Fair Use Trademarks

News & Analysis as of

Harry Potter Lawsuits And Where To Find Them

On July 31, 2015, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling celebrates her 50th birthday, according to muggle sources. The enormous success of Rowling’s literary creation and its associated multimedia empire has spawned countless...more

Update on Battle Over the Navajo Mark

In a surprising move last week, Urban Outfitters and its subsidiaries (collectively “Urban Outfitters”) moved to withdraw their motion for partial summary judgment on the secondary liability claims being brought against them...more

The Juice Runs Out for Yankee Parody Trademarks

A good general business practice is to apply to register trademarks early. You’ll find out if there is an issue. You’ll have time to change rather than having to take everything off the shelf under the threat of a lawsuit....more

The House That Juice Built: TTAB Denies Registration To Parodies

On May 8, 2015, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) issued a resounding blow to trademark applicants who seek to register others’ trademarks as parodies. In New York Yankees Partnership v. IET Products and...more

Imported from “Dertroit”

Readers of the blog know the dangers of selling unlicensed apparel and the oft-litigious stance of Major League Baseball when it comes to defending its marks.  But a recent viral t-shirt phenomenon may just be one time the...more

New Guidance Regarding Employee Handbooks Part Three: How Much Do Employers “Own” Their Logo, Copyright and Trademark?

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) restricts all employers from issuing policies or rules – even if well-intentioned – that inhibit employees from engaging in activities protected by the act, such as discussing wages,...more

Crafting an Effective Fair Use Defense

The beer industry is rife with trademark legal issues. We’ve discussed quite a fe here, including disputes over brewery names, attempts to register as a trademark the design of a beer glass, or the longstanding issue of...more

Federal Government Wins Trademark Battle to Shut Down “Voice of America” Website with “Undeniable Governmental Aesthetic”

Since its first broadcast on February 1, 1942, the Voice of America radio service (VOA) has aired countless hours of programming in dozens of languages to what is currently an estimated global audience of over 100 million...more

Georgia State Academic Fair Use Decision Vacated by 11th Circuit: A (Relatively) Quick Read for the Busy Practitioner

Last Friday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded the Northern District of Georgia’s 350-page fair use analysis of the electronic reserves practices at Georgia State University (“GSU”). Although this...more

Arrow Productions, LTD v. The Weinstein Company LLC

Arrow Productions, LTD v. The Weinstein Company LLC - USDC, S.D. New York, August 25, 2014: District court dismisses copyright and trademark infringement claims of copyright owner of 1972 pornographic film Deep Throat,...more

Fair Use of GM’s Corvette Stingray?

While filling up my gas tank at our local Costco last week I coudn’t resist capturing this photo of pump signage to ask our dear readers a few pointed questions...more

The Art of Parodying a Global Mega-Brand

In February 2014, comedian Nathan Fielder orchestrated an ambitious publicity stunt – he crudely poked fun at global mega-brand Starbucks. His elaborate prank could have been a costly one. Fielder treated a long queue of...more

Intellectual Property Year in Review

With the new year underway, we take a look back at some of the intellectual property-related highlights of 2013. Not only did the federal copyright and trademark agencies face a full-blown government shutdown this past year,...more

Rhymin’ & Stealin’ & Filin’ Lawsuits

Last month, I wrote about the preemptive lawsuit filed by GoldieBlox, a toy retailer, against the Beastie Boys. GoldieBlox sought declaratory relief that their use of the Beastie Boys’ song “Girls” in a GoldieBlox...more

Green Day Leaves Street Artists Screaming

Gone are the days where live music performances consist solely of flashing lights, backup dancers and pyrotechnics. Today’s artists utilize massive video screens to coordinate descriptive images with their music. The...more

The MPAA and the Midwives, and Other Cautionary Tales

As we all know, The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has long taken an active role in the debate regarding the advantages and disadvantages of traditional midwifery and modern medical views regarding childbirth....more

IP Update, Vol. 16, No. 9, September 2013

Patents/Preliminary Injunction: Preliminary Injunction Ordered Based on Appellate Claim Construction Aria Diagnostics, Inc. v. Sequenom, Inc. - Addressing a preliminary injunction filed by a defendant in a...more

Coca-Cola Open for Co-Branding?

By now you know how much I love the Coca-Cola brand and advertising, and this beautiful gem of a billboard is no exception...more

Happy Birthday…You’re Being Sued!

Have you ever noticed how people rarely sing “Happy Birthday to You” in movies and television? Instead, people usually sing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow,” even though no one actually sings that song in real life. ...more

Need A Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gift? Be Careful!

Do you need to buy a last minute Valentine’s Day gift? You may be thinking of picking up the best-selling book Fifty Shades of Grey. Be careful – you need to read this post so that you are not confused and buy something else....more

This Is Our Super Bowl Blog Post. Now Come and Get Us, NFL!

Unless you live here, I’m assuming you’re aware of a little football game taking place this weekend between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. (And maybe, just maybe, you might have heard something — but...more

Controversial Film “Escape From Tomorrow” Shows Need to Protect Intellectual Property

“Escape From Tomorrow,” one of the most controversial films at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, has put copyright and trademark law, as well as the question of what constitutes parody, in the spotlight. The film reminds...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Fall 2012

In This Issue: - Court Declines to Dish Out Preliminary Injunction in Commercial-Skipping Case Despite Likelihood of Infringement - Free and Open-Source Software Diligence in Mergers, Acquisitions, and...more

SORT OF THE RINGS: Will Trademark Fair Use Protect Age of the Hobbits?

In August of this year, Warner Brothers finally announced the release of Age of the Hobbits, Peter Jackson’s long-awaited follow-up to his Lord of the Rings trilogy, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous fantasy novels. Age of the...more

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