Archives: In the Courts

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A Claim of Epic Proportions: Epic Games Hits Back in Suit Against 14-Year-Old

Epic Games, Inc. (“Epic”), the company behind popular video game “Fortnite,” has refused to stand down in its copyright infringement and breach of contract suit against a 14-year-old gamer. Fortnite has seen booming success as a free, online game in which players must simply consent to the Terms of Service to create an account. The … Continue Reading

Elmo Needs a Hug: Sesame Workshop Loses its Motion for Temporary Restraining Order in Trademark Infringement Case

Last month, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization that owns the famous children’s television show Sesame Street, filed a lawsuit against STX Productions, LLC, STX Financing, LLC, and STX Filmworks, Inc. (collectively, “STX”), alleging that STX’s use of the tagline, “No Sesame, All Street,” in a new movie trailer infringed on its trademark. Sesame Workshop contended … Continue Reading

A Straight-up Victory for States Rights in Regulating Sports Betting

On May 14, 2018 the Supreme Court of the United States released its decision in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association.  This decision invalidates the key Federal prohibition on State-authorized sports gambling businesses, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).  Under PASPA, except in connection with very narrow exemptions, States could not authorize entities … Continue Reading

Judge Dismisses Some Country of Origin Claims Against Guinness Beer

In January 2016, a class action lawsuit was filed in Massachusetts against Guinness beer for misrepresenting that Guinness Extra Stout was brewed in Dublin when it is actually brewed in Canada. Plaintiff claimed that the prominent use of “Traditionally Brewed” and “St. James’s Gate Dublin” in conjunction with “Imported Guinness Extra Stout” created a false … Continue Reading

Monkey See, Monkey Selfie, No Copyright

In 2016, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (“PETA”) brought an action on behalf of Naruto, a Crested Macaque residing in Indonesia.  PETA asserted claims of copyright infringement against a wildlife photographer who published a book which included a selfie taken by Naruto using the photographer’s camera. The United States District Court for the … Continue Reading

“Weight Loss” vs. “Weight Management”: Vitamin Shoppe Sidesteps False Advertising Suit

Putative class representative Andrea Nathan renewed her efforts to hold Vitamin Shoppe, Inc. liable under California’s Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, Consumer Legal Remedies Act, and breaches of express and implied warranties over Vitamin Shoppe’s “Garcinia Cambogia” dietary supplements after a California district court judge tossed the suit in February of this year. Vitamin … Continue Reading

High Stakes: Iowa Ends Up Paying $1M For Blocking Pro-Marijuana T-Shirts

The state of Iowa will be covering the bill in a protracted lawsuit over Iowa State University’s decision to bar a chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (“NORML”) from using the university’s trademarks on T-shirts. ISU students won approval in 2012 to use the ISU mascot bearing a marijuana leaf … Continue Reading

Company Settles Credit Card Laundering Scheme With FTC

Last month, the FTC announced a $1,384,500 settlement with Michael Abdelmesseh and KMA Merchant Services, LLC in a lawsuit regarding a deceptive credit card laundering scheme. The FTC alleged that the defendants telemarketed fraudulent business opportunities to consumers that involved false promises of thousands of dollars in income as commission for loans made to small … Continue Reading

Let the Chips Fall Where They May: Frito-Lay Litigates No Artificial Flavors Claim

Last month, a federal judge denied Frito-Lay’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit involving allegations that its “Salt and Vinegar Flavored Potato Chips” contain artificial flavors. Specifically, the plaintiffs asserted that Frito Lay: (1) did not specify the type of malic acid on the ingredient panel; and (2) falsely labeled the chips as containing no artificial … Continue Reading

Out of Juice: Judge Denies Class Cert. in Tropicana False Label Suit

In 2011, plaintiffs launched a putative class action with class members from California, New York, New Jersey, and Wisconsin in a New Jersey district court against Tropicana Products, Inc., a division of PepsiCo, Inc. over Tropicana’s claim that its not-from-concentrate orange juice is “100% pure and natural.” The plaintiffs asserted that Tropicana’s processing methods—which allegedly … Continue Reading

Nine Lives Indeed: Grumpy Cat Wins IP Lawsuit Against Beverage Company

Anyone who has been on the internet since 2012 likely recognizes the ubiquitous frowning face of “Grumpy Cat,” real name Tardar Sauce, emblazoned upon memes, videos, and products. Her fame and market power is far from restricted to the internet though; since her internet debut, she has appeared on television shows, starred in advertisements for … Continue Reading

Naked Juice Urges California Court to Defer to FDA on Use of “No Sugar Added”

Naked Juice, which is owned by PepsiCo (“Naked”), filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in a pair of class action lawsuits that claim its “No Sugar Added” labels on coconut water and orange juice are misleading and deceptive. Naked’s argument is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) already cleared use of the “No … Continue Reading

Artist Sues Lollapalooza Over Advertising and Festival Merchandise

Last month, Juan Marco filed a copyright infringement suit against Live Nation and the other promoters of the summer music festival, Lollapalooza. According to the complaint, Marco granted a limited license to the concert promoters to use Marco’s artwork for three years and only for use in the United States and Chile.  Marco alleges that … Continue Reading

College Athletes Appeal to Seventh Circuit Against FanDuel’s and DraftKings’ Use of Images

A proposed class of approximately 3,000 former college athletes recently filed an appeal in the Seventh Circuit against FanDuel and DraftKings. The players are reviving their proposed class action, claiming that FanDuel’s and DraftKings’ use of the players’ images on their websites does not fall within the newsworthy or public interest exceptions to Indiana’s right … Continue Reading

District judge in the SDNY: Embedding links to third –party web content is copyright infringement

What is the legal difference between embedding an image on a website and displaying a copy of the image? News organizations and other website publications have relied on the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon.com Inc., which established a bright-line server test for determining whether a website displayed a copy of an … Continue Reading

Throwing Shade: Upscale Manhattan Bar Calls Out “Basic” Would-be Infringer

Not since Mariah Carey claimed “I don’t know her” about Jennifer Lopez has such supreme shade been thrown on public record. Filo Promotions owns a self-described “premier, well-appointed bar/lounge with a posh upscale atmosphere and a focus on high quality drinks, creative new sounds and a small plates menu with exceptional tapas” named Bathtub Gin … Continue Reading

Don’t Have a Cow! Court Dismisses GMO Labelling Suit Against Dannon

Last month, a New York federal judge dismissed a proposed class action that alleged Dannon Company, Inc. unlawfully labelled its yogurt products as “natural” when in fact the cows that produced the milk that produced the yogurt may have eaten feed made from corn that was genetically modified or were raised using hormones or antibiotics. … Continue Reading

Kentucky Fried Justice: Court Dismisses KFC Bucket Dispute

A New York District Court dismissed the complaint of Anna Wurtzburger against fast food staple KFC over the size of KFC’s $20 “fill up” bucket. Wurtzburger alleged she purchased KFC’s “fill up” bucket meal advertised as consisting of “an eight piece bucket of chicken,” relying on the advertisement’s depiction of a bucket that may have … Continue Reading

Illinois Biometric Lawsuit Against Facebook Moves Through Court System

A 2015 lawsuit brought by Facebook users over the company’s alleged unauthorized collection of their facial features and other facial biometric data pursuant to the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) is slowly moving through the courts. The BIPA requires written notice and consent for the collection of biometric identifiers or biometric information of Illinois … Continue Reading

Keeping Your Biometrics Private

Suparossa Restaurant Group LLP, a Chicago-based restaurant company, has been served with a class action complaint alleging that the company has violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). The BIPA is an informed consent statute that establishes standards for employers that collect and store the biometric information of Illinois citizens. The act makes it … Continue Reading

Kirkland FACTA Case May Create Circuit Split

Kirkland, Inc. will face a putative class action for allegedly violating the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”). The plaintiffs filed their complaint against Kirkland in April 2017 for displaying the first six and the last four digits of their credit card or debit card numbers on their purchase receipts.  According to the plaintiffs, … Continue Reading

Court Says Don’t Cry Over Steamed Milk

A federal court granted Starbucks’ motion for summary judgment in a putative class action in which plaintiffs alleged Starbucks underfills lattes and mochas. The plaintiffs alleged that the underfilling of Starbucks drinks was a breach of warranty and constituted unfair competition and false advertising based on three arguments: (1) consumers should receive beverage volume equal … Continue Reading

Class Action Aims to Catch Canned Salmon Manufacturer for False Advertising

A class action complaint was recently filed against Bumble Bee Foods, LLC (“Bumble Bee”), the makers of canned fish and seafood. The false advertising lawsuit stems from the plaintiff’s assertion that Bumble Bee falsely implies its Premium Select Medium Red Smoked Salmon Filets in Oil are high quality, wild-caught, and naturally smoked.  The plaintiffs believe … Continue Reading
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