News & Analysis as of

Advertising Law - October 2015

Commercials Pulled After Endorser Admits 9/11 Lies - The revelation that an endorser lied about his whereabouts on September 11 led a national sports-themed restaurant chain to stop airing commercials where the actor...more

Fifty-eight Problems and Trademarks Are Just One: Beyoncé, Jay Z, Kanye, Pharrell and Rihanna Sue Fashion Retailer

It’s become a hard-knock life for ElevenParis, a French fashion retailer with stores in the U.S. After selling t-shirts and other merchandise with these not-so-subtle designs...more

Jordan $8.9M – Dominick’s 0: Star Wins Over Unauthorized Use of Name

For years, Michael Jordan dominated opponents on the basketball court. Now, he seems to be doing the same in legal courts. Last week, a jury ordered Chicago grocery chain Dominick’s (now owned by Safeway) to pay the former...more

Owners of Celebrity Fan Sites Still in the Spotlight for Copyright Liability Without DMCA Safe Harbor

The Southern District of New York recently stressed the importance for internet service providers (“ISPs”) to comply with “safe harbor” requirements of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) in order to be shielded...more

Michael Jordan Defends His Right to Remain in Court to Protect His Likeness

On March 19, 2015, Wilson Elser published “Michael Jordan Denied Summary Judgment on His Right of Publicity Claim against Illinois Grocer,” an Alert concerning a case in which Michael Jordan was denied summary judgment on his...more

Henry Bushkin, Johnny Carson's Lawyer & Business Manager, Talks About Life with the King of Late Night [Video]

Today, my special guest is Henry Bushkin, who was Johnny Carson’s lawyer, business manager, advisor, confidante and author of the book Johnny Carson. I sat down with Henry in his apartment on the Upper East Side to talk about...more

Are You Socially Aware? Take Our Millennial Influencers Quiz

OK, Socially Aware readers, we’ve got a pop-culture quiz for you today. How many of the following names are familiar to you?...more

Ohio Supreme Court Limits Ability to Assess “Jock Tax” Against Non-Resident Athletes

The Ohio Supreme Court dealt a pair of blows to Cleveland’s so-called “jock tax” in separate decisions issued on April 30th. Although neither decision called into question a locality’s power to tax non-resident athletes and...more

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

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