Category Archives: Intellectual Property, Copyright, and Trademark

Songwriters Want Bieber to Pay $10 Million for Dancing Around Depositions

Songwriters are seeking $10 million from pop star Justin Bieber claiming he is abusing discovery in their copyright infringement suit against him. The initial lawsuit arose in May 2013 when two songwriters sued Bieber over copyright of his hit single “Somebody to Love.” The songwriters claim they created the song in 2008, obtained a U.S. Copyright registration, and sent it to music industry scouts in 2009. It is alleged that the music scouts passed the single along to Usher, who is also named in the…

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Government Says Flanax Decision Supports Redskins TM Cancellation, Redskins Fire Back

In the recent case of Belmora v. Bayer, the Fourth Circuit found that standing for §43(a) claim did not have to be premised on United States trademark registration (or even use of the mark in the United States). Instead, the court determined, one only needed to show that there is “a reasonable basis to conclude that the claimant is likely to be damaged by the defendant’s activities in the United States. In making this finding, the Fourth Circuit took note of the absence of…

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Former NFL Linebacker Looks to Put Teddy Bear Company’s “Lights Out” For Trademark Infringement

Shawne Merriman, former linebacker for the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills, along with his company Lights Out Holdings, has filed a lawsuit in district court against The Vermont Teddy Bear Company. The suit alleges that the company has used Merriman’s “Lights out” trademark on certain products, including pajamas for adults and children as well as some of its teddy bears. The complaint, filed in the Southern District of California, alleges trademark infringement, statutory and common law unfair competition, and false endorsement and violation…

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Sudanese Refugees’ Copyright Suit Against Movie Makers Survives Motion to Dismiss

In 2015, 54 Sudanese refugees and their foundation, Foundation for Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan, Inc., (the Lost Boys) filed suit against the producers and writer of the movie The Good LieThe Good Lie was a 2014 movie starring Reese Witherspoon about the Lost Boys fleeing genocidal activity during the Second Sudanese Civil War and being granted asylum and residency in the US. The writer had interviewed the Lost Boys about their life stories in order to make the movie. Despite promises…

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Rapper Permanently Prohibited from Using “Rolls-Royce”

On Friday, March 11, 2016 Rolls-Royce won its infringement suit against rapper Royce Rizzy, formerly known as Rolls Royce Rizzy. A New Jersey federal judge ordered the rapper to permanently stop using the Rolls-Royce name and mark. The court found that rapper used the automaker’s name and mark to promote his music career and to benefit from the high-end image of Rolls-Royce. The court’s decision was made after the rapper failed to defend himself in court and joked about the lawsuit on social media. Rolls-Royce…

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“House of Cards” Trademark Owner vs. Netflix Series

The producer of popular Netflix series, “House of Cards” was sued on Thursday, March 3, 2016, for trademark infringement. The suit, filed in a Massachusetts federal court, alleges that defendant, Media Rights Capital II Distribution Company (MRC), which distributes the popular Netflix series, unlawfully licensed the “House of Cards” mark to other entities. D2 Holdings, the plaintiff and holder of the “House of Cards” trademark, alleges that the defendant licensed the trademark to third party companies to make merchandise such as T-shirts and hats. The…

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Copyright Controversy: NFL Players’ In-Game Performances Protected by Individual Publicity Rights

In a decision issued  Friday,February 26, 2016 the Eighth Circuit affirmed a summary judgment ruling against NFL athletes John Frederick Dryer, Elvin Lamont Bethea, and Edward Alvin White. The dispute dates back to 2009 when a number of ex-NFL athletes sued the NFL, alleging in part that the NFL misappropriated their “names, images, symbols, and likenesses, to promote the NFL, sell NFL-related products, and otherwise generate revenue for the NFL” in violation of state right of publicity law and the Lanham Trademark Act of 1946.…

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NFL and Associated Press Want Photographers’ Antitrust Suit Tossed Forever

On Thursday, February 11, 2016, the NFL and The Associated Press asked a New York federal judge to dismiss a group of professional photographers’ second attempt at asserting copyright and antitrust violations over the use of their photos taken at NFL games. At the hearing, the league and the media body — along with their co-defendants in the case, including Getty Images and Replay Photos LLC — argued that the photographers had failed to allege any new facts or claims in their second amended complaint,…

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Taking a Second Look: Patent Trial and Appeal Board to Reconsider Denial of Nike’s Motion to Amend Footwear Patent

In a significant decision by the Federal Circuit, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board was ordered on Thursday, February 11, 2016, to reconsider its decision denying apparel giant Nike’s motion to amend a footwear patent. Thursday’s decision represents the first time that the Federal Circuit has not affirmed such a denial by the PTAB. The patent at issue is one for a technology used in Nike’s “Flyknit” running shoe, specifically pertaining to the manner in which the upper portion of the shoe is manufactured. The…

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Don’t Wear it Out: Settlement in Lawsuit Against Nike Over the Allegedly Improper Use of the Name “Lights Out”

After nearly two years, a trademark infringement lawsuit brought by NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman against Nike has settled, according to documents filed in California federal court on Thursday, February 11, 2016. The lawsuit was sparked by Nike’s use of the term “Lights Out” for one of its lines of athletic apparel. Merriman was given the nickname “Lights Out” while in high school, and upon entering college, began selling T-shirts with a “Lights Out” logo to help pay for his schooling. Prior to the settlement, Merriman…

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