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Trademark Law 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.

Aggressive trademark enforcement is a complex business decision

The ongoing story of a Utah-based online retailer and its efforts to preserve its trademark interests in the word “backcountry” provides a fascinating look into the careful consideration a business must conduct of potential outcomes of such a campaign. While we support vigorous protection of intellectual property, thought must be given to the potential pros and cons of each step taken in this effort.

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.

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.

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.

Taco John's sends cease-and-desist letter for "Taco Tuesday"

Wyoming-based fast-food restaurant Taco John's was issued a federal trademark for TACO TUESDAY back in 1989. Readers may be surprised to hear this, as the phrase sounds pretty, well, generic. Several media sources report that Taco John's sent a cease-and-desist letter to Freedom's Edge Brewing Co. -- mere blocks from the Mexican-themed restaurant's headquarters in Cheyenne -- because Freedom's Edge used TACO TUESDAY to advertise a taco truck that parks outside the brewery on Tuesdays.

Michael Jackson estate objects to KingOfPop.com to sell popcorn

At our law firm, we advocate for our clients who may be on either side of lawsuits over domain name ownership as well as those concerning cybersquatting. These legal proceedings, which often involve trademark infringement, are disputes about rightful ownership and use of domain names.

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.

Chicago Cubs victorious again! This time, before the TTAB.

After a 108-year lull, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016. No one who watched the games could argue against the enthusiasm and loyalty of Cubs fans. You might even be able to call some of them obsessed or even -- obnoxious.

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