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IP In the News

New EU Copyright Law Requires Tech Giants to Pay for Content

Posted on March 29, 2019 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)

New EU legislation known as Article 11 and Article 13 was recently passed, requiring companies such as Facebook, YouTube and Google to take more responsibility and provide compensation for copyrighted material posted on their respective sites.  The law also limits how copyrighted material may be shared on online platforms. Google complains that this will chill creativity and freedom on the internet.


Music Modernization Act Signed Into Law

Posted on November 20, 2018 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The President recently signed the Music Modernization Act into law.   This legislation streamlines payment to songwriters by creating a single mechanical licensing database for streamed music.  The database is managed by music publishers and songwriters and paid for by digital streaming services.  


Louis Vitton Doesn't See the Humor

Posted on December 15, 2017 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

A hand bag company called My Other Bag (MOB) has been engaged in a long legal battle with Louis Vitton.  The company claimed that MOB's canvas tote bags depicting images of Louis Vitton bags was an infringing use of their copyrights and trademarks and was diluting their brands. The District Court for the Southern District of New York held that such use amounted to parody and was an acceptable use.  The Second Circuit affirmed and the Supreme Court rejected Louis Vitton's appeal.  CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE

Can Culinary Creations be Protected by Copyright Law?

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

While copyright law will not protect utilitarian articles, it will protect the creative expression in making those articles.  As a result, expressive culinary works may be protected by copyright law. Additional IP protectections may also be available such as design patent, trademark and trade secret law.


How do we Protect Intellectual Property Law in Space?

Posted on March 5, 2016 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

There is a lack of certainty when it comes to intellectual property rights in outer space.  Space Law is generally uniform in its application while intellectual property law varies from country to country. What happens when a patent is infringed in outer space? Currently, nothing as patent laws apply only within the territory of the granting country. And because the standards of copyright infringement vary from country to country there is an additional uncertainty of what artistic expression is protectable in space.  This is an area of the law that will require attention as our presence in space grows.  CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE

Are Tattoos Works of Authorship under Copyright Law?

Posted on February 18, 2016 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

LeBron James' tattoo artist recently filed suit against the makers of NBA2K16 claiming that their use of the tattoo in the video game constitutes copyright infringement. The Plaintiff asserts that LeBron James is a "medium of expression."  But whether a live body qualifies as a medium of expression is unsettled.  One would argue that the person exhibiting the tattoo should have some right to allow the use of that tattoo in conjunction with that person's likeness.  And if a tattoo is given copyright protection could the artist enjoin the destruction or alteration of that tattoo on a person's body?  CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE

Court Finds No Copyright Protection for Shapes & Colors in Recent Suit Against Starbucks

Posted on January 31, 2016 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

The Plaintiff artist in this case claimed that she was approached to create an advertising campaign for Starbucks.  She declined but argued that Starbucks stole the core of her style, creating an ad that had the same shapes and colors as much of her art.  While "look and feel" claims are common in Copyright suits, "style" is not protectable under copyright law.  The fact that Starbucks used similar shapes and colors was not sufficient to support her claim and the suit was dismissed.  CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE

Google's Library Project Found a Fair Use

Posted on October 25, 2015 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Google's Library Project offers digital versions of books sent to the project by libraries. Google has not secured permission to use these works by the copyright holders; however, only certain portions or "snippets" of each of the works is viewable to the users of the project.  Once a search term is entered, the service provides the user with a list of books containing the search terms along with the frequency of those terms in each book.   The Author's Guild has been opposing this project for the past ten years and filed suit against Google for copyright infringement. In mid-October, the Second Circuit granted summary judgment for Google finding that the display of "snippets" constituted a fair use.  CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE

Woman Takes on Coca-Cola in Trademark Dispute and Wins

Posted on October 20, 2015 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

In 2005, an Australian woman named Annabelle Young wanted to start a tea company. In order to protect her IP she decided to trademark the name HONEST TEA in Australia.  Not too long after her trademark issued,  an American company using the same name brought suit against her claiming global rights in the name.  That company was unsuccessful but shortly thereafter, Coca-Cola bought the US based company and took aim at Young again, claiming that her product was not a tea.  After ten years of legal battles and immense legal fees, Young finally succeeded in defending her trademark.  This case highlights the importance of trademarking your names, logos and slogans early on in the business development stages in protecting your brand.  CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE

"Happy Birthday" Song in the Public Domain

Posted on September 21, 2015 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

A California judge hearing a copyright suit against Warner/Chappell music recently ruled that the "Happy Birthday" song is in the public domain.  The judge held that Warner could enforce its copyright only in certain arrangements of the song.  CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE