Tag Archives: Lanham Act

Trademark Liability Setback for The Walking Dead Creator

Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead, faced a setback Wednesday, November, 30, 2016 when a judge denied his company’s motion for summary judgement in a trademark liability suit.  Last year, the company filed suit against four entrepreneurs who had filed numerous trademark applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register the mark “The Walking Dead.” The defendants’ 11 patent applications were connected to various goods and services including t-shirts, bottled water, coffee, and other “themed restaurant services.” Currently, the company owns…

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Native American Groups File Brief in Support of Trademark Office’s Ban on Disparaging Trademarks

On November 16, 2016, Native American organizations, including the National Congress of American Indians, filed a brief of amici curiae in support of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (PTO) ban on offensive and disparaging trademarks. The statute at issue before the Supreme Court is Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1052(a), which provides that no trademark will be refused registration because of content unless, inter alia, the trademark “[c]onsists of . . .matter[s] which may disparage . . .…

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College Players Not Entitled to Broadcasting Compensation

Former college players claiming they should be reimbursed for the broadcasting of games they played in recently endured another defeat. On August 17, 2016, the Sixth Circuit dismissed their claims after the district court had done the same in 2015. The suit was filed against ESPN, CBS, NBC, and other broadcasting networks and several conferences in 2014. Javon Marshall, former Vanderbilt football player, and the proposed class of former student athletes are claiming violations of the Sherman Act, Lanham Act, and Tennessee Law. The…

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Class Action Suit From College Athletes Against Fantasy Sports Continues in Federal Court

On Wednesday, May 18, 2016, former NCAA athletes moved their lawsuit against major fantasy sports sites FanDuel and Draftkings to Indiana federal court. The lawsuit was initiated earlier this month when a group of former athletes sued FanDuel and Draftkings over the unauthorized use of the players’ names and likeness for fantasy sports betting. The class action alleges that the fantasy sports sites used the players’ names and likenesses to promote fantasy college sports contests for which they charged fees and generated about $3 billion.…

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Minnesota Judge Orders Awarded Damages in NFL Publicity Case to Remain in Escrow

On April 12, 2016, a Minnesota federal judge ordered $150,000 in payments awarded be kept in escrow in response to a request made by NFL players’ attorneys that the fees awarded to certain law firms be withheld, due to a “loan squabble.” In 2010, professional football player John Frederick Dryer filed a putative class action against the National Football League.  His main argument claimed that NFL films violated professional football players’ publicity rights and rights under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125.  Out…

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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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First Amendment Law Professors Back Redskins’ Argument on Appeal

On October 29, 2015, a notable group of First Amendment law professors filed an amicus brief with the Fourth Circuit, supporting the Redskins’ argument that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act is in violation of the First Amendment. The case, Pro-Football, Inc. v. Blackhorse, is currently pending in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals where the Redskins have been fighting to reclaim their trademarks that were cancelled by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) last year. The PTO’s revocation of the marks, which…

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The Uphill Fight to Protect The Washington Redskins’ Trademark Continues

On Friday October 30, 2015, the Washington Redskins initiated its appellate argument against the federal judgment upholding the cancellation of the franchise’s trademarks. The appeal to the Fourth Circuit marks the continuation of a two-decade long fight between the NFL franchise and a group of Native Americans who believe that the team name is a disparaging term, in violation of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act. In June of 2014, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) cancelled six trademarks under the Washington Redskins name…

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