Trademark

This is the delicate dance done between American cities and the NFL. The American city will bow, the NFL will embrace. They glide across the dancefloor of time and space, dipping and twirling, bumping and grinding. The city and the NFL become one as the dance reaches its climactic stage, the NFL gently caressing the city, like a mother might a child. As the music of the universe crescendos, the NFL will whisper gently into the willing city’s ear.

GIVE ME ALL YOUR F*$&ING MONEY, YOU DIRTY PIECE PIECE OF S&!*

The stadium is built and the dance is complete.

In upstate New York, this thrusting, rapey foxtrot is just getting started. Governor Cuomo, the Bills, Roger Goodell, they’ve all been invited. And so has a lawyer… natch.

Because the Bills need a new stadium and because they need a new owner. Because the state of New York drafted an attorney with tremendous upside potential.

Because all of this, let’s talk sports…

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(c) Image by Juri H. Chinchilla.

Ed. note: This is the first installment of “On Remand,” a legal-history column by new writer Samantha Beckett. You can read her full bio at the end of this post.

The statute of limitations never expires on an interesting legal story, so each week “On Remand” will report on legal aspects of a story from the past using a “this day in history” theme. First up, Beatlemania!

Five years before John, Paul, George, and Ringo crossed Abbey Road, they crossed the pond and invaded U.S. living rooms. Fifty years ago last night, the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time. The floppy-haired Fab Four were warmly welcomed by shrieking fans and America’s version of royalty – the King himself, Elvis Presley. As Ed Sullivan explained before the Beatles took the stage: “You know something very nice happened and the Beatles got a great kick out of it. We just received a wire – they did – from Elvis Presley . . . wishing them a tremendous success in our country.”

It’s safe to say that Elvis’ wish came true. The Beatles won an Oscar, racked up enough Grammys to collapse a shelf, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

By 1978, both the Beatles and the British Invasion were ancient history. Beatles fans consoled themselves with the music of Wings and the solo careers of John, Ringo, and George. And one Beatles fan in particular, Steve Jobs, was busy with his two-year-old computer company, Apple Computer. But that year, Apple Computer would experience a British invasion of its own when the Beatles’ company, Apple Corps (thank Paul McCartney for that pun), sued Apple Computer in Britain’s High Court. The dispute concerned the companies’ similar apple logos: a Granny Smith for Apple Corps, and an icon of an apple with a byte bite removed for Apple Computer….

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* DC Comics didn’t take kindly to a garage selling replica Batmobiles without permission. A federal court agreed. But if we outlaw Batmobiles, only outlaws will have Batmobiles! [Comic Book Resources]

* Mistrial in Philadelphia after the witness lost (part of) his head on the witness stand. [Philly.com]

* Taser or Lightsaber? I never thought that would be a serious question. [Legal Juice]

* A quick refresher from that “Law and the Vatican” course you took as a 3L. [WSJ Law Blog]

* A compilation of some bad courtroom (and quasi-courtroom) behavior including our friend from last week, Penelope Soto. [LOL and Smile]

* The Bratz case is so totally over. The result? A whole lot of nothing — much like the Bratz movie. [The Recorder]

* Shorter version of this article: Morpheus explaining, “But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see?…The very minds of the [nice legal academics] we are trying to save. But until we do, these [law professors] are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy.” [Inside the Law School Scam]

* New Mexico is considering a new law against bullying — but does it go too far? Does it? Answer me, you little wuss! [Volokh Conspiracy]


A trademark cock-a-doodle-don’t.

We think that the Board did not err in concluding that the distinction between COCKSUCKER and COCK SUCKER is a distinction without a difference. So too the association of COCK SUCKER with a poultry-themed product does not diminish the vulgar meaning – it merely establishes an additional, non-vulgar meaning and a double entendre.

This not a case in which the vulgar meaning of the mark’s literal element is so obscure or so faintly evoked that a context that amplifies the non-vulgar meaning will efface the vulgar meaning altogether. Rather, the mark is precisely what [appellant] Fox intended it to be: a double entendre, meaning both “rooster lollipop” and “one who performs fellatio.”

– Circuit Judge Timothy Dyk, affirming on behalf of a three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s prior affirmance of an examiner’s refusal to register the mark “COCK SUCKER” for rooster lollipops.

After more than a year of litigation, fellow fashionistas can finally rejoice, because thanks to the Second Circuit, French fashion house Christian Louboutin is officially entitled to trademark protection for its signature red-soled shoes. It seems that the epic judicial shoedown against Yves Saint Laurent is at its end.

But not so fast, ladies. Before you shake your Loubooties on the catwalk at Fashion Week, you may be interested to know that this was only a partial victory for everyone’s favorite luxury shoemaker.

The Second Circuit made a rather important distinction in its opinion today — one that seems a bit antithetical to Louboutin’s desires, considering the fact that it’s what prompted the underlying lawsuit in the first place….

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Today, we wake up in a world where LeBron James is king. The best player in basketball and the Miami Heat closed out Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Congratulations. Waking up to the reign of King James must be like living in Westeros in a world where Joffrey Baratheon is king. (That makes Dwyane Wade Cersei & Chris Bosh Lancel Lannister.)

Kevin Durant will be back. The supremely talented NBA scoring champion will get better from this, and I think he’ll win championships. On the basketball court.

In a court of law, Durant might not be as successful. Durant’s being sued for trademark infringement, and not by George Gervin. Many have compared Durant’s game to Gervin’s, but in terms of nicknames there is no contest. George Gervin was called the “Iceman,” because nicknames used to be cool and creative. Durant is often called simply “KD,” because younger sports fans don’t seem to know the difference between a nickname and an acronym.

Sometimes Durant is called “Durantula” because of his spindly length. That’s more of a word play than a nickname — and apparently it’s already taken. An 80s guitarist that you probably have never heard of claims that he trademarked the moniker “Durantula” years ago. Mark Durante is now suing Durant, his representatives, and Nike.

And the Durantula guitarist kind of has a point…

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