Rawlings Defensive Over Easton’s Plan to Release Bats With Similar Logo

On August 15, 2017, Rawlings Sporting Goods Co. filed a lawsuit against Easton Diamond Sports LLC arguing that Easton ripped off Rawlings popular “5150” brand of bats with a new “S150” line that Easton planned to release pursuant to a recent equipment rule change. Starting January 1, 2018, Little League Baseball has banned the use of all 2 ¼ inch barrel baseball bats constructed with composite material in the barrel, unless approved. Little League bats will now be governed by the BBCOR bat standard, and bats that comply with the standard are marked with one of three variations of the USA Baseball logo: black and white, colorized or a gray version. Previously, Little League used a Bat Performance Factor, which simply measured the increase in the liveliness of a ball ...
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Baseball Owner Believes Denial of Expansion Opportunity in Foul Territory

In July 2015, the Washington Wild Things (Frontier League) filed suit in U.S. District Court over MKE Sports and Entertainment’s lease at Kokomo Municipal Stadium for the Kokomo Jackrabbits (Prospect League) claiming damages over the loss of the market after months of negotiations. Wild Things owner, Stuart A. Williams, has claimed damages because the Prospect League, through allegedly unlawful actions by MKE Sports and Entertainment head Mike Zimmerman, landed Kokomo, thus denying a Frontier League franchise that would have generated $50,000 in expansion fees. They also claim that the Wild Things were “materially harmed” by Zimmerman and others interfering with the Frontier League’s proposed development of the Kokomo baseball market in what they define as “a civil conspiracy.” Current Frontier League commissioner, Bill Lee, ended up fining those responsible a ...
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Video Game Tattoos Copyright Infringement? NBA 2K Attempts to Close-Out Case

In February 2016, Solid Oak Sketches sued 2K Games and Take-Two Interactive Software claiming that it owned the copyrights to tattoos on several NBA stars, including Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Eric Beldsoe. The tattoo designers sought actual damages, statutory damages and attorneys’ fees, but in August 2016, a New York federal judge ruled out the latter two. U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain stated “in order to obtain statutory damages and attorneys’ fees, a plaintiff must have registered its copyright prior to the alleged infringement.” In this case, defendants’ alleged infringement started in 2013 with NBA 2K14, and the tattoo designs weren’t registered with the U.S. Copyright Office until 2015. The eight infringed-on designs claimed in Solid Oaks lawsuit include a child’s portrait and script scrolls with clouds and ...
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First Professional Transgender Player Not Quite Ready to Hang Up the Skates

Last October, Harrison Browne, formerly known as Hailey Browne, became the first openly transgender athlete to compete in a professional North American team sport. For the past two seasons, Browne has played in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) for the Buffalo Beauts. Two seasons ago, in the NWHL’s inaugural season, Browne scored 12 points and tied for the team lead in penalty minutes. Last season, Browne was part of a surprising Beauts championship season, where they beat the Boston Pride 3-2. After the championship game, Browne released a YouTube video where he detailed his decision to retire. Browne stated that he needed to start to focus on his transition, and at the time stated that he “just simply can’t really go on. I get misgendered all the time, and ...
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Former NFL Players Hit Back as Over Eighty-Eight Percent Have Entered Settlement

The NFL and its former players agreed that August 7, 2017 was the final day for players to register for the NFL concussion settlement program in order to receive benefits for head trauma experienced during their careers that have or could result in brain injuries. Current NFL players and those who retired on or after July 7, 2014 are not a part of the registration process. Adam Selter, a lawyer who has been retained by approximately two hundred former NFL players, stated “[t]he settlement is open for sixty-five years; however, if a player develops symptoms in twenty years, for instance, and doesn’t register, he can’t collect under the settlement unless he can show good cause to the court.” Currently, more than 18,400 of the roughly 21,000 retired players have registered. ...
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Boston University Wins Fight for Fees

On Monday, July 31, 2017, U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson awarded Boston University $96,300 in attorneys’ fees and costs to be paid by the National Hockey League. The dispute stemmed from the NHL’s demand for research and data from about 400 former athletes’ brains studied by BU’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center. The University refused the request on the grounds that only six of the brains studied were those of former NHL players, and Judge Nelson honored their request for fees and costs stemming from the demand. The NHL had argued the information they sought was relevant, but Judge Nelson concluded the NHL failed to demonstrate a need for most of the material requested and that their demand placed an unreasonable burden on BU to produce mostly irrelevant information.
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Delaware Becomes Number 14 in Legalizing Daily Fantasy Sports

Delaware Governor John Carney signed House Bill 249, making Delaware the latest state to legalize daily fantasy sports. Delaware became the fourteenth state to formally legalize the activity and the fourth state this year. The bill classifies daily fantasy sports as games of skill, rather than gambling, and will take effect before the start of the upcoming football season. The law attaches several regulations to the online fantasy sports. An operator, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, will have to apply for a license and pay a $50,000 annual fee. The sites will have to pay a 15.5 percent tax on their net revenues, unless another state imposes a higher tax then the operators will have to pay that amount in Delaware. Other regulations include advertising restrictions and a ban on ...
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Indian Gaming Association Latest to Join Coalition to Legalize Sports Gambling

On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court agreed to tackle the hotly debated question of whether the federal government should be able to prohibit states from legalizing sports gambling. The lawsuit commenced six years ago, when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie implemented a state law that would enable New Jersey casinos and racetracks to offer sports wagers. That New Jersey law was then challenged by the NCAA and “Big Four” of professional sports leagues, the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. The opposition argued that the N.J. law is incompatible with the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PAPSA). PAPSA prohibits all states from licensing, sponsoring or authorizing sports betting except for Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana, who were grandfathered in by the law. On Monday, July 31, ...
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Start Your Engines: Legal Battle Over Earnhardt Name Revived

Kerry Earnhardt, the late Dale Earnhardt’s eldest son, applied through his Kerry Earnhardt Inc. company in 2011 to register “Earnhardt Collection” for both furniture and custom home design. In 2012, Dale Earnhardt’s widow and third wife, Theresa Earnhardt, filed an opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) seeking to block Kerry’s application. Theresa is Kerry’s stepmother and owner of Dale Earnhardt Inc., and already own a number of “Earnhardt” registrations for a wide variety of goods. In February of 2016, the TTAB dismissed her opposition, finding there was no likelihood of confusion between her marks and the Earnhardt Collection. The ruling found that “[t]he opposer [Theresa] did not offer any testimony or evidence that the goods and services in the registrations were related to [Kerry] applicant’s goods and ...
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Titleist Calls Out Website Over Rules Violation for Product Line

On July 13, 2017, Titleist’s parent company, Acushnet Co., filed a complaint in Massachusetts federal court against imadebogey.com’s owner, Benjamin Russell, alleging his products infringe Titleist’s classic marks and offend its customers. The complaint cites unfair competition, trademark infringement and dilution. Imadebogey.com sells golf hats and other accessories with the words “Titties” and “Titlost” instead of “Titleist” in the same distinctive stylized script as the 84-year-old logo, including shirts and beer koozies. These are just some of their golf-related products sold on the website that poke fun at the refined nature of golf. Other products include hats with the phrase “Make Golf Great Again” and shirts with Adam Sandler’s blue-collar professional golfer character Happy Gilmore. The Titleist logo was created 84 years ago, and is one of the most iconic ...
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