Category Archives: Intellectual Property, Copyright, and Trademark

Late Night Host Stephen Colbert Dances Around IP Issue Over His Own Exaggerated Persona

CBS’s “The Late Show” opted to go live at the conclusion of each day of the Republican National Convention two weeks ago to better respond to the fodder the RNC provides. During one of the shows, host Stephen Colbert brought back his beloved fictional “Colbert” character from his immensely popular “The Colbert Report.” The character was retired after the show ended on Comedy Central and hasn’t been seen for more than a year as the real Stephen Colbert forged his own identity. However, it appears…

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Redskins: Trademark Cancellation Worse than Initial Denial

The Washington Redskins are entangled in a trademark battle over its name and is urging the Supreme Court to hear its case. The football team disagrees about the offensiveness of the name and contests the constitutionality of Section 2 (a) of the Lanham Act which bans trademarks that are “disparaging.” Under the act, the government cancelled the Redskins trademarks after 23 years. The Lanham Act was also the basis for the government’s refusal to register the trademark of the Asian-American rock band the “Slants.” However,…

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Trademark Fight Over Kardashians Cosmetics Line

Following the Kardashians Intellectual Property suit that accused Hillair Capital Investments LLC and its subsidiary, Haven Beauty Inc., of trademark infringements, Haven in turn is now suing the Kardashian sisters for failing to promote the cosmetic line as was agreed. According to court papers, Hillair was awarded the assets of Boldface Licensing + Branding Inc., the Kardashian’s licensing company, after it became insolvent. These assets included a five year license deal to use — subject to approval by the Kardashians — their trademarks in connection…

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Music Company Wants Attorneys’ Fees and Costs Following Led Zeppelin Victory

On Thursday, July 7, 2016, Warner/Chappell Music Inc., the publishing company who was named as a co-defendant in the “Stairway to Heaven” copyright lawsuit that wrapped up last month, filed a motion to recover nearly $800,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs in California federal court. The fee request comes on the heels of a successful defense for the music company and mega-hit British rock band, where a jury concluded that frontmen Jimmy Page and Robert Plant had not infringed on any copyright in writing their…

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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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