On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., et al, No 15-866, clarifying that the Copyright Act protects applied artistic elements appearing on utilitarian objects, including apparel.
New York, NY — On September 21, the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of the United States in the matter of Star Athletica LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., in support of continuing copyright protection for designs incorporated into useful articles, including the cheerleader uniform designs at issue in the litigation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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