Andy Warhol, Prince, and the First Amendment: U.S. Supreme Court Grants Review of Questions Concerning “Fair Use” Under Copyright Act

By Amanda Z. Weaver, Ph.D. and David G. Barker The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted a petition for writ of certiorari (docket, here) to review the extent to which a work of art is a “transformative” fair use under the Copyright Act. The Court will review a Second Circuit decision holding Andy Warhol’s set of silkscreened portraits of Prince (“Prince Series”), stemming from an original photograph, were not transformative. Lynn Goldsmith, who has photographed Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Madonna, James Brown, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones, photographed Prince originally in 1981.  In 1984, Prince released Purple Rain   Read More »

Posted in Copyright Litigation | Tagged , , ,

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The Lanham Act’s “Living Individual” Restriction & The First Amendment

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

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Ninth Circuit Holds “Bad Spaniels” Dog Toy Is an “Expressive Work”

By Anne Bolamperti and David G. Barker The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held in VIP Products LLC v. Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. that the “Bad Spaniels” dog toy is an expressive work entitled to First Amendment protection. The court vacated the United States District Court for the District of Arizona’s judgment that the toy infringed the Jack Daniel’s trade dress and registered bottle design. VIP Products designs and sells rubber dog toys that employ entertaining adaptations of various beverage brands.  Beginning in July 2013, VIP began selling the “Bad Spaniels” version of the toy, which resembles the iconic   Read More »

Posted in Trademark Litigation | Tagged ,

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Republishing DNC’s Stolen Secrets Not Trade Secret Misappropriation

By David G. Barker On April 20, 2018, the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) sued the Russian Federation, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. (the “Campaign”), WikiLeaks, and other defendants relating to the Russian Federation’s theft of documents from the DNC during the 2016 presidential election. Last week, the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, dismissed with prejudice the complaint against the Campaign, WikiLeaks, and the other defendants. The court noted, the “primary wrongdoer in this alleged criminal enterprise is undoubtably the Russian Federation . . . cannot be sued in the courts of the United States for   Read More »

Posted in IP and Technology Litigation, Trade Secrets Litigation | Tagged ,

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Supreme Court Holds Bar on Immoral or Scandalous Trademarks Unconstitutional

By: Anne M. Bolamperti and David G. Barker The Supreme Court held Monday that the Lanham Act’s bar on “immoral or scandalous” trademarks is unconstitutional under the First Amendment.  Delivering the 6-3 opinion of the Court, Justice Kagan relied on the Court’s previous decision in Matal v. Tam (discussed here), which held that the Lanham Act’s ban on “disparaging” trademarks also was unconstitutional. Respondent Erik Brunetti first sought federal registration of the trademark FUCT in connection with his urban clothing line.  Claiming use since December 1991, Brunetti’s line stands for “Friends U Can’t Trust,” but sounds like an expletive in acronym   Read More »

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

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