NCAA Gives Student-Athletes Glimpse into the Big Leagues

For years, the NCAA has consistently adopted rules and policies aimed at prohibiting collegiate athletes from receiving any money from their status as student-athletes. They have historically been forbidden from capitalizing on their fame or likeness, meaning that compensation to student athletes has been traditionally limited to qualified scholarships or…

SCOTUS SPOTLIGHT: In a Victory for the 1st Amendment, Supreme Court Rules Trademark Office Cannot Refuse to Register Offensive Marks

June 19, 2017. In Matal v. Tam, SCOTUS was asked to decide whether an Asian-American band name, “The Slants” was prohibited from attaining a federal trademark registration. The Lanham Act statute in question, 15 USC 1052(a), prohibits registration of trademarks which may be disparaging, bring contempt or disrepute to any…

SunEarth Inc. v SunEarth Solar, et.al.: Easier to Shift Fees in 9th Circuit Trademark Cases

October 24, 2016.  In the matter of SunEarth, Inc. v. SunEarth Solar, the 9th Circuit has made less stringent the standard to shift fees to an adversary.  In the past, appellate courts across the country reviewed fee award standards under the "exceptional" standard, which normally required really bad conduct in litigation or…

Pabst Blue Ribbon uses Twitter to Police Intellectual Property Rights

Last week beer maker Pabst Blue Ribbon, a/k/a PBR, used its Twitter account @PabstBlueRibbon in a humorous way to forewarn professional wrestler superstar John Cena and his employer World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (d/b/a WWE) of PBR’s intellectual property (IP) rights. As shown in PBR’s tweet below, John Cena’s new T-shirt…

Robot Assisted Discovery—ESI and the Use of “Predictive Coding” Software in Civil Litigation

For various reasons, including storage, ease of access, environmental concerns, etc., many businesses have moved away from keeping hard copies of files—and most files are now stored electronically.  The shift from paper to electronic files has created new challenges for litigation discovery—the process of gathering information for a lawsuit.  Increasingly,…

Trademark Disputes under the UDRP and Further Globalization of the World Wide Web.

ICANN, short for the “Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers,” has always been an organization tasked with international cooperation, but recently, ICANN has announced policies suggesting that the internet will become even more global than before—and it appears to been ceding some of its authority over the internet to…

Does the Parody Defense Save “Dumb Starbucks” from Trademark Infringement?

Recently, a coffee shop called “Dumb Starbucks” was opened in Los Angeles, California.[1]  Dumb Starbucks admits to using the store front, name, and logo (apart from the word: dumb) of the famous Starbucks® coffee shops while offering similar goods and services.[2]  Although Dumb Starbucks has apparently been shut for not…

Court Dismisses Trademark Case about SpongeBob Squarepants Ukuleles with a Flying V® shape

On November 5, 2013, the law firm of Bienstock & Michael, P.C., along with Buche & Associates, P.C. as California (Los Angeles) local counsel, successfully obtained a dismissal of a Plaintiff’s case in a trademark dispute between Plaintiff Gibson Brands (“Gibson”) and Defendant John Hornby Skewes & Co (“JHS”) because…