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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Judge Highlights Inconsistencies in NCAA Rules against Paying Student Athletes

The NCAA antitrust trial continues, as Division I college basketball and football players vie for compensation, arguing that the current NCAA provisions illegally restrict player wages. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken probed NCAA vice president Kevin Lennon on the association’s limits on student wages, pointing out apparent discrepancies between rules imposed on various conferences. Judge Wilken highlighted a NCAA provision adopted in 2014 that allows five conferences to independently determine their financial aid rules, despite NCAA bylaws imposing cost-of-attendance limits. Visibly perplexed,…
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NFL Painkiller Class Action Resurrected by 9th Circuit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a class action filed by former NFL players, sending the case back to federal court. The suit claims the NFL encouraged players to abuse painkillers, including opioids. In 2014, the lower court sided with the NFL, holding that the claims were preempted by the Labor Management Relations Act and the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NFL team owners and athletes. Now, however, the 9th Circuit has…
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Tattoo Artist Sues WWE and Take-Two Interactive for Copyright Infringement

Catherine Alexander, a tattoo artist for professional WWE wrestler Randy Orton, sued World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. claiming that several of the video games in the WWE 2K series illegally copied Alexander’s copyrighted tattoos. Between 2003 and 2008, Alexander created several tattoos for Orton, including on his upper back, forearms, upper arms, and sleeve tattoos. On March 15, 2018, Alexander submitted applications to register copyrights on each of the tattoos. Back in 2009, WWE offered Alexander $450.00 for the rights to…
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Helmet Maker Riddell Free to Move Forward with Patent Infringement Litigation During PTAB Review

On Sunday, March 19, 2017, an Illinois Federal Judge denied Kranos Corporation’s and Xenith LLC’ motion to stay Riddell’s helmet patent infringement cases against them, holding that a pending Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) review does not provide an automatic stay for the two cases. As previously reported, Riddell filed two lawsuits against Kranos and Xenith in April 2016, alleging their helmet designs infringed Riddell’s patented helmet designs. While the judge presiding over the case denied Riddell’s motion to consolidate the two…
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Bittersweet Victory: DraftKings Reaches Deal With ESPN Without Any Equity Investment

On Wednesday, June 24, fantasy sports company DraftKings Inc. reached a promotional partnership with ESPN.  DraftKings had reportedly been in talks with Walt Disney Co., ESPN’s parent company, for an equity investment earlier this year.  According to the reports from April, Disney was close to investing $250 million into DraftKings, an amount that would value the company at roughly $900 million. Although neither company would discuss how much the ESPN marketing deal was actually worth, the agreement makes DraftKings the “official fantasy sports offering” on…
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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Facebook Threats Not a Crime

On Monday, June 1, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Anthony Elonis, a man convicted for making threats on Facebook against his estranged wife. He originally received a 44-month sentence from a Pennsylvania Court for the online threats, but U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts disagreed, saying there wasn’t enough to support the conviction. Of importance in the ruling was that Elonis wrote under a pseudo name: “Tone Dougie.” He argued that his social medial postings were stylized as rap…
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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Facebook Threats Not a Crime

On Monday, June 1, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Anthony Elonis, a man convicted for making threats on Facebook against his estranged wife. He originally received a 44-month sentence from a Pennsylvania Court for the online threats, but U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts disagreed, saying there wasn’t enough to support the conviction. Of importance in the ruling was that Elonis wrote under a pseudo name: “Tone Dougie.” He argued that his social medial postings were stylized as rap…
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Deceased NHL Player Suffered From CTE; Family to Sue NHL

On Tuesday, May 12, the Canadian Sports Concussion Project released a report confirming that deceased NHL player, Steve Montador, suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), prompting his family to continue with a lawsuit directed at the National Hockey League. Steve Montador died in February at the age of 35 and had agreed to submit his brain for testing before his early death. Like many other professional athletes who’ve died young and been diagnosed post-mortem with CTE, Montador suffered from depression, erratic behavior, and memory loss…
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The Combat Sport that Cannot Slip its Own Punches (Part 2 of 2)

Yesterday we touched on the legal and regulatory controversies in the aftermath of the Manny Pacquiao Floyd Mayweather fight. Today’s post deals with a potential DOJ investigation and lawsuit against a leading manager/advisor in the boxing world. The Al Haymon Situation Sparsely reported during week prior to the “Fight of the Century” was that the Association of Boxing Commissions (the ABC), a non-profit organization that strives to provide a more uniform regulatory framework for boxing and mixed martial arts in North America, called upon the…
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