New episode of our podcast, Speaking of Litigation: From chart-topping artificial rap songs to employment screening tools, artificial intelligence (AI) is not only a societal phenomenon but also a growing legal dilemma.
Trial lawyers around the globe are focused on the emergence of AI-related disputes in and out of the courtroom.
The question of whether a would-be trademark, “TRUMP TOO SMALL,” warrants a First Amendment exception to the Lanham Act’s prohibition on registering a living person’s name as a trademark without that person’s permission has now reached the United States Supreme Court. On June 5, 2023, in Vidal v. Elster, Case 22-704, the high court granted the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (hereinafter, the “Government”) petition for certiorari to determine whether, under 15 U.S.C. § 1052(c), the refusal to register a trademark containing another person’s name violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment when that mark implies criticism of a government official or public figure. As we wrote last year, one cannot normally trademark another person’s name, but in the case of Steve Elster’s trademark application for TRUMP TOO SMALL, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (the “CAFC”) held in In re Elster, 26 F.4th 1328, 2022 USPQ2d 195 (Fed. Cir. 2022), that one’s First Amendment right to make social commentary about a public figure trumps (bad pun intended) the Lanham Act. Whether the Supreme Court agrees with the CAFC soon will be determined.
In our first post we discussed what a trademark is and how business owners can strengthen the protection of their trademarks. But, obtaining a trademark registration is just the first step—you also need to monitor your trademark to make sure no one else is using it, or a confusingly similar trademark, without your permission. Trademark infringement occurs when another business or individual uses your trademark, or a similar mark, in a way that is likely to confuse or deceive consumers about the source of the goods or services. This can be detrimental to your business by both diluting your brand and causing you to lose customers. This post explores some of the best methods business owners can employ to monitor their trademarks.
As a business owner, you have invested time, money, and effort into creating a brand that represents your company and sets it apart from competitors. Protecting your investment through registering and enforcing your trademark plays an essential role in ensuring your efforts were not in vain. Without proper protection, your trademark, and by extension, your brand, may be vulnerable to infringement or dilution by competitors, resulting in loss of customers, revenue, and reputation. This is the first in a series of articles discussing how business owners can protect and enhance the goodwill developed in their brand.
As I recently noted in an article on trademarks in the U.S. and internationally, Metro-Goldin-Mayer and Pennsylvania State University are two entities in different, yet related, channels of trade (sports and entertainment, which were melded together as ESPN’s original name). But they do have something in common in that each is known for the roar of a lion:
In a recent article examining international trademark, copyright and related issues, we started with a focus on the place humor holds as a possible defense. To understand the roots of the penchant for humor to act as a bulwark of humanity’s way of defending itself, consider this story:
Interesting question: Can someone trademark another person’s name without that person’s consent? The answer to that is usually “no,” but, hey, we would not be the first people to say that we live in interesting times. And if we said that, we would not be infringing on anyone’s rights. That aside, the answer to the first question this week is “yes,” at least when the person is a public figure, and the trademark is viewed as an exercise of free speech critical of that public figure.
The Court has decided the case of Unicolors, Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz, L.P., holding that lack of knowledge of either fact or law can excuse an inaccuracy in a copyright registration. Reversing the Ninth Circuit, the Court held that the appeals court was wrong to overturn a copyright infringement verdict that a fabric designer won against fast-fashion chain H&M when it ruled that inadvertent legal errors cannot be the basis for challenging a copyright registration.
On March 26, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided The Andy Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith, a decision addressing the “fair use” doctrine, an important part of copyright law. “Fair use” tries to balance the extent to which one artist may build on a prior artist’s work without getting the first artist’s approval or license for doing so, and when so much of the quality or quantity of first work is copied that that artist’s work deserves protection against the latter piece. In the recently-decided case, which the Warhol Foundation had won ...
Long before the birth of Elvis Presley in 1935, and even longer before his recent 86th birthday on January 8, 2021, King Arthur was the legendary king of choice, and his story was most completely told in Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. Hence, we embrace the paraphrased allusion in the title above, to both Arthur and the King of Rock-n-Roll, who despite his absence from the public stage since 1977 remains a brand. Thus, Elvis is a good example of what a lay person would call post-mortem publicity rights, as his brand remains one today valued at over $300 million. What is also ...
Since the enactment of the Hatch-Waxman Act in 1984, courts have held that brand companies can sue generics wherever they plan on making sales, which is everywhere in the U.S. In practice, most suits have been filed in Delaware and New Jersey, with suits against multiple generic companies over the same drug consolidated in one proceeding.
In November 2020, the Federal Circuit upended this settled practice when it issued its opinion in Valeant Pharmaceuticals v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, No. 19-2402 (Fed. Cir. 2020), holding that venue is not established by contemplated future acts of ...
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