Lawrence G. Townsend Intellectual Property Lawyer
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January 2020 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.

Trademark: What is "aesthetic functionality" and should it matter?

Aesthetic functionality is a confusing, controversial concept in trademark law, which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit will soon reconsider. A 1980 9th Circuit case called International Order of Job's Daughters v. Lindeburg & Co. - that many do not consider to still be authoritative - explains the concept.

SCOTUS protects "scandalous" trademarks in 2019

In a Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision, the Court found a statutory bar to trademark protection was unconstitutional. The year 2020 promises to bring more in the realm of trademark law, and it will be reported here when it happens.

Ninth Circuit looks at copyright dispute over "The Shape of Water"

Anyone who saw the Best Picture winner "The Shape of Water" is likely to agree that it is a haunting film that uses elaborately detailed, blue sets with unexpected, random shots of water in a variety of circumstances throughout to create a mesmerizing visual story. While it seems like a unique movie, the son of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Zindel has sued Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., and others linked with the film alleging copyright infringement of his father's 1969 play "Let Me Hear You Whisper."

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