Law Practice and Profession

Abhoring a vacuum

Rebecca Tushnet’s 43(B)log writes about a recent decision in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York — “Nothing sues like an Electrolux”: If you sue a competitor for false advertising for telling people that your products infringe its IP rights, you can expect some IP counterclaims. And that’s what happened here. . . . Trade dress infringement dominated the case, which provides a nice illustration of the three principles I tell…

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Obeying Orders – Yahoo! in China

Via Instapundit, a point we blogged about a week or two ago — some detail on the other side of the argument in the Washington Post: Questioned about [its] decision [to cooperate] at a conference in China, Yahoo’s co-founder, Jerry Yang, declared, “To be doing business in China, or anywhere else in the world, we have to comply with local law.” His response, according to The Post, “drew spirited applause from many in the mostly... Read more

A Round in the Polo Match Goes to the U.S. Polo Association

The AP reports that Ralph Lauren has lost the latest battle in the ongoing tussle between his gazillion-dollar faux-upper-crust-Americana fashion brand and the actual horsey set types who seek to do the same: Ralph Lauren had charged infringement over the use of logos featuring two men playing polo on horses. But a federal jury went with the U-S Polo Association and Jordache in three of the challenges and with Ralph Lauren on a fourth. .... Read more


And once again, resistance to Eriq Gardner is futile — his piece, linked to in the tweet embedded below, tells the whole story with his characteristically lucid prose and complete grasp of the legal issues in this hot decision out of the Central District of California: Resistance is futile. Paramount v. Axanar Star Trek copyright case heads to jury; judge rejects fair use defense — Mike Madison (@profmadison) January 4, 2017 But fair use still lives here!... Read more

Back from the void

In trademarks, generic is generic is generic.  That’s what makes it generic. But there’s a difference between a would-be trademark that is born generic and one that dies of “genericide.” We call the first type generic ab initio to impress baristas.  It’s not only a would-be trademark, it’s a never-was trademark.  More precisely, it never was a trademark, and nothing anyone can do could ever make it a trademark. To use a pretty darned generic example, a chair... Read more

Trademark Modernization Act!

There we were, all locked down in our houses and not going to the INTA Annual Meeting, and there was a Trademark Modernization Act! Of 2020! Probably a very good idea, though. John Welch recommends this article by Raffi Zerounian and Justin Thiele of Hanson Bridgett, LLP, from The Trademark Lawyer magazine (Issue 2 2021) as providing “a very good summary of the provisions of the Trademark Modernization Act of 2020.” The authors conclude, quoted by John: The TMA... Read more

Little people, big lawsuits

The Washington Post reports on legal action taken by ordinary folk against Big IP Content Generating institutions for lifting and using “user-generated” content, i.e., pictures and stuff uploaded onto blogs and galleries by regular people. The corporations are doing this, evidently, in the quest for authentic authenticity. There will be spanking. This is an odd quote, though, from Lawrence Lessig: What’s noteworthy in each of these cases, Lessig says, “is that bloggers, a community typically... Read more

California Uber Alles

We’ve got an even bigger problem now: Read the complaint we filed on behalf of social media superstar DC Draino. You won’t believe your eyes, but it’s very real. Sample screen shot from the California Ministry of Election Truth: When will you start to care? UPDATE: Read more

Instapundit second-guesses the geek market

Glenn writes: It’s true that a country that pays its lawyers a lot better than its scientists and engineers is likely, over time, to have better lawyers than scientists and engineers. Of course, Glenn knows that “countries” don’t pay lawyers; clients do, and they have a wide, wide range of options in terms of pricing for legal services. And engineers are paid by their private or public employees, as well. He also knows that average... Read more

Tons of tweeting

Yes, it is measured in tons.  You never heard of guano? Anyway, here’s what the blog’s official Twitter account, @likely2confuse had to say over the last few months, along with a few topical tweets via @roncoleman: RT @TimberlakeLaw: Just this about Dumb Starbucks: Whether or not it meets the legal definition of parody, it’s a JOKE. Don’t take the bait. — Likelihood TM Blog (@likely2confuse) February 10, 2014 Co-founder liable for sending company’s social media followers... Read more

Ideological purity

Yahoo News: Chinese Communist Party chief Hu Jintao has vowed to “purify” the Internet, state media reported on Wednesday, describing a top-level meeting that discussed ways to master the countrys sprawling, unruly online population. . . . Hu, a strait-laced communist with little sympathy for cultural relaxation, did not directly mention censorship. But he made it clear that the Communist Party was looking to ensure it keeps control of China’s Internet users, often more interested... Read more

“Aereo” smiths (part two)

In part one of this post I laid out the following propositions:  (a) We operate in a common-law system, so want and expect judges to apply the law to new factual situations; (b) intellectual property law is — as the Aereo case demonstrates — the very fount of new factual situations in our time; (c) lawyers try to navigate this system on behalf of clients but often find themselves or their clients being accused of... Read more