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October 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.

Epic Games and Fortnite are in the intellectual property news again

On Oct. 25, Epic Games sued a former employer for misappropriating a trade secret and breaching a nondisclosure agreement when he allegedly publicized information about a new season of the game before its Oct. 15 release, according to WRAL TechWire.

Recipe theft? Beer giant accuses another of stealing trade secrets

In March, MillerCoors sued Anheuser-Busch after AB’s prominent Bud Lite Super Bowl ad and billboard campaign highlighting that MC uses corn syrup in the brewing process for Miller Lite and Coors Light. MC accused AB of misleading the public into thinking MC’s beer brands include consumable corn syrup, when the ingredient is instead a brewing agent that does not make it into the final product, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at the time.

Marvel, Disney sued for copyright infringement

The last decade has been kind to Marvel Studios and their parent company, Disney. Yet, long before this recent success, the Marvel brand was best known for its comics and television cartoons based on those characters in the 1980s and 1990s.

Temporary restraining order issued for return of stolen domain name

Nowadays, your URL is as big a part of your business branding as are company and product names. Domain name protection is a fast-growing area of intellectual property law as the threats to domain names - which trademark often protects - are real and aggressive. A recent federal case in Florida illustrates one legal remedy that can help protect a victim of domain name cybertheft.

Guitar companies fly into dispute over instrument shapes

Some of the biggest names in rock 'n' roll history have played Gibson's distinctive Flying V guitar, including Jimi Hendrix, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Pete Townshend of the Who, Johnny Winter, Paul Stanley of Kiss and many more. The electric instrument looks just like its name: its narrow, V-shaped body was considered futuristic when it was initially released in 1958.

Radio station sued for $1.5 B for failing to pay to play songs

Making it as a songwriter is no easy task. Once a song becomes famous, artists rely on earnings from continued use of the songs, often on the radio. Radio stations who fail to pay artists for the use of their songs can face legal ramifications.

Trademarks: SCOTUS asked to decide if BOOKING.COM is not generic

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, known as the USPTO, filed a petition in July with the U.S. Supreme Court. The agency is asking the high court to review a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. The appeals court held that while "booking" is a generic term and ".com" a generic domain designation, the combination of two generic terms into one domain name as BOOKING.COM makes the combined term nongeneric for trademark purposes.

It makes us wonder, will "Stairway to Heaven" lead to a new trial?

Since 2014, Led Zeppelin and Michael Skidmore, trustee of the trust that owns rights in a song by a deceased musician, have been fighting in court about whether Zepp's iconic "Stairway to Heaven" infringes on the copyright for "Taurus." As we described in this space last year, the deceased writer of "Taurus" was Randy Wolfe, member of the 1960's band Spirit, which enlisted Led Zeppelin as an opening act before Zeppelin had made it big.

Trademark dispute pits power couple against wedding planner

No married couple in history has sold more musical recordings than Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter and her husband Shawn Corey Carter, better known professionally as Beyoncé and Jay-Z, of course. The California residents' twins were born in the state, though their eldest daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, was born in New York in January of 2012.

Skyline photo copyright infringement claim crashes in court

When you look at San Francisco’s skyline, you can immediately pick out the iconic Transamerica Pyramid, Salesforce Tower, 181 Fremont, California Center and other architectural landmarks. While the skyline of Indianapolis is not as well-known as ours, it is undoubtedly just as cherished to those who live there.

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