Free Speech

News & Analysis as of

Signs 4 JC Shown the Light by NH District Court

Thou shall have the right to an electronic sign? Apparently not. Just over a year ago, Hillside Baptist Church and Signs for Jesus (together, Plaintiffs or Church) filed a complaint in the District Court for New Hampshire,...more

Disparaging (or Maybe Not) Trademarks: The Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on In Re Tam

On January 18, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding whether the Lanham Act’s provision refusing federal trademark registration to disparaging marks is invalid under the Free Speech Clause of the First...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Winter 2017

A Smooth Patch in a Rough Road? Governmental Transition and Intellectual Property - Whenever a new Congress convenes, some IP issues come to the fore while others take a back seat. Transition to a new administration in...more

First Amendment Implications of Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court

While President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch of the Tenth Circuit is expected to face withering scrutiny over the politically incendiary topics of abortion and gun rights, Jackson Walker attorney Shannon...more

"FDA Publications Double Down on Agency’s Ability to Prohibit Off-Label Communications, but Narrow Scope of Debate"

On the eve of a change in administration, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA or the Agency) released a flurry of documents regarding off-label communications and FDA’s ability to regulate such communications within...more

Presidents and the Press

Here’s a quiz for you. Match the President to the quote: “He uses tweets to go directly to the public while bypassing journalists.” “[The President] directed [name] to make speeches attacking newspapers and the...more

The 2016 Roundup of Key California Anti-SLAPP Decisions

In 2016, the California Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued important opinions interpreting California’s anti-SLAPP statute (C.C.P. § 425.16 et seq.), once again broadly construing its application. See...more

Lee v. Tam: Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments On Lanham Act Section 2(a) Prohibition of Registration of Disparaging Marks

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in Lee v. Tam to examine the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a). Section 2(a) prevents the registration of...more

"2016-17 Supreme Court Update"

In a season of political surprises, the eight-member U.S. Supreme Court has stirred no controversy with its decisions so far this term. The handful of opinions the Court released in the fall were unanimous and, for the most...more

Texas Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Jackson Walker Media Clients in Important Free Speech Case

Houston partner John K. Edwards argued before the Texas Supreme Court in September 2016 on behalf of a newspaper and reporter in an important libel case that started in 2003 concerning an article published in a Fort Bend...more

Guest Post – Midnight Madness - The FDA Continues To Discount First Amendment Implications Of Restrictions On Off-Label Promotion

This guest post is from Liz Minerd, an associate at Reed Smith. She previously wrote the post on the FDA’s off-label promotion meeting last November, so when she indicated that she’d like to write about the FDA’s “Midnight...more

EEOC Seeks Input Regarding Proposed Harassment Enforcement Guidance

On January 10, 2017, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued proposed enforcement guidance on preventing workplace harassment for which it seeks input before implementation. The deadline for...more

Eighth Circuit Hints at Unconstitutionality of Missouri Restrictions on Alcohol Advertising

Last week, the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit weighed in on the legality of restrictions on alcohol advertising under the First Amendment, issuing an opinion in Missouri Broadcasters Association v. Lacy that could...more

This Year’s Top Ten IP Cases

#10 Design Patent Damages § 289 - Samsung Elecs. Co., v. Apple Inc., 580 U.S. _ (Dec. 6, 2016) - In the case of a multicomponent product, the relevant article of manufacture for arriving at a damages award under...more

Dear Littler: Can A Boss Fire Someone for Off-Duty Political Activities?

Dear Littler: I saw one of my employees on the local news the other night participating in a political rally over the weekend. We try to maintain a tension-free workplace. Can I discipline him for this conduct? Can I at least...more

Defamation Law Series: Wisconsin Court of Appeals Affirms Dismissal of Firefighter Aaron Marjala’s Claim for Defamation

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of firefighter Aaron Marjala’s claim for defamation against a news network, Robert Whitaker (chief of the fire department), television journalist...more

Missouri Church Wins Digital Sign Appeal

The Missouri Court of Appeals has ruled that the Kansas City, Missouri, Board of Adjustment abused its discretion in failing to grant a variance to Antioch Community Church (Church) to install digital components into its...more

Foreign Officials, Defamation Claims and the DC anti-SLAPP Statute

First was the lawsuit filed by Yasser Abbas, the son of the Palestinian President, against Foreign Policy Group and one of its reporters, alleging that they defamed him by asking whether he was profiting from his father’s...more

501(c)(3) Public Charities Subject to New Donor Disclosure Requirements in New York

Since 1958, when the Supreme Court held that the State of Alabama’s attempt to compel the NAACP to disclose its membership lists infringed on the members’ constitutional rights to freedom of speech and assembly, charities and...more

California Employment Law Notes - January 2017

$90 Million Judgment Reinstated: Employers Must Relieve Employees Of All Duties During Their Rest Periods - Augustus v. ABM Sec. Servs., Inc., 2016 WL 7407328 (Cal. S. Ct. 2016) - Jennifer Augustus filed this...more

Three Takeaways from the DC Court of Appeals’ Mann Decision

There have been numerous articles about the long-awaited DC Court of Appeals’ opinion in Michael Mann’s libel suit against the National Review and Competitive Enterprise Institute, including in the Washington Post, Buzzfeed,...more

Trademark Year In Review And What Lies Ahead: The Lanham Act’s New Year’s Resolutions For 2017

2016 is now in the rear view mirror. At the beginning of a new year, we often take a moment to reflect on the past year, while setting goals for the present. It’s a time to say, “Last year had its ups and downs, but this...more

FDA Provides a Healthy Extension to Comment on Healthy

In September 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a number of actions concerning the use of the term “Healthy” in the labeling of food products. The FDA published notice in the Federal Register on the use of the...more

Seven IP Cases to Watch in Early 2017

SCA Hygiene AB v. First Quality Baby Products. LLC (Docket No. 15-927, S. Ct.) - In SCA Hygiene AB v. First Quality Baby Products LLC,the Supreme Court will consider “[w]hether and to what extent the defense of laches...more

National Roundup of Important Anti-SLAPP Appeals

After the DC Circuit issued its decision in Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group last year, holding that the DC anti-SLAPP statute does not apply in a federal court diversity case (and disagreeing with every other federal appellate...more

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