On the heels of Judge Swain ruling that the NBA 2K video games could depict player tattoos, Judge Daniels has issued an opinion ruling that the popular video game Call of Duty can prominently feature Humvees, without violating the trademark laws.  He concluded that including them in the game is an “integral element” of artistic expression, as opposed merely representing an attempt to piggy-back on the goodwill of Humvees (see our prior coverage here):
Continue Reading Judge Daniels: Video Game “Call of Duty” Is Allowed to Feature Humvees

In a complaint Tuesday, the Girl Scouts sued the Boy Scouts for trademark infringement and unfair competition, arising from the Boy Scouts’ recent decision to include girls, and to use gender-neutral terms like “scout,” that will allegedly confuse the public.  From the complaint’s introduction:
Continue Reading Girls Scouts: Boy Scouts’ New Inclusion of Girls, and Use of Gender Neutral Term “Scouts,” Violates Trademark Laws

Last week, Judge Daniels granted in large part a summary judgment motion that Characters For Hire, a company that provides costumed characters for children’s events, had filed in response to trademark, unfair competition and and similar claims.  According to the plaintiffs (Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm), Characters for Hire’s costumes, including ones named “Frozen Themed,” “Avenging Team,” and “Star Battles,” are strikingly similar to well-known characters from the plaintiffs’ Frozen, Avengers, and Star Wars franchises.

Judge Daniels rejected the plaintiffs’ claims of consumer confusion, noting that whether children believed the generic characters were the same as the more famous Disney versions was irrelevant:
Continue Reading Judge Daniels Narrows Trademark Case Against Company Offering “Frozen Themed” Costumed Characters for Children’s Parties

In an Order Friday in a case in which an Italian fashion company accuses Ivanka Trump’s fashion label of creating copycat shoes (see our coverage of the complaint here), Judge Forrest ordered Ms. Trump to appear for a two-hour deposition, notwithstanding her claims to have had no personal involvement in the underlying issues:
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Last week, iconic Brooklyn steakhouse Peter Luger filed an action against a similarly-named rival.  The defendant, Carl von Luger, operates a steakhouse in Scranton, Pennsylvania, with plans to expand to Florida.  Peter Luger, in business since 1887, claims that the defendant attempted to create a false association between the steakhouse brands.  The complaint includes claims

In an opinion today, Judge Oetken clarified a preliminary injunction granted to the maker of a product called “My Cinema Lightbox,” a backlit sign similar to old-fashioned movie theater displays (see image below), against a similar product called “My Marquee Lightbox.”   After winning its motion for a preliminary injunction, the plaintiff  began instructing retailers that they could no longer sell “My Marquee Lightbox.”  Judge Oetken clarified that the Order did not permit the plaintiff to do so:
Continue Reading Judge Oetken: Preliminary Injunction Winner in Trademark Case Cannot Direct Third Party Retailers to Stop Selling the Accused Product

This week, the Second Circuit affirmed Judge Crotty’s grant of summary judgment dismissing trademark claims against Oprah Winfrey over use of the phrase “Own Your Power” (see our previous coverage here).  The Second Circuit agreed with Judge Crotty that use of the phrase “Own Your Power” was fair use and did not infringe on the name of the plaintiff’s motivational speaking business, Own Your Power Communications, Inc.  This decision was based on the panel’s finding that the plaintiff’s “mark” was merely a descriptive phrase:
Continue Reading Second Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment in Trademark Case Against Oprah

Today, Judge Castel dismissed RICO claims brought against Alibaba Group Holding by a group of luxury goods makers including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.  The complaint accused Alibaba of providing services and a market platform to merchants that Alibaba should have known were selling counterfeit goods.

Judge Castel specifically considered the plaintiffs’ claims that Alibaba’s online marketplace and the merchants that used it constituted a criminal enterprise under RICO.  Judge Castel rejected this argument, holding that lack the coordination necessary to create a RICO enterprise:
Continue Reading Judge Castel Dismisses RICO Claims in Case Over Alibaba Selling Counterfeit Goods