TTAB Finds Applicant’s Effort to Register gTLD as a Trademark .SUCKS

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s “Booking.com” decision, the US Trademark Office continues to grapple with the protectability of domain names as registered trademarks.  Earlier this year, the Supreme Court held that under certain circumstances a domain name containing a generic word may be a protectible trademark, rejecting the per se rule that had […]

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Generic.com marks must be shown distinctive to be deemed registrable

Our blog entry earlier this year discussed the “Booking.com” decision, in which the US Supreme Court struck down the per se rule that a generic mark followed by .com was not registrable under any circumstances.  That blog entry cautioned that the news may not be as good as may first appear. Recent interpretation of the Booking.com […]

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Control Over Creation Is the Hallmark of Copyright Ownership in a Sound Recording

A common issue among musical artists and others involved in the recording process is identifying who owns the copyright in a sound recording that is the result of contributions from many individuals, including headline artists, instrumentalists, background singers, producers, recording engineers, and others.  Typically, such issues will be governed by contracts signed by the participants […]

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The Supreme Court Rejects Rule Barring Federal Registration of “Generic.com” Trademarks

For many years, the Trademark Office has refused registration to marks consisting of a generic word combined with a top-level domain, such as “.com,” on the grounds that the combination of two generic elements cannot create a protectable mark.  The rationale for this nearly per se rule was that such marks could not be protected […]

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Recovery of Attorneys’ Fees in Copyright Cases Remains Subject to Case-By-Case Analysis

The availability of attorneys’ fees for prevailing parties in copyright cases has been a hot issue for several years, and I have commented on recent developments on several occasions. This week, the Seventh Circuit issued an opinion making clear that the applicable analysis remains grounded in a fact-intensive, case-by-case approach.  Timothy B. O’Brien LLC v. Knott, […]

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Mistakes in Copyright Registration Cause Verdict in Fabric Case to Unravel

Accelerating a recent trend, the Ninth Circuit has held that misstatements in a copyright application may invalidate a resulting registration and jeopardize an infringement verdict based on the registration.  

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The Supreme Court Clarifies the “Government Edicts Doctrine” to Strike Down a Claim of Copyright in Annotations to Georgia Statutes

When does the law belong to the People, and when does it constitute private property?  If the law is not subject to copyright protection and is free for all to copy and use, why is that, and how wide is the scope of that doctrine?

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Federal Judge Dismisses Artists’ Suit Over 2008 Universal Studios Fire

A federal judge in California has dismissed a class action lawsuit against Universal Music Group arising from a 2008 fire that destroyed an undetermined number of master recordings from artists including Tom Petty, 2Pac, Nirvana, and others.  Most of the other artists who were originally part of the suit, including Soundgarden, Steve Earle, Tupac Shakur, […]

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Ninth Circuit Provides Copyright Win to Led Zeppelin in Important En Banc Decision

In a highly anticipated decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, reversed a prior panel opinion (Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, 905 F.3d 1116 (9th Cir. 2018)) that had held that a new trial was required in a high-profile copyright case involving “Stairway to Heaven,” one of the most […]

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Supreme Court Leaves Door Open to States’ Piracy of Copyrighted Works in Blackbeard Case

In Allen v. Cooper, No. 18-877, slip op. (U.S. March 23, 2020), the Supreme Court held that a 1990 statute permitting copyright holders to sue States for infringement was unconstitutional under the Eleventh Amendment and sovereign immunity.

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