Category Archives: Intellectual Property, Copyright, and Trademark

Federal Government Urges Against SCOTUS Review in Redskins Case

The federal government is urging against the Washington Redskins’ request for their high profile trademark case, Pro Football Inc. v. Blackhorse, to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court before a ruling by a federal appeals court. The government claims the Redskins have no justification for the move, as the Supreme Court rarely grants certiorari in a case that has not been heard first by a federal appeals court. The Redskins are claiming the timing is perfect for their case to move to the…

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NBA 2K16 Embroiled in Another Lawsuit, This Time Over its Music

On June 20, 2016, musician John J. Simon filed suit against Visual Concepts Entertainment and 2K Games Inc., makers of NBA 2K16, for one single cause of action for copyright infringement. In his complaint, Simon alleges that the NBA 2K16 game includes, without his permission, portions of a song he wrote in 1978 for which he received no compensation. Visual Concepts and 2K Games, subsidiaries of major video-game maker Take-Two Interactive Inc., released NBA 2K16 in September 2015 with the song “Clean Living

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Who’s the ‘Biggest Loser’? Former NFL Player Claims the Hit Reality TV Series Ripped-Off His Logo

In a lawsuit made public on June 6, 2016, two-time Pro-Bowl offensive lineman, LeCharles Bentley, sued NBC Universal Inc. for trademark infringement. This suit stems from the network’s “The Biggest Loser” reality show and its new logo which Bentley claims is nearly identical to the one he uses for his training facility and football academy. Bentley, best known for his time with the New Orleans Saints and the Cleveland Browns, was one of the best NFL offensive linemen in the aughts. He was a…

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Ed Sheeran Sued For Copyright Infringement

British pop star Ed Sheeran has been sued for copyright infringement by two California songwriters. Martin Harrington and Tom Leonard claim Sheeran and co-writer Johnny McDaid of the band Snow Patrol copied, almost note for note, a song titled “Amazing” when they wrote Sheeran’s hit song “Photograph.” “Amazing,” sung by Matt Cardle, peaked at No. 84 in the United Kingdom. “Photograph” became a top 10 hit in the United States, selling over 3.5 million copies. The other named defendants in the lawsuit are McDaid, Sony…

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When Beyoncé Gives You Lemonade, File Lawsuit

On June 8, 2016, Beyoncé was sued in a copyright infringement action by independent filmmaker Matthew Fulks. Fulks alleges that nine visual similarities amounting to 39 seconds of Beyoncé’s 60-second Lemonade trailer for an HBO special are substantially similar to images from Fulks’ short film PALINOIA. Fulks, who is also suing Parkwood Entertainment, Sony Music, and Columbia Records, is seeking unspecified  damages based on money generated by Lemonade. Fulks alleges PALINOIA had been seen by a member of Beyoncé’s team, who subsequently…

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Video Game Makers Say Tattoo Arguments Not Sketched in Law

On Friday, May 27, 2016, video game companies 2K Games Inc. and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., the makers of the popular basketball video game series “NBA2K” and its yearly releases, filed a reply memorandum of law in support of its motion to dismiss an ongoing suit in the Southern District of New York against tattoo licensing company Solid Oak Sketches. The filing comes in response to Solid Oak’s brief in opposition filed earlier in May, in which it claimed that it was entitled to statutory…

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Former NFL Quarterback Vince Ferragamo Fights Back in Trademark Lawsuit Over His Own Name

On May 4, 2016, Italian luxury shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo SpA filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against former NFL Quarterback Vince Ferragamo and his award-winning Tenuta di Ferragamo vineyard. In its complaint, the fashion company alleges that use of the Ferragamo name is trademark infringement and dilutes their high-end fashion design house’s mark. The fashion company claims that they once sold wine products in Italy in the 1980s, discontinued its production, and then obtained a valid U.S. copyright when they relaunched in the…

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Tattoo Licenser Argues IP Claims Against Game Designers Inked in Time

On Friday, May 13, 2016, tattoo licenser Solid Oak Sketches, LLC, responded to video game designers 2K Games Inc. and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.’s motion to dismiss a suit over the alleged improper inclusion of certain tattoos on basketball players in the popular sports game NBA2K16, the latest iteration of the franchise. The suit was filed back in February against 2K and Take-Two by Solid Oak after the tattoo licenser had filed copyrights on tattoos inked on the bodies of NBA players Lebron James, Kenyon…

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Lights Out: Merriman Lawsuit Against Vermont Teddy Bear Settles

Shawne Merriman, former linebacker for the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills, along with his company Lights Out Holdings, has settled a another trademark infringement suit over the usage of his trademark, “Lights Out,” a registered trademark since 2004. The suit alleged that The Vermont Teddy Bear Company used Merriman’s trademark on its product, including teddy bears and pajamas for both adults and children. According to the complaint filed on April 5, 2016, the company “refused to cooperate” through a product name change. On Thursday,…

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What a Gas: Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Over Stuffed Hippopotamus Reaches Resolution

On Friday, May 6, 2016, a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by California toymaker Folkmanis Inc. over the use of a noisemaking stuffed animal known as “Bert the Farting Hippo” was settled against CBS Broadcasting Inc., one of the defendants in the case. This comes almost two years after the complaint was originally filed in the Northern District of California. CBS’s use of Bert the Farting Hippo arises out of CBS’s popular crime-drama television series “NCIS,” which follows the lives and careers of investigators for the…

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