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July 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.

Kawhi Leonard’s copyright fight with Nike over the “Klaw” logo

When we think of branding, we often think of trademarks, but when a logo is based on creative artwork, it can also involve copyright. This is so in a dispute between basketball great Kawhi Leonard and his former sponsor Nike over a logo based on a drawing by Leonard that he gave to Nike for use as inspiration for a logo it designed and copyrighted.

We can buy technology to record TV shows ... thanks to Justice Stevens

On July 16, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens passed away at 99. He served on the high court almost 35 years. He regarded himself as a judicial conservative, but he gained a reputation over time for opinions viewed as liberal.

Collectively scrambling to contain the damage from deepfakes

You may not know the word for it, but you, like many people, probably saw the recently doctored video of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The “deepfake” made it look like she was slurring her words, perhaps implying that she was under the influence of alcohol. The Washington Post reported that it appeared the manipulator slowed down the original video and modified the pitch of the Speaker’s voice.

Songwriters say "Game On" in copyright infringement lawsuit

On June 19, songwriter Heidi Merrill and three other cowriters filed a copyright infringement suit in U.S. District Court in New York against singer Carrie Underwood, the National Football League, NBCUniversal Media, LLC, and several related defendants. The complaint alleges that the defendants used Merrill's sports-themed song "Game On" as the 2018 theme song for "Sunday Night Football" without the writers' permission and without any compensation to them for its use.

Copyright: Court finds Andy Warhol’s use of Prince photo was fair

The New York federal judge in a high-profile copyright infringement lawsuit found on July 1 that painter Andy Warhol did not infringe on Lynn Goldsmith’s copyrighted photograph of Prince when he based a series of portraits on it. The court concluded that Warhol did not infringe because of the “fair use” defense.

Default judgment in Kardashian trademark, right of publicity suit

Kim Kardashian is in the intellectual property news again. We shared information just last week about her controversial choice of the word “kimono” for branding her new line of lingerie.

Another step in the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ copyright trial

In October, we told readers about the high-profile copyright litigation in which the trustee of a trust containing a deceased musician’s copyright interests had sued the iconic band Led Zeppelin. Trustee Michael Skidmore alleged in U.S. District Court in California that the world-famous opening guitar solo of “Stairway to Heaven” was lifted from an obscure song called “Taurus,” written by Randy Wolfe of the band Spirit.

Cultural appropriation and trademark

Kim Kardashian has announced her choice of "kimono" for branding her new line of intimate wear. The choice of kimono has caused some social media stir because of the deep cultural role of the traditional robe called a kimono in Japanese culture.

Rejecting immoral or scandalous trademarks is unconstitutional

On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of federal trademark law in the Lanham Act, finding that its prohibition on registration of immoral or scandalous trademarks violated the right to free speech and expression that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees.

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