Celebrities

News & Analysis as of

Taylor Swift Takes Another Step Towards Building Her Empire By Trademarking Her “Swifty” Phrases

From her signature red lips to her retro-chic fashion ensembles, Taylor Swift has carefully crafted and maintained her brand.  Now the 25-year-old musical sensation has taken the next steps toward building her empire....more

Parody Or Rip Off?: Don Henley Won’t Take It Easy

Former Eagles drummer and co-lead singer Don Henley has just agreed to settle a lawsuit that he filed against Duluth Trading Co., the clothing retailer best known for its goofy cartoon ads on television. ...more

Paltrow Isn’t Divorcing, She’s “Conscious Uncoupling”

Hi there, My clever coworker, Abigail Munafo, pointed out to me today that I have a category entitled “Celebrity Trash,” and I haven’t posted to it in a while. So, it was extremely timely to read that Gwyneth Paltrow...more

Even In The UK, Think Twice Before Using Celebrity Endorsements

A recent legal case in the UK between singer Rhianna and fashion retailer Topshop has highlighted differences between publicity rights in the UK and some US jurisdictions. Rhianna sued Topshop for its sale of a t-shirt...more

Bob Marley’s Heirs Lanham Act Win Upheld - Fifty-Six Hope Road Music v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc.

Addressing the issue of when the use of a celebrity’s likeness or persona in connection with a product constitutes a false endorsement that is actionable under the Lanham Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit...more

Phishing and Spear Phishing: Modern Methods Applied to Age-Old Social Engineering

It may surprise many who have observed the recent media attention of data breaches to learn that in the world of Cybersecurity, sometimes it’s the oldest attacks that find new life when they are applied in new ways. Phishing...more

Stacy Allen Speaks: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Unpopular Celebrities And The Right Of Publicity

In retrospect, the victories won by former college football stars in their right of publicity lawsuits against Electronic Arts and its hugely popular NCAA Football videogame franchise are hardly surprising. How could anyone...more

Trademark Review | March 2015

Registration Cancelled Where Services Related to Mark Not Provided - Playdom, Inc. filed a petition to cancel Couture’s mark, arguing that the registration was void because Couture did not use the mark in commerce as of...more

Trends, Pitfalls and Opportunities in Celebrity Philanthropy

Athletes and celebrities have a long and storied track record with charitable causes. A celebrity can turn an otherwise unknown cause into a charitable powerhouse simply by lending a high profile name and likeness. Today,...more

What you can learn about trademarks from sports celebrities

The world of sports seems to generate more than its share of words and phrases that catch the public’s attention. But these also show how branding — and formal trademark protection — can go awry. Every time a sports...more

Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, Ltd. v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc. - USCA, Ninth Circuit, February 20, 2015

Following jury verdict on Lanham Act claim in favor of entity owned by Bob Marley’s children, Ninth Circuit affirms denial of defendants’ motion for judgment as matter of law, finding that trial evidence supported jury’s...more

Eponymous companies and use of the designer’s personal name: Mr. Alviero Martini vs. Alviero Martini S.p.A.

The Court of Milan has recently issued a decision in a case regarding the limits to use the personal name of a well-known designer by a company which had legitimately acquired the corresponding eponymous trademarks....more

Court Rejects Glenn Beck’s “Limited Purpose” and “Involuntary” Public Figure Theories in Marathon Bombing Defamation Case

This week, Judge Patti B. Saris of the District of Massachusetts denied a motion to dismiss a defamation action that had been brought by Abdulrahman Alharbi against radio and television personality Glenn Beck. In denying the...more

Status Updates - September 2014 #8

..Pin Money. Brands of all sizes have long used the virtual pin board/social media site Pinterest to promote their wares and drive traffic to their web sites. Beginning in October 2014, companies will be able to purchase paid...more

Your Client is Hacked and Personal Information is Leaked Online – Now What?

You are general counsel to a company, and your CEO steps into your office, clutching his iPhone in one hand and wiping sweat from his brow with the other, and tells you that a compromising photograph of him was stolen from...more

The Celebrity Hacking Scandal and You: 3 Takeaways for Everyone

By now we all know a hacker accessed the personal iCloud accounts of dozens of A-list celebrities and leaked nude photos of stars such as Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, and Victoria Justice. The anonymous...more

I Want My Selfie Back!!!

Over the last week, several high profile celebrities (e.g., Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton) have reportedly become the latest victims of internet privacy rights violations. In those cases, hackers supposedly obtained...more

How far can companies leverage the name and image of celebrities when promoting their brand?

It is common to see celebrities, which have captivated the public for decades, photographed using a company product or wearing a branded garment. Using such photos for promoting a company’s brand can be problematic especially...more

‘The Late Show’ Heir Must Rebrand Before Taking the Chair

Corporate and personal brands alike should generate broad appeal and loyalty among key audiences and also evolve in order to withstand competitors and the test of time. But what happens when a celebrity brand, one that has...more

Risks Of Tribute Advertisements Are Focus Of Seventh Circuit Decision

Think the First Amendment protects your business from liability for running an ad congratulating a celebrity or other public figure? Better think again. ...more

Applause Can Come with a Big Price Tag - Michael Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc.

Paying tribute to celebrity can sometimes be an expensive proposition. A Chicago grocery store chain found this out the hard way when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit handed down its decision in Michael...more

Social Media Fan Accounts: Honoring a Celebrity’s Brand or a Trademark Violation?

Social media has become a powerful marketing tool, allowing celebrities to develop their brands and images with the help of Facebook updates or Tweets that can reach millions of fans at the same time. Given the importance of...more

Advertising Law - Mar 14, 2014

Sue Like Mike: Jordan Wins Reversal in Publicity Rights Suit - An advertisement congratulating Michael Jordan on his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame constituted commercial speech, the Seventh U.S. Circuit...more

Celebrity Trusts & Estates: Paul Walker Leaves His $25 Million Estate to His Teenage Daughter

It was recently revealed that the late Paul Walker left his entire estate—valued at approximately $25 million—to his 15-year-old daughter, Meadow....more

Leggo My Likeness Part V: Grand Theft Right of Publicity?

This year, several important video game lawsuits helped clarify the parameters for using a celebrity’s likeness in video games. Generally speaking, courts have found that, unless you get permission, you can’t put a celebrity...more

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