Celebrity Trademark Watch: Gene Simmons Claims Exclusive Right In Hand Gesture

Earlier this month, KISS guitarist Gene Simmons filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) to register the “devil’s horns” hand gesture, which he routinely flashes at rock shows, as a trademark for “entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical artist.”  This bold move brings up a number of interesting questions, ranging from “Does the gesture really function as an indicator of source that points to Simmons?” to “How will he ever enforce it?” to “Can you really claim trademark rights in a hand gesture?”  For a number of reasons,… More

Watch: False Advertising Law for the Generalist In-House Counsel

Advertising can take many forms, including statements about a company’s products on websites and social media platforms. A wrong step can result in serious consequences, including legal challenges from competitors, consumers, the Federal Trade Commission, and other regulatory agencies.

Watch this webinar to learn how you can protect your company against legal challenges based on its advertising practices. You will also learn what options are available if your competitors are making false or misleading statements in their advertisements.… 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. election. Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) considered, and then punted on, a different kind of executive privilege: the absolute privilege of an executive to defame others without liability.… 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:

No civil action for infringement of the copyright in any United States work shall be instituted until . . . registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with this title. In any case,… 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 real the difference between Cava and Champagne (or, as the great Zapp Brannigan pronounces it, “champagen”)? Those of us stuck at home and not allowed to go to Barcelona – and no,… More

Watch: Protecting Product Configurations, Packaging, and Designs

What In-House Counsel Needs to Know

Product configuration and packaging play an integral part in consumer choice and can often set a particular product apart from its competition on the store shelf. Because companies heavily invest in creating unique product designs and packaging that encourage brand association, business owners should also consider protecting those investments as intellectual property.

Peter SullivanNatasha Reed and Jenevieve Maerker presented a webinar offering guidance for in-house counsel regarding the different types of intellectual property that may protect product configurations and packaging in the United States,… More

A Gem On The Mediterranean – 10 Things To See And Do While Attending The INTA Annual Meeting In Barcelona

Barcelona may be my favorite city in the world.  It is certainly a top contender.  Because one of my dearest friends is a native Barcelonian, I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited multiple times, and I have also had one of the best tour guides you could hope for.  So when I found out that the 2017 International Trademark Association (INTA) Annual Meeting (May 20 -24) was being held in BCN (a common abbreviation for the city and its airport),… 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 that first celebration, Anna Jarvis had become the holiday’s most vocal opponent. Why? Commercialization. The floral and greeting card industries had already taken over her idea,… More

French Court Finds Jeff Koons Appropriated Copyrighted Photograph That “Saved Him Creative Work”

Jeff Koons is a well-known U.S. sculptor. In 2013, one of his “Balloon Dog” sculptures was purchased for $58.4 million dollars, the highest price ever paid at auction for a work by a living artist. Koons is also famous for having faced several copyright infringement lawsuits in the U.S. and other countries.

On March 9, 2017, the Paris District Court determined that Koon’s one meter-tall porcelain sculpture,… More

Foley Hoag Intellectual Property Department Welcomes Marion Cavalier

We are delighted to announce that Marion Cavalier has joined the firm as an associate in our Paris office.  Marion’s practice encompasses patent, trademark, copyright and commercial litigation.  Marion also advises clients on data protection, defamation, privacy and contract. Her experience spans a broad range of industries with particular emphasis on the technology, media and telecommunications sectors.

We sat down with Marion to ask her about her practice and her views on some of the IP issues of the day.… 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 his 70th birthday, Ellington got a jam session at the Nixon White House and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Now, for his 118th birthday,… More

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, but your product or service isn’t really that environmentally conscious? Can you just go ahead and label yourself “Green” anyway?  Who’s gonna notice?

Well,… 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 order to register a trademark with the PTO, the applicant has to show that the goods or services with which the mark will be used are permitted under federal law. Therefore, until marijuana gets reclassified by or removed from the federal Controlled Substances Act,… More

Supreme Court Establishes Test for Copyrightability of Two-Dimensional Designs Incorporated Into Useful Articles in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court established a test for determining whether a design that is incorporated into a useful article is entitled to copyright protection. In its much-awaited opinion in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., the Supreme Court affirmed the Sixth Circuit and held that the two-dimensional designs appearing on the surface of cheerleading uniforms were entitled to copyright protection because they were sufficiently separable from the utilitarian aspects of the uniform.… More

Court Issues Temporary Restraining Order Against Invention Patenting and Promotion Company for Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices

There are many businesses focused on helping inventors develop and monetize their ideas.  There are companies that, for instance, help people seek patents on their inventions, license their inventions, turn their ideas into tangible products, and promote those products.  World Patent Marketing in Florida bills itself as one of those companies.  But according to a complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission this month,… More