First Amendment

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech... more +
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech or the press, preventing citizens from peacefully assembling, or interfering with citizens' ability to petition the government for redress of their grievances. The First Amendment is one of the most sacred aspects of the American legal tradition and has spawned a vast body of jurisprudence and commentary. less -
News & Analysis as of

Requiring A Flu Shot Over Religious Objections: Risky Business

It’s flu season and many employers, particularly those in healthcare, want to require employees to be vaccinated to minimize the spread of illness. But what happens when an employee refuses on religious grounds?...more

Upcoming FDA Public Meeting on Speech and Medical Products

As a reminder, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is holding a two-day public meeting on November 9 and 10, 2016 regarding “Manufacturer Communications Regarding Unapproved Uses of Approved or Cleared Medical Products.” ...more

Federal Circuit Finds Three Intellectual Venture’s Patents Invalid under the Mayo/Alice Framework

The Federal Circuit recently decided a case concerning three patents owned by Intellectual Ventures I LLC (“IV”). Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Symantec Corp., Case Nos. 2015-1769, 2015-1770, 2015-1771 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 30,...more

Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rules ‘Misguided,’ ‘Unlawful’ and Must be Blocked, Says Texas Lawsuit – TRO Hearing Scheduled for...

Several large construction and security industry groups have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to block the heavily criticized Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order 13673 and...more

Fifth Circuit Affirms False Claims Act’s Anti-Retaliation Provision Cannot Be Used Against Individuals Who Did Not Employ...

On July 1, 2016, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district Court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s False Claims Act (“FCA”) retaliation claim against all individual defendants in the case. In Howell v. Town of Ball, 827 F.3d 515, 521...more

Copyright and Trademark Case Review: The Slants, The Sims and SCAR Rifles

Supreme Court Agrees to Review Bar on Registration of Disparaging Marks, Denies Washington Redskins' Petition to Join Proceedings - Supreme Court Agrees to Review Bar on Registration of Disparaging Marks, Denies...more

A Contentious Presidential Election, #BlackLivesMatter and Bathroom Laws: Addressing Polarizing Current Events in the Workplace

It is practically impossible these days to turn on the news, get on the internet or listen to the radio without hearing about some polarizing event. Whether it is a debate over the presidential candidates, the...more

Electronic Frontier Foundation brings suit over anti-circumvention provisions in the DMCA

On July 21, 2016, the Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF") filed a complaint against various agencies and members of the U.S. government over Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"), arguing that this...more

Landmarking designation is alleged to violate RLUIPA

A brewing dispute in Yonkers, NY has led the Islamic Community Center for Mid Westchester (ICCMW) to allege that Yonkers violated ICCMW’s rights under RLUIPA, and the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States...more

Update on Prosecution for Truthful Off-Label Promotion

We have been following issues related to the interplay of off-label use, manufacturer statements about off-label use, the First Amendment, and FDA enforcement for a long time. (Like here, here, and here, among many posts.) ...more

Company Practices "Onionhead" – Employees Cry Reverse Religious Discrimination

A New York federal court recently sided with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) as to whether a company’s internal conflict-resolution program was religious in nature. Because the program—called...more

District Court Judge Assigned in Conflict Minerals Rule Case

How time flies! This month, the litigation relating to the U.S. SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule enters its fourth year. The litigation has been quiet for the better part of the last year, after the SEC’s petition seeking...more

Southern District of California Holds Charge for Incoming Call Does Not Create Standing to Assert TCPA Claim

Plaintiff filed suit, placing at issue a single call to his cell phone using an ATDS, and attempting to represent a class of similarly situated individuals. The only allegation in the Complaint arguably relating to injury was...more

Retail and Consumer Products Law Roundup - October 2016

Supreme Court to Review Credit Card Surcharge Statutes - Why it matters: In an effort to resolve a conflict between Circuits, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a challenge to New York’s credit card...more

Watching SCOTUS – ERISA Church-Plan Exemption Revisited

Seyfarth Synopsis: Currently before the Supreme Court are two petitions regarding the thorny legal question of which organizations can qualify for ERISA’s Church-plan exemption. If the Supreme Court grants certiorari and...more

Lee v Tam

The Supreme Court agreed on September 29 to consider whether a provision of the Lanham Act that allows the USPTO to refuse to register “disparaging” trademarks violates the constitutional right to free speech. The case is...more

Judge Mayer’s Concurrence in IV Shows the Problem with Judicially Created Exceptions

The press is all abuzz with reactions to Judge Mayer’s concurring opinion bluntly stating that “claims directed to software implemented on a generic computer are categorically not eligible for patent.” Intellectual Ventures...more

Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Symantec Corp. (Fed. Cir. 2016) - Just When You Thought the Federal Circuit Was Softening...

Intellectual Ventures I LLC ("IV") sued Symantec Corp. and Trend Micro (defendants) for infringement of various claims of three U.S. Patents (Nos. 6,460,050; 6,073,142; and 5,987,610). The District Court held the asserted...more

Supreme Court Rejects Effort By Redskins to Join Slants

The Supreme Court rejected the effort by the Washington Redskins to skip the 4th Circuit and Join the hearing of the USPTO appeal of the SLANTS case....more

Don’t Be Offended: Supreme Court Set to Decide Whether Offensive Trademark Ban Violates First Amendment

The United States Supreme Court, on September 29, 2016, granted certiorari in a case involving petitioner Simon Tam, his band, The Slants, and the band’s attempt to register their band name as a trademark. Commentators...more

Political Speech in the Workplace

The upcoming presidential election between two larger-than-life characters, each capable of stirring intense emotional reactions from both sides, is sure to produce some spirited debate around the water cooler this fall. ...more

New York Credit Card Surcharges

On September 29, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United Stated announced that it would hear the appeal to the highly anticipated credit card surcharge case, of which we have been tracking. [See New York Judge Grants...more

Nashville Islamic Center Claims Tax Rules Impose Unfair Burden

The Islamic Center of Nashville (ICN) recently filed a federal complaint and request for declaratory judgment against the State of Tennessee, the Metropolitan Trustee of Nashville, and the Tennessee State Board of...more

Brandmarking - Volume 5, Number 2 - October 2016

Supreme Court Review of “Disparagement” Trademark Case May – or May Not – Implicate First Amendment, Impact Washington Redskins Case - The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday agreed to hear one of two high-profile cases that...more

Is a Consumer Trade Association’s Speech Covered by the DC Anti-SLAPP Act?

When a consumer trade association “speaks” about the health effects of a product, is its speech on an issue of public interest, and thus within the scope of the DC anti-SLAPP statute, or is it in furtherance of the...more

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