California Intellectual Property Blog

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PATAGONIA SUES ANHEUSER-BUSCH OVER PATAGONIA BEER TRADEMARK

By Joseph Mandour on April 23, 2019

San Diego – Anheuser-Busch InBev recently launched a beer called Patagonia. The popular outdoor clothing retailer by the same name is claiming that consumers will be confused into thinking that the beer has something to do with the clothing company which it does not. Thus far Anheuser-Busch InBev has not backed down and so Patagonia has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit.

Patagonia was founded in California in 1973 and has grown into one of the leading outdoor retailers known for its role as being a leader in environmental activism. Two years ago Patagonia sued President Trump after he attempted to limit protected national lands. In P Read the rest

GIGI HADID SUED FOR POSTING A PHOTO ON INSTAGRAM

By Joseph Mandour on April 12, 2019

Los Angeles – Supermodel Gigi Hadid has been sued for copyright infringement for posting a photo of herself on Instagram. The lawsuit involves a photo that was taken by the paparazzi. The complaint states that Hadid used the photo without permission of the owner Xclusive-Lee, Inc.

Thus far Hadid is fighting the case. Her copyright attorney states that the claim is meritless and should be thrown out due to fair use. Thus they are planning a motion to dismiss. Read the rest

STAR TREK AND DR. SEUSS MASHUP RULED COPYRIGHT FAIR USE

By Joseph Mandour on March 27, 2019

Orange County – A book titled Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go!, a mashup of Star Trek and Dr. Seuss, created a copyright legal dispute which recently came to a conclusion. Dr. Seuss Enterprises filed a copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit but has now lost on summary judgment.

ComicMix, the creator of the book, prevailed on trademark claims related to the book a year ago. At that time, U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino concluded that the book wasn’t explicitly misleading about any connection to the company that owns Dr. Seuss rights.

Now on summary judgment for copyright claims the judge decided that Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Read the rest

U.S. SUPREME COURT REQUIRES COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION TO FILE LAWSUIT

By Joseph Mandour on March 12, 2019

Los Angeles – The U.S. Supreme Court recently made an important copyright decision in the case Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporation v. Wall-Street.com. In the decision, the Supreme court made a unanimous decision that a copyright registration from the U.S. Copyright Office is now required before filing a copyright infringement lawsuit.

There has been a long time circuit court split on the issue. While some circuit courts required only that a copyright application be filed prior to filing a copyright lawsuit, others required a registration. The process from the filing of a copyright application to the registration of the work can t Read the rest

FORTNITE COPYRIGHT LAWSUITS HURT BY COPYRIGHT OFFICE DENIAL

By Joseph Mandour on February 28, 2019

San Diego – Performers have been suing video game creators lately for copying dance moves. Among them are rapper 2 Milly and Alfonso Ribeiro, the actor who played Carlton on the popular show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”. In unison with the lawsuit, Ribeiro filed a copyright application for the Carlton Dance made popular on the TV show. The United States Copyright Office has now responded by denying the application.

Alfonso Ribeiro is claiming that Fortnite maker Epic Games committed copyright infringement by making his exact dance available in the video game. In preparation for the lawsuit, Ribeiro has submitted three applicati Read the rest

MCDONALDS LOSES THE BIGMAC TRADEMARK IN EUROPE

By Joseph Mandour on February 15, 2019

Orange County – In Europe, McDonald’s has held the trademark for the term “BIG MAC” since 1998. However, the trademark was recently lost after the European Union Intellectual Property Office’s (EUIPO) decision to revoke the trademark in response to a cancellation filed by an Irish fast-food chain called Supermac’s.

History of the Big Mac

The Big Mac is the invention of Jim Deligatti, who owned a McDonald’s franchise in Pittsburgh. The sandwich debuted in 1967, and despite its decidedly un-catchy original names, such as “Blue Ribbon Burger” and “Aristocrat,” it became popular on the strengt Read the rest

SUPREME COURT FACES DECISION ON TRADEMARK PROTECTION OF ‘SCANDALOUS’ BRANDS

By Joseph Mandour on January 28, 2019

Los Angeles – In January 2019, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case regarding whether portions of the Lanham Act that prohibits “scandalous” or “immoral” trademarks from receiving trademark protection are constitutional.

The case, Iancu v. Brunetti¸ centers around the decision of the U.S. Trademark Office to deny trademark registration to FUCT, a clothing company founded in Los Angeles in 1990. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has already struck down portions of the law prohibiting registration f Read the rest

U.S. SUPREME COURT INCREASES REVIEW OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CASES

By Joseph Mandour on January 11, 2019

San Diego – Historically speaking, the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has heard relatively few intellectual property cases. However, in recent years this trend appears to be changing. In fact, the October 2018 term has five IP cases on the docket. The outcome of the cases could have huge ramifications for businesses and their ability to protect intellectual Property assets.

Mission Product Holdings Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC
This case concerns issues related to the effect of bankruptcy on intellectual property licenses and more specifically how bankruptcy effects a trademark license. The case will resolve a c Read the rest

DONALD TRUMP, WEDDING CRASHER, BECOMES COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT CASE

By Joseph Mandour on December 17, 2018

Orange County – A photograph taken of Donald Trump at a wedding in Bedminster, New Jersey on June 11, 2017 went viral. The photograph documented the President crashing a wedding at one of his resorts and has become the source of contention for some of the guests of the wedding.

Jonathan Otto, the vice president of Deustche Bank, was a guest at the wedding and took the photo of President Trump on his iPhone. Another guest at the wedding, Sean Burke, received the photo from Otto, which he shared with other attendees. The photo eventually made its way to Instagram, where the media first discovered it. Thereafter the photo was showcased on Read the rest

LEVI STRAUSS FIGHTS FOR TRADEMARK ON POCKET TAB

By Joseph Mandour on November 30, 2018

Los Angeles – The popular denim company, Levi Strauss, has recently sued Yves Saint Laurent on the grounds of trademark infringement regarding the tabs included on jean pockets.

One of the most classic features on Levi jeans is also one of the smallest features on their pants. Levi’s have been commonly known to have the company name printed onto a red, white, or blue tab. This tab is typically attached into the right seam of the back pocket. The question is, however, does the use of a similar tab from Yves Saint Laurent warrant trademark infringement. To make a case, Levi Strauss must be able to prove that the similarities between the two coul Read the rest

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