Right of Publicity

News & Analysis as of

The Designer Formerly Known As…Intellectual Property Issues Arising From Personal Names As Fashion Brands

Kate Spade, Paul Frank, Joseph Abboud, Catherine Malandrino, and Karen Millen—aside from being well-known designers, all have something else in common; they no longer own the right to use their personal names as their brands....more

Advertising Law - February 2017 #2

Uber’s Earnings, Financing Claims Crash Into FTC - For exaggerating claims about earnings potential and automobile financing, Uber has agreed to pay $20 million in a deal with the Federal Trade Commission. According...more

Woman Claims Her Picture is Worth $2 Billion in Right of Publicity Suit

Could a promotional photograph of a restaurant scene that includes a customer with her hand partially obscuring her face be worth more than $2 billion? That’s what a lawsuit brought by the customer claims....more

2017 Intellectual Property Law Year In Review

Though politics ruled the headlines in 2016, the year still brought big changes in intellectual property law and its application, most notably in patent subject matter eligibility, inter partes review institution and appeal...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

Sue-per Bowl Shuffle III: The Year In NFL-Related Intellectual Property Litigation

Two years ago, I started worrying about what would happen if someone at a Super Bowl party asked me to explain an NFL-related lawsuit, particularly one of those intellectual property lawsuits that sports fans assume IP...more

Live Streaming: The Privacy Concerns of Behind-the-Scenes Access

A professional football team clinches their playoff spot in an upset game, then hits the locker room for a celebration and an inspirational pep talk from their winning coach. The perfect application for livestreaming, one...more

Using a Person's Image for Commercial Purposes: Lessons Learned from the Chipotle $2.2 Billion Lawsuit

This month, a California woman sued Chipotle for $2.2 billion based on the burrito chain's unauthorized use of her photograph in its promotional materials. The $2.2 billion demand represents Chipotle's profits from 2006, when...more

Face Value: An Allegedly Co-Opted Photograph Turns into a $2.2 Billion Headache for Chipotle

Because celebrities closely guard their names and likenesses, lawsuits claiming high-dollar amounts for violations of those rights are not unusual. But a lawsuit for $2.2 billion dollars for a non-celebrity claiming a...more

The 4-Hour Plaintiff: Author/Speaker/Podcaster Tim Ferriss Secures Default Judgment

Order Granting In Part And Denying In Part Plaintiffs’ Motion For Default Judgment, Timothy Ferriss, et al. v. Alliance Publishing, Inc., et al., Case No. 15-cv-05675 (Judge Edward M. Chen) - Tim Ferriss is known for...more

Celebrity Brands: The Line Between Fair Use and Infringement

All brand owners are faced with difficult decisions regarding how aggressively to police their brands. The decision is particularly difficult when the unauthorized use is by a loyal customer or fan. While some traditional...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Fall 2016

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

You Just Used My Picture Without Permission?

Artist Richard Prince’s exhibit entitled “New Portraits’’ was displayed at New York City’s Gagosian Gallery and Frieze New York during the summer of 2015. This exhibit featured screenshots of other people’s Instagram photos....more

Some Like It Infringed? Monroe Estate Continues Intellectual Property Battles Despite Lack of Publicity Rights

On Wednesday, November 9, 2016 the estate of Marilyn Monroe filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York against Fashion Central. The Monroe Estate claims that Fashion Central infringes its intellectual property...more

Using Pop Culture References in Advertisements? Just Do It Right

In this age of smartphone cameras and hashtags, an impromptu remark or a right place-at-the-right-time snapshot can “go viral” and create instant and immense goodwill. Businesses today use social media as a tool to promote...more

Attorneys Cannot Sue Avvo for Unauthorized Profiles According to Illinois Federal Court

An Illinois federal judge dismissed a proposed class action of lawyers whose business information was published by the online attorney database Avvo without their permission. The lead plaintiff, a Chicago-based personal...more

Legal Concerns for Social Media Influencers: Intellectual Property

Social media “influencers” – individuals who are powerful, popular and relevant enough to influence others within their online social sphere – generate ad dollars, product endorsement opportunities and other revenue streams...more

Student Athletes Fight to Keep Fantasy Sports-Related Right of Publicity Claims Alive

Last week, the plaintiff collegiate athletes in a putative class action lawsuit pending in the Southern District Court of Indiana filed their opposition to FanDuel and DraftKings’ respective motions to dismiss. The...more

Augmented Reality

If you haven’t heard about newest gaming craze yet, it’s based on what is called “augmented reality” (AR) and it could potentially impinge on your home life and workplace as such games allow users to “photograph” imaginary...more

Twitter Sued For Right of Publicity Violations Over Profile-Trading Game

A class action lawsuit was filed in California yesterday against Hey, Inc. and Twitter regarding Hey’s online trading game in which players collect profiles of (and use virtual currency to invest in) real-life people as if...more

Just Play the Game: Sixth Circuit Says Student-Athletes Have No Right of Publicity in Game Broadcasts

In a short, sharp opinion filed August 17, 2016, a three-judge panel on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of a class action lawsuit brought by ten former college athletes asserting they were entitled to...more

Advertising Law - July 2016 #2

VW Will Pay $14.7B in Largest FTC False Ad Suit - Volkswagen made a $14.7 billion deal with the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, and the California Attorney General over charges that the auto...more

Julia Child Foundation Sues Airbnb for Using Her Name Without Permission

The charitable foundation representing the estate of famed chef, culinary author and TV personality Julia Child, has sued Airbnb because the company used Child’s name and likeness for a Memorial Day promotion without the...more

Airbnb Faces Suit for Using Julia Child’s Name in a Contest

Earlier this year, Airbnb ran a contest in which one winner could “come stay in the former home of Julia Child.” The company advertised that entrants could imagine themselves “walking the halls of Julia Child’s former home,”...more

Three Point Shot - June 2016

Showtime and Top Rank Slug It out over "Fight of the Century" - Who said boxing was dead? Fight fans still bitter over the May 2015 Floyd Mayweather–Manny Pacquiao bout that was far more mega-bore than mega-brawl...more

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