Month: March 2017

Is an icon’s image too generic to trademark?

Bitter battle by Marilyn Monroe estate to protect her legacy may have unforeseen consequences for celebrities It’s common these days for celebrities to trademark their names and properties attached to them (yes, you Beyonce, and all of you in the Kardashian clan). Her estate has tried to create comparable legal protections for Norma Jean Mortenson, the sliver-screen legend better known as Marilyn Monroe. But a U.S. District Court in Manhattan has cast a long shadow over the movie star’s intellectual property rights, raising the possibility—not just for her and her estate but for other pop culture icons —that a megastar like Monroe may...

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Polish tiff translates into $3 million in penalties

Do widzenia i powodznia!* Telewizja Polska, S.A. (TVP), may be saying to $3.06 million in its bank accounts. That’s because U.S. District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan in Washington, D.C., has found, under American law, that the Polish national television network infringed on the copyrights of Spanski Enterprises, Inc. (SEI), a Canadian content-distributor of Polish television programming. Chutkan ruled that TVP got itself in quite a ogórek kiszony** over the rights to show dozens of episodes broadcast on an international Polish-language broadcast channel, TVPolonia.com, which touts itself as airing “Polish news, current affairs and information programs, sitcoms, mini series, soap operas, movies,...

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Blue film firm keeping up its barrage of suits

  Malibu Media, LLC., an adult film company, filed 201 copyright infringement lawsuits in February. It also launched 747 cases in 2016, and 1,956 suits in 2015, according to Bloomberg Law data. If that sounds like a lot, here is a mind-rattling statistic: In 2014, the company accounted for up to 40 per cent of all copyright infringement claims in the country. The company was founded by a husband and wife team in 2009. They have said they aim to upend the industry with a higher quality of erotic films. Malibu launched the site x-art.com and created porn that...

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Es tiempo, dice el juez en el caso ‘Timeless’

Court advances claim that U.S. television show may have infringed on Spanish hit Timing’s everything, a federal judge in California has reminded Sony Television and NBC Universal, as he has denied their moves to dismiss a suit against them by Onza Partners, broadcast creatives in Spain. The partners object to how negotiations they conducted over their Spanish TV hit in the summer of 2015 with a prominent American agent and Sony progressed—or didn’t—to the fall announcement of an NBC show. The Spaniards unsuccessfully filed suit just before the fall 2016 airing of the American production, not necessarily to block...

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‘Marshall Tucker’ rockers lose battle for mark

The southern rockers in The Marshall Tucker Band may be singing the blues. That’s because the musicians in the legendary, long-running, and oft-reconstituted band had their trademark lawsuit against their publishing company dismissed recently. The band had filed various trademark claims against MT Industries (MTI) over “The Marshall Tucker Band” mark. But on March 1, a U.S. District Court in South Carolina granted a motion to dismiss the band’s claims of infringement and dilution against the company. Band members had also initiated a claim of copyright cancellation, as well as other state law claims. MTI argued that the entire action should be dismissed, and filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the court’s lacked subject matter jurisdiction. How did this long hard ride end? MTI sought first to dispel the infringement and dilution claims, arguing that these were band members’ bases for the court’s jurisdiction; if those claimed failed, the court then would lack jurisdiction over the rest of the action. Trademark infringement To prevail on a claim for infringement, band members had to satisfy a five-pronged test outlined in the Lanham Act: They had to show they possessed the mark, that the defendants used it and that use occurred in commerce or in connection with the sale, offering for sale, distribution, or advertising of goods or services. They also had to demonstrate that defendants’ use of the mark would be likely...

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