The Womp Womp Word

UNWARRANTED REPRESSION: When Copyrights Are Too Confined

Posted by on Jun 22, 2016 in The Womp Womp Word | 0 comments

Lee Daniels’ The Butler, a highly-acclaimed 2013 film portraying the life of an African American man who served as a butler at the White House for eight presidents, presented a unique look into the evolution of freedom and equality for African Americans and the atrocities faced by African Americans during the 1950s and 60s. We Shall Overcome, an iconic anthem of the Civil Rights Movement, seemed to be the perfect fit for this biopic; however, it was practically absent from the film. The publishers who own We Shall Overcome, Ludlow Music and The Richmond Organization, requested an exorbitant...

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Straight Up Or On The Rocks? The Never-Ending Battle Over HAVANA CLUB – Will Congress Step In And Override The USPTO?

Posted by on Jun 7, 2016 in The Womp Womp Word | 0 comments

At the end of May, the House Appropriations Committee released the 2017 Financial Services Appropriation Bill. One of the provisions included in the bill appears to have been custom-made for Bacardi in its ongoing dispute with Cubaexport, the joint venture between the Cuban government and Pernod Ricard, over the U.S. rights to the HAVANA CLUB trademark: SEC. 135. (a) None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to authorize a general license or approve a specific license … with respect to a mark, trade name, or commercial name that is the same as or substantially similar to a...

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SCOTUS Trademark Decision: TTAB Rulings Can Preclude Courts

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in The Womp Womp Word | 0 comments

SCOTUS Trademark Decision:  TTAB Rulings Can Preclude Courts

On Tuesday, March 24, 2015, the Supreme Court issued an opinion in B&B Hardware Inc. v. Hargis Industries Inc., which held “a court should give preclusive effect to TTAB decisions if the ordinary elements of issue preclusion are met.” Specifically, this ruling held that federal court decisions on likelihood of confusion issues can be precluded by earlier findings from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) if the issues are the same. The parties in the present case both manufacture metal fasteners—B &B manufactures fasteners for the aerospace industry, while Hargis...

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Redskins Racial Repercussions

Posted by on Jun 26, 2014 in The Womp Womp Word | 0 comments

Redskins Racial Repercussions

On Wednesday June 18, 2014, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) boldly cancelled 6 of the Redskin’s trademarks on the basis that the name is “disparaging to Native Americans.”  The cancellation indicates that Pro Football, Inc., the owner of the Redskin registrations, will lose the legal benefits conferred by federal registration of the marks, including the legal presumptions of ownership and of a nationwide scope of rights in these trademarks, the ability to use the federal registration ® symbol, and the ability to record the registrations with the U.S. Customs and Border...

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Google Wins in Court: Mass Digitization of Books is not Copyright Infringement

Posted by on Nov 21, 2013 in The Womp Womp Word | 0 comments

Google Wins in Court: Mass Digitization of Books is not Copyright Infringement

The Dewey decimal system may soon be obsolete. With a few clicks, Google’s expansive digital library is available with an Internet connection. Google Books has scanned over 20 million books and magazines for public access and has consequently been battling an 8-year lawsuit against The Authors Guild. Users can search and read literary works from Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat to Dante’s Inferno. This presents the fundamental tension between IP rights holders and consumers. Under copyright law, authors are granted exclusive rights to their literary works for life plus 70 years. Such...

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A Cannabis Trademark High: How Legalization may Affect Trademark Protection.

Posted by on Sep 3, 2013 in The Womp Womp Word | 0 comments

A Cannabis Trademark High: How Legalization may Affect Trademark Protection.

Medicinal marijuana has everyone seeing green.  The current legalization in 20 states and Washington D.C. indicates that when the smoke clears, pot legislation will still be standing.  With competition growing (literally!) and investments in the cannabis business rising, protecting trademarks will become an inevitable economic necessity.  The USPTO may refuse the registration of a federal trademark if the mark consists of immoral or scandalous matter (also known as a § 2(a) refusal). Trademark law demonstrates that illicit activities and drug-use are presumed immoral and scandalous....

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