Latest Publications


Owner of Foreign Copyrights Must Plead Registration Exemption

What exactly is the definition of a “United States work” for copyright registration purposes? And why is a certain Albanian television company unlikely to forget that definition any time soon? ...more

President Ford Ascends Copyright Mount Rushmore

On past Presidents’ Days, we have discussed the critical roles in the development of U.S. copyright law played by Abraham Lincoln (who extended copyright protection to photographs) and George Washington (whose correspondence...more

2/19/2018  /  Copyright , Fair Use

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

If you are a lawyer, there is a serious danger that someone at the Super Bowl party you attend is going to want to talk about an NFL-related legal issue. Did Cowboys owner Jerry Jones really have standing to challenge...more

Martin Luther King, Jr. And Copyright: Five Things You Should Know

January 15 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, marking what would have been the 89th birthday of the great civil rights leader and Baptist minister. Although copyright is not (and should not be) the first thing that comes to mind...more

Food Advertising And Compelled Commercial Speech In 2017

According to the Hyper-Chicken, a lawyer from my favorite television show, “freedom of speech applies to what comes out of a mouth, not what goes in.” State of Alabama v. Giant Space Iguana, 273 U.S. O (2976) (chewing corners...more

“A Gronking To Remember” Plaintiffs Lose Right Of Publicity Appeal

For those of you in desperate need of Christmas present ideas for a New England Patriots fan, you can rest assured that your ironic backup option – a copy of the romance novel, A Gronking to Remember – is still available for...more

Which Trademark Came First, BUTTERBALL Turkey Or BUTTERBALL Ham?

We used to have a Thanksgiving turkey tradition at the Trademark and Copyright Law Blog. Just before every fourth Thursday of November, we’d type in our LEXIS NEXIS password and find a judicial opinion from a turkey trademark...more

11/21/2017  /  Thanksgiving , Trademarks , USPTO

10 Marketing Law Takeaways From ANA/BAA 2017

We just got back from the Association of National Advertising (ANA) and Brand Activation Association (BAA) Marketing Law Conference in Chicago, held earlier this week. With hundreds in attendance, and dozens of speakers...more

Trademark Case Too “Banal” To Justify Social Media Gag Order

Before the social media era really kicked into gear, I was representing a defendant in a defamation case who was being sued by a very wealthy plaintiff. Because of his charitable generosity, the plaintiff’s name was on...more

Halloween Costumes And Copyright: 5 Things You Should Know

This is a tough time of year if you are an intellectual property lawyer who likes to dress up. Anyone who knows about your job will be unable to resist lame and legally incorrect jokes about your Halloween costume. If you...more

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 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
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