Monthly Archives: June 2014

When “Slacker” Was A Dirty Word: Defamation And Draft Dodging During World War I

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I.  The Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated on June 28, 1914 and, by the end of August 1914, Germany, Russia, France and the United Kingdom had joined the war. The United States entered the fray on April 6, 1917, by declaring war on Germany. This was when the word “slacker” suddenly became defamatory.

The Slacker Lists

The U.S.… More

Supreme Court Fires Shot Across The Bow Of NSA Metadata Collection


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Recent revelations concerning the activities of the National Security Agency (“NSA”) include reports that the NSA and other government agencies have – in secret – routinely collected in bulk the “metadata” associated with millions of telephone users within the United States. While metadata does not include the actual words spoken in a telephone call or written in the body of an email,… More

Aereo’s Internet TV Service Not Saved From Copyright Infringement Liability By Technical Differences, Says Supreme Court

Aereo 1Television broadcasters and other digital content providers issued a collective sigh of relief on June 25, 2014, when the United States Supreme Court issued its much-awaited opinion in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc.  The Court reversed the Second Circuit and held that Aereo’s television service, which allowed viewers to watch broadcast television programs over the internet, infringed the broadcasters’ exclusive right to publicly perform their work.… More

Amazon’s Inability To Register Domain Name .Amazon Is An Interesting Case Study For New gTLDs

Do you want your company to control .app or .restaurant? Applying to operate a generic top-level domain (gTLD) isn’t for the faint of heart.  Although several hundred companies ponied up the $185,000 application fee for over 1,900 total gTLD applications, that’s only the first stage in the process.  Once filed, ICANN reviews each application for financial, technical, and operational competence, ensuring that each applicant has the financial wherewithal,… More

NYC Restaurant Scene Extends to Newark In Concurrent Use Trademark Case

BNB1The matter of Terra Sul Corp. v. Boi Na Braza, Inc. involved a concurrent use proceeding between two restaurants over their nearly identical names. In theory, the scope of the conflict was nationwide, but in reality, as one party put it, “[t]his dispute has always been about New York City.”  In a recent precedential opinion, the TTAB concluded that, because the “New York restaurant scene’s embrace is sufficiently broad to reach Newark,” a New Jersey restaurant’s area of concurrent use included New York City and,… More

Divided TTAB Panel Once Again Finds REDSKINS Trademarks Disparaging

redskins-logoIn a ruling sure to generate heated discussion in the sports world, the trademark community and elsewhere, a divided panel of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has ruled that six registered marks including the term REDSKINS owned by the Washington NFL franchise should be cancelled.

A Long, Strange Trip

Of the six marks at issue, one was registered in 1967,… More

Supreme Court Paves The Way For Lanham Act Claims Against FDA-Regulated Competitors

pomThe Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision last week in Pom Wonderful LLC v. Coca-Cola Co., a case pitting the false advertising provisions of the Lanham Act against the beverage labeling standards of the federal Food Drug & Cosmetics Act (FDCA).  Pom Wonderful, maker of 100% pomegranate juice and other pomegranate-based products, brought false advertising claims against Coca-Cola, accusing its Minute Maid Pomegranate Blueberry drink of misleading consumers into believing they were drinking more pomegranate and blueberry juice than they in fact were. … More

“National Association For The Abortion of Colored People” Trademark Case Heads To Fourth Circuit

naacpWe previously reported on the dispute between the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the conservative activist Ryan Bomberger. Bomberger had repeatedly referred to the NAACP in online articles not by its actual name, but by the name “National Association for the Abortion of Colored People.” Bomberger characterized this alternative moniker as a parodic critique of what he perceived to be the NAACP’s pro-choice politics. … More

Is .XYZ The Next .COM? You Might Be Surprised.

ICANNMost of our readers are now familiar with ICANN’s new generic top-level domain (gTLD) program, which saw over 1,900 applications from various entities seeking to operate new top-level domain name registries.  Most of these applications were for true gTLDs such as .web, .law, .book, and .family.  But about a third of the applications, referred to as “.Brand TLDs,” consisted of trademarks (many famous and well-known marks),… More

Second Circuit Hints At Possible Google Books Outcome In Finding HathiTrust Digital Library Project Protected As Fair Use

HathiEarlier this week, the Second Circuit issued its ruling in the HathiTrust case, a potential precursor to the long-awaited resolution of the more prominent, and related, Google Books case.  The decision upholds the district court’s finding that the non-profit defendant is protected by the fair use doctrine, but leaves room for a potentially different outcome in the Google Books matter.  As we have reported,… More

It Doesn’t Have To Be the Magna Carta! Alien Yogurt And The Writing Requirement For Copyright Transfers

StuffSunday (June 15) marks the 799th birthday of the Magna Carta (sometimes spelled Magna Charta), which famously limited the powers of the English monarch vis-à-vis his feudal barons.  Although often credited as a singular influence on the U.S. Constitution, and therefore on American law, it also gave rise to one of our favorite pre-internet copyright memes, courtesy of Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinksi in Effects Associates v.… More

Copyright Antitrust Claims Against Textbook Publishers Dismissed in Longstanding Gray Market Copyright Case

Copyright Antritrust

It is no secret that college textbooks are expensive, and the average student has little recourse when a professor assigns specific books and editions.  Stuck between a rock and a hard place, over the years students have concocted several creative ways to avoid these high prices.  Examples include checking out textbooks from libraries for a semester at a time; purchasing books at retail price,… More

Defamation Claim Against HBO Sports Documentary Proceeds; International Sporting Goods Supplier Not a Public Figure

 

On May 16, 2014, in Mitre Sports v. HBO, the Southern District of New York allowed a defamation claim brought by a UK company against HBO to proceed to trial.  In Capturedoing so, the Court ruled that Mitre Sports International, one of the world’s top sporting goods suppliers, was not a public figure.

Battle of the Rotten Subcontractors
The case was sparked by an episode of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,… More

Comments Sought on Service Mark Examination Guidelines

CommerceThe United States Patent and Trademark Office is soliciting comments on its draft version of the “Service Mark Specimens” examination guide.  The topics covered by the guide include the elements of an acceptable service mark specimen, grounds for refusal, and common issues arising in the examination of specimens for technology-related services. Comments are due by July 16, 2014.  More information is available here.… More