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In a nearly 50-page precedential opinion, a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) panel of judges recently underscored the need to prove actual use in commerce in order to register a trademark, regardless of how low the standard for use under the Lanham Act has recently become. In ruling also of great significance to the entertainment industry, the TTAB panel ordered cancellation of a registration for TAO VODKA for alcoholic beverages, excluding beer, because the registrant had not used the trademark in commerce as of the filing of its declaration of use, and the trademark was likely to cause confusion with the registered mark TAO for restaurants and nightclubs, which the TTAB held is famous. Tao Licensing LLC v. Bender Consulting d/b/a Asia Pacific Beverages, 92057132 (TTAB 2017).
By Stan Soocher
Disputes over film financing agreements are common, but there are few court decisions that address film financing dustups involving §10(b) of the federal Securities Exchange Act. Now the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida has issued a ruling that addresses the pleading requirements for alleging a §10(b) violation, in litigation between an investor and a film production company.
By Michael S. Poster
The purpose of a Weinstein clause is to provide assurance that the target company (including its officers and executives) is not a hotbed of sexual harassment or a ticking time bomb of claims waiting to explode. This article on drafting and negotiating Weinstein clauses should help entertainment and media deal teams balance these risks.
By Scott Graham
There was much harmony along with a few discordant notes as an en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit took up the copyright case involving Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.”
By Michael F. Snyder
The ownership of intellectual property rights can be at the core of legal disputes involving pop culture icons. Considering the goodwill, effort and money spent in building a brand, character or commercial impression, it is not surprising that parties to intellectual property agreements find themselves revisiting their arrangements over time. That is what is happening in two recent federal lawsuits, one in New York involving a beloved figure in Philadelphia sports and the other in California focused on the Old Spice cologne commercial jingle.