Two recent actions involving sellers and marketers of cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabis prove the “wellness” industry is not always so chill. Clint Eastwood Sues CBD Companies over False Endorsements In the first action, Clint Eastwood filed two lawsuits in federal court in Los Angeles against CBD companies and marketers, claiming the companies promoted false news … Continue Reading
On 9 September 2019, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung – BMZ) introduced a new, state-regulated environmental label for “Green Button” (Grüner Knopf) certified textiles with a press release. The BMZ also launched the official Green Button website, which is available in German at www.gruener-knopf.de. To … Continue Reading
Jack Daniel’s is fighting hard to protect its iconic, all-American image against purported copycats. The famous Tennessee whiskey brand filed a lengthy complaint against Dynasty Spirits (“Dynasty”) and Buffalo Bayou Distilleries (“Buffalo Bayou”), two Texas distilleries, alleging trademark and trade dress infringement and dilution. Dynasty is responsible for the distilling and marketing of the accused … Continue Reading
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
Phelan Holding, Inc. did not have its day in the sun when the Eleventh Circuit granted RARE Hospital Management, Inc.’s motion for summary judgment. Phelan and RARE are owners of casual dining restaurants, and the court found this was the only trait they had in common. Phelan’s Pinchers Crab Shack extensively used its tagline “YOU … Continue Reading
The state of Georgia and the Code Revision Commission achieved a victory when a federal court granted their motion for summary judgment, holding that Georgia’s “Official Code of Georgia Annotated” (OCGA) was protected by copyright and Public.Resource.Org, Inc.’s duplication of the statutes online were not fair use. The lawsuit was filed after Public.Resource.Org allegedly scanned … Continue Reading
While the beginning of the Trump era started with debates over the size of crowds and immigration bans, last week was all about brands and their affiliation (or desire to be unaffiliated) with President Trump. Most recently, this issue came to the forefront when Under Armour’s CEO gave an interview on CNBC and called Trump … Continue Reading
The United States Supreme Court, on September 29, 2016, granted certiorari in a case involving petitioner Simon Tam, his band, The Slants, and the band’s attempt to register their band name as a trademark. Commentators believe this case will resolve the question of whether the Lanham Act’s prohibition on the registration of disparaging or offensive trademarks … Continue Reading
With its decision in VMG Salsoul v. Ciccone, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals created a circuit split that could greatly impact copyright infringement claims based on unlicensed music sampling. For the advertising industry, this decision affects the risk assessment involved when creating or using music that contains “samples”. Read on for more. On June … Continue Reading
The tragic death of renowned recording artist Prince left many reminiscing about his meticulously crafted public image. In life, the law allowed Prince to control the commercial exploitations of his image. At death, however, that control was lost. Celebrities routinely harness their “images” as a means of generating revenue, relying on intellectual property and right … Continue Reading
Another important copyright decision is in—this time from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Authors Guild v. Google, Inc. Plaintiffs—authors of copyright protected books—brought an action for infringement against Google, claiming that its digitization of millions of books without Plaintiffs’ permission violated copyright law. The court on appeal, acknowledging that this dispute “test[ed] the … Continue Reading
In a verdict on March 10, a Los Angeles federal jury decided “Blurred Lines,” written by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, substantially borrowed from Marvin Gaye’s 1977 classic “Got To Give It Up” without permission. As a result, the jury awarded the family of the late soul singer more than $7.3 million in damages. In … Continue Reading
In April, 2013 the 2nd Circuit concluded that certain works of the well-known appropriation artist, Richard Prince, which used Patrick Cariou's photographs in a series of collages, constituted fair use. In Kienitz v. Sconnie Nation LLC, U.S. Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook joins in on criticism that courts, such as in the Cariou case, are placing too much emphasis on the transformative use factor in considering fair use. However, Law360 quotes Reed Smith's Brad Newberg who zeroes in on a deeper danger for authors' derivative rights: "The issue with Cariou is not that it gives great weight to a transformative use, but how it defines transformative use."… Continue Reading
Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed its decision in ABC v. Aereo, ruling that Aereo's service of providing its subscribers with streaming broadcasts obtained through the company's miniature antennas is illegal. The court ruled that over-the-air broadcasts count as a public performance and that Aereo essentially is no different from cable companies, which are subject to limitations on freely transmitting programming under the Copyright Act.… Continue Reading
In a recent Forbes article, Brad Newberg discussed in depth the Supreme Court's recent decision in Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., and ways for businesses to adapt in light of the shocking decision. With its decision in Petrella, the U.S. Supreme Court made clear that in the world of copyright infringement litigation, time is not always of the essence. The question presented was simple: "[W]hether the equitable defense of laches (unreasonable, prejudicial delay in commencing suit) may bar relief on a copyright infringement claim brought within § 507(b) [of the Copyright Act]'s three-year statute of limitations period." And the Court's answer was clear: "[C]ourts are not at liberty to jettison Congress' judgment on the timeliness of suit. Laches, we hold, cannot be invoked to preclude adjudication of a claim for damages brought within the three-year window." Yet, the implications of this case going forward are not quite as simple or clear.… Continue Reading
This Friday, April 25, Reed Smith will be part of a World IP Day event in New York City titled, Movies a Global Passion, hosted by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Keri S. Bruce will be speaking on a panel to discuss intellectual property in films, alongside David Morrison (Indie Film Clinic) and Neil J. Rosini (Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell & Vassallo, P.C.). Among the event's keynote speakers are Michelle Lee, Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; Congressman Hakeem Jeffries; and Congresswoman Grace Meng (invited).
The event is FREE and open to the public, and will feature an exhibition by film studios, directors and IP service providers.
RSVP now for this event at tinyurl.com/m8wabct.… Continue Reading
Cadbury has lost its Supreme Court battle to register as a trade mark its iconic colour purple (known as Pantone 2685C), ending a 10-year legal battle between Cadbury and its competitor Nestlé. The UK Supreme Court has refused Cadbury’s application to appeal against an October 2013 Court of Appeal decision which ruled in Nestlé’s favour, … Continue Reading
Online trademark infringement, which includes domain names, websites, online auction platforms and keywords, has seen a significant spike in recent years and presents unique challenges to trademark owners and government authorities around the world. Clark Lackert of our Intellectual Property group discusses how to protect your trademarks in our electronic-driven world in his recent article titled, Counterfeits and Infringements Online - A Global Overview of Liability, published in the World Trademark Review (www.worldtrademarkreview.com) by The IP Media Group.… Continue Reading
On December 5, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 3309, also known as “The Innovation Act”, whose supporters believe will help to address the issue of Patent Assertion Entities (also referred to as “Patent Trolls”) by placing a greater burden and risk on the asserting parties. For more information on the bill and … Continue Reading
While you are reading this, the Internet is changing. Over the past several years, you may (or may not) have heard that the number of Top Level Domains (such as .com, .net, .eu, etc.) was going to grow exponentially at some point in the future. Well, the future is here.… Continue Reading
Last year, B.E. Technology LLC filed several suits for patent infringement against a host of companies whose business model depends on advertising. The patents in suit, U.S. Patent 6,628,314 and U.S. Patent 6,771,290, date back to 1998 and are alleged to protect software that serves advertisements based on personal characteristics and behaviors, i.e., targeted advertising. Martin D. Hoyle, the CEO of B.E. Technology LLC, is the sole inventor listed on the patents. On October 8, 2013, Microsoft and Facebook challenged the validity of the patents by requesting "inter partes review" of the patents in the U.S. Patent Office. Clearly, the outcome of this case could have significant ramifications for the Internet advertising community.
Inter partes review is a new procedure, created by the America Invents Act, for challenging patents in the U.S. Patent Office. Inter partes review is less expensive and faster than typical civil litigations, and provides the challenger with the opportunity to demonstrate that a patent should not have been issued because invention protected by the patent was not novel, or would have been obvious, at the critical date - 1998, in the case of the patents in this case. The inter partes review will take about 18 months to complete and, at the discretion of the judge in each case, the civil litigations may be stayed, i.e., put on hold, pending resolution of the inter partes review.… Continue Reading
Today, our Intellectual Property group issued a client alert entitled, "A New Wrinkle in the Defense of Patent Exhaustion," covering the patent infringement case, Helferich Patent Licensing LLC v. The New York Times Company, et al., in which the court granted Summary Judgment in favor of the defendants. Helferich Patent Licensing, LLC ("HPL"), the exclusive licensee of a portfolio of patents directed to sending alerts to mobile devices, sued several parties in the Northern District of Illinois to whom it had previously licensed its patents.… Continue Reading
I think I've finally recovered from my trip to Durban, South Africa, to attend the 47th meeting of ICANN (International Association of Assigned Names and Numbers - the organization that oversees the Internet's domain name system and everything around it). After blogging from the belly of the beast, I now have the luxury of some perspective on the goings-on in Durban and the results of that meeting. Several important points came out of Durban and a few epiphanies along the way that are worth sharing.… Continue Reading
Thursday was the last day of ICANN, and two things were eagerly awaited - the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) Durban Communiqué and the ICANN Public Forum. The Durban Communiqué will update the GAC Advice from the Beijing Communiqué, clarifying (hopefully) the GAC's position on a number of burning issues. The Public Forum is where anyone (in the room or participating remotely) can approach the microphone and ask questions (or make statements) to the ICANN Board and staff...… Continue Reading