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Intellectual Property Litigation 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: Harley-Davidson wins $19.2 million in counterfeiting case

In Part 1 of this post, we talk about the recent federal case of H-D U.S.A., LLC v. SunFrog, LLC, out of Wisconsin. The judge found, among other things, that SunFrog had engaged in counterfeiting when it placed images and phrases trademarked by Harley-Davidson on shirts and other items sold through SunFrog's website. 

How can I protect my idea?

Every better mousetrap starts with an idea. You can't patent the idea, however, only the device. Copyrights protect the expression of your idea, whether in artistic form or in written language or musical notation. And once you have advanced your idea to a product for the marketplace, registering a trademark might be important. But again, that's not protecting your idea.

Could the mark 'Drive Wise' collide with another 'DriveWise' mark?

Allstate first began using its registered trademark "DriveWise" in December 2010 and has used it continuously since then. Kia Motors Corporation filed its first trademark application in 2016 for the phrase "Drive Wise" as a stylized design mark.

What does dilution mean and how is it stopped?

Dilution can be a good thing and a bad thing. It all depends on the situation. For example, you wouldn't want to open a packet of powdered drink and chug it down. Rather, you want to dilute it with the appropriate amount of water. For an owner of a famous trademark, dilution is always a bad thing.

Is scope of publicity rights being put to the test in Ali case?

Even if you aren't a boxing fan, you likely know who is being talked about when the words, "I am the greatest" are heard. Heavyweight legend Muhammad Ali is the man identified with that phrase, even 40 years after he first uttered the words. Ali died last year.

Right of publicity waiver: looking at the issue of consent, P.2

Previously, we began looking at the topic of consent in the context of the right of publicity. As we noted, individuals may waive their publicity rights, allowing another party to make use of their image for commercial purposes.

Right of publicity waiver: looking at the issue of consent, P.1

California, like other states, protects the right of individuals to control the use of their image in certain contexts. Under California's right of publicity statute, violation of an individual's right to control the use of his or her name, voice, photograph, signature, or likeness applies under three conditions.

What is the right of publicity?

Although you may never have realized it, your personal identity is protected by law. This means that companies are not allowed to use your name, your photo, your voice, your signature or other personal aspects in their advertising without your permission. Your identifying features belong to you alone.

Copyright suit over 'Soft Kitty' lyrics dismissed

If you are a regular viewer of the television sitcom The Big Bang Theory, then you probably are familiar with the loveable quirks of one of the main characters - Sheldon Cooper. One such quirk is Sheldon wanting people to sing the song "Soft Kitty" whenever he is hurt or sick.

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