Robert Barbera, who photographs celebrities, has sued pop singer Ariana Grande because she uploaded photographs of herself to Instagram that he had taken and posted online. What could be wrong with posting pictures of yourself, even if someone else created them?
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.
This time, the dispute is over cardigan sweaters. Last time, it was over luxury cars. In both cases, Chadwick McQueen, the son of deceased actor Steve McQueen, objected to companies using his father’s name to sell their products.
We recently told readers about a lawsuit filed by Car-Freshner Corporation -- the owner of the trademark for the iconic tree-shaped car air fresheners -- against Bob Ross Inc., called BRI, and its merchandiser for selling air fresheners for vehicles also in the shape of trees. Bob Ross was the famous landscape painter who taught viewers how to paint on television. He was known for telling viewers to mask mistakes using "happy little trees."
We have recently been talking in this space about intellectual property licensing. A California Court of Appeal recently decided Olive v. General Nutrition Centers, Inc., an interesting licensing dispute in which the defendant admitted having engaged in activity that violated a license to use a model's photos.
Throughout 2018, we have followed in this space two-time Oscar-winning actor Olivia de Havilland's lawsuit against the creators of FX's docudrama series, Feud: Bette and Joan. On January 7, the U.S. Supreme Court refused without any comment to hear her case, in which the 102-year-old plaintiff sought review of the California Court of Appeal's holding that the series' makers' First Amendment right to expression trumped the actor's right of publicity and claim of defamation.
At our law firm, we represent people involved in disputes about the right of publicity. The right of publicity means that a person's name, photograph, or the like cannot be used for commercial purposes without that person's permission.
The California Supreme Court has rejected a famous actor's appeal of a right-to-publicity case in which she claims the portrayal of her by another actress in a TV series cast her in an undesirable light.
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.
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.
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.