“House of Cards” Trademark Owner vs. Netflix Series

The producer of popular Netflix series, “House of Cards” was sued on Thursday, March 3, 2016, for trademark infringement. The suit, filed in a Massachusetts federal court, alleges that defendant, Media Rights Capital II Distribution Company (MRC), which distributes the popular Netflix series, unlawfully licensed the “House of Cards” mark to other entities. D2 Holdings, the plaintiff and holder of the “House of Cards” trademark, alleges that the defendant licensed the trademark to third party companies to make merchandise such as T-shirts and hats. The…
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Don’t Wear it Out: Settlement in Lawsuit Against Nike Over the Allegedly Improper Use of the Name “Lights Out”

After nearly two years, a trademark infringement lawsuit brought by NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman against Nike has settled, according to documents filed in California federal court on Thursday, February 11, 2016. The lawsuit was sparked by Nike’s use of the term “Lights Out” for one of its lines of athletic apparel. Merriman was given the nickname “Lights Out” while in high school, and upon entering college, began selling T-shirts with a “Lights Out” logo to help pay for his schooling. Prior to the settlement, Merriman…
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Redskins to Benefit From Federal Circuit’s Ruling in TM Action

On December 22, 2015, the Federal Circuit came to a conclusion regarding the government’s ban on “disparaging” trademark registrations that will likely support the Washington Redskins in its attempt to recover cancelled trademarks. The Federal Circuit held, in a similar case, that it is unconstitutional for the government to prohibit trademark registrations that it deems to be “disparaging,” as such action violates the First Amendment. Tuesday’s ruling occurred in a similar case, where Seattle-based rock band — The Slants — were refused a trademark…
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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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Snoop Dogg Slapped With Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Calvin Broadus aka Snoop Dogg is faced with a copyright infringement suit brought by Fuzzy Logic Productions. According to court papers, Fuzzy Logic accused Snoop Dogg, JT the Bigga Figga, and their streaming app TrapFlix for making unauthorized sequels to “Snow and tha Bluff,” which Fuzzy Logic released in June 2012.  Based loosely on experience of Curtis Snow, a real resident of the Bluff — Atlanta’s roughest neighborhood — the film portrays a drug dealer’s life. Fuzzy Logic further claimed that Snoop Dogg violated
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Can’t Shake it Off: Ongoing World Tour Doesn’t Exempt Taylor Swift from Depositions

There appears to be bad blood between award-winning music artist Taylor Swift and clothing company Lucky 13, which claims that Taylor Swift and her affiliated companies, such as Taylor Nation LLC and Taylor Swift Productions, Inc., infringed on the registered trademark “Lucky 13.” A California federal judge ruled on Tuesday that despite her ongoing world tour, Swift will need to create a blank space in her schedule for a deposition. A representative for Swift claimed that Lucky 13 was just trying to cause trouble, stating:…
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Downward Spiral Continues for Redskins as Judge Upholds Trademark Cancellation Decision

On Wednesday, July 08, a federal judge ordered the cancellation of the Washington Redskins’ federal trademark registrations. United States District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee ruled that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office should cancel the team’s trademark, finding that the name “may disparage” Native Americans. Judge Gerald Bruce Lee’s decision affirmed the earlier ruling by the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.  In that ruling, the appeal board held in a 2-1 vote that the team’s moniker is offensive to Native Americans and therefore ineligible…
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Katy Perry’s “Left Shark” Design Fails to Overcome Trademark Hurdles

The U.S. Trademark Office blocked Katy Perry’s attempt to capitalize on a “Left Shark” design.  According to David Collier, the trademark examiner, to be able to register a trademark, a mark or design must “function as a service mark to identify and distinguish applicant’s services from those of others and to indicate the source of applicant’s services.”  Based on evidence submitted by Perry, the Office found that the shark design failed to sufficiently conjure up Katy Perry or her music performance.  Collier also noted that…
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Former San Diego Chargers Wants $18M For “Lights Out” Trademark Infringement

On April 6, Shawne Merriman, former San Diego Chargers linebacker, filed a motion for summary judgment to ask the judge to resolve the trademark infringement dispute that began last year against Nike over “Lights Out” mark. Claiming the ownership of the mark, Merriman said, “After I was given the nickname ‘Lights Out’ ® in high school, I decided to create a brand while I was at the University of Maryland. From 2002-2005 I sold approximately 2000 t-shirts printed with the Lights Out…
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