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

A Hefty False Advertising Case: When the Competition Calls You Wimpy

If you’re interested in garbage, the crass objectification of male celebrities, or both – or if you consider the two roughly equivalent – have I got a false advertising case for you!  Despite their “Don’t Get Mad; Get Glad” tagline, the makers of Glad trash bags got pretty mad at a recent advertising campaign launched by their competitor, Hefty. So mad, in fact, that they filed a complaint with the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau.… More

Watch: Internet Takedowns and Domain Name Disputes for the Generalist In-House Counsel

As all aspects of business inexorably shift toward online, it is not surprising that intellectual property infringement, cybersquatting, and related internet abuses abound. Luckily, there are various procedures available by which aggrieved companies can seek relief short of litigation.

Joshua Jarvis, David Kluft and Anthony Rufo presented a webinar offering guidance for in-house counsel regarding internet takedowns and domain name disputes,… More

U.S. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Win 4-0 Over Spanish Donuts

A decision rendered by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on March 2, 2017, affirming a General Court ruling and potentially ending a nearly twenty-year legal battle, is a reminder to trademark owners that what is generic in one territory can be distinctive in another.

Doughnuts are well-known in the U.S. but, until recently, they were far less known in Europe.… More

The PARIS BEACH CLUB Trademark. Get It?

En route to Paris for the spring conference of the Pharmaceutical Trade Marks Group, I am contemplating trying to pay a visit to the PARIS BEACH CLUB.  Paris Beach Club!  Get it?  It’s a joke because, as everyone of course knows, Paris is land-locked and has no beach.

Or so goes the reasoning of one of my favorite Trademark Trial & Appeal Board cases,… More

Are Your Consumer Contracts Being Invalidated By The Consumer Review Fairness Act?

On March 14, 2017, the Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA) will officially invalidate a whole bunch of consumer contract clauses that pertain to online reviews.

During the last decade, we started hearing reports about professionals using form contracts to prevent their clients or patients from publishing negative online reviews. Here’s an example of how it worked: You showed up for a dentist appointment and,… More

How To Disparage But Not Defame Your Wedding Planner

It’s March, which means that wedding season is nearly upon us. Let’s say you run your own wedding-related business with one employee: you. A customer gives you a review on the internet that is not only negative, but contains false statements.  Who is harmed by this false review: you, your business or both? And if you want to sue the former customer, what is your cause of action?… More

Jersey Boys: The Curtain Call For Two Copyright Claims

Last month, the Broadway hit-musical Jersey Boys closed its doors after a spectacular eleven-year run.  As someone who hails from the great state of New Jersey and who saw the show twice, I thought it was only appropriate to give Jersey Boys a formal send off.  And what better way for a copyright lawyer to honor Jersey Boys than to write about two Jersey Boys-related copyright suits?… More