San Jose Takes MLB Antitrust Case to Supreme Court

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As anticipated, the San Jose City Council unanimously voted to appeal the antitrust case challenging MLB’s antitrust exemption. The dispute arose when San Jose’s attempt to relocate the Oakland Athletics to the South Bay was halted by the MLB’s territorial restrictions.  In the lawsuit, the city argued that the territorial rule granting the San Francisco Giants club the right to block the A’s relocation as well as alleged stalling by an MLB relocation committee violated antitrust laws. After the district court dismissed the suit, the Ninth Circuit also dismissed it on appeal in January finding that MLB was protected by the 92-year old exemption from antitrust law granted by the Supreme Court. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said, “Litigation was our last recourse, and the City Council knew from the ...
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Seth MacFarlane Sued over Talking Bottle Opener

41haUadOq0L The Ted and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane along with Universal Pictures, Media Rights Capital and Target found himself in a legal trouble when Michael Cram who claims to be the inventor of a talking bottle opener filed a copyright infringement suit over a promotional talking bottle opener included in the special edition Blu-ray/DVD of Ted. In a suit filed on February 25, Cram claimed that he invented the no-button talking bottle opener as well as the talking beer mug and has sold them under licensing deals with more than 61 NCAA schools, Major League Baseball, NASCAR , the NFL, and movie and TV studios.  Doing business as Pacific Productions, Cram also stated over 10 million of the bottle openers through Target stores which has been selling them since 2002. ...
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Former NFL Players Object to CTE Benefits Cutoff Date for Incentivizing Suicide

nfl-lawsuit On Friday, February 27, ten former NFL players objected to the revised settlement proposed in the long-running NFL concussion injury litigation. The objectors, dissatisfied with the recent amendments made February 13, mainly take issue with the “arbitrary cutoff date” for players’ families to receive benefits when a player dies with CTE.  Originally the plan was to pay $4 million in benefits to the families of players who died with CTE prior to July 7, 2104.  Under the most recent proposal, the cutoff date for death by CTE benefits is designated as the settlement’s final approval date.  Any player, therefore, who seeks to secure these death by CTE benefits would be incentivized to commit suicide prior to the final settlement agreement. The argument attacks earlier objections by players now agreeing to ...
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Judge Overturns NFL Arbitrator’s Denial of Peterson’s Appeal

Roger Goodell U.S. District Judge David Doty found that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had no authority to retroactively apply the NFL’s new policy and that NFL arbitrator Henderson “simply disregarded the law of the shop and in doing so failed to meet his duty under the [Collective Bargaining Agreement signed on August 4, 2011].”  The judge remanded the case to follow further proceedings under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement. Peterson had been suspended until at least by April 15 pursuant to the new personal conduct policy that increased a suspension for players involved with domestic violence from two games to six games. Expressing the league’s plan to appeal the decision, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy stated, “We believe strongly that Judge Doty’s order is incorrect and fundamentally at odds with well-established ...
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Robin Thicke Takes Center Stage in Court to Show No Copyright Infringement

Thicke_2964657b From the witness box in a federal courtroom in Los Angeles, Robin Thicke sang, played the piano, and even danced a bit to demonstrate to the jury that his song did not infringe on Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.” Thicke’s performance took place after U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt held in a pre-trial hearing that the jury would not hear the actual sound recording of Gaye’s 1977 hit.  Since Gaye’s performance in the original recording is not at issue, the judge found interpretations of the musical composition would be sufficient for the jury. In addition to “Blurred Lines,” he also played U2’s “With or Without You,” “Michael Jackson’s “Man In the Mirror,” and the Beattles’ “Let It Be” to illustrate that many songs share the same chord ...
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“The Blueprint” for an Infringement?

Jay Z A recently-filed case in a California federal court has Jay-Z and his promoters at Live Nation wondering whether they’ll continue to reap the benefits of the 1999 hit single Big Pimpin’ or whether they’ll be “spending G’s” to clean up a potential infringement posed by a sample looped throughout one of S. Carter’s most famous tracks.  Last week, an Egyptian plaintiff named Osama Ahmed Fahmy sued Live Nation Entertainment, Inc., seeking unspecified actual damages and costs, alleging Live Nation’s continued “use” of Big Pimpin’ in the promotion of Jay-Z concerts all over the world constitutes infringement (direct, contributory and vicarious) of Plaintiff’s copyright in the original musical composition of the Egyptian song Khosara Khosara.  We’ll get to more about the case in a moment.  First, though, a “life and times” ...
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“I’m just here so I won’t get fined” Trademarked by Lynch in Response to Fans

marshawn-lynch2 Last week, Seattle Seahawks star running back Marshawn Lynch filed a trademark of the now-household phrase “I’m just here so I won’t get fined,” which he popularized during Super Bowl XLIX media day. Marshawn Lynch has had a storied history with the media, giving reporters little to nothing worth printing during interviews.  Some say it is selfish for him to withhold his opinion from his fan base, and some say it is unfair to force the football player to speak about the game.  Either way, it generates substantial controversy that Marshawn and his ‘Beast Mode’ apparel line can cash in on. During media day last year, Lynch gave only one interview, to Deion Sanders and offered the response “about that action BOSS.”  That term has since been trademarked and stamped ...
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Lawyers for Redskins Put Different Spin on Trademark Case

Patriots Redskins Football The Redskins filed a motion to overturn the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s decision to cancel the team’s trademark because it infringes on freedom of speech rights and “unfairly singles the team out.” The lawyers for the team argued that the cancellation decision “unfairly singles out the Redskins for disfavored treatment based solely on the content of its protected speech, interfering with the ongoing public discourse over the Redskins’ name by choosing sides and cutting off the debate.  This the U.S. Constitution does not tolerate.” Moreover, they contended that the government should not decide which name is content-neutral and thus deserving of trademark protection and which is not.  While continuing to argue that the team’s name is disparaging, the Redskins lawyers additionally challenged the constitutionality of the law that disallows ...
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Washington Redskins Argue a Violation of their Free Speech

WashingtonRedskins2 The Washington Redskins fought back against the recent decision by the US Patent and Trademark Office cancelling the team’s  trademark protection over the use of the term ‘redskin’ as many Native American groups find it disparaging. The court papers filed Monday by the team argue the law denying registration of disparaging trademarks is unconstitutional because it infringes on the team’s First Amendment right to free speech.  The team’s attorneys argue the cancellation of the trademarks disfavors the team and singles them out, “interfering with the ongoing public discourse over the Redskins’ name, by choosing sides and cutting of the debate.”  The lawyers argue that the government should not choose whether a name is disparaging, especially given the many other similar names utilized, like the Braves. Without the trademarks, the team ...
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Donald Trump Takes Doral Noise Ordinance Issue Out of Court

Trump121x_t640 Donald Trump decided to drop the lawsuit he filed a week ago against the City of Doral that challenged the constitutionality of the city’s noise ordinance. Instead, Trump decided to have negotiation talks with the city, according to his spokesman Ed Russo who said, “In good faith, we have decided to voluntarily withdraw our lawsuit against the city, and we look forward to productive discourse regarding this matter.”  The ordinance at issue is Section 26-128 of Doral’s charter that provides that the standard for violating the noise ordinance is “unreasonably loud, excessive, unnecessary or unusual noise.” Trump had filed a suit against the city after it issued more than 100 violations to Trump National Doral, mostly for making “unreasonably loud noise” by the resort’s lawn maintenance crews.  In the suit, ...
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