News & Analysis as of

Public Domain

Music Licensing Basics: How to Legally Use Someone’s Music in Your Business

by Knobbe Martens on

Introduction - •Music copyrights: –Musical works – sheet music and lyrics •Author is generally composer/lyricist and controls •Can be administered through a music publisher - Please see full Presentation below...more

Sultry Lady Liberty leads Postal Service astray

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

Beware sultry-looking ladies. That’s one of the lessons from the recent court decision sending a copyright case against the United States Postal Service to trial, but there are more. The decision can serve as a teaching...more

Acceptable Identification of Goods/Services

Beef jerky is one of my favorite snacks, so while strolling through the Minneapolis skyway, I captured the above floor-to-ceiling advertisement to tell another trademark story....more

Top Ten Urban Legends of Intellectual Property

1. Poor Man’s patent/copyright: mail yourself a copy of what you want protected and don’t open it.The sealed information can then be used to prove ownership of the intellectual property contained in it. While this may...more

State of Michigan Lacks Standing in M22 Case

by Revision Legal on

On April 21, 2017, Western District of Michigan Judge Gordon J. Quist ruled the State of Michigan lacks standing in a declaratory judgment action to declare the use and registration of federally registered marks are unlawful....more

Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty, Little Furry Plaintiff …

In Chase v. Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., 1:15-cv-10063-NRB (March 27, 2017), Judge Buchwald of the Southern District of New York, granted Warner Bros. motion to dismiss a copyright infringement suit brought by the...more

Curiouser and Curiouser: Copyrights and Trademark Rights are Not Perfect Reflections

by Knobbe Martens on

Much like the world of Underland created in Lewis Carroll’s book Alice Through the Looking Glass, the blurring between copyright and trademark rights can create a topsy-turvy universe....more

Supreme Court Declines to Resolve False Claims Act Public Disclosure Bar Circuit Split

by Ropes & Gray LLP on

On October 3, 2016, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Cause of Action v. Chicago Transit Authority, allowing the circuit split regarding what it means for information to be in the “public domain” under the False Claims...more

Not Gone with the Wind: IP Rights Despite Public Domain Images

by Knobbe Martens on

In 2006, Warner Bros. filed suit against A.V.E.L.A., X One X Productions, and ArtNostalgia.com, Inc. (collectively, “AVELA”) for copyright and trademark infringement under the Copyright Act, the Lanham Act, and state law....more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Fall 2016

by Fenwick & West LLP on

Mean Girls v. The Right of Publicity: Lessons Learned From the Lohan and Gravano Lawsuits - On September 1, 2016, a New York appellate court ended two closely watched right of publicity lawsuits brought by Lindsay...more

Copyright and Trademark Case Review: Who’s on First?, Virtual Lockers and Lanham Act Fee-Shifting

by WilmerHale on

Copyright Opinions - Second Circuit Permits Distribution of Cloud-Based Samples, But Declines to Consider “Novel” Cloud Storage Infringement Issue: Smith v. Barnesandnoble.com, LLC, No. 15-3508 (2d Cir. October 6,...more

Losing Control of V

A common client question is: “Can I ‘get in trouble’ for copying a picture, drawing, or cartoon and pasting it into my report, PowerPoint, etc.?” Before you can answer, they try to answer their own question, adding “Everyone...more

Happy Birthday To Me: An Iconic Song Enters The Public Domain After Copyright Settlement

As I turn 50 years old this week, I can’t help but think of the famous Happy Birthday song and the class action that resulted in its entering the public domain earlier this year. The class action plaintiffs in that case...more

Michigan v. M22: The Road Sign Trademark Battle

If you’ve ever driving north through Michigan, particularly during the autumn leaf season, I highly recommend taking the popular “scenic route,” that is, the route bordering the shore of Lake Michigan along the Leelanau...more

I Really Like “I [LOVE] NY” – The History Of An Iconic Logo And Ad Campaign

I am in New York City for the Intellectual Property Owners Association’s (“IPO”) Annual Meeting. I have been to the Annual Meeting before in other cities and had a great time, but was thrilled when I heard that it was going...more

Copyright At The Museum: Musings In Anticipation Of The IPO Dinner At The MOMA

As a fan of modern art, I am looking forward to the dinner reception at next week’s Annual Meeting of the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), which will be held at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. As a member of...more

The Pleads Of The Many: 50 Years of Star Trek Lawsuits

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the premiere of the original series of Star Trek, which first aired on NBC in September 1966. On July 22, this milestone will be marked in earnest when Paramount Pictures releases...more

“Happy Birthday” Lawyers Look to “Overcome” Another Copyright

Moving from the celebratory to the spiritual, the lawyers who (literally) brought you “Happy Birthday” once again find themselves looking to overcome entrenched copyright interests related to one of the country’s most...more

An E-Bay User Copied and Sold Thousands of Designs for Profit, but is it Legal?

Three-dimensional printing technology continues to be a new frontier of creativity, advancement, and of course, legal issues. The laws surrounding 3D printing have always been a topic of concern, but the discussion took...more

If Uncle Sam Knows, Doesn’t Everyone? Seventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal Under Public Disclosure Bar, But Opens Door for...

by Bryan Cave on

On Feb. 29, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a False Claims Act (FCA) suit, holding the relator, Cause of Action, failed to establish subject matter jurisdiction given the FCA’s public disclosure bar (Cause of...more

Disney’s Influence on United States Copyright Law

by Weintraub Tobin on

If you’ve ever applied for, or researched copyright law, you likely learned one thing above all else: it’s not a perpetual right. So, how, you might wonder, have companies like The Walt Disney Company managed to maintain...more

Court tells Brooklyn Artist to “Fugetaboutit” on Her Copyright Claims against Starbucks

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

Maya Hayuk is a Brooklyn artist known for her vivid murals that use a variety of geometric shapes punctuated by bright hues and layers of dripping paint. In June of 2015, Hayuk filed a complaint against Starbucks on copyright...more

Regular audits of technology license agreements may reduce your patent royalty payments

by McAfee & Taft on

Patent license royalty payments can be habit-forming. Some patent licenses have terms extending for potentially two decades or longer. As a result, patent licenses are frequently filed away never to be seen again....more

Using “Borrowed” Images in Your Blog

An engaging image, be it a photograph, line art or other graphic, can capture the reader’s attention and drive interest in an online post. Bloggers, especially, are well aware of the attention grabbing benefits of a great...more

When a Quirk of Copyright Law Creates a Christmas Classic: It’s a Wonderful Life and the Public Domain

George Bailey stands on a bridge begging for another chance at life. Upon being granted a second chance, he joyously runs home to embrace his family. As the community of Bedford Falls rallies around him and raises funds to...more

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