Trademark Showdown at Home Plate: Atlanta Braves at Bat against Local Taxi Company

On November 1, 2018, the Atlanta Braves commenced an action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against a local Marietta taxi company and its owner for trademark infringement. The complaint filed by the Atlanta Braves asserts Federal and State causes of action against Braves Taxi sounding in Trademark Infringement, Trademark Dilution, Unfair Competition, and Cyberpiracy. In short, the Atlanta Braves claim that Braves Taxi is using identical and confusingly similar marks to those of the MLB team on its vehicles.…
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Draftkings and Fanduel: “No Doubt” Right of Publicity Lawsuit Should be Dismissed

As we have previously reported, former NCAA football players, Akeem Daniels, Cameron Stingily, and Nicholas Stoner recently filed a lawsuit against Draftkings, Inc. and Fanduel, Inc. In their lawsuit, the former NCAA players allege that Draftkings and Fanduel violated an Indiana state right-of-publicity statute when they used the former players names, images, likenesses, and statistics in online fantasy sports contests. After the case was dismissed in United States District Court, it was appealed to the Seventh Circuit. A Seventh Circuit appellate panel certified the…
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Picture Imperfect: Polaris Brings Suit Against Fox Affiliate Over Photo Usage of Aaron Hernandez’s Fiancée

On November 14, 2018, Polaris Images Corp. filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Fox affiliate Tribune Broadcasting Co. Per the complaint, a Tribune-owned website published a story regarding the late NFL player Aaron Hernandez’s pregnant former fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, and used a photograph of Jenkins therein. According to the article, entitled “Aaron Hernandez’s fiancée Shayanna Jenkins announces pregnancy,” the caption beneath the photograph in question credits “Shayanna Jenkins Instagram.”  However, Polaris claims “Tribute did not license the photograph from plaintiff for its article,…
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Again WWE and Take-Two Interactive Move to Dismiss Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

On October 23, 2018, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (Take-Two) again moved to dismiss a suit brought by Catherine Alexander, a tattoo artist for professional WWE wrestler Randy Orton. According to the WWE and Take-Two, Alexander’s “amended complaint does nothing to remedy the grave deficiencies of her prior pleading.” As we have previously reported, in April, 2018, Alexander sued the WWE and Take-Two. Alexander claimed that several video games in the WWE 2K series illegally copied Alexander’s copyrighted tattoos…
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Heisman Trophy Trust Sues HeismanWatch.com

On Wednesday, October 3rd 2018, the Heisman Trophy Trust, the organization behind the famed Heisman Trophy, filed a trademark claim against HeismanWatch.com, a website that tracks the competition for the award. The trust submitted their compliant to New York federal court, positing that the website has used the Heisman trademarks without their consent or permission to capitalize on its fame.  The website HeismanWatch.com has been managed by owners Chase Leavitt, Joseph Middleton, and Kimball Dean since 2014, and has podcasts and social media…
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In Pursuit of Class Certification against EA, Retired NFL Players Cite Bette Midler

The retired NFL players suing Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) are citing an unexpected figure in their continued efforts to gain class certification: singer Bette Midler. The athletes’ action against EA began in 2010, over the company using their likeness in the video games, arguing that, while EA pays the NFL players union when featuring the names and likeness of current players, EA failed to compensate retired players in the same fashion. A federal judge recently ruled against the athletes, refusing to certify their case as…
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TaylorMade Takes Case to Patent Trial and Appeal Board

On August 30, 2018, the United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) agreed to hear two challenges by TaylorMade Golf Company, Inc. (TaylorMade) against its fellow golf manufacture rival, Parsons Xtreme Golf LLC (Xtreme). The patents in question, US Patent No. 9,199,143 and US Patent No. 8,961,336 were previously filed by Xtreme and have remained a source of contention between the two companies for over a year. Back in September 2017, Xtreme accused TaylorMade of selling golf clubs that infringed multiple of Xtreme’s patents,…
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Retired NFL Players Denied Class Certification in Copyright Lawsuit Against EA

On August 17, 2018, a group of retired NFL players was denied class certification in California Federal Court for the second time. As we have previously reported, the retired NFL players claimed that EA created physically and biographically similar avatars of the former NFL players and used them in their famous Madden NFL video game. According to the former players, EA used the player’s actual positions, teams, accurately pointed to the players’ retired statuses, and EA publicized their use by coining certain features of…
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Five in NYC Charged for Selling Over $73M in Counterfeit Jordans

Five New York City individuals have recently been charged for the sale of over $73 million worth of counterfeit Nike Air Jordans, in a ring thought to have been active since at least 2016. On August 3, 2018, a complaint was filed in the Southern District of New York, alleging that Miyuki Suen, Jian Min Huang, Songhua Qu, Kin Lui Chen, and Fangrang Qu conspired to and did traffic counterfeit goods in violation of federal law. The investigation was led by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI),…
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Bizarre Inside Edition Lawsuit that Involves the Murder of a Former NFL Player

On August 6, 2018, Billups P. Percy sued Inside Edition Inc. after Inside Edition allegedly used Percy’s copyrighted video of Anthony Hayes. On December 26, 2005, Percy, a Louisiana-based photojournalist, video recorded Anthony Hayes wielding a knife while surrounded by New Orleans police officers. Hayes was shot and killed by a police officer after he lunged at a police lieutenant. Percy later registered the video with the U.S. Copyright Office and he was given rights to the video as the sole owner of all “right,…
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