Lawrence G. Townsend Intellectual Property Lawyer
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June 2019 Archives

News and Notes Focused on the 3 Public Faces of IP Law

  • Brand Image Protection - Trademark Law
  • Visual Image Protection - Copyright Law
  • Personal Image Protection - Right of Publicity Law

The Image Protection Law blog has been created in order to share stories and information on the legal aspects of: 1) the marketplace reputation of a company or product captured in its trademark, 2) published or publicly-displayed artwork, photography, and any created visual design, and 3) use of a person's photograph or likeness for product promotion or other commercial purposes.

The "IP3" share at least one thing in common: Image is everything. In these posts let's look at what that means in the realm of intellectual property in the news, but let's also be prepared to explore if there's something more beyond "everything." Don't forget, the intellectual in "intellectual property" doesn't mean smart or brainy, although by nature true creators often are. The word is used to refer to any creation, i.e., a "product of the mind." While this blog will be regularly updated, you are encouraged to share your thoughts on these posts.

Part 2: Vigorous disputes over Frida Kahlo intellectual property

In our last post, we talked about disputes over the right to use Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s persona, image and name in 65 years after her untimely death. We introduced the parties involved and the dispute between Kahlo’s surviving relatives and the Frida Kahlo Corporation, or FKC, over ownership of rights to use Frida Kahlo’s image and name in the marketplace.

Part 1: Commercial rights to name and image of artist Frida Kahlo

Her image is unmistakable. Black hair usually pulled away from her face. Dark, thick eyebrows. Serious, unsmiling expression. Iconic Mexican painter Frida Kahlo lived with disability and controversy throughout her short, but dramatic, life. She died at 47 in 1954, leaving behind a legacy of surrealistic paintings sometimes described as folk art.

Texas school district owes $9.2 million for copyright violations

Last month, DynaStudy, a small, relatively new Austin, Texas, educational publisher of study guides was victorious in a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Houston school district. According to the Houston Chronicle, the jury found "dozens" of district employees committed "hundreds" of copyright violations that prompted the large damage award.

Trademark dispute: Guns N' Roses is not amused over Guns N' Rosé

In another intellectual property dispute involving a rock band, metal group Guns N' Roses sued a Longmont, Colorado, brewery on May 9 over a new craft beer branded as Guns N' Rosé. The complaint for trademark infringement, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, has been widely covered in the media, with Reuters reporting that the rockers are accusing the famous brewer, Oskar Blues, of "intentionally trading off [the band's] goodwill, prestige and fame."

Another video game subject of intellectual property lawsuit

We have written in this space before about video games raising issues of intellectual-property ownership. It makes sense. Many video games reproduce aspects of true life in artistic or graphical ways. Sometimes, creative video-game content may intersect with actual images, brands, marks and other original works that are protected such as by trademark or copyright.

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