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Posner On Copyright: 10 Cases To Remember

When Judge Richard Allen Posner abruptly retired from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals last month, we were so caught off guard that it took a few weeks to get our tribute machine up and running. Why a tribute to Posner...more

The FTC, Like, Revises Its Social Media Endorsement Guides, Bruh!

This month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a revised version of “Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking,” a series of questions and answers pertaining to the conduct of “influencers,” that is, anyone who...more

Your Digital Millennium Copyright Registration May Be About To Expire

Last November, we wrote about the Copyright Office’s decision to ditch its paper registration system for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) safe harbor and start a new online system completely from scratch. If you...more

A Copyright Fable: Debunking The “Seven-Second Rule”

If you are a television news producer or documentary filmmaker, you have almost certainly faced this issue: You are putting together a story about a past event, and you want to make the point that this past event was once the...more

Defamation Claim Over “Slavery Wasn’t So Bad” Comment Revived by Fifth Circuit

What if people thought you said that “slavery wasn’t so bad?” Would it harm your reputation? Would it matter if the statement was contextualized with various caveats? According to the Fifth Circuit’s August 15, 2017 opinion...more

8/21/2017  /  Anti-SLAPP , Defamation , Slavery

A Recipe For Sanctions: “No reasonable copyright attorney … would have filed this complaint.”

If you are going to file a copyright infringement complaint based on a cookbook, beware. Copyrights in cookbooks are considered “thinner” than copyrights in many other types of literary works. There are several reasons for...more

Who Owns The Copyright In The Photograph That Launched A Thousand Pleadings?

Over a decade ago, a lawyer snapped a photograph of the Indianapolis skyline, thus opening the gates to perhaps the most prolific flood of copyright litigation in the history of Indiana. Over the last five years or so, this...more

Trademark Office Issues Tequila Certification Mark Just In Time For National Tequila Day

National Tequila Day is celebrated on Monday, July 24. Tequila is made with the distilled extract of the blue agave plant, which grows in and around the city of Tequila and other parts of the state of Jalisco, Mexico....more

7/20/2017  /  Certification Marks , Trademarks

America’s First Ice Cream Trademark Infringement Case … Was “FRENCH”

This weekend marks Bastille Day in France and also National Ice Cream Day in the United States, so it’s the perfect time to recount the very first ice cream-related trademark lawsuit in the U.S. (or at least the earliest one...more

Are False Accusations Of Copyright Infringement Defamatory?

Is it defamatory to falsely accuse someone of infringing intellectual property? Last month, the California Court of Appeal, in FilmOn.com v. DoubleVerify, Inc., affirmed the dismissal of a defamation action in which the...more

Supreme Judicial Court Punts On Executive Defamation Privilege

Last week, everyone in Washington, D.C. was talking about the invocation of “executive privilege,” the ability of a President to withhold information from, for example, an investigation into Russian influence on the U.S....more

Registration v. Application: A Copyright Circuit Split

Registration is not required for valid copyright ownership, but it is required before you can bring a copyright infringement lawsuit. Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act provides that...more

Cava v. Champagne: A Trademark Lawyer’s Guide

Those of you attending the annual International Trademark Association conference in Barcelona may be drinking a glass of Cava right now and wondering: what makes sparkling wine different from regular wine, and what is the...more

10 Trademark Cases About Yo Mama

Anna Jarvis led the efforts to establish the first official celebration of Mother’s Day in 1908, during which she honored her own mother, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, a Civil War-era social activist. But about a dozen years after...more

Duke Ellington And Copyright: Five Things You Should Know

On April 29, sometimes called “Duke Ellington Day,” we celebrate the life and artistic accomplishments of the great musician and bandleader, Edward Kennedy (“Duke”) Ellington, who was born in 1899 and passed away in 1974. On...more

4/25/2017  /  Copyright , Music Industry , Trademarks

Environmental False Advertising: An Earth Day Green Guide Review

Earth Day is coming up on April 22, which means that a lot of consumers are going to be reminded to think green, and to buy green. What if your company is looking to access this vast market of environmentally-minded shoppers,...more

Marijuanaville v. Margaritaville: Registering Trademarks For Chemically Induced Mental Paradises

Although marijuana is becoming legal to varying degrees in an increasing number of states, your chances of getting a marijuana trademark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) are still grim. In...more

Are Your Consumer Contracts Being Invalidated By The Consumer Review Fairness Act?

On March 14, 2017, the Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA) will officially invalidate a whole bunch of consumer contract clauses that pertain to online reviews....more

How To Disparage But Not Defame Your Wedding Planner

It’s March, which means that wedding season is nearly upon us. Let’s say you run your own wedding-related business with one employee: you. A customer gives you a review on the internet that is not only negative, but contains...more

Sexual Harassment Parody Commercial Held Not To Violate Lanham Act

Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act prohibits false or misleading statements in commerce that are likely to cause confusion as to a person’s affiliation, approval or sponsorship of someone else’s commercial activities. Here’s an...more

Blogger-Journalist Protected From Defamation Suit By Anti-SLAPP Statute

Are journalists protected by anti-SLAPP statutes? Until last week, the likely answer would have been: “probably not,” at least in Massachusetts. But that was before Cardno Chemrisk, LLC v. Foytlin, a recent opinion by the...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

Connecting The DOTBLOG: Is Your Trademark Descriptive Or Suggestive?

When you see the name DOTBLOG, what does it mean to you? Is it just a blog about DOTS candy? Or about the painter George Seurat? Maybe it indicates a service that will help you punctuate your blog entries? Ok, probably not,...more

Charles Dickens And Copyright Law: Five Things You Should Know

One hundred and seventy five years ago, on January 22, 1842, Charles Dickens first set foot in America, specifically in Boston, after a twenty day steamship voyage from Liverpool. Dickens, only a few days shy of his thirtieth...more

Can “Merry Christmas” Be A Trademark For Christmas Wrapping?

In 1905, the owners of Smith & Kaufman, Inc., a ribbon & silk company in New York, hit upon an idea. Wouldn’t it be great, they thought, if we made a red holiday ribbon for wrapping Christmas presents, with the words “Merrie...more

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