Category Archives: Intellectual Property, Copyright, and Trademark

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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NBA2K16 Lawsuit Questions Who Owns Tattoos

A tattoo licensing company, Solid Oak Sketches LLC, is suing NBA2K, the professional basketball video game series, for copyright infringement. Solid Oak argues that the realistic depiction of tattoos on the bodies of multiple NBA players, including LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, in the NBA2K16 video game violated the copyright that Solid Oak owns. On April 19, 2016, the makers of the video game filed for a motion to dismiss the claim. Solid Oaks  obtained the license to most of the tattoos from the original…

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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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