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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

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

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

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

Hot News, Shredded Wheat and Wool Underwear: Brandeis On Copyright And Trademark

October 9 marks the 100th anniversary of Louis Brandeis’ first session as a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (October 9, 1916 was the second Monday in October – in 1917, the Court began meeting on the first...more

The London Omnibus And its Impact on U.S. Trademark Law

If you are traveling to London in August (as I am right now), you don’t have to go far before you start soaking in this great city’s contribution to trademark law. In fact, the very first thing many tourists encounter when...more

8/19/2016  /  Trademarks , UK , Young Lawyers

Harry Potter And The Cursed Legal Update

It has been about a year since we published Harry Potter Lawsuits and Where to Find Them, my attempt at a comprehensive review of Harry Potter-related litigation. Why update the article now? Two reasons. First: The...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

The Death Of Alexander Hamilton And The Birth Of The American Free Press

Alexander Hamilton has more to do with American independence than you might think. His efforts as a Founding Father (the hottest Founding Father on Broadway, it should be noted) helped the United States achieve political...more

First Circuit Affirms FTC Social Media Order: users Jerked Around By Material Misrepresentations

In Fanning v. Federal Trade Commission, the First Circuit affirmed a summary decision of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which found that Jerk LLC, the operator of, materially misrepresented both the source of...more

Alcohol Trademarks of the 1800’s: California Uncorks the Past

For the last two years, we have published the Trademark Year in Wine and Beer, a catalogue of each year’s trademark disputes in the alcoholic beverage industry. That is why we were extra excited on April 21, 2016 when the...more

Shakespeare and Copyright: 5 Things You Should Know

Last year, I made a terrible mistake. When I published Harry Potter Lawsuits and Where to Find Them on this blog, I pronounced that “Ms. Rowling and her works pop up in court more than any author since Charles Dickens.” I...more

The First Circuit’s “Scungy” Backpage: Copyright And Right Of Publicity Claims Ineffective Against Sex Trafficking

In Doe v., the First Circuit affirmed the District of Massachusetts in holding that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) shields from civil liability a website used by third parties to facilitate...more

Skippy Still Hates Peanut Butter: TTAB Denies Petition To Cancel 1947 Trademark Registration . . . Again

Two years ago in March, in honor of National Peanut Month, we recounted the truly epic struggle for the SKIPPY mark between the once-iconic cartoon character and the still-iconic peanut butter brand. The story began nearly 90...more

Justice Scalia on Trademark and Copyright: Dastar, Penguin-Shaped Cocktail Shakers and “Guilt by Resemblance”

When we decided to mark the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia by recounting a few of his copyright and trademark opinions, we were somewhat surprised to discover that there really hadn’t been that many. In fact, we located...more

Why President Lincoln Put the Civil War on Hold to Extend Copyright Protection to Photographs

We’ve taken advantage of past Presidents Days to recount George Washington’s role in the history of U.S. Copyright law, specifically the birth of fair use. That role was not insubstantial, but it was posthumous and,...more

Sue-per Bowl Shuffle II: The Year in NFL-Related Intellectual Property Litigation

Around this time last year, 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 IP-ish lawsuits that I’m supposed to know about. So...more

Star Wars Copyright and Trademark Litigation: The Empire Sues Back

Haven’t seen the new Star Wars movie yet? The pop culture zeitgeist recommends that you binge-watch all six of the prior Star Wars movies before going to see Episode VII, The Force Awakens and, according to the Washington...more

A Trademark Year in Wine and Beer 2015: Our Holiday Buyer’s Guide to Disputed Beverages

Just in time for the holiday season, we present our second annual Trademark Year in Wine and Beer. Whether you are planning a holiday party or just having some friends over, you are probably in the market for some liquid...more

Are You Sure This Isn’t About Copyright? Chicken Sandwiches, Monkey Selfies and the Boundaries of Copyright Law

Last week, a wild crested macaque named Naruto (but really People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against photographer David John Slater in the Northern District of California. The...more

Harry Potter Lawsuits And Where To Find Them

On July 31, 2015, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling celebrates her 50th birthday, according to muggle sources. The enormous success of Rowling’s literary creation and its associated multimedia empire has spawned countless...more

Copyright Law: The Silent © in Same-Sex Marriage

Last week, the focus of the legal world was not on intellectual property, to put it mildly. However, copyright law did have a small and somewhat silent, but still important, role in the Supreme Court jurisprudence that led to...more

Political Speech, Trademarks And The Definition of “Goods or Services”

Last month witnessed the resolution of two trademark infringement cases involving the relationship between political activities and the definition of “goods or services.” On May 18, 2015, State Senator Steve Hershey gave up...more

Digilante Justice: Defamation By Camera Phone

Earlier this month, a man in Melbourne, Australia decided to take his very first selfie next to a Darth Vader poster at a local shopping center. A nearby shopper mistakenly thought that the man was taking pictures of her...more

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