On January 21, 2014, oral arguments were held in the Supreme Court case of Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., which concerned the copyright to the story underlying the film Raging Bull. We previously discussed this case at some length, but to make a long story short: There is a three-year statute of limitations for copyright infringement.… More
Tag Archives: laches
At some point, a legal claim is just so old and stale that it’s unfair to allow the plaintiff to bring it. The statute of limitations and the doctrine of laches are two different solutions to this same problem. The former puts specific time limits on certain types of claims. On the other hand, the equitable doctrine of laches (from the old French “laschesse,” meaning “slackness”) eschews the one-size-fits-all approach and allows a judge to use common sense and fairness to determine whether a plaintiff’s delay was unreasonable given the particular circumstances of each case.… More
Decades of Delay Are OK: First Circuit Rejects Laches Defense Based on “Doctrine of Progressive Encroachment”
In a case on appeal from the District of Puerto Rico, the First Circuit held that the “doctrine of progressive encroachment” defeated a junior user’s laches defense, despite the fact that the junior user had been co-existing with the senior user for decades.
This case involved two banks, both started in the 1960s and both using the mark ORIENTAL. (Banks, it may be said,… More