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FTC Says Retailers Bamboozled Customers with Misleading “Bamboo” Products

What’s the News? The Federal Trade Commission has a reached a settlement agreement with several major retailers, including Nordstrom, Bed Bath & Beyond, and JCPenney, over claims that they improperly labeled and advertised rayon products as being made of bamboo. According to the FTC, rayon—a chemically manufactured fiber that is sometimes created from bamboo—is not the same as bamboo, making the companies’ “bamboo” claims improper. In addition to injunctive relief, the companies have agreed to pay over $1 million dollars under the settlement. 

“World of Warcraft” Creator Takes Battle to Court over Game’s Characters

What’s the News? A federal judge in the Northern District of California recently dismissed a complaint in which video game producers claimed that characters from their games had been misappropriated by competing developers, in violation of copyright law. While characters are, in some cases, entitled to copyright protection, the court held that plaintiffs in such cases must state with considerable specificity which characters were allegedly infringed, and why those characters are copyrightable.

Imitation the Sincerest Form of Flattery? Court Dismisses Video Gamer’s Right of Publicity Claim

What’s the News?  A judge in New Jersey federal district court recently dismissed a lawsuit brought against The Cartoon Network by a renowned video gamer. In particular, the plaintiff claimed in Mitchell v. The Cartoon Network, Civ. No. 15-5668 (D.N.J., November 20, 2015), that the network violated his right of publicity by depicting an animated version of him, without permission, in an episode of The Regular Show. The court, however, disagreed, holding that the network’s representation of the plaintiff was a parody entitled to First Amendment protection.

New Year, New Rules: Seven Key Things to Know about Wage and Hour Laws for 2016

Employers should be aware of several important changes to federal and New York wage and hour laws, effective December 31, 2015 and January 1, 2016. Additionally, the New York Wage and Deduction Law has been extended to November 6, 2018. Changes to federal and state laws include:

After SCOTUS Declines CDA Defamation Appeal, Yelp Gives Court 5 Star Rating

The Lead The Supreme Court gave Yelp and other interactive computer service providers reason to celebrate recently when it quietly declined to hear an appeal of a case charging Yelp with defamation in connection with one of the consumer reviews posted on the site. In refusing to hear the appeal, the Court left in place a Fourth Circuit decision that held that interactive computer service providers like Yelp cannot be held legally responsible for information created and developed by third parties.  

Defending Design: How Fashion Brands Protect Products with Trade Dress

Fresh from the runway to the front pages of the internet, fashion designs are now instantly available for anyone to examine and copy. However, designers are not without legal protection. Fortune reports that major fashion brands like Tory Burch, Belstaff, Christian Louboutin, Hermès, and Alexander McQueen are successfully utilizing trade dress and design patent laws to defend and protect their creations from pirates.

Nordstrom and Jeans Company Pay $4M to Settle “Made in USA” Claim

On Monday, November 30, 2015, Nordstrom and denim manufacturer AG Adriano Goldschmied filed a motion to approve a settlement in California federal court, agreeing to pay more than $4 million to settle a consumer class action suit that accused them of falsely labeling jeans as “Made in USA.” The settlement was agreed upon in October 2015 after over a year of intense litigation.  

Is the Price Right? Nordstrom Facing Class Action Over “Compare At” Pricing

What’s the News? A federal judge for the Southern District of California recently held in Branca v. Nordstrom, Inc. that a class action could proceed with claims that Nordstrom made deceptive savings claims at a Nordstrom Rack store. In particular, the plaintiff alleged violations of California state law, claiming that Nordstrom listed higher “Compare At” prices next to sale prices, when the items had never been offered at that higher price by Nordstrom or other retailers.  

Retailers Under Fire: Urban Outfitters Becomes Latest Chain to Settle Wage Dispute

Urban Outfitters, Inc. – the parent company of Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, and BHLDN – recently settled an overtime wage and hour class action brought by one of its employees who alleged that he and others similarly situated were forced to work overtime without appropriate pay and that the Company violated a number of other California labor laws. Berry v. Urban Outfitters Wholesale Inc., N.D. Cal., No. 4:13-cv-02628.   

District Court Gives Go-Ahead to Marilyn Monroe’s Estate on False Endorsement Claim

What’s the News? A federal judge in the Southern District of New York recently held in A.V.E.L.A., Inc. v. Estate of Marilyn Monroe, LLC that the Lanham Act protects rights in a celebrity’s image long after his or her death. Specifically, the court determined that Marilyn Monroe’s estate could proceed with a Lanham Act false endorsement claim against a vintage collectibles licensor who was creating and marketing various products featuring images of the iconic celebrity.