Tide’s Brand-Bending Super Bowl Spots Win the Night

Tide laundry detergent has dominated the time-honored American tradition of Super Bowl ads this year with a tour-de-force of comedy writing and brand-bending parody. Presented by David Harbour (Hopper on Stranger Things and the titular role in Hellboy), the series of spots were made to look like other familiar brands, with one catch: The ads […] Read More

Science Brawl in the Southern District of New York

Late in January 2018, a judge in New York’s Southern District denied summary judgment in a case involving trade secrets. The parties in Elsevier Inc. v. Doctor Evidence LLC are scientific publishing giant Elsevier and a medical analytics company called Doctor Evidence (DRE). When Elsevier sued DRE for breach of a professional services agreement, DRE […] Read More

As a Business Owner You’re Thinking: Why Bother with Filing a Trademark?

I know what you’re thinking:  You’re thinking: “Why bother with filing a trademark?”  And, your next thought: “Even if I need to file, why use a lawyer?”  And then: “Who needs a trademark lawyer?  The website makes it look easy!” Let me tell you why. Trademark owners do not have to file for registration in […] Read More

Spotify Subject to New Copyright Infringement Claim

The 19-billion dollar music streaming service Spotify found itself on the wrong end of a major lawsuit at the end of 2017. Wixen Publishing Inc. v. Spotify USA Inc. is still in the complaint phase, but the music industry press is already dissecting the merits of the case — as well as the possible implications […] Read More

What’s Yours Is Mine

Recently I was talking to a client who had an interesting question. “Mark,” she began, “if I were to pay a company to make a custom music box that plays a lullaby that I wrote, do I need to be worried about the company stealing my work?” “I think a good general rule is that […] Read More

“Sorry, I Didn’t Mean to Do That.”

Roughly speaking, the Fifth Circuit Court held that a copyright infringer has to “want” to engage in conduct that infringes. That is, plaintiff had to allege that defendant’s conduct was volitional. The U.S. Supreme Court denied review of the Fifth Circuit’s decision, effectively allowing that decision to stand. The BWP Media v T&S Software case involved an […] Read More

Tough Love: Another VARA Claim, Thwarted

The Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) was passed in 1990; but, to date, only around 15 artists have brought cases in attempts to enforce the rights it protects. That’s why it was notable when a jury ruled against the developer of 5 Pointz, a case we blogged about previously. Recently, another plaintiff suing under VARA […] Read More

Paying Deerely for a Paint Job

In a recent trademark dispute over trade dress and color, the Western District of Kentucky found that a medium-sized agricultural equipment company violated John Deere and Company’s exclusive right to use yellow and green on farm machinery. This is going farther afield (pun intended) than what we normally see in New York, but it’s an interesting […] Read More

You Can Sue, But You Can’t Hide

The United States Court of International Trade was recently the setting for an action brought by a company that wished to remain anonymous. The plaintiff, referred to as XYZ Corporation, had been importing DURACELL batteries into the United States for 27 years. When goods that are genuine products of a trademark owner like DURACELL – […] Read More

Whatever Happened to Cindy-Lou Who?

The court rendered a decision in a copyright dispute I wrote about earlier this year between playwright Matthew Lombardo and the estate of beloved children’s author Theodore Seuss Geisel (a/k/a “Dr. Seuss”). The issue was whether Lombardo had infringed on the Seuss copyright with his derivative play Who’s Holiday — or whether the play constituted […] Read More