Category Archives: Intellectual Property, Copyright, and Trademark

RGIII’s Trademark Application Faces Its First Test

As the trademark world anxiously awaits the decision of the three-judge panel at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (and which we’ll be covering in great depth in our enhanced Intellectual Property, Copyright, and Trademark section of the blog), regarding whether the Washington Redskins logo is disparaging and thus whether the ’Skins would be forced to relinquish trademark protection over perhaps their most prized asset, Washington’s star player, Robert Griffin III, was in court settling a trademark dispute of his own. Griffin, who is…

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USTA Seeks Ruling on Use of US Open Footage in ‘Venus and Serena’ Documentary

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is matching up the documentary “Venus and Serena,” in New York federal court. On Friday, June 14, 2013, the USTA filed suit against Maiken Baird and Michelle Major, the filmmakers behind the documentary that follows the lives of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. The suit alleges that the filmmakers infringed USTA’s exclusive copyrights for the annual U.S. Open tennis competition. The lawsuit contends that the filmmakers were granted limited access to film portions of the 2011 U.S. Open…

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Dr. Phil Gets Even With ‘Deadspin’ For Te’o Spoilers

Dr. Phil’s production company is finally trying to put the popular sports blog Deadspin in the spotlight. Peteski Productions Inc. (Peteski), the production company behind “The Dr. Phil Show,” asked a Texas federal court Tuesday June 4, 2013 to enter default judgment for a copyright infringement suit against Deadspin. Peteski filed the suit on May 6, 2013 alleging that Deadpsin infringed on the TV show’s copyrights by publishing video excerpts of an interview between Dr. Phil and Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Tuiasosopo is the man (or woman)…

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Funk Band Finally Listens to Hip-Hop, Files Suit Over Sample Used in 2003 Track

1970’s funk band Bloodstone filed suit in Missouri federal court on May 20, 2013 against Universal Music Group, Inc. (UMG) for copyright infringement of their 1979 song “I’m Just Doing My Job.” The Complaint, filed by members of Bloodstone alleges that UMG gave rappers T.I. and Kanye West a license to sample the 1979 song for use in TI’s hit “Doin’ My Job” without permission from the band. Bloodstone members Charles Love, Harry Williams, and Charles McCormick retain the sound recording and composition rights for…

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Classic Novel at the Center of New Copyright Battle

On May 3, 2013,  “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Nelle Harper Lee sued her former literary agent Samuel Pinkus and agency Veritas Media, Inc., accusing them of deceiving her into handing over the copyright to the book for nothing and wrongfully retaining the related commissions that Lee was entitled to. The back story is a relatively complicated one: Lee’s complaint asserts that Pinkus took advantage of his father-in-law’s ailing health back in 2002, snagging all the father-in-law’s clients from his literary agency McIntosh & Otis,…

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Songwriters Seek ‘Somebody’ to Sue – Hit Bieber and Usher with $10 Million Copyright Infringement Suit

On May 2, 2013, Justin Bieber, Usher, and Universal Music Corporation were slapped with a $10 million copyright infringement lawsuit by Virginia songwriters Devin Copeland (a.k.a. ‘De Rico’) and Mareio Overton.  Plaintiffs accuse Bieber and the others of stealing their song “Somebody to Love” – a song which Bieber released as a hit single in 2010.  Usher and Bieber later collaborated to release a remix of the song. Plaintiffs allege they handed the song over to music industry scouts in 2008, and it was then…

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Nintendo Clobbered by Tomita with $30 Million Verdict in Patent Litigation

On March 13, 2013, a jury awarded a $30.2 million dollar verdict to Tomita Technologies International Inc. in its patent infringement with the Nintendo Co. Ltd.  Tomita’s suit accused Nintendo of infringing on its “Stereoscopic imaging picking up and display system based upon optical axes cross-point information” patent (which displays 3-D images viewable without special glasses) by using the technology in Nintendo’s 3DS hand-held video game system.  . Seijiro Tomita (the founder of Tomita Technologies) spent 30 years working at Sony as an engineer/inventor, and…

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NFL’s Squeeze Play Forces “Harbowl” Trademark Owner to Forfeit Rights

Last year Roy Fox got to thinking – what if NFL Head Coaches and brothers Jim Harbaugh (San Francisco 49ers) and John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens) ended up facing each other in the Super Bowl?  With that thought in mind, Fox went out and spent over $1,000 to file trademark applications for the terms “Harbowl” and “Harbaugh Bowl.”  The NFL was not pleased by Fox’s play.  Shortly before the 2012-2013 season began, the League contacted Fox with concerns that his trademarks could become confused with the…

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Khroma Kroma Kardashian: Makeup Artist Claims Perceived Endorsement by Reality Stars Devalues her Cosmetics

Lee Tillett, an Altamonte Springs makeup artist in Florida, is suing the Kardashian sisters — Kim, Kourtney and Khloe — and Boldface Group Inc. for $10 million in trademark infringement counterclaims, alleging they stole the name of her cosmetics line. Tillett filed her lawsuit on Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles. Tillett filed a claim last year for copyright infringement, but Boldface sought a declaratory judgment in November to use the Khroma name despite Tillett’s trademark to the name Kroma. Tillett’s counterclaim was filed…

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