or produced by the Winchester Mystery House, there was no likelihood that the public would be confused. Accordingly, judgment in favor of the defendant was affirmed.

Please see full issue below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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