“Hard Rock” Hamilton Can’t add Claim in Video Game Suit

On January 10, 2019, former former football player, professional wrestler, and motivational speaker, Lenwood “Hard Rock” Hamilton, was allowed to drop, but not add, allegations in his suit against Microsoft Studios Inc. and Epic Games Inc. Back in 2005, Hamilton claimed that he provided photos and voice recordings for a character who would later become Augustus “Cole Train” Cole in the video game Gears of War. In 2017, in a lawsuit against Microsoft Studios Inc., Hamilton claimed that the character, voiced by actor Lester…
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Nirvana Says Stay Away, Demands All Apologies in Lawsuit Against Marc Jacobs

On December 28, 2018, Nirvana LLC brought suit against Marc Jacobs International, claiming copyright and trademark infringement. Nirvana LLC was formed back in 1997 by Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and the Cobain Estate controlled by Courtney Love. Per the complaint, Nirvana argues that the Jacobs fashion brand has taken advantage of its image in misleading customers to believe Nirvana has endorsed or is otherwise associated with Jacobs’ “Bootleg Redux Grunge” collection. In particular, Jacobs has allegedly re-purposed the infamous “Smiley Face” logo created by Kurt…
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Dance Like Somebody’s Watching: Alfonso Ribeiro of “Fresh Prince” Fame Sues “Fortnite” Creators Over Use of “Carlton Dance”

On December 17, 2018, Alfonso Ribeiro brought a copyright infringement lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit against Epic Games, the creators of immensely popular “Fortnite” video game.  Ribeiro is most famously known for his role on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” where he portrayed Carlton Banks.  In the series, Ribeiro created a “Carlton Dance” that remains widely known, and the suit alleges Epic Games used this choreography without permission. An important note found in the complaint is that Ribeiro is currently in the process of registering…
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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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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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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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CBS Interactive Inc. Sued for Trademark Infringement

On July 13, 2018, Fulltime Fantasy Sports, LLC (Fulltime) sued CBS Interactive Inc. (CBSi) for trademark infringement, false advertising, breach of contract, conversion, unlawful and deceptive practices, and unfair competition. According to the complaint, “[a]s fantasy football season approaches, Fulltime has been forced to file this action to seek relief from the Court’s so that CBSi will stop misappropriating Fulltime’s intellectual property and good will, stop confusing consumers, and pay Fulltime what it is owed.” Fulltime, founded in 2011, “provided premier fantasy sports content,…
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Major Sports Leagues Band Together Against Merchandise Counterfeiters

Three major sports leagues, among others, have recently banded together to put an end to a purportedly massive online circuit of sports merchandise counterfeiters using the leagues’ distinctive trademarks.  On July 2, 2018, NBA Properties, Inc., MLB Advanced Media, L.P., NHL Enterprises, L.P., IMG College Licensing, LLC, and the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska (Plaintiffs) filed suit against an undisclosed list of foreign defendants for alleged trademark infringement. Plaintiffs contend that the online stores are selling their products by using their distinctive…
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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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