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Intellectual Property

May 2021

Talk to the Hand: Michigan Copyright and Trademark Lawsuit Over Similar Hand Gesture Images Clapped Back

Brian D. Wassom

This lawsuit vindicates the maxim that “no good deed goes unpunished,” but the outcome provides some encouragement for those using advertising images that are minor variations on common themes.

May 2021

Second Circuit Affirms Fair Use Dismissal of “Fish Sticks” Copyright Suit

Joe Slaughter

The Second Circuit affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of a copyright infringement lawsuit on fair use grounds

May 2021

Oracle v. Google: It’s Not Over

Moon Hee Lee

The Court’s decision may have ended the decade-long fight between Google and Oracle, but sets the stage for decades of future copyright litigation.

Mar 2021

When Copyright Met Cryptocurrency: A Conversation About NFTs

Jeff Hermes

MLRC deputy director thinks through non-fungible tokens.

Mar 2021

Sixth Circuit Clarifies When Online Marketplaces Can and Can’t Be Liable for Direct Trademark Infringement

Sam Zeitlin

The court held that direct trademark liability is limited by the Lanham Act’s requirement that the defendant “use” the mark in a way the Act prohibits, and as a result “some trademark-infringing activity does not create liability.”

Mar 2021

King Takes Rook: Eleventh Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment for Dark Tower

Vincent Cox

The suit raised the typical array of copyright issues relating to such matters as ownership, access, and substantial similarity of protectible expression. Complicating those issues were the long passage of time between creation of the works and the claim of infringement.

Mar 2021

Second Circuit “Clarifies” (Restores?) Law Governing Fair Use

Kenneth P. Norwick

The court not only reversed pretty much the entirety of the extensive decision of the SDNY judge under review but it came close to disowning one of its own most important (and controversial) recent fair use precedents.

Feb 2021

The Colors on a Rubik’s Cube are Nonfunctional? Really?

Jeff Hermes

In this article, I will focus on one aspect of the report: the magistrate’s ruling that the coloration of the Rubik’s Cube is not functional, and therefore eligible for trade dress protection. Because, what?

Jan 2021

Copyrights and Constitutional Takings

Leslie Gardner Mason

Is a governmental unit’s use of a copyrighted photo without permission considered a constitutional taking? The Supreme Court of Texas is faced with this question.

Jan 2021

Courier Journal Beats Back Trademark Infringement Lawsuit from Makers of DERBY-PIE®

Michael Abate

The court held that the news articles challenged in the lawsuit do not constitute “trademark use” and therefore the Lanham Act does not even apply.