If you are a Star Trek fan, the name Axanar has almost certainly crossed your lips or your computer screen recently. Axanar is a film (well, at least a very good trailer aspiring to be a film) set in the Star Trek universe, which tells the back story of Garth of Izar, a character who appeared in one episode of the original Star Trek series.… More
Congratulations to Beth Hella, Senior Trademark Administration Manager at Foley Hoag LLP, who recently received the first ever Lifetime Achievement award presented by the National Docketing Association (NDA). Beth was honored for her dedication and commitment to the NDA and for her perseverance in the advancement and education of docketing professionals.
Beth served as Treasurer of the NDA for four years before resigning from the Board at the end of 2015 to join the NDA’s Education Committee and initiate the creation the NDA Resource Library,… More
As I turn 50 years old this week, I can’t help but think of the famous Happy Birthday song and the class action that resulted in its entering the public domain earlier this year. The class action plaintiffs in that case filed a declaratory judgment action in the Central District of California against two music companies that had been enforcing the copyright in Happy Birthday and requiring the payment of royalties in some circumstances where it had been used commercially,… More
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 Monday). This occasion is worthy of remembrance not only because of the historical importance of the man himself, but also because Brandeis was the first Jewish jurist (or non-Christian of any creed) to ascend to the high court,… More
This summer, the competition for popcorn popping mobile apps heated up as the creators of “Perfect Popcorn” and “iMunchies” battled over copyright infringement claims. On July 18, 2016, a judge in the Northern District of California denied a motion to dismiss the claims, allowing the question of whether or not these apps offer substantially similar virtual depictions of popcorn to go forward.
I am excited to be traveling to Norway next week to attend my first conference of the Pharmaceutical Trade Marks Group in Oslo. Not having been to PTMG before, I can’t offer much insight on the conference, but since I lived in Oslo for a year many years ago, I do have a bit to say about the host city. In the spirit of a smorgasbord,… More
On September 8, 2016, the European Court of Justice rendered a controversial decision in GS Media v. Sanoma Media, which has been acclaimed by copyright holders and heavily criticized by internet companies.
The Dutch version of Playboy magazine, published by Sanoma, was about to publish photographs of a Dutch TV celebrity, Britt Dekker, when it learned that unauthorized copies of the images were already available on an Australian website.… More
This post first appeared in Law360 as “10 Considerations When Advertising On Social Media,” published on September 21, 2016.
Most modern advertising campaigns include social media components. In fact, it is not uncommon today to see products advertised exclusively on social media. For the most part, the same rules that govern traditional advertising also govern commercial speech on social media.… More
Some say “ah-sigh;” I say “ah-kai;” but apparently the proper pronunciation of “acai” — the so-called super berry — is actually “ah-sigh-ee.” Who knew? Acai berries are native to the Amazon rainforest and have been hailed by marketers as offering a slew of health benefits, including massive weight loss. Unfortunately, according to various consumer advocacy groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest,… More
The Washington Redskins Ask The Supreme Court To Block Fourth Circuit From Participation In Important Trademark Cases
Another Labor Day is behind us, kids are back to school, and fall has unofficially arrived (it will become official on the September 22nd equinox). The autumn leaves bring with them two major opening days. One is already behind us, as the NFL literally kicked off its season on September 8 with a matchup between the Carolina Panthers (20) and the Denver Broncos (21).… More
Just in time for the Season 3 premiere, let’s take a look back at Empire’s year in IP litigation.
Like the fictional Lyon family, which is constantly beset by threats from Feds, old criminal connections, and music business competitors, their show Empire finds itself a regular target for infringement claims. As with any successful show (or family), many people want to claim credit and their own slice of a quite lucrative pie. … More
I am in New York City for the Intellectual Property Owners Association’s (“IPO”) Annual Meeting. I have been to the Annual Meeting before in other cities and had a great time, but was thrilled when I heard that it was going to be in NYC in 2016. Even though I live in Boston, I love New York and visit often. There are so many iconic things to see in New York,… More
As a fan of modern art, I am looking forward to the dinner reception at next week’s Annual Meeting of the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), which will be held at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. As a member of IPO’s Copyright Committee, in anticipation of the dinner I have been musing about a fascinating and complicated question: Can I take snapshots of the art while visiting the MoMA? … More
Labor Day is the wrong time to think about copyright law, especially in 2016, because this year marks the twenty fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service, 499 U.S. 340 (1991). That’s the case that took the “labor” out of copyright jurisprudence by ending the “sweat of the brow” doctrine.
Why was “labor” a factor in the first place? … More