Sepi v. Netflix et al. was a case in the Western District of Oklahoma that brought the much reviled/loved reality show star Joe Exotic into the national spotlight. The suit against the “Tiger King” was brought by a videographer challenging his work-made-for-hire agreement with Exotic. (Really, the judges refer to him by that name).   Sepi…

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Rolex Watch v. BeckerTime was a case out of the Fifth Circuit that concerned the difference between the restoration and the customization of Rolex watches. Although the District Court for the Northern District of Texas had ruled in favor of Rolex, Rolex appealed, hoping to get more damages.   BeckerTime is a company in the business…

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In Re: Chestek is an unfortunate decision in the Federal Circuit addressing what at first blush is another boring regulation. However, it concerns a rule change that many practitioners worry could mean life or death, and arguably was promulgated in a manner that didn’t allow for proper notice and comment by the public. For decades,…

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In July 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court reached a decision in Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. v. VIP Products LLC that received a lot of attention for a number of reasons, bad puns being among them. The case concerned squeaky dog toys that recall several well-known brands of alcoholic beverages. VIP sold a series of dog…

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In Thumbtack v. Liaison, plaintiff sued for copyright infringement and trade dress infringement for allegedly copying its website. The Northern District of California granted in part the motion to dismiss, because many of the plaintiff’s claims were too vague to address. The court pointed to things in Thumbtack’s exhibits, like circling part of an exhibit without…

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Richardson vs. Kharbouch, brought in the Northern District of Illinois, was an infringement case that illustrated the dangers of doing copyright work on a shoestring. The plaintiff, Eddie Lee Richardson, also known as Hotwire the Producer, sued Karim Kharbouch, also known as French Montana. According to plaintiff/Richardson/Hotwire, he came up with a song when he was just…

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Though an office action refusing registration can be disappointing, the road doesn’t have to end there, as shown by In Re Black Card LLC, where the TTAB recently reversed the decision of an examining attorney. Black Card filed to register the trademark FOLLOW THE LEADER in several different classes, including those for credit card incentive…

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Medieval Times v. Medieval Times Performers United and the American Guild of Variety Artists is a case out of the District of New Jersey. This was a labor dispute that veered into trademark law — where management tried to use its trademark rights as a sword to nip a nascent union in the bud. The…

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Amazon v. Pionera, out of the Eastern District of California, is notable not for its legal maneuvering, but rather the elaborate scam that was at the center of the dispute.  The plaintiff, Amazon, alleged trademark infringement and cybersquatting against defendant Manoj Goel and his company, Pionera. The defense did not answer the allegations for most…

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I was a full-time musician before law school, but Standing on the Horizon is the first album as a band leader (playing tenor sax, soprano sax and bass clarinet) consisting of my own compositions played with four extraordinary, Grammy-nominated and award-winning musicians. In early October 2023, the album was released on Spotify, iTunes, Pandora and…

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