UnscrIPted

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    George Carlin Estate Pursues Copyright Infringement Claims Over AI-Generated Comedy Special

    The estate of comedian George Carlin is suing a team of podcasters from Dudesy for using artificial intelligence (AI) to mimic the late comedian’s voice and style of humor. View

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    A Remedy for a Rockstar Trademark Dispute

    Take-Two Interactive (“Take-Two”) and Remedy Entertainment (“Remedy”) were recently involved in a trademark dispute over their respective “R” logos.View

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    Don’t Take this Skateboard to the Halfpipe

    Ford is looking to not only close its gap with Jeep but is attempting to surpass Jeep in offering trucks with modular capabilities.View

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    LeBron Affirms Legacy as “More Than An Athlete”

    NBA star LeBron James wants to be remembered as “More Than An Athlete.”View

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    Stop the Bus (Patent Infringement)! Jury Awarded School Bus Sign Manufacturer $23,000 In Lost Profits From Competitor

    A jury in Michigan recently found that a lighting manufacturer willfully infringed two patents of its competitor and awarded damages in the form of lost profits.View

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    Time’s Up on Apple Watch Imports: International Trade Commission (ITC) Bans Apple Watch Imports Into the United States

    Time is ticking to purchase an Apple Watch this year. Specifically, Apple Watches with a light-based pulse oximetry feature used to measure blood oxygen levels are facing an International Trade Commission (“ITC”) import ban. View

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    We Can Finally “Say and Celebrate” Taco Tuesday- The Last TACO TUESDAY Trademark Holder Forfeits their Rights

    Taco Bell had a mission “to liberate Taco Tuesday…on behalf of ALL who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos,” said CEO Mark King. After Taco Bell’s successful efforts to convince restaurant chain Taco John’s to forfeit its trademark registration for Taco Tuesday, only one trademark remained — held only in New Jersey by Gregory’s Restaurant and Bar. Taco Tuesday enthusiast and Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James joined Taco Bell in efforts that eventually led to the forfeiture of this final registered mark.View

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    The First of Many? Musk's “X” Facing Suit

    And so it begins … In what is likely the first of many lawsuits, X Social Media, LLC is suing X Corp. (formerly Twitter, Inc.) in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida alleging violations of the Lanham Act, Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and Florida common law as it relates to unfair competition and trademark and service mark infringement. View

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    Mobile Order Patents Asserted Against Some of Nation’s Largest Food Retailers

    When a customer places a mobile order for food, they likely aren’t worried about potential patent infringement. Tiare Technology, Inc. (Tiare), however, is not only concerned about the proper use of this technology but is trying to get a bite (of reasonable royalties) from many of these pick-up orders.View

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    Sweetgreen Eludes Spicy Trademark Infringement Claims

    Recently, Sweetgreen Inc. (“Sweetgreen”) launched its “Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl.” Within days of the launch, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (“Chipotle”) filed a lawsuit against Sweetgreen alleging trademark infringement. To prevail, Chipotle must show, among other things, that a likelihood of confusion exists for consumers of Sweetgreen and Chipotle relating to the mark for “Chipotle.” View

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    LV Faces Copyright Infringement Accusation (For A Little While)

    Suspicions of an impending lawsuit rise following Louis Vuitton’s allegedly unauthorized use of the post-war expressionist, Joan Mitchell’s artwork in recent campaigns for the French luxury house’s handbags. Louis Vuitton had allegedly reached out to the Joan Mitchell Foundation multiple times to secure copyright authorization to use some of Mitchell’s pieces in their campaigns. However, the Joan Mitchell Foundation refused these requests, as the Foundation has never allowed for Mitchell’s work to be used for commercial purposes. View

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    Is That Really “Gruyére” in Your Fridge?

    Gruyére cheese is a namesake from the town where it was first made in 1115. This name has traditionally been used to refer to cheese made from milk produced in specific regions in southern Switzerland and eastern France. Last month, cheese mongers of the world likely drew an exacerbated gasp when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld a decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that held it is acceptable to use the term “gruyére” to describe cheese regardless of its origin. View

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    Copyright Office Issues Guidance on AI-Generated Art

    Last year, the Federal Circuit held that the term “inventor” under the Patent Act must identify a human being. Last month, following that decision, the Copyright Office partially canceled Kristina Kashtanova’s copyright registration for her graphic novel, “Zarya of the Dawn.” Kashtanova’s registration had not disclosed that the artwork associated with the novel was created using Midjourney, an artificial intelligence (AI) program that converts text into images. View

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    Patent Application on Self-Repossessing Cars

    Ford has filed a patent application for “Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle.” Effectively, the application discloses an autonomous car that can repossess itself if the driver does not keep up with payments. The application was filed in 2021 and recently published. In the patent application, Ford describes limiting the vehicle’s functionality if the owner is delinquent on their car payments. For example, the application describes placing a “geofence” around the areas the car is “allowed” to go. View

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    DecIPhering™ NFTs and Trademark Infringement

    The jury has spoken - Hermès has their Birkin trademark in the bag. It’s been over a year since Hermès sued Mason Rothchild in New York federal court alleging trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and cybersquatting in relation to Rothchild’s NFTs including images of the famous Hermès Birkin bags. Rothschild argued that the First Amendment gave him the right to make and sell his NFTs as 'art” depicting Hermès’ Birkin bags. The jury was not convinced, finding that the MetaBirkin NFTs were more akin to a commodity than a work of art thereby preventing Rothchild from being shielded by the First Amendment. Had the jury gone the other way, finding the MetaBirkin NFT akin to artwork, Hermès’ Birkin trademark would be out of the bag and into Rothchild’s NFT universe. This decision demonstrates that U.S. courts are willing to hold digital uses of trademarks, such as in NFTs, to the same standard as more traditional mediums. View

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    Thom Browne Keeps Its Stripes; Jury Limits Scope Of Adidas’ Three-Stripe Trademark

    In a battle over stripes, Thom Browne prevailed in a federal trademark infringement lawsuit lodged against it by athleisure and sportswear giant Adidas in the Southern District of New York. Adidas accused luxury fashion brand Thom Browne of impermissibly using its “three-stripe” logo design that has existed since 1952 and that is protected by several trademark registrations covering footwear and apparel. View

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    Greener E-Bikes May be Coming Around the Mountain

    A relative newcomer to the bike manufacturing industry, a road and mountain biking company, SRAM, has charted a course to make your daily e-bike commute even greener. SRAM’s recent patent application, US20220131404, takes aim at charging e-bike batteries while they are on the go or while they sit chained outside during the workday. View

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    “All I want for Christmas is…” a Trademark: Mariah Carey denied registration for “Queen of Christmas”

    It’s that time of the year again. You most likely will be unable to escape the holiday season without hearing Mariah Carey’s famous song “All I Want for Christmas is You” at least once. Like it or not, her song has become a staple due to its long-lasting success. While Carey, like many others, would consider herself the “Queen of Christmas,” there is at least one party that would disagree: the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).View

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    Their Loss: Drake and 21 Savage Hit With TRO

    A Federal Judge recently granted a temporary restraining order against rappers, Aubrey “Drake” Graham and Sheyaa “21 Savage” Bin Abraham-Joseph. While promoting their joint album, “Her Loss,” the rapper duo released a mock Vogue cover on social media starring the pair. View

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    Depart Ye Ways

    As the co-branding arrangement between Adidas and Ye (formerly known as “Kanye West”) comes to a close, one major question remains – who owns what? Ye is no stranger to co-branding, having partnered up with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Giuseppe Zanotti, and Nike. After a dispute with Nike over royalties in 2013, Ye turned to Adidas, who offered him the royalties and creative freedom he desired. View

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    Coachella Owners Take Festival to Court

    Most people know Coachella as the music festival where celebrities gather with 250,000 fans in the Coachella Valley of California. Over the years, the music festival has garnered international acclaim with iconic music performances by like Beyonce, Kanye West, and Amy Winehouse and has proven extremely lucrative as the first reoccurring festival to break the $100 million profit mark for a single year. However, Coachella Valley Music Arts Festival and its organizer Goldenvoice (owned by AEG), are not shy about trading in their desert boots for courtroom loafers. Most recently, Coachella filed a lawsuit in a federal court against Ghana’s Afrochella for, inter alia, trademark infringement. Goldenvoice is seeking a restraining order on the Afrochella name, damages for trademark infringement, and monetary damages for cybersquatting domain names. View

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    Will SMART Act Be a Smart Fix for YouTube's Content ID?

    You would be forgiven if you had never heard of Content ID – but I’ll bet your favorite YouTuber complains about it regularly (publicly or otherwise). YouTube’s automated moderation system for detecting and blocking copyright infringing-content is notorious among internet residents for its blundering content detection and favoritism to larger corporate channels. Copyrights apply to works fixed in a tangible medium of expression (e.g., videos) and give remedies to authors if others unfairly reproduce those works. As the largest content platform-- receiving hundreds of hours of uploaded content per minute--YouTube relies on an automated tool like Content ID to enforce copyright laws. View

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    Courts ‘Align’ in Favor of Lululemon’s Trademark

    Event, lifestyle and apparel company Aliign Activation Wear, LLC (“AAW”) took athleisure giant lululemon “to the yoga mat” at the Ninth Circuit, alleging that lululemon’s use of the mark “Align” for its yoga pants infringed AAW’s “Aliign” trademark for athletic apparel. Lululemon prevailed. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, among others, the lower court’s summary judgement finding of no “reverse confusion.” View

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    Rocky Rhode: RHODE Files Suit Against Hailey Bieber for RHODE SKIN

    Hailey Bieber is facing a fork in the “rhode” after launching her brand RHODE SKIN CARE in June 2022, named after Bieber’s legal middle name, Rhode. Less than a week after Bieber’s launch, a fashion label RHODE brought a lawsuit against Bieber alleging, inter alia, that her brand infringes their trademark.View

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    Are Trademark Rights of NFTs in the Bag?

    As Pete Davidson said in his famous rap on Saturday Night Live, “what the [heck is] an NFT?” NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are uniquely identifiable digital assets that are tracked on a blockchain so that ownership can be recorded as they are sold or traded. Some NFTs are digital versions of clothes or fashion accessories that can be worn by avatars in the Metaverse, an online community similar to a video game.View

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    What “THE”?!?

    The Ohio State University (OSU) just keeps winning, to the dismay of one author here who graduated from its main rival. On Tuesday, OSU was awarded a trademark for the word “THE” after a nearly three-year battle with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).Trademarks designate the source of goods and services and therefore must be distinctive and used in a distinguishable manner. In support of its trademark application, OSU initially submitted a t-shirt with the word “THE” on its front as a specimen. But the examining attorney refused the registration on the basis that the mark was “merely a decorative or ornamental feature” and therefore not sufficiently distinctive or otherwise used in a trademark sense. The examining attorney took issue with the large size and central placement of the mark.OSU responded with a substitute specimen with “THE” on a label inside a t-shirt. OSU also argued that “THE” is “not merely ornamental” but instead has secondary meaning to consumers created by OSU’s “use and emphasis on the word ‘THE’…[as] a deliberate, integral, and important element of [its] identity and history.” The USPTO agreed and published the mark for opposition.During the process, OSU separately opposed an application for a “THE” mark sought by Marc Jacobs. However, the parties quickly settled leading both parties to narrow the scope of goods covered by their respective marks. OSU’s mark covers clothing “promoted, distributed, and sold through channels customary to the field of sports and collegiate athletics” while Marc Jacobs narrowed its application to cover clothing “promoted, distributed, and sold through channels customary to the field of contemporary fashion.” As a result, “THE” was official registered as a trademark on June 21, 2022. The University of Michigan (UM or known by some as That Team Up North), salty over OSU’s winning ways according to one author here but with its usual craftiness according to the other author, shot back tweeting that it may pursue a trademark for “OF.” The best rivalry in sports has just been taken to another level. Will we be hearing the chants of “THE!” and “OF!” from the Horseshoe in November? Expect to see “TM” used next to “OF” by the Maize and Blue in the coming months and perhaps one day “OF®” on a UM t-shirt.View

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    Netflix’s Hit Show, Umbrella Academy, Settles Copyright Lawsuit over “fishy” Character

    Just as Netflix released their trailer for the long-awaited season 3 of its original series, Umbrella Academy, the streaming giant has reached a confidential settlement agreement resolving the copyright lawsuit brought by an artist over one of the show’s characters. In 2021, a professional comic illustrator, Kevin Atkinson, brought a lawsuit against Netflix alleging that A.J. Carmichael, a fishbowl-headed character from Umbrella Academy, is strikingly similar to Kingfish, a character in his series Rogue Satellite Comic that appeared as early as 1996View

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    Do Trademarks Predict Final Fantasy Future?

    The Final Fantasy video game series is approaching its 35th anniversary in June 2022. The games are produced by Square Enix and first premiered in Japan in 1987. Since then, Square Enix has released about one game per year, in total selling over 150 million units. View

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    PTAB Gives BMW Win in Remote Engine Start Patent Challenge

    A remote engine start feature is one of the most beloved features in cars, especially in frigid cold or hot weather, as it allows you to start the engine and control the climate inside the car to a perfect temperature. Omega Patents LLC owned a patent (U.S. 9,458,814) directed to a remote start control system for a vehicle. View

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    Fed. Cir. Remand Drifts Nintendo Controller Case Back to District Court

    The Federal Circuit recently reversed a district court opinion finding that Nintendo controllers did not infringe a patent on combining data streams. Genuine Enabling Technology (GET) had sued Nintendo alleging that some of Nintendo’s controllers, particularly the Wii Remote, Wii Nunchuk, WiiU Gamepad, Switch Joy-con, and Switch Pro, infringe their US patent 6,219,730. In holding that Nintendo did not infringe, the district court relied on Nintendo’s narrower construction of the claim term “input signal”. The district court determined that GET disclaimed a broader construction when distinguishing from a reference during prosecution and relied on an expert witness for Nintendo to determine the construction of the term. View

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    Will Court Support Confusion Claims in Competing Capsules Case?

    A long percolating disagreement recently came to a boil when Nespresso USA filed a complaint in federal court accusing Peet’s Coffee of unfair competition, infringement, and dilution of Nespresso’s trademarks and trade dress in the course of selling a competing line of coffee capsules.View

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    Adidas Can’t Change Its Stripes; Will Thom Browne Change Their Stripes?

    For years Adidas and Thom Browne have been engaged in litigation, claiming both trademark infringement and brand dilution. Adidas has alleged that Thom Browne’s expansion beyond its typical formal wear into sportswear and athletic leisure wear poses a likelihood of confusion between the brands’ striped marks. Recently, a New York federal magistrate judge gave a green light for the most-recent case to proceed for these mega brands to battle it out in a court. View

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    Sheeran Scores KO at High Court in "Shape of You" Copyright Case

    On April 6, 2022, Ed Sheeran won a U.K. copyright lawsuit, with the High Court concluding that Sheeran’s song “Shape of You” “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” copied a portion of a 2015 song by Sami ChokriView

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    Will Rapper 50 Cent Take The Rap in Trade Dress Lawsuit?

    Iconic rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson has been transitioning his attention from the Candy Shop to the liquor stores lately. Sire Spirits, i.e., Jackson’s liquor company named after his youngest son, is heading toward trial to defend itself against rival liquor brand E. Remy Martin & Co.View

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    Dua Lipa: "Levitating" Her Way Into Court?

    Two copyright infringement suits have been brought against pop star Dua Lipa in connection with her 2020 hit “Levitating.” The first suit was brought by reggae band Artikal Sound System based on their 2017 song, “Live Your Life.” The second was initiated by L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer, who alleged that Lipa copies parts from at least one of two different songs: “Wiggle and Giggle All Night,” a song written in 1979, and another song from the following year “Don Diablo.”View

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    Is FoodWorks An IMPOSSIBLE Imposter?

    Earlier this month, Impossible Foods filed a complaint alleging patent infringement against competitor Motif FoodWorks, Inc., alleging that its products infringed one of its patents for containing the molecule heme, used in the creation of their plant-based foods. View

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    Do Trademark Applications Suggest Virtual Restaurants?

    Wingstop filed a US trademark application to virtually sell chicken wings in the Metaverse. Surprisingly, they are not the first major food chain to try to stake their claim in the virtual restaurant territory. Panera Bread and McDonald’s have applied for trademarks for similar services.View

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    SPOILER ALERT: Patents Hint at GTA 6 Gameplay

    For almost 25 years, the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) video game franchise has been extremely successful. It has shipped over 370 million units and is the fifth highest selling franchise of all time. GTA V was released in 2013 and is currently the second highest selling video game of all time. Rockstar Games, GTA’s New York-based video game publisher and subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive, recently announced that the next installment of the franchise is being developed but has been tight-lipped about details of the game. View

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    Kendall Jenner’s Tequila Brand in Bar Brawl

    A Texas-based Tequila company took aim at Kendall Jenner’s new tequila - 818 Tequila – for “blatantly copying” the distinctive logo and color scheme of their Tequila 512 brand. Tequila 512’s trademark and trade dress infringement suit was filed last week in Federal Court in California.View

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    Will Tech Equal Gold at Winter Olympics?

    As the 2022 Winter Olympics come to a close next week on February 20, 2022, Lerner David highlights some of the patents that have contributed to these sports as we know them. View

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    Will the USPTO Sack Tom Brady’s Federal Trademark?

    Recently retired NFL quarterback, seven-time Super Bowl champion, and NFT digital platform co-founder, Tom Brady adds clothing designer to his long resume. Shortly before announcing the end of his football career, Tom Brady officially unveiled his namesake brand BRADY, a distinctive clothing line with apparel that “performs across every activity—because life is a sport.” View

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    Will The Real Wordle Please Stand Up?

    Humans love word puzzles. Three out of every five American homes include a SCRABBLE game. More than eight million people watch Wheel of Fortune every night. And lately, Wordle has been taking the world by storm. View

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