University of Arkansas Files Suit Against Counterfeit Retailers

On Tuesday, June 26, 2018, the University of Arkansas’ Board of Trustees filed a suit seeking to stop a “massive network” of counterfeit websites selling fake or unregistered Razorback merchandise. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court, in the Northern District of Illinois. Defendants are not named, but are described as retailers “residing in China” or “other foreign jurisdictions”, operating “without any authorizations or licenses”. These phony retailers are extremely successful, as the complaint alleges that they receive tens of millions of visits per…
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Judge Alludes to Dismissal of Caddy Ad Lawsuit

At a hearing on Thursday, December 3, 2015, U.S. District Judge Vince Chabbria indicated that he is likely to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit brought by professional caddies against PGA Tour, Inc. In February 2015, professional caddie Mike Hicks and 81 others filed a class-action antitrust suit against the PGA Tour in a California federal court, alleging the Tour’s misappropriation of their “likeness and images in commercial activities.” The caddies seek for a share of revenue flowing in from caddies wearing bibs that display sponsors’ logos,…
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The Power of Endorsement Deals: Is Equity the New Compensation?

Professional athletes are becoming brands; walking, talking brands. Their success on the playing field adds value to their brand. Ultimately, companies want to use the athlete’s brand to sell their product; this gives birth to an endorsement contract. Companies pay huge sums of money for athletes to promote their products. The more powerful an athlete’s brand is, the more money a company is willing to pay to get their products in that athlete’s hands. Athletes earning potential in the endorsement arena is limitless; simply the…
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MJ and Chicago Grocer in Settlement Talks

On Wednesday, September 30, 2015, an Illinois federal judge told Michael Jordan and Jewel Food Stores, Inc. that both sides will benefit from settling their right of publicity suit. The lawsuit arose out of an advertisement placed in Sports Illustrated. The advertisement featured text congratulating Jordan on his introduction into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, a pair of basketball shoes portraying Jordan’s Number 23, and Jewel’s own logo. Jordan brought suit against Jewel alleging that Jewel used his likeness without permission in the…
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Judge Blocks Jordan’s 3-Point Attempt in Right of Publicity Lawsuit

Jordan’s bid to win the right of publicity lawsuit without going to trial failed as a federal district court refused to rule that Jewel’s use of his likeness violated relevant state law as matter of law. On March 12, District Judge Gary Feinerman denied Jordan’s motion for summary judgment, finding that there remained an unanswered legal question of “the extent to which the scope of the . . .  state laws . . . is coextensive with the Supreme Court’s constitutional commercial-speech doctrine.” To establish…
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Do You Know Where Your Beer Was Born?: Anheuser-Busch brews litigation with deceptive marketing

Anheuser-Busch, the world’s leader in beer production, is the target of public scorn for its alleged misleading labels and unfair marketing tactics. In the past two years, consumers have brought as many lawsuits against the brewer for false advertisement.  Consumers are claiming that two of Anheuser-Busch’s beers mislead consumers into thinking the beer is imported, though it is actually brewed on American soil with American water and ingredients.  The lawsuits name Kirin Ichiban and Beck’s as improperly labeled beer that misleads customers into believing the…
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“World’s Most Interesting” Case Settled

On Monday, the parties in the “World’s Most Interesting” trademark suit filed a stipulation to dismiss the suit.  In 2013, the Mexican brewer of Dos Equis beer filed a trademark and copyright infringement suit against KCI, Inc. (“KCI”), a New Jersey company that offers storage area network (SAN) maintenance services, over its advertising campaign themed “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” a U.S. registered trademark of the brewer. The complaint alleged that KCI filed trademark applications for the marks “The Most Interesting SAN Architect…
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Snooki Wins Trademark Lawsuit

Back in August of 2013, reality television star Nicole Polizzi, known to her fans as Snooki, brought a $2.4 million lawsuit against Excell Brands and its perfume “Snazzy.”  Polizzi alleged trademark infringement of her perfume brand “Snooki.” The brand “Snazzy Woman” by Excell Brands is marketed in a box containing similar leopard print and what Excell calls a disclaimer: “Our version of Snooki by Nicole Polizzi.”  While the smell and packaging may be similar, the text of the name “Snooki by Nicole Polizzi” on the…
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