Of Slants, Skins And Signs: The Supreme Court Grants Certiorari

SlantsWe have been following the course of In re Tam as it has progressed through the PTO and the courts. See our prior posts here, here, here, here and here. To recap, at issue is whether Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which prohibits the registration of marks that may disparage persons,… More

Trademarks in Telemark: Five Brands and Other Things to Look For at PTMG in Oslo

Akershus Fortress OsloI 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

European Court Of Justice: Linking To Playboy Pics May Infringe Copyright

captureOn 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

Advertising Through Social Media: Ten Tips For FTC & NAD Compliance

social-media

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

I May Not Be Able To Pronounce Acai But I Know It Doesn’t Burn Fat Cells: 5 Recent Over-the-Top Weight Loss Advertising Claims And How The Federal Trade Commission Responded

acaiSome 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

Fall Is In The Air: Are The Justices Getting Ready For The Gridiron?

The Washington Redskins Ask The Supreme Court To Block Fourth Circuit From Participation In Important Trademark Cases

footballAnother 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

Copyright Plaintiffs Keep Trying to Topple Empire. Can Proto-Cookie Succeed Where Others Failed?

empire-posterJust 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 Really Like “I [LOVE] NY” – The History Of An Iconic Logo And Ad Campaign

I Love NYI 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

Copyright At The Museum: Musings In Anticipation Of The IPO Dinner At The MoMA

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

Don’t Think About Copyright Law on Labor Day

OperatorLabor 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

Why Fashion Brands Should File for Trademark Protection in Cuba

Reprinted with permission from the August 25, 2016 edition of the New York Law Journal© 2016 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. ALMReprints.com – 877-257-3382 – reprints@alm.com.

It is no secret that First Lady Michelle Obama is a huge fan of fashion designers with Cuban roots.… More

Happy Birthday, National Parks! Would You Like Your Trademarks Back?

Entrance sign at Yosemite National ParkAugust 25, 2016 marks the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, which runs the nation’s 413 national parks.  Although I am not a particularly outdoorsy person, my relatives are, so here we are on summer vacation in Acadia National Park in Maine. I must admit that it is really beautiful here, and the mosquitoes have not devoured me yet. As a trademark lawyer, however, I can’t help but be reminded of what has become one of the most controversial trademark disputes of all time –… More

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

Omnibus Photo by DaveIf 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 they arrive in London – the Paddington Station taxi stand – had a significant impact on U.S. trademark jurisprudence over a hundred years before the Lanham Act.… More

Miss Trademark USA: Beauty Pageant Naming Disputes

sdJust this month, two disputes over the trademark rights to beauty pageant names were resolved, pending appeal. In World Pageants LLC v. Miss G-String International LLC, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) dismissed an opposition to the registration of MISS G-STRING INTERNATIONAL because the opposer’s mark (MISS NUDE INTERNATIONAL) just wasn’t similar enough to cause confusion.  Meanwhile, in Organizacion Miss America Latina v.… More

Watch: Trademarks for the Generalist In-House Counsel

On July 26, Julia Huston, Josh Jarvis and Nicole Kinsley presented a webinar covering the essentials of what every generalist in‑house legal practitioner should know about trademarks.

Trademarks, the core legal protection for the names of companies and their products and services, are powerful and potentially timeless intellectual property rights, but are also frequently misunderstood by attorneys and laypersons alike. In-house attorneys in particular are likely to encounter trademark issues on a day-to-day basis,… More