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September 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.

A lesson from another photo copyright claim against Scholastic

In January, we wrote about a copyright infringement case in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California that survived a motion to dismiss some of the claims because the court found that the photographer-plaintiff Peter Menzel alleged facts sufficient to allow his case against publisher Scholastic to proceed to trial. As we explained, the photographer alleged that Scholastic's use of his pictures exceeded the limits of a license the photographer had granted to the publisher.

California law would let college athletes sell their images and names

At our law firm, we represent people who are fighting to protect their exclusive right to use their persona commercially under state right-of-publicity law. The law encompasses an individual's right to use their own "name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness" for business purposes.

Patagonia trademark suit against Anheuser-Busch not dismissed

On Sept. 3, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California refused to dismiss five claims in an April trademark lawsuit brought by Patagonia, the retailer of environmental and outdoor fame, against giant brewer Anheuser-Busch over its beer named Patagonia. This left all eight of Patagonia's causes of action still standing and awaiting resolution through settlement or trial.

Sports IP news: from Tom Terrific to Taco Tuesdays

San Francisco sports fans love the Giants, 49ers, Sharks and Warriors, but we also appreciate stars on other teams. One of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history is a local guy, in fact. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady was born just a few miles south of San Francisco in San Mateo.

Singer sues retailer over allegedly copycat social media posts

Pop star Ariana Grande has filed a federal lawsuit against retailer Forever 21 and an affiliate because of social media and website postings she alleges copied elements of her music videos of the chart-topping song “7 Rings” and of the song “Thank U, Next,” according to The New York Times. The Times article includes pictures of the images in controversy from her complaint, including use of a lookalike model, similar clothing and other imagery resembling that used in Grande’s video.

Second Circuit: Songs for Italian movies not works made for hire

An August 21 opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit illustrates the concept of the work made for hire in U.S. copyright law -- and the similar concept of commissioned works in Italian law. Ennio Morricone Music Inc. v. Bixio Music Group Ltd. looked at the nature of an agreement between a composer and a movie company to write musical scores for Italian movies.

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