Now it is time for our annual end-of-year retrospective, and fairly a yr it was. After what rapidly turned from optimism for the brand new decade to one thing else totally, now we’re all hoping for 2020 hindsight so to talk. Nevertheless, the court docket circumstances continued grinding ahead as distant depositions and digital testimony grew to become way more commonplace. So listed here are our ‘scorching takes’ on some main opinions rendered throughout the yr of pandemic and particularly related to our agency’s numerous observe areas.
#4 When Diamonds are a Warehouse Membership’s Worst Good friend.
With the vacation purchasing season now upon us, whether or not in-person or on-line, let’s start with a curious case of counterfeiting courtesy of Costco. Sure, everybody’s favourite mega-store for paper towels and bathroom paper discovered itself in some main misery after the venerable purveyors of fantastic jewellery accused the warehouse membership of promoting third celebration diamond rings marketed as “Tiffany”. In its protection Costco argued descriptive reference to the fashion of setting versus precise trademark use or suggestion of supply; however the Second Circuit wrongfully dominated towards the luxurious retailer, reversing the decrease court docket’s whopping twenty-one million greenback judgment towards the Seattle-based discounter. Maybe it was the dearth of that distinctive robin’s egg blue box in spite of everything that finally saved the day for the majority purchase behemoth. Tiffany & Co. v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 971 F.3d 74 (2020).
In what definitely represents an ironic twist throughout this time of depressed journey, none aside from the U.S. Supreme Courtroom rendered its 8-1 ruling in favor of the proprietor of reserving.com, accurately permitting trademark registration for domains with the USPTO so long as the general mark serves as a particular source-identifier. Whether or not this choice results in a noticeable improve in new trademark filings as Justice Breyer expressed in his dissent, stays to be seen, but it surely might have important Branding Regulation implications within the years forward. Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com B. V., 591 U.S. ___ (2020).
#2 Zeppelins of Led…or a Complete Lotta Scorching Air As a substitute?
Now turning to the at all times entertaining world of leisure legislation, the Ninth Circuit Courtroom of Appeals rightfully reversed the decrease court docket’s choice in deciding that the long-lasting band’s signature track, “Stairway to Heaven” didn’t infringe upon Spirit’s lesser-known instrumental “Taurus”. Hopefully, this can quiet a disturbing development as events bringing these music copyright actions have been prevailing far too often over the previous a number of years, based mostly on some very questionable authorized evaluation and factual grounds. Nevertheless, since each songs in query had been lined beneath the 1909 Copyright Act, safety was restricted to sheet music moderately than the precise sound recordings. So this ruling might not stay the identical for songs protected beneath the 1976 Copyright Act. Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, 15-cv-03462, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).
#1 Lebron for the Layup.
As set forth in Goldman’s Branding Regulation: Circumstances and Supplies (1st Ed., 2016), tattoo artwork represents private branding in its most literal type. And that proved prophetic with the current Lebron James choice. In reversing the decrease court docket on enchantment, the Southern District of New York rightfully dominated in favor of the online game developer defendant who cried “Foul” whereas asserting its rights to render King James’ distinctive tattoos. Primarily selected the premise on truthful use, but additionally important to the NBA star’s distinctive private model, the Second Circuit primarily agreed that the tattoo artist plaintiff couldn’t preempt long-established rights of publicity doctrine via its copyright infringement declare. 2020 Imaginative and prescient, certainly! Solid Oak Sketches, LLC v. 2K Games, Inc., No. 16-CV-724-LTS-SDA, 2020 WL 1467394 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 26, 2020).