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When the Music Stops: NY Court of Appeals Limits Meaning of ‘Affiliate’

The New York Court of Appeals recently held in Ellington v. EMI Music, Inc. that the term “affiliates” in a copyright renewal agreement referred only to affiliates existing at the time of contract execution, reasoning that the contract did not expressly provide that the parties intended to bind future affiliates.

Ninth Circuit Rejects Luxury Watch Manufacturer’s Copyright Infringement Claim Under Expanded ‘First Sale’ Doctrine

In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit ruled for discount retailer Costco in a copyright dispute involving the importation and sale of “gray market” Omega watches. In Omega S.A. v. Costco Wholesale Corp., Case Nos. 11–57137, 12–56342 (9th Cir. Jan. 20, 2015), the Ninth Circuit held that Costco’s sale of Omega watches was permissible under the first sale doctrine, which protects the resale of a lawfully produced copyrighted work.

Arent Fox Secures Judgments Protecting Fila Against Cybersquatting Websites

Washington, DC — In January, Arent Fox LLP secured a summary judgment on behalf of the sportswear manufacturer Fila against a website that was cybersquatting and appeared to carry the company’s internationally recognized label. This is the second domain name Arent Fox obtained in recent months for Fila after successfully arguing that the website registrant’s actions violated the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.

Dictating the Use of a Celebrity’s Likeness: Former Panamanian Strongman Manuel Noriega Ousted from Court

  Video game developer Activision Blizzard, Inc. recently won a key victory in the ongoing battle over the right of publicity when a California state court judge dismissed former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega’s well-publicized lawsuit. Noriega had alleged that his image and likeness were improperly used in the blockbuster video game “Call of Duty: Black Ops II.” Determining that the First Amendment protected Blizzard, the court dismissed Noriega’s complaint with prejudice.

Barnes & Noble Schools Former FIT Student in IP Suit, as Federal Court Finds Backpack Design Not Copyrightable

A former student of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) recently suffered a decisive blow in her lawsuit against her alma mater and Barnes & Noble, Inc. (Barnes & Noble), which is based on the latter’s use of the student’s copyrighted drawing in connection with the production of a line of backpacks.

Enforcing Design Patents: Old Navy Sued for Sandal Designs

What’s the News? On September 10, 2014, JPT Group, owner of the iconic American fashion brand Bernardo, filed suit in the Southern District of Texas alleging that Old Navy infringed two of Bernardo’s design patents for sandals. The Details Bernardo owns two design patents for the ornamental design of its sandals and alleged that Old Navy misappropriated and slavishly imitated its patented designs as shown in the following side-by-side comparison:

A Case to Study on Patent and Trade Dress Protection

* The following article was originally published in Law360. To read the article at Law360, click here.

If It Looks Like a Duck and Quacks Like a Duck, It Must be Trademark Infringement?

What’s the News? A recent case filed in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida charges A&E Television Networks, LLC (A&E), with willful trademark infringement and unfair competition stemming from merchandise for the hit reality show Duck Dynasty. The case is a cautionary (duck?) tale about the importance of clearing trademarks prior to use and a reminder about the steps companies can take to minimize their liability under intellectual property laws.

Hands Off! Pending Fight Over Abandoned Gift Cards Heats Up

What Made News? A group of merchants and restaurants, including Netflix Inc., California Pizza Kitchen Inc., and Ralph Lauren Corp., are fighting back in federal court against a Delaware lawsuit alleging that they have been withholding unclaimed gift card balances that are due to the state.

LVMH and eBay Team Up to Take On Counterfeiters

The French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton S.A. (LVMH) recently settled its long-running court battle with eBay, Inc. over the online auction website’s alleged distribution of counterfeit luxury goods. Although financial terms were not disclosed, the two companies announced that they would collaborate in implementing measures aimed at protecting intellectual property rights and preventing the sale of counterfeit goods online. “Thanks to our joint efforts, consumers will enjoy a safer digital environment globally,” the companies said in a joint statement.