Etsy to Ban Washington Redskins Merchandise

Jennifer Manns : September 10, 2014 6:20 pm : METAfeed

In June, the United States Patent and Trademark Office pulled the Washington Redskins federal trademark protection. See full article:

Now, as the NFL season begins, the popular online retailer Etsy will no longer allow merchandise that bears the Washington Redskins name or logo to be listed on the site. The new policy was adopted by Etsy in order to prevent the sale of merchandise on the site that is offensive to any group.

The ban from Etsy reflects the shift in public opinion against the Redskins name and mascot. It also demonstrates that the market for Redskins merchandise is shrinking. If it continues to shrink, the Redskins organization will likely be forced to change its name in order to remain economically competitive in the NFL. The simple decrease in desire for the merchandise may provide the remedy Native American groups that have been protesting the team for decades have been looking for and may do so at a much quicker rate than the direct effects of the USPTO decision.

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Mickey v. Mau5

Libby Busdicker : September 4, 2014 12:28 am : Arts & EntertainmentIntellectual PropertyMETAfeed

Last summer, electronic music producer Deadmau5 filed an application for Trademark registration of the mouse head, “mau5head,” that’s become famous for sitting on the DJ’s head at his live shows. On September 2nd, Disney filed a Notice of Opposition with the USPTO in response, claiming Section 2(d) Likelihood of Confusion and Section 43(c) Dilution as its grounds for opposition. The Notice of Opposition cites several dozen of Disney’s registered design marks containing the iconic Mickey Mouse ears as the basis for opposition. It then states the obvious:

“Over the years, MICKEY MOUSE has been one of the most popular Disney characters. Indeed, MICKEY MOUSE is recognized as among the greatest animated characters of all time.”

“Disney has used Disney’s Mouse Ear Marks in commerce before any date of first use that Applicant may establish in connection with Applicant’s Mouse Ears Mark.”

Finally, the Notice of Opposition makes Disney’s Likelihood of Confusion and Dilution claims:

“Applicant’s Mouse Ears Mark so resembles Disney’s prior used and registered Disney’s Mouse Ears Mark as to be likely, when used in connection with Applicant’s Products and Services, to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive under Section 2(d) of the Lanham Act.”

“Applicant’s Mouse Ears Mark, as shown in U.S. Trademark Application No. 85972976, so closely resembles the previously registered and used Disney’s Mouse Ears Mark as to be likely to cause dilution of the distinctive quality of the famous Disney’s Mouse Ears Marks in violation of Section 43(c).”   

Deadmau5′s attorneys must file an answer to Disney’s Notice of Opposition within 40 days.

@deadmau5 tweeted on the date the Notice was filed: landed home to some interesting news: looks like Disney officially just filed in opposition of my trademark… lawyer up mickey.”

While the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board may consider a long list of factors in its analysis of Disney’s Likelihood of Confusion claim, the test ultimately comes down to whether “consumers” are likely to confuse the marks and believe the goods/services for which the marks are used emanate from the same source. What do you think?

Mouse HeadImageAgentProxy-1

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The Best Legal Correspondence. Ever.

Geoffrey Mcaleenan : May 31, 2014 9:49 am : Arts & EntertainmentBeyondMediaMETAfeed

i-slip_and_fallIn law school, students are force-fed case law that is typically neither exciting nor compelling. It’s particularly awful when the literature was written in 19th century England. Today, I offer you the opportunity to read some legal correspondence that is downright hilarious. Here are a few buzzwords for you: Supreme Court, porn star, yappy dog. If the title of this post hasn’t piqued your interest, I know you’re curious now. In short, a porn star twisted her ankle during a photo shoot when she was thrown into a pool. Naturally, she hired a lawyer to contact the man that threw her into the pool demanding compensation. The response she received is simply epic. Click on the link below and have yourself a good laugh.


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Internet Fast Lane

Matthew Epstein : May 15, 2014 7:56 pm : METAfeed

With the finite amount of broadband speeds available, the FCC decided to move forward today, May 15, 2014, with a plan to allow internet service providers to charge companies such as Amazon and Netflix for prioritized access to their customers. This could possibly limit the internet speeds for smaller websites or shift the fees for higher broadband speeds for companies onto their customers. Are there any 1st amendment issues here with potentially limiting the free speech of smaller websites?

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The Olympics- Brought to You by NBC

Nichole Kazimirovicz : May 9, 2014 2:57 am : Arts & EntertainmentIntellectual PropertyMediaMETAfeed


After winning a bidding war to broadcast the Olympics, NBC will have the rights to broadcast the next four olympics until 2020.

This includes the Sochi, Russia 2014 (Winter) Games, the Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2016 (Summer) Games and the 2018 (Winter) and 2020 (Summer) Games.

NBC beat out Fox and ESPN for the rights and promises to air more live footage instead of saving the best footage for Prime Time.

Read More About It Here.


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“Mockingbird” Coming to an E-reader Near You (I should tweet that)

Josh Beurer : April 30, 2014 9:12 pm : METAfeed

to_kill_a_mockingbirdHarper Lee’s seminal classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, holds a special place in many law students’ hearts. Now readers can become inspired by the moral turpitude of Atticus Finch from the glow of their iPads and E-readers because Lee has finally consented to release the electronic rights.

Mockingbird has faced its share of real-world legal drama as Lee has remained a vigilant defender of her intellectual property rights. In 2013, Lee sued a museum in her hometown for trademark infringement. Later in 2013, Lee settled another lawsuit against her former literary agent, who she claimed manipulated her into surrendering the Mockingbird copyrights. The proliferation of eBooks has subverted many of the traditional publishing models when it comes to derivative rights across different platforms. So it’s comforting to know that Mockingbird will proceed into the electronic market with minimal issues.

Lee remarked, “I’m still old fashioned. I love dusty books and libraries. This is Mockingbird for a new generation.”

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Matthew Epstein : April 8, 2014 4:13 pm : METAfeed

Megaupload, what use to be one of the largest sources of online file-sharing, was shut down in 2012 by U.S. law enforcement and responsible for $175 million in criminal proceeds while costing U.S. copyright owners more than half a billion dollars. Now, two years later, Megaupload is being sued jointly by six of the largest film production companies for copyright infringement. Kim Schmitz, founder of Megaupload, now spends his time in New Zealand fighting attempts to extradite him back to the United States to face these charges.

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Race, Color, Religion, Sex, National Origin . . . and Winter Sports Preference?

Eric Rogers : April 7, 2014 10:47 am : BeyondMETAfeed

Being a Michigan native, I have fond memories from years past of time spent learning to snowski. Though I am a skier, I hold no animosity toward snowboarders. I have attempted to snowboard several times, but spent more time on the ground than gliding down the mountain (with some great bruises to match).  Most skiers I have met share my open-mindedness about snowboarding.

Yet, there are a few resorts that still bar snowboarders from their slopes. Alta in Utah is one.

A group of snowboarders recently brought suit against the ski hill, alleging illegal discrimination in violation of several laws. This suit is complicated by the fact that Alta is operated on Federal land leased from the United States Forest Service.

Read more here.

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Finally, the Case We’ve All Been Waiting For

Matthew Peterson : April 1, 2014 1:07 pm : BeyondIntellectual PropertyMediaMETAfeedTech & Internet

In a case that will be of interest to software developers and companies around the United States, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l yesterday. After dodging the issue for years, the Court will ultimately decide whether the Patent Act authorizes patent protection for software, and if so, at what stage of development. Read the opinion below here and browse the transcript from the oral argument before the Court here. For a summary of the proceedings, click here.

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Selfie: But Whose?

Geoffrey Mcaleenan : March 31, 2014 11:44 pm : Arts & EntertainmentIntellectual PropertyMediaMETAfeed

Ellen Degeneres selfie at the OscarsI’ll begin by apologizing for using the word “selfie.” However, it is what the kids are calling it these days when somebody takes a photo of himself either alone or with a group, and there happens to be a popular celebrity “selfie” circulating around the internet.

At the Oscars, Ellen DeGeneres gathered a few famous faces together and handed her cell phone to actor Bradley Cooper. Cooper snapped the photograph, and by so doing nearly broke Twitter. Plenty of news outlets have requested Ellen’s permission to use the photo, but is she the rightful copyright owner?

The law tells us that copyright protection applies to original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression. So, let’s see: for a work to be original, it has to have a minimal degree of creativity, so we’re good there, and it has to be fixed in a tangible medium, and we know it is because the picture is a photograph. But what about who’s the author? It seems straightforward: the author is the creator of the original expression. So then it’s Cooper because he took the photo…or is it DeGeneres because she got all the celebrities together for the photo in the first place? Or is it the Academy because it hired DeGeneres, and she caused the photo to be taken during the scope of her employment? Brush up on your case law, and post your answer in the comments!




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