Fashion Group Philly Presents “Protecting the Brand” Forum

17 Apr

Planning on heading to Philadelphia this afternoon? Stop on over at the Philadelphia Fashion Groups forum at Davio’s on 17th Street. The forum starts at 5:30 with a networking reception and is followed by a pnael discussion at 6:35pm. The forum features panel members Barbara Kolsun (General Counsel for Stuart Weitzman), Guillermo Jimenes (Professor at FIT), Lisa Lori (Partner at Klehr, Harrison, Harvey, Branzburg, LLP) and Kirk Widra (Professor at the Art Institute of Philadelphia).

If you are able to make it, please give us chatty chicks an update on what we missed!

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“G” That’s an Awfully Lengthy Legal Battle

12 Apr

In 2009, Paris based Gucci initiated legal action against the Los Angeles based Guess? Inc. brand for selling items in stores and on-line that are “studied imitations of the Gucci trademarks”. The trademarks include a green and red stripe design, a square G, the designer’s name in flowing script and a diamond pattern with repeating interlocking G’s. Gucci has recently taken this battle to a whole new level alleging that Guess? has devised “a massive, complicated scheme to knock off Gucci’s best-known and iconic designs”. Gucci claims that $221 million worth of Guess? products have infringed on Gucci’s designs. The trial began on March 28th and so far there is no end in sight – just juicy legal drama to blog about!

Click here to read the full article via Business Week.

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US Band Sues UK’s One Direction

11 Apr

Credit: Reuters

British boy band One Direction has been sued by a small California pop-rock group for trademark infringement.  The California band is seeking an injunction to prevent Simon Cowell’s entertainment joint venture with Sony Music, Sysco Entertainment,  from using the One Direction name in promotional material.

 The California band began using the name One Direction in 2009 and plays local fairs and bars.  An application to register the tradmark was filed by the California band in Feburary 2011.  The British boy band One Direction was discovered in 2010 on Cowell’s show, “The X Factor.”  Since 2010 the British boy band has enjoyed great success with their first single reaching the top of the UK charts.  The band is followed by 4.2 million fans on Facebook and 2.8 million fans on Twitter.  

“The lawsuit said the continued use by both bands of the same name was causing substantial confusion and substantial damage to the goodwill earned by the California group.” 

The full article from The Baltimore Sun, can be found at this link

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Louis Vuitton Clashes Over “Hangover 2”

10 Apr

In 2011, Louis Vuitton successfully brought suit against Hyundai claiming that a one second glimpse of a basketball which closely resembled the well known trademark.  Recently, the French designer brought suit against Warner Brothers regarding “The Hangover II”.  It is alleged in that Warner Brothers infringed and diluted the mark “by showing, for one brief moment in the movie, Zach Galifianakis telling someone who pushes his bag, ‘Be careful, that is … that is a Lewis Vuitton.'”

The full article may be found at this link.

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Second Legal Blow to Google in Two Weeks

10 Apr

Credit: Google, Inc.

Google suffers its second legal setback in two weeks.  First, last week the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit revived Viacom’s $1 billion lawsuit against Google’s YouTube video site. (See our earlier blog post about Viacom’s lawsuit, Viacom Battle with YouTube Continues).  Then on Monday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit vacated part of an earlier court decision dismissing a trademark infringement lawsuit filed against the Internet-search company by Rosetta Stone.  The court revived claims that Google directly infringed on Rosetta Stone’s trademark and diluted the Rosetta Stone brand.

In a lawsuit filed in 2009, Rosetta Stone accused Google of committing trademark infringement by selling the language-software maker’s trademarks to third-party advertisers for use as search keywords.  Google sells advertisers the rights to use certain words or phrases as keywords for the paid ads, known as sponsored links, on search result pages.  Users are directed to the advertiser’s sites via the links and Rosetta Stone argued customers searching for its language learning software on Google were redirected to competitors and software copycats.  The keywords that Google sold to other businesses included “Rosetta Stone” and “Rosettastone.com.”  In 2010 a Virginia District Court dismissed the case finding there was no likelihood of confusion to consumers from the sale of the keywords.

More information can be found at this article from MSNBC.

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Entertainment Law Class Blogs Receive Recognition from Law School

9 Apr

Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania recently published an article on the school’s website about the entertainment law class of Professor Tonya Evans.  Students in the class are divided into five law firms with the firms maintaining their own blog about current hot topics in the entertainment industry.  Each firm has developed their own identity by using Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.  The law firms, in addition to ChickChat, include: Creative Protection, Dumas Firm, The Mentally In Firm, and wRAP jhAM.

The article, written by Erica Scavone of the class law firm, Dumas Firm LLP, can be found at this link.  Professor Evans has also blogged about the law firms as well.

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Viacom Battle with YouTube Continues

6 Apr

Credit: Viacom/YouTube

In 2007, Viacom sued YouTube for $1 billion alleging the site allowed users to post copyrighted Viacom content without permission between 2005 and 2008, including content from Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.”  In 2010 a District Court judge granted summary judgment to YouTube and ruled YouTube was protected from the infringement claims under a “safe harbor” provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  The District Court judge ruled YouTube was protected under the safe harbors of the DMCA because there was not enough notice of the individual infringements.  Recently the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case to the district court.  The courts opinion stated:

“We conclude that the District Court correctly held that the 512(c) safe harbor requires knowledge or awareness of specific infringing activity, but we vacate the order granting summary judgment because a reasonable jury could find that YouTube had actual knowledge or awareness of specific infringing activity on its website.”

This remand gives Viacom a second chance to prove the copyright infringement claims against YouTube.  It continues the ongoing battle between entertainment companies and Web entrepreneurs over ‘user-generated content’ sites.

The full article from the Los Angeles Times can be found at this link.  An additional article from Fox News can be found at this link.

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USPTO Publishes Neil Young’s Trademarks for Audio Format Alternative to MP3’s

4 Apr

In June 2011 Neil Young filed six trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  Those trademarks were:  Ivanhoe, 21st Century Record Player, Earth Storage, Storage Shed, Thanks for Listening and SQS (Studio Quality Sound).  The filed documents described the trademarks as:

“Audio and video recordings featuring music and artistic performances; high resolution music downloadable from the internet; high resolutions discs featuring music and video of music and artistic performances; pre-recorded digital media containing audio and video recordings featuring music and artistic performances for storage and playback.”

As well as “online and retail store services featuring music and artistic performances, high resolution music downloadable from the internet, high resolutions discs featuring music and video, and pre-recorded digital media featuring audio and video recordings for storage and playback.”

Continue reading

New Certainty in an Area of Uncertainty

3 Apr

On November 22, 2006, Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. sued the defendants, Ly USA, Inc., CoCo USA Inc., Marco Leather Goods Ltd., Chong Lam and Joyce Chan in the United Stated District Court in the Southern District of New York for importing and selling counterfeit luxury goods bearing infringing versions of Louis Vuitton’s trademarks. Vuitton asserted various trademark claims under Sections 32 and 43 of the Lanham Act and various state law related claims. Vuitton moved for summary judgement on all claims and the court granted summary judgement on the trademark counterfeiting and infringement claims. After the grant of summary judgement, Vuitton elected to receive statutory damages and additionally sought attorneys’ fees, which lead to the appeal and the question – was Vuitton entitled to the award of attorneys’ fees after electing statutory damages over actual damages? Continue reading

Sony Sued by Weird Al Yankovic for Underpayment of Digital Royalties

3 Apr

Sony Music Entertainment has been sued yet again for underpayment of royalties (see our earlier post entitled Sony Sued by Toto Over Unpaid Online Royalty Payments).  Parody singer Weird Al Yankovic recently filed a $5 million lawsuit against Sony alleging Sony is not paying 50% of revenues per licensing deals as the parties agreed but is instead paying a straight royalty for download sales.  In addition to his underpayment of digital royalties claim, Yankovic also alleges Sony did not give him any money from Sony’s settlements with peer-to-peer music sharing sites  Napster, Kazaa and Grokster.

“The lawsuit filed in Federal court in the Southern District of New York follows a recent federal class action suit against Warner Music Group by band Tower of Power that makes similar claims of underpayment of royalties.

Both Yankovic’s suit and Tower of Power’s class action rely on the famous 2010 appellate ruling involving Eminem. Similarly, the rapper sued his record label, Universal Music Group, for the way royalties are calculated for digital music — whether they are considered a license or a sale.

Ultimately, the court found that digital music should be treated as a license. Like most artists, Eminem signed a contract that specifies he receives 50 percent of royalties for a license as compared to 12 percent for a sale. The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the lower court’s decision, so the 2010 appellate ruling stands as the precedent in cases regarding digital royalties.”

To view the full article from The Huffington Post, follow this link.

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