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Category Archives: First Amendment

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(Subway) Eat Flesh, An Effective Parody?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Fashion, First Amendment, Guest Bloggers, Infringement, Law Suits, Trademarks

  This past weekend one of my sons said, “Dad, I have a good blog topic for you.” After he explained, it was clear, yes, son you do! So, he sent me the photo to the left. It is one that he recently snapped at a place that sells Halloween costumes.   As an aside, I love it… Continue Reading

Put it on Ice: ALSA Abandons ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE Trademark Applications

Posted in Branding, Fair Use, First Amendment, Goodwill, Marketing, Social Media, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, USPTO

(Bill Gates putting his own spin on the ice bucket challenge) So there is a thing called the ice bucket challenge. In case you haven’t heard of it, you can read about it here (while you’re at it, you may want to read up on the internet, color television, and greek yogurt). In fact, Matt… Continue Reading

Blue 42. Set. Trademark! I mean, Hike!

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Goodwill, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Sound, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television, Touch, Trademarks, USPTO

Can you feel it? All around the country, fields are being groomed, stenciled, and painted. Tonight, the college football season begins with Georgia State taking on Abilene Christian in what could be a preview of one of hundreds of games that most of us don’t really care about. But like so many fans around the country, I’ll… Continue Reading

Believe what you want, but who will win?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Goodwill, Infringement, Trademarks, USPTO

In case you were unaware, the (Men’s) World Cup happened over the last two months and is now over (the Women’s World Cup is next year, in Canada). I Believe that if you followed Team USA at all, you probably heard the infectious chant of I —— I BELIEVE ——- I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!… Continue Reading

Update: Ikea Voids the Warranty on its Demand Letter

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Goodwill, Infringement, Marketing, Social Media, Trademarks

A few weeks back, we discussed IKEA’s claim of trademark infringement against the popular website, IKEAhackers.net, and the resulting online backlash. In what’s become an increasingly common result, IKEA has reportedly backed off from its demand letter: We want to clarify that we deeply regret the situation at hand with  IKEAhackers. It has of course… Continue Reading

ED Ads: Humor From Across the Pond

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Goodwill, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television

On this last day of the month, we are shedding almost all seriousness to stand at attention while examining some recent London taxi cab humor — from the perspective of Lloyds Pharmacy – about treating the affliction of erectile dysfunction (ED) with six pound pills and a healthy dose of laughs: One of the things I learned… Continue Reading

IKEA översittare: Bully or Baloney?

Posted in Branding, Dilution, Domain Names, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Goodwill, Infringement, Marketing, Social Media, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

I once spent 20 minutes trying to figure out whether I was installing a metal insert for an NYMÖ lamp upside down, or rightside up. I’m still not sure I ever installed it correctly, but it’s still working. So there. But a new IKEA översittare is getting a lot of attention on the internet, and… Continue Reading

Sterling, Silver

Posted in Branding, First Amendment, Marketing

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past week, you likely heard the story of Donald Sterling–vile racist billionaire NBA franchise owner–versus Adam Silver–white knight commish of the NBA working to free the world from the clutches of tyranny and racial oppression.  As usual, the full story is somewhat more complicated.  Sterling was a known quantity in… Continue Reading

And the Grammy for Most Likely to Receive a DMCA Notice Goes to…

Posted in Audio, Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Social Media

Last Sunday was “Music’s Biggest Night,” at least according to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). I haven’t watched many Grammy Award shows, but the possibility of seeing Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performing together was enough for me to tune in, at least for a few minutes. I wasn’t paying particularly close… Continue Reading

The Gold Medal Of Trademarks

Posted in Advertising, First Amendment, Infringement, Trademarks

- Anjali Shankar, Attorney – It’s the season of great sporting events, with the Super Bowl and Olympics just around the corner, and with that comes a host of new advertising campaigns.  Companies should beware of infringing on Super Bowl and Olympic trademarks, however.  Both of these events have well-known trademarks that have extensive legal… Continue Reading

The Two Scourges of the News Media

Posted in First Amendment, Guest Bloggers, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media, Social Networking, Technology

-  James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA If you’ve been interviewed by any news medium, if there’s a chance you’ll be interviewed any time soon, or you are likely to become the target of news media coverage or new media coverage, this discussion is for you. The two scourges of the news media, primarily… Continue Reading

The MPAA and the Midwives, and Other Cautionary Tales

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Social Media, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

As we all know, The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has long taken an active role in the debate regarding the advantages and disadvantages of traditional midwifery and modern medical views regarding childbirth. That’s what Rosemary’s Baby was all about, right? Well, the MPAA filed an amicus brief yet again in a lawsuit between… Continue Reading

Do We Need Biometrics to Protect Our Personal Brands Online?

Posted in First Amendment, Guest Bloggers, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media, Social Networking

Debbie Laskey, MBA By the time you read this post, hopefully the buzz surrounding Miley Cyrus and the Video Music Awards show will have evaporated into thin air. But there was another related story surrounding the event that generated a ton of buzz on Twitter. On the day after the awards show, an editorial appeared… Continue Reading

If You Want to Go Fast, You Don’t Have Time for Trademark Law.

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Food, Infringement, Marketing, Trademarks

If you’re not first, you’re last. Rick’s Cabaret was the first to open a restaurant with the name Ricky Bobby – but will Sony Pictures have the last laugh? Let’s get the background first. In the movie Talladega Nights, Will Ferrell played Ricky Bobby, a successful race car driver who just “wants to go fast.”… Continue Reading

Distinguishing the Fictional From the Real: Names and Brands in Television and Movies

Posted in Agreements, Branding, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Television, Trademarks

We have an interesting question to answer, leading us into the holiday weekend, during which I suspect a few movies will be watched by more than a few marketing types and trademark types: “Is it trademark infringement if a fictional company or product in a movie or television drama bears the same name or brand as a real… Continue Reading

Prince, the DMCA, and Bullying

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Social Media

Minneapolis’ own hometown hero Prince Rogers Nelson, formerly and currently known simply as “Prince,” has been in the news quite often in 2013. It began with his surprise, limited ticket performances in January, which he followed up with a surprise concert to close out the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. Prince has also made legal… Continue Reading

Free Speech and The Super Bowl

Posted in Advertising, First Amendment

- Derek Allen, Attorney – Litigation and the Super Bowl go together in modern America like litigation and, well, anything (e.g. tattoos, Bill Russell) in modern America.  But since the Super Bowl is on most of our radars for the next few days, litigation and the Super Bowl it is. As we all (hopefully) know, the freedom of speech in… Continue Reading

I Didn’t Realize William Faulkner Used To Live Under A Bridge

Posted in Copyrights, First Amendment, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts

Those of us that work in the field of intellectual property law have gotten really familiar with a species known as trolls.   I’m not talking about mythical Norse creatures.  I’m talking about patent trolls, trademark trolls, and copyright trolls.  To the uninitiated, these various species of trolls are essentially people and companies that attempt to… Continue Reading

Successful Evolution of an Unlicensed Business Model?

Posted in Agreements, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, Truncation

Brand owners and managers may wonder, is a trademark license required when another’s unregistered color scheme is used? Depending on the facts, it may very well be. About four years ago brand owners scored a major victory in LSU v. Smack Apparel, when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to the existence and successful enforcement of… Continue Reading