Ninth Circuit Issues Strong Decision Emphasizing Insurer’s Obligations Regarding the Duty to Defend Insureds in Slogan Infringement Action

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Here, in contrast, the facts alleged in the NFL complaint state that All Authentic sold a “Steel Curtain Limited Edition Steelers Jersey” on its website, which “reads ‘Steel Curtain’ across the back and bears the numbers of four Pittsburgh Steelers players.” As the district court noted, “A fair reading of the [NFL complaint] reveals that ‘Steel Curtain’ is used to promote fan loyalty to the Steelers (an NFL Member Club) in general, and a subset of Steeler players in particular.” The district court concluded that this potentially stated a claim for slogan infringement because a “slogan” is a “brief attention-getting phrase used in advertising or promotion.

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