How Scandalous! SCOTUS Again Takes up Whether the Lanham Act Violates the First Amendment

By Shalayne Pillar and David G. Barker On Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear a case that will decide whether the federal ban on trademark protection for “scandalous” material is unconstitutional.  In re Brunetti follows the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO’s”) denial of trademark registration for the word “Fuct,” which held that the mark “comprises immoral . . . or scandalous matter” and thus could not be registered under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act.  On appeal, the Federal Circuit sided with the applicant (discussed here), holding the statute violated the Free Speech provision   Read More »

Posted in IP and Technology Litigation, Trademark Litigation | Tagged , , ,

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Digital Music File Resales Infringe Record Labels’ Copyrights

By Anne Bolamperti and David G. Barker On December 12, 2018, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s ruling favoring several major record company plaintiffs in a copyright infringement case against a digital music resale site.  Defendant ReDigi, Inc. resells digital music files on the Internet.  ReDigi permits individuals who purchase digital music files from iTunes to install ReDigi’s “Music Manager” software, which analyzes the files to determine whether they are lawful purchases.  If so, the seller then transfers the eligible files to ReDigi’s remote server, after which ReDigi breaks the music into packets, makes a temporary copy   Read More »

Posted in Copyright Litigation, IP and Technology Litigation | Tagged ,

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Supreme Court to Decide Multiple IP Issues This Term

 By Taryn J. Gallup and David G. Barker On October 26, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) granted certiorari in two IP cases.  In Mission Product Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC, SCOTUS will address a circuit split on the effect bankruptcy has on trademark license rights.  In Return Mail, Inc. v. U.S. Postal Service, et al., SCOTUS will address whether the government may challenge patents as a “person” under the America Invents Act (“AIA”). In Mission Product Holdings, Tempnology, LLC (“Tempnology”) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and cancelled a trademark licensing agreement that it had with   Read More »

Posted in IP and Technology Litigation, Patent Litigation, Trademark Litigation | Tagged , , , , ,

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Attorney Petitions SCOTUS Regarding Former Client’s Defamatory Yelp Reviews

By Anne Bolamperti and David G. Barker A California attorney and her law firm filed a petition on October 18, 2018, asking the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) to review the California Supreme Court’s ruling that reversed an injunction that would have required Yelp, Inc. to remove defamatory reviews from its website. Dawn Hassell and Hassell Law Group represented Ava Bird in a personal injury case during the summer of 2012.  Hassell withdrew less than one month after undertaking the representation due to Bird’s lack of responsiveness.  Bird then posted two defamatory reviews of Hassell and her firm   Read More »

Posted in IP and Technology Litigation, Uncategorized | Tagged

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Music Modernization Act to Reform Copyright Law with Regard to Streaming Music Services

By Rachael Peters Pugel and David G. Barker Last week, President Trump signed into law the Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act. The Act modifies existing law under the Copyright Act, and largely affects only those who deliver digital music content or collect royalty payments from it. The Act, which was passed unanimously by the Senate and the House—an occurrence which has become seemingly more rare—modernizes copyright law, specifically with regard to how royalties are paid, to account for the rise in popularity of streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. The Act creates a newly established   Read More »

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