Clint Eastwood Takes on Another Chair: Settles Lawsuit Against Furniture Manufacturer

Clint Eastwood has reached a settlement in his lawsuit against Evofurniture LLC which accused the furniture manufacturer of impermissibly using Eastwood’s name on various furniture products – such as chairs, ottomans, and entertainment centers – without permission.  Among other things, the action asserted claims of misappropriation of name and persona.  According to a court notice filed on October 15, 2012, the settlement includes the issuance of an injunction barring Evofurniture from naming any furniture products after Eastwood in the future.  Monetary terms of the settlement are undisclosed. Among the notable examples cited in Eastwood’s complaint was an advertisement which stated that the “Clint” entertainment center made it “look like you live in a perfect world of a million-dollar baby”.  Another advertisement suggested that purchasers of the “Clint” entertainment center should ...
Continue Reading...


Lance Armstrong Steps Down from Livestrong, Dropped by Nike

Days before the Livestrong Foundation’s 15th anniversary celebration, its founder, Lance Armstrong, announced this morning that he is stepping down as Chairman.   Nike, Inc. also announced today that it is terminating its contract with Armstrong based on the “seemingly insurmountable evidence” that Armstrong participated in doping.  Nike will continue its support of Livestrong initiatives.  Both announcements follow the release of a report last week by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency which included testimony from several former teammates that Armstrong both used and trafficked performance enhancing drugs during his cycling career.  Armstrong was banned from competitive cycling and stripped of his titles by the USADA in August. Nike, Inc. Statement Armstrong Dropped by Nike, Steps Down as Chairman of His Charity
Continue Reading...

Court Rules ‘Bachelor’/’Bachelorette” Casting Directors Free to Give Roses to Applicants of Their Choosing

A Tennessee federal judge dismissed a race bias class action against ABC Inc. and the producer of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” determining that the show’s casting decisions are “part and parcel of the creative process behind a television program” and therefore protected by the First Amendment. Individuals Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson filed the suit in April, alleging that ABC intentionally excluded minorities from the hit reality series, thereby perpetuating “outdated racial taboos.” Although “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” have aired for a combined total of 23 seasons, no minority has ever starred on the programs. The complaint suggests that “[t]he exclusion of people of color from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette sends the message — to whites and racial minorities —that only all-white relationships are worthy of national attention.” According ...
Continue Reading...

USADA Finds Armstrong’s Doping a Team Effort

On October 10, 2012, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a report laying out the reasons behind its August decision to ban Lance Armstrong from competitive cycling, as well as strip him of his racing titles (which include seven Tour-de-France victories).  The allegations, which include testimony taken from over a dozen witnesses (including several former teammates), state that Armstrong had both used and trafficked the drugs EPO and testosterone. At one point, the report accused Armstrong of perpetuating a “doping culture” on his racing team, painting him as a wrongdoer with a “small army of supporters,” enablers who assisted him – and forced his teammates – to use illegal drugs in violation of international doping bans.  It later stated, “[t]he evidence is overwhelming that Lance Armstrong did not just use performance ...
Continue Reading...

Dat’s My Slogan…‘Big Easy’ Coffee Shop Sued Over Trademarked Rallying Cry

On October 4th, 2012,  Judge Barbier in the Eastern District of Louisiana denied Who Dat Yat Chat, LLC’s motion for summary judgment seeking to dismiss Who Dat Inc.’s lawsuit claiming trademark infringement for use of the slogan, “Who Dat”.  “Who Dat,” the Saint’s rallying cry, was previously trademarked by Who Dat Inc., co-merchandiser with the National Football League, which produced an Aaron Neville song in 1983 using the slogan, according to lawyers for Who Dat Inc. Who Dat Yat Chat, a coffee shop, sought to have Who Dat Inc.’s suit dismissed claiming that the phase was “abandoned” by Who Dat Inc. since it has not sold merchandising bearing the trademark for more than three years.  It also argued there would be no infringement since the mark would be used in ...
Continue Reading...

No Doubt Settles ‘Band Hero’ Lawsuit over Avatars with Activision

On October 3, 2012, popular musicians No Doubt settle their ongoing lawsuit against Activision Publishing, Inc. over the use of the group’s ‘avatars’ in the ‘Band Hero’ video game. No Doubt had filed suit for breach of contract and right to publicity claims when it was discovered that players could use the No Doubt avatars to perform songs in the game by other musicians. No Doubt alleged that they had been “turned into a virtual karaoke act” by the game, and asserted that the game feature negatively affected their “carefully crafted public image.” They argued that their ‘avatars’ should only be allowed to perform the three No Doubt singles the group licensed to Activision for inclusion in the game. Previous attempts by Activision to have the case dismissed were all ...
Continue Reading...

GUEST EXPERT ANALYSIS: Why the Lockout Strategy did not work for the NFL and why the NHL is in a Different Position

Looking for a repeat of its successful bargaining strategy of locking out players, the National Football League locked out its 121 part-time referees in June following the expiration of the National Football League Referees Association contract on May 31, 2012.  Three months later, the NFL decreased its demand for concessions and increased its wage proposal in order to end this work stoppage before the replacement referees made another bad call on the field that changed the outcome of another game.  Most people credit the call awarding a touchdown to Seattle’s Golden Tate at the end of the Monday Night Football Game between the Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers on September 24, 2012; however, there were at least five factors that caused the NFL’s lockout strategy to fail. In early ...
Continue Reading...

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a … barber? Barbershop Sued by DC Comics over Superman Marks

DC Comics has filed a trademark infringement suit against a Florida barbershop owner in federal court.  The suit accuses the owners of “Supermen Fades to Fros LLC” of using signs, promotion materials and logos which bear DC Comics’ trademarked “Superman” materials. DC Comics requested that the shop owner cease the use of the marks on multiple occasions without result.  DC’s complaint notes that “DC has never at any time authorized defendants to utilize the infringing promotions in conjunction with any barbershop business and/or the sale or offer for sale of hair groom services.  Defendants’ use of the infringing promotions is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake and to deceive as to the affiliation, connection or association of defendants’ infringing barbershops with DC.” The complaint also alleges that “Supermen Fades ...
Continue Reading...

League Blows Whistle on Replacement Refs, Strikes Deal with Regular Officials

Thanks to the poor performance of their replacements, the NFL’s regular officiating crews have reached an agreement for a new deal in place with the League.  While the deal will not be official until it is ratified by a vote of the officials’ union on Friday in Dallas, a regular crew will take the field for tonight’s game in Baltimore to the relief of players, coaches, and fans alike. A series of blown calls, including the dramatic touchdown/interception fiasco at the end of Monday night’s Seahawks/Packers showdown sealed the replacement refs’ fate.  In the face of increasing public pressure and growing incidents between players, coaches and the replacement refs, the NFL returned to the table to reach a deal with their regular officials. Two federal mediators helped the League reach ...
Continue Reading...

Pacquiao v. Mayweather Lawsuit Update – Round 2

Just a week after being ordered by the Court to pay $114,000 in legal fees for failing to appear at a deposition, it appears that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has reached a settlement with Manny Pacquiao.  A pretrial agreement noted that the boxers are in the process of settling the defamation case brought by Pacquiao in December 2009.  Pacquiao filed suit alleging that Mayweather accusing him of using performance-enhancing drugs. The terms of the settlement are confidential.  However, a statement released on behalf of the Mayweathers noted that they “wish to make it clear that they never intended to claim that Manny Pacquiao has used or is using any performance-enhancing drugs, nor are they aware of any evidence that Manny Pacquiao has used performance-enhancing.” Boxing fans have been waiting for a ...
Continue Reading...