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  • Posts by Brian Chellgren, Ph.D.
    Partner

    Brian is an attorney in the firm's Lexington office, a member of the firm's Business Services Department, and Chair of the Intellectual Property Practice Group. A registered patent attorney with degrees in molecular biology (B.S ...

The Supreme Court’s October 2018 term is right around the corner, and one case will have a very practical impact on prospective copyright litigation.  In the Court’s only copyright case this term, Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com will settle the question of whether a plaintiff must have a valid copyright registration before filing an infringement suit or, instead, can merely have an application pending with the U.S. Copyright Office.

This summer has been filled with legal changes that significantly impact businesses that sell online. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 will impact the way businesses collect, store, and sell customers’ private information, and the recent case of South Dakota v. Wayfair will change the way online retailers handle sales tax.

The U.S. Copyright Office replaced its paper-based system for designating agents for receipt of claims of copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) with a new electronic system.  As part of this process, website operators and other online service providers must designate agents under the new electronic system by December 31, 2017, or risk losing protection under the DMCA.

A federal court in California recently rejected a motion by the San Diego Comic Convention and will hear whether the mark COMIC-CON is generic. 

Background

The San Diego Comic Convention (“SDCC”), a non-profit corporation, has been celebrating comic art, books, and other aspects of popular culture in San Diego since 1970.  The organization’s eponymous “Comic-Con” convention has grown in popularity with attendance exceeding over 135,000 attendees in 2016.   SDCC applied for and obtained a federal trademark registration for the mark COMIC-CON in connection with “education and entertainment services, namely, organizing and conducting conventions in the fields of animation, comic books and popular art.”  However, while SDCC may be the largest gathering of comic fans, it is not the first and certainly not the only entity using the phrase “Comic Con.”

A federal court in New York recently ruled that Costco Wholesale Corp. (“Costco”) owes Tiffany & Co. approximately $19.4 million dollars for selling diamond rings falsely advertised as “Tiffany” rings.

Cosplay is a performance art in which participants wear, and often create, costumes representing characters from comic books, cartoons, games, television shows, movies or other media. The word “cosplay” is a contraction of the words “costume play.” A clarification of copyright law could potentially create obstacles to cosplay, depending on an upcoming decision of the Supreme Court in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc. et al. 

A federal court in Texas recently ruled that the structure and game play of a card game are not protected by copyright law in DaVinci Editrice S.r.l vs. Ziko Games, LLC et al. 

Emojis are small symbols, often smiley faces, used in electronic messages and web pages. Emojis are distinguished from emoticons, which are pictorial representations made using punctuation marks, numbers and letters, such as :) or :-(.   

Posted in General

I am a member of the Leadership Lexington Class of 2015-16, a leadership development program based in Lexington, Kentucky. Each year, participants are asked to design and submit ideas for community service or charitable projects. The class members then vote on the projects they feel are most worthy, and the top four selected projects move forward for implementation during the course of the year. For each of the four chosen, the project’s original designer serves as head of their venture and is given a team made up of other members of the class to assist.

A recent decision of the Supreme Court creates broader effect for decisions of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”), suggesting that parties may expend greater effort and expense in opposition and cancellation actions before the TTAB.

The TTAB, part of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, provides an administrative venue for resolving disputes regarding the ...

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