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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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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The Western District of North Carolina’s CBD Industries, LLC v. Majik Medicine, LLC is yet another case revolving around the USPTO’s shaky guidance for cannabis products. Originally delegated to a magistrate judge who issued a Memorandum and Recommendation (M&R), the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss the defendant’s counterclaims and cancel the defendant’s trademark registration was denied…

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This case, filed against my client in the Eastern District of Arkansas in the middle of 2019, started with two lamps made to look like they were made of deer antlers. Ultimately, we brought a motion for summary judgment and argued that the plaintiff’s lamp was not sufficiently original to merit copyright protection — because it…

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Forum shopping is the concept that some plaintiffs will skip their local court in favor of another jurisdiction that has a track record of ruling favorably in similar cases. In Leong v. Agence France-Presse et al., a plaintiff based in Portugal found reason to bring his suit in New York even though there were perfectly…

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Just as a song recording has two copyrights, so do comedy performances. Each recorded song and bit has a sound recording right and the rights to the underlying composition. In the Pandora Media case, these underlying rights form the basis for a dispute that would eventually veer into the Noerr-Pennington doctrine, the Sherman Act, and…

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A case in the Northern District of California was notable for the way it ended, as opposed to its otherwise straightforwardness. Leftfield Holdings v. Google was a class action started on behalf of several restaurateurs of Mexican food who accused Google of trademark infringement, counterfeiting, false association, and false advertising. This was a motion to…

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