ALS Association Seeks to Trademark “Ice Bucket Challenge”

As reported by The Washington Post, the ALS Association has applied to register the terms ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE and ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE as trademarks for charitable fundraising services.  If successful, the ALS Association would have the right to prevent other charitable organizations from using the term ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE in their fundraising campaigns.  Neither the term nor the technique appears to have originated from the ALS Association, so it is unclear whether the ALS Association will be able to secure exclusive rights through trademark registration.  The real “ice bucket challenge” may be a legal one.  Read the full article here, and view the two trademark applications here and here.

“John Maino performs the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” by Rauglothgor - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

“John Maino performs the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” by Rauglothgor - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Reposted from The Washington Post.

Company Files Trademark Lawsuit to Silence Critic

CBS News reports on the efforts of a trademark owner, First Premier Bank, to use a trademark infringement lawsuit to prevent CardHub, a credit card comparison website, from negatively reviewing its credit card offerings.  Numerous publications and websites have criticized First Premier Bank for its allegedly usurious rates and unfriendly terms, and such reviews have traditionally been considered to be a non-infringing use of a trademark.  First Premier’s lawsuit thus appears unlikely to succeed, and even less likely to improve the company’s image among its detractors.  Read the full article here.

Reposted from CBS News.

Copyright Grants and the Termination Gap Dilemma

JD Supra has an informative article on the rights of copyright creators (e.g., artists and musicians) to terminate transfers of their copyrights to other parties (e.g., media companies) after thirty-five years, and the legal loophole that may prevent certain copyright creators from reclaiming their transferred rights.  Read the full article here.

Reposted from JD Supra.

Soft Rock Cafe: Between Hard Rock and a Hard Place?

World Intellectual Property Review reports that the Hard Rock Cafe multinational restaurant chain is considering legal action against a similar establishment in the U.K. called the Soft Rock Cafe on the basis of trademark infringement.  Sure couldn’t have seen that coming.  Read the full article here.

Monkeys, Selfies, and Copyrights, Part 3

As reported in the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Copyright Office has now issued a definitive statement on the question of whether copyright can be claimed in a monkey selfie under U.S. law.  Per its newly released public draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition, the Office “will register an original work of authorship, provided that the work was created by a human being.”  Citing an 1884 Supreme Court case, the Office states that it “will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants,” and specifically will not register “[a] photograph taken by a monkey,” or, for that matter, “[a] mural painted by an elephant” (although a “work inspired by a divine spirit” may still be entitled to protection).  Read the full LA Times article here, the full 1,222 page draft Compendium here (the relevant provision is at Chapter 300, Section 306), and two earlier blog posts on this subject here and here.

Reposted from the Los Angeles Times.

The Original Email Fail

The first article in the Huffington Post’s History of Email series tells the story of V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, a Newark, New Jersey boy who is credited with inventing both the first email program and the term “email” in 1978 at the age of 14.  Ayyadurai received a copyright registration for the software in 1982, which bore the prescient title “EMAIL.”  Sadly, the multi-zillion-dollar brand potential of the name EMAIL was apparently not foreseen, and trademark registration was never secured for the now generic term.  Read the full article here.


Reposted from Huffington Post.

Holy Non-Infringement, Batman!

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has an interesting article discussing last week’s 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling dismissing Fortres Grand’s trademark infringement lawsuit against Warner Bros. on the grounds that a fictional product (the “Clean Slate” software program from the movie The Dark Knight Rises) cannot infringe the trademark of a real product (Fortres Grand’s “Clean Slate” software program).  Read the full article here, and the Court’s opinion here.

Reposted from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Pro-Football Appeals Ruling Cancelling REDSKINS Trademarks

As reported by ESPN, Pro-Football, Inc. has filed a federal court appeal of the June 18, 2014 Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruling against the REDSKINS trademarks, which cancelled all six registrations on the basis of disparagement of Native Americans.  Read the full article here, and the full TTAB opinion here.


Reposted from ESPN.

Supreme Court Eviscerates Laches as an Affirmative Defense to Copyright Infringement

Good piece from JD Supra analyzing the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., et al.  The Court held that in a case of ongoing infringement, a copyright plaintiff can recover damages for recent infringements even if the suit is filed eighteen years after the infringement began.  Read the full article here, and the Court’s opinion here.

Reposted from JD Supra.