Update: LeBron Seeks to Dismiss Infringement Suit

As we have previously covered, LeBron James became the target of an infringement suit in April 2018, after a barbershop owner and host of a University of Alabama talk show alleged that he copied his barbershop-themed show. James’ show, “The Shop”, and the Social Club Grooming Co.’s show, “Shop Talk”, respectively, are comparably themed, and each center on interviewing celebrity guests as they get haircuts. Though the Social Club (the d/b/a of plaintiff, Adventure Enterprises, Inc.) initiated the suit, the ball was first put…
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Pepsi Can’t Get Out of Suit Over 2016 Super Bowl Ad

In July 2016, Betty Inc, a boutique advertising agency filed a complaint for copyright infringement, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, conversion, and unfair competition against soft drink giant PepsiCo. In November of 2016, Pepsi was granted their motion to dismiss the complaint. However, this motion did not dismiss Betty Inc.’s copyright infringement claim and allowed the agency to amend their contract claim. Now, on June 5, 2018, Pepsi has lost their bid to dismiss the complaint after Judge Vincent L. Briccetti ruled that Pepsi needed…
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Indians Pitcher Claims IP Infringement Against Louisiana Baseball Training Program

On June 4, 2018, Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer commenced a lawsuit against a Louisiana-based baseball training program, claiming that it misappropriated his name, identity, likeness, and other interests protected under intellectual property laws. Bauer contends that the program, Top Velocity, LLC, had used his persona on its website and across its various social media accounts for its own commercial gain, leading the public to believe that Bauer and Top Velocity were associated. Bauer’s complaint asserts a total of 21 causes of action, including…
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Adidas Settles Trademark Infringement Case Against Skechers

On June 16, 2017, the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider discussed an appeal made by Sketchers to lift a preliminary injunction granted in favor Adidas, which had alleged that the Skechers Onix sneaker was violating the trademark of the iconic Adidas Stan Smith tennis shoe. The injunction was later affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. While affirming the injunction and continuing to prevent Skechers from manufacturing or selling the Skechers Onix, the appeals court noted its belief that Adidas would likely succeed at…
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College Student/Start-Up Business Owner Sues New Era Cap Co. for Trademark Infringement

On May 22, 2018, God’s Era, a small start-up casual apparel company in Massachusetts, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against New Era Cap Co. According to the complaint, New Era Cap Co. willfully engaged in trademark infringement, unfairly competed, injured God’s Era business reputation, and New Era Cap Co. used false and deceptive business practices. God’s Era is a small apparel company that was “wholly self-funded by its owner, Averil Hilton, who is currently a full-time college student and working full-time at another job…
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ESPN and Chick-Fil-A Move to Dismiss Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

On May 22, 2018, ESPN and Chick-Fil-A filed a brief in support of their motion to dismiss Platinum Jack Entertainment, LLC’s copyright infringement lawsuit. As we have previously covered, Platinum Jack filed a lawsuit against ESPN and Chick-Fil-A because of their allegedly impermissible use of the song entitled “Best I Had” by Drayter, from whom Platinum Jack purchased “all rights and publishing.” Now ESPN and Chick-Fil-A have moved to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that “the complaint is a four-page pleading riddled with errors, conclusory…
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Battle of the Barbershops Continues: Alabama Alleges Infringement, Sues LeBron & Co.

On April 16, 2018, the Social Club Grooming Co., barbershop owner and host of Alabama’s “Shop Talk,” filed a trademark suit against LeBron James and his multimedia company, Uninterrupted Digital Ventures, LLC, for the same concern that LeBron expressed just weeks ago in a letter to the college – infringement. As we have recently covered, James and the University of Alabama have been at odds over the parties’ similarly themed barbershop shows, “The Shop,” and “Shop Talk,” respectively. Upon discovering the existence of Alabama’s…
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Chick-Fil-A and ESPN Under Attack for Copyright Infringement

On April 10, 2018, music producer, Platinum Jack Entertainment, LLC filed suit in a Texas court against Chick-Fil-A and ESPN for their allegedly impermissible use of a band’s original music in recent commercials. The commercials feature sportscasters Joey Galloway and Adnan Virk of ESPN making chicken-related football commentary, with the tune of the song in dispute playing in the background. Though the song lacks the vocals that would make its appropriation clear, Platinum Jack contends that it is identifiable sans lyrics and is currently asserting…
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EA Still on the Hook for NFL Likeness Misuse; Wins on Sanctions Motion in the Meantime

As we have previously reported, Electronic Arts Inc. continues to be under fire for trying to evade responsibility for its alleged unauthorized use of thousands of NFL players’ likenesses in its video games, most notably in Madden NFL. On March 29, 2018, the retired players filed a motion in opposition to EA’s third attempt at summary judgment. According to the retired players’ motion, they represent a proposed class of over 7,500 other retired NFL players who claim to have been similarly aggrieved by EA’s…
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Battle of the Barbershops: LeBron vs. Alabama

On April 2, 2018, LeBron James’ multimedia company, Uninterrupted, sent a stern letter to the University of Alabama for airing a sports talk series that feels strangely similar to his own new series, “The Shop.” The University of Alabama’s series, “Shop Talk,” much like James’ series, is set in a barber shop, and involves a group of people having casual conversation about an assortment of topics. James’ show, which has already gotten over four million views, features James, his friends, and other guests getting…
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