1970s Musicians v. UMG & Sony: A Second Chance or Works For Hire?

On February 5, 2019, UMG Recordings (UMG) and Sony Music Entertainment (Sony) were sued by a group of musicians in a class action separately in Southern District of New York for violation of musicians’ right to a “second chance” under 17 U.S.C. §203, and thus violated §106 for copyright infringement, by refusing to honor termination notices stating their intention to reassert their copyrights over certain works. The group of musicians, with named plaintiffs.. Read More

Why the Innovative Design Protection Act Is a Good Thing

Although U.S. intellectual property laws cover a wide range of industries, they have lagged behind in the world of fashion design. U.S. laws are much less protective of fashion designs than European laws. Although the U.S. does afford some protection to designers, they currently cannot copyright articles of apparel. Over a century ago, the U.S. Copyright Office decided that all clothing is functional. Because a “useful article” cannot receive copyright protection, clothing designs.. Read More

The Impending Arrival of Newly Proposed Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidelines: An Opportunity for Clarity?

On April 11, 2018, the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Andrei Iancu, delivered remarks at the United States Chamber of Commerce Patent Policy Conference, stating that the law surrounding patent subject matter eligibility (35 U.S.C. § 101) has resulted in “a more unpredictable patent landscape that is hurting innovation and, consequently, investment and job creation.” During these remarks, Director Iancu said the USPTO was “actively looking for ways.. Read More

DRM and Blockchain: A Solution to Protect Copyrights in the Digital World?

In the artistic world, the development of the Internet, while creating a tremendous way for artists to spread their work worldwide and gain in notoriety, created an environment very much in favor of online piracy, which right holders are still trying to circumvent. The development of new technologies made possible the transmission of unlawful high-quality copies of protected works to millions of individuals worldwide in a single click. But technology is also used.. Read More

Who is a “Film by?” The Writers Guild vs The Directors Guild

The Preamble: The WGA on Possessive Credits The Writers Guild of America’s 2017 Theatrical and Television Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) begins with a preamble focusing on an oddly specific topic: “Possessive Credits.” The agreement as a whole is sprawling and broad, and clocks in at nearly 700 pages. This places it somewhere between Crime and Punishment and War and Peace in terms of sheer length. That being the case, it is striking that.. Read More

Trademark Infringement Merit Badge for Boy Scouts? Girl Scouts Claim Boy Scouts Aren’t Playing Fair.

On November 6, the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (“GSUSA”) filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”) alleging, most notably, that BSA’s use of its SCOUTS and SCOUTING marks and derivatives thereof in connection with services offered to both boys and girls infringes GSUSA’s GIRLS SCOUTS marks. Both GSUSA and BSA offer leadership development services geared towards children and young adults and have generally followed gender-exclusive membership.. Read More

Davis v. Electronic Arts, Inc.

On August 17, 2018, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California denied class action certification for the retired National Football League (NFL) players suing Electronic Arts for using their likelihood in their Madden NFL series videogames, and dismissed Electronic Arts’ summary judgement motion in the case Davis v. Electronic Arts, Inc. This decision follows a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judgment from 2015 affirming the district court judgment protecting.. Read More

Appeals from PTAB to the Federal Circuit: Injury-In-Fact Standing Requirement

There is a long-awaited clarification with regards to the question of whether a petitioner could appeal an adverse decision in an inter partes review (“IPR”) proceeding in the Patent Trials and Appeals Board (“PTAB”) to the Federal Circuit. There is a pending case at the Supreme Court, RPX Corp. v. ChanBond. The patent community is waiting to see whether the Supreme Court will grant certiorari in RPX Corp, which raises this exact question. In.. Read More

CRISPR Systems: Natural Occurrences & the Trans-Atlantic Divide over Patent Rights

Clorox sells a product, “disinfecting wipes,” that boasts on its container, “Kills 99.9% of Viruses & Bacteria.” It’s a great product, and I use it every day. But it’s a good thing there’s plenty more bacteria around. Inventors have begun deferring to them for inspiration, and it turns out, bacteria just might provide the panacea for an array of genetic afflictions. Yes, I’m talking about “CRISPR,”[1] a class of adaptive anti-viral systems that.. Read More

MoMA v. MoMaCha—Mo Matcha, Mo Problems

On September 28, 2018, Judge Louis L. Stanton, U.S. district judge for the Southern District of New York, issued a preliminary injunction against a café and gallery space previously known as MoMaCha. He ruled that the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is likely to succeed on the merits for its claims that the café infringed on its trademark name and logo design and diluted its trademark. The café has since changed its URL,.. Read More