Mickey Mouse vs. Deadmau5—Battle of the Ears


A trademark dispute is underway between Disney’s Mickey Mouse, the lovable animated mouse that has been captivating children since in 1920’s, and Deadmau5, a progressive-house music producer and performer.  That is to say their respective companies are fighting over Deadmau5’s recent application to register the design of its mouse ears logo, often called the “mau5head,” which Disney alleges resembles the Mickey Mouse ears.  Disney is known for aggressively protecting its marks and has a long...
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Another Reason to Monitor Your Kids Online


Parents, beware what your children post on Facebook.  A Georgia appellate court ruled that parents of a seventh grader may be negligent because their son did not delete a fake Facebook page.   In 2011, the seventh grade boy created a fake Facebook page making fun of a female classmate.  The boy posted profanity and explicit comments, which allegedly defamed his classmate.  When the girl found out, she told her parents; as a result, the boy was punished by both the school (in-school suspension) and his parents...
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An Update on Goop


Charles Platkin, a Hunter College Professor, sued Goop.com, Gwyneth Paltrow’s company, in August for using Platkin’s trademark “The Diet Detective.”  According to the allegations, Goop used “The Diet Detective” as the title of a column in a weekly web newsletter. Prior to filing the lawsuit, Platkin contacted Goop.com and requested that it stop using the trademarked phrase.  Platkin – who said he would originally have settled for an apology – stated that Paltrow refused to...
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Insurance Coverage in Trademark Disputes


Most companies are insured under a commercial general liability ("CGL") insurance policy, which usually contains standard coverage language drafted by the Insurance Services Office ("ISO").  The provision of ISO form CGL policies generally applicable to trademark disputes covers what is known as "advertising injury."  And depending on the specific policy language and the law governing the dispute, claims for trademark infringement may be covered as advertising injuries.  In Texas, for example, to be entitled insurance...
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Third Circuit Eliminates Presumption of Irreparable Harm in Trademark Cases


With its recent opinion in Ferring Pharms., Inc. v. Watson Pharms., Inc ., 765 F.3d 205 (3rd Cir. 2014), the Third Circuit eliminated the presumption of irreparable harm for Lanham Act plaintiffs seeking injunctive relief.  The decision reversed longstanding precedent that provided plaintiffs with a presumption of irreparable harm and extends the Supreme Court's ruling in eBay v. MercExchange, LLC, 547 U.S. 403 (2006).  It also significantly raises the bar for plaintiffs to obtain injunctive relief by requiring them to...
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The Bluebook and Baby Blue – Two Approaches to Copyright and Legal Citation


Every law student in America is familiar with “The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.”  Produced by the Harvard Law Review Association, this manual establishes the arcane citation rules attorneys must use when filing documents in court.  Although Harvard (along with Columbia, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania) insists the entire manual and method of citation is protected by copyright, the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law and Policy at New York University begs to differ.  While the argument up...
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The New Space Race – SpaceX Takes on Blue Origin


Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Blue Origin have been competing in the commercial rocket industry for over a decade, with each focusing on developing reuseable Vertical Takeoff and Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicles.  As Elon Musk of Tesla Automotive fame and Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, continue to battle it out for government contracts, the world of patent inter partes review has become the new arena. In March of this year, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted Blue Origin a patent on the sea...
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