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The Eastern District of Michigan is host to the latest in a series of lawsuits brought all across the country involving an intellectual property dispute between a high-profile brand owner and street artists whose work is featured without compensation in an advertisement campaign by that brand owner. See, e.g., Mercedes Benz USA LLC v. Bombardier, Docket No. 2:19-cv-10951 (E.D. Mich. Mar 29, 2019); Mercedes Benz USA LLC v. Soto et al, Docket No. 2:19-cv-10949 (E.D. Mich. Mar 29, 2019); Mercedes Benz USA LLC v. Lewis, Docket No. 2:19-cv-10948 (E.D. Mich. Mar 29, 2019). On March 29, 2019, Mercedes Benz (Mercedes) brought three declaratory judgment actions against the artists Daniel Bombardier, Maxx Gramajo, James “Dabls” Lewis, and Jeff Soto. In each action, Mercedes is seeking a declaration of non-infringement, fair use, exemption under the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act (AWCPA), and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for its use of the artists’ work. In turn, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss and a further response on May 15, 2019.
By Peter Kidd
Iancu v. Brunetti
The Supreme Court held the bar against registration of immoral or scandalous marks “collided” with well-established free speech doctrine, namely, that laws disadvantaging speech based on the views expressed thereby violate the First Amendment.
By Charles A. Cartagena-Ortiz
The U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Mission Product Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology , ruling that a trademark licensee can retain its rights under a trademark license agreement that is rejected by the licensor as an executory contract in bankruptcy.
By Karen Hoffman Lent and Kenneth Schwartz
The DOJ’s intervention, and the judge’s ultimate decision, has exposed tensions between the DOJ and FTC, and within the FTC itself, and public scrutiny is far from over as the case heads to the Ninth Circuit on appeal.
By Nicole D. Galli
In the last five years, the courts have instead began wading into policy setting without the tools and resources to fully consider all the issues and various interests. Thus, the recent congressional efforts to consider these questions is welcome and, frankly, overdue.