Celebrity Trademark Watch: Gift Bag Promoter Not Likely to Thank the Academy for Oscars Trademark Lawsuit

iStock_000035858970_SmallCelebrated film actors have it tough.  After all, only two men and two women can take home a “Best” or “Best Supporting” acting Oscar each year.  The lucky winners of 2016 will be announced this coming Sunday, February 28, during the 88th awards ceremony presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, commonly referred to as the Academy.  The Academy Awards are the culmination of a jam-packed film awards season that includes the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the BAFTAs, and even… More

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

ScaliaWhen 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 only seven matters in which Justice Scalia contributed a written opinion on a substantive issue of trademark or copyright law, and only four were majority opinions. Here they are, in chronological order:

K Mart Corp. v. Cartier, 486 U.S. 281… More

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

1lWe’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, therefore, unwitting. By contrast, Abraham Lincoln’s contribution to copyright law was likely quite intentional.

On March 3, 1865, President Lincoln signed into law “An Act to Amend Several Acts Respecting Copyright,” the galley of which contained the subheading: “Photographs … may be copyrighted.” This was the first U.S…. More

From Runway to Replica: Intellectual Property Strategies for Protecting Fashion Designs

Designers like Alexander Wang, Rebecca Minkoff, and Michael Kors are all gearing up to premier their 2016 fall/winter collections this month during New York Fashion Week.  Fashion Week draws more than 230,000 attendees each year to over 500 runway shows and events in New York City.  The economic impact of this biannual event is estimated to be close to $900 million. That’s more than the U.S. Open, which generates approximately $750 million annually for New York, and the Super Bowl, which generated an estimated $550 million when it was held in the… More

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

SBS

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 I put together the first Sue-per Bowl Shuffle, a guide to the year’s gridiron disputes over trademarks, copyright, the right of publicity and other matters with a First Amendment flavor.

This year, we’ve got you covered again. Although the deflate-gate… More

Edge Cases in Copyright

If you are in the Boston area on Feb. 2 and want to hear me and Dan Booth prattle on about weird copyright cases while eating and drinking free stuff with other copyright nerds, please stop by the hip-chic-trendy Seaport this coming Tuesday! Remember to register.

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Don’t miss this CSUSA New England Chapter program!

Edge Cases in Copyright: Theoretical Problems and Practical Answers

February 2, 2016

5:30-7:00pm

Foley Hoag LLP 

155 Seaport Boulevard Boston, MA

REGISTER TODAY  Admission is free, but please… More

Corporate Defendants Find a Safe Harbor from Unfair Competition Claims in California Transparency Litigation

CaptureA District Court judge in California has dismissed a complaint against Nestlé USA Inc. and Nestlé Purina Petcare Co. (together “Nestlé”) which argued that the company was obligated to inform consumers that seafood in its catfood products may have been sourced from forced labor. Plaintiffs alleged violations of the California Unfair Competition Law, the Legal Remedies Act, and the California False Advertising Law.

Specifically, plaintiffs stated that they would not have purchased the company’s products if they had been informed that the seafood in those products… More

Celebrity Trademark Watch: Who Owns Marilyn Monroe’s Image? – Right of Publicity vs. Trademark Rights

mmIn her posthumously published autobiography, My Story, screen legend Marilyn Monroe wrote: “I knew I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful but because I had never belonged to anything or anyone else.”  There is something eerily prophetic about this quote, given how Ms. Monroe’s fame endures to this day, seemingly undiminished over time.  One can only speculate, however, whether the late superstar formerly known as Norma Jean could have predicted that ownership of her image would still be a… 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 Post, there is some controversy about the proper binge-watching order. Should you watch them in narrative order (I through VI) or in film release date order (IV-VI and then I-III)? Apparently, the preferred order is: IV, V, I, II, III and then VI.

Well, I couldn’t bear to sit through I, II and III again in any… More

Trademark and Copyright Law Blog Welcomes Natasha Reed as Author and Counsel in Foley Hoag’s New York Practice

reed_natasha_4x6We are delighted to welcome Natasha Reed as counsel in Foley Hoag’s Intellectual Property Department and — more importantly for present purposes — as our newest blogger. She’ll join Peter Sullivan in our New York City Office and on the author column of the blog.

Natasha has helped owners of some of the world’s most recognized brands in the luxury goods, fashion, film, music, publishing and food and beverage industries with trademark and copyright needs. With… More

Of Slants, Skins and Signs: Another Step Closer to the Showdown

adsfIn September, we discussed In re Tam and the potential for a showdown over the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act. At that time, a panel of the Federal Circuit had recently upheld the PTO’s refusal to register the mark THE SLANTS for a music group, finding that the name was disparaging to persons of Asian descent.  Judge Moore stated in her “additional views” that it was time to revisit the constitutionality of Section 2(a) and More

Latest DMCA Triennial Review Permits Jailbreaking, Video Game Preservation, And More

crightMost readers of this blog are well-acquainted with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the anti-circumvention provisions codified therein, 17 U.S.C. § 1201 et seq., which prohibit the circumvention of technological measures that control access to a copyrighted work, even in the absence of copyright infringement.  The anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA are often criticized for their failure to include an explicit fair use exemption like that included elsewhere in the Copyright Act, see 17 U.S.C. § 107. Instead, the provisions empower… More

ABA Journal Names Foley Hoag’s Trademark & Copyright Law Blog to 2015 “Blawg100”

Blawg100WebBadgeWe are pleased to announce that, for the second consecutive year, the editors of the ABA Journal have selected Foley Hoag’s Trademark & Copyright Law Blog to the “Blawg 100,” a curated list of the top 100 best blogs for a legal audience.

The 9th annual “Blawg 100” will not include a round of online voting to further narrow the 100 selections to a few “winners.”  So, instead of begging you to vote, this year we can simply thank you for subscribing to the… More

Date Me, Snog Me But Don’t Meet Me in the European Trademark Office

date me“Be creative!” is an important piece of advice which you often hear from European trademark lawyers. Today, more than ever, this recommendation should be taken seriously. The reason is very simple: the Community trademark office is increasingly stringent towards marks that consist of verbal messages. A recent case provides a good example:

A French company, Intervog, is the owner of two figurative community trademarks, Date Me Small(“date me”) and Snog Me Small (“snog me”), both registered in… More

The Twelve Res of Christmas: Yule-Themed IP Matters in 2015

It is often said Christmas is creeping ever-backwards, each year striving to begin its domination of our collective consciousness and consumer dollars at an earlier date. In the realm of litigation, Christmas creep manifests itself in part in the Yule-themed disputes that can occur at any time of the year, particularly in the areas of intellectual property and free speech. In order to get the Trademark and Copyright Law Blog into the holiday spirit, we’ve rounded up twelve Christmas-themed legal matters (“res” in Latin) that resulted in a written opinion during the last twelve months. Merry Christmas!

The… More