• right of publicity

    The Standing of an Exclusive Trademark Licensee (or not)

    by  • July 6, 2020 • right of publicity, trademark • 1 Comment

    July 7, 2020: Updated to add footnote 2. Section 32 of the Lanham Act is for infringement of registered trademarks. The section says that the liability for infringement is to the “registrant.” That category undisputedly includes a successor-in-interest, such as an assignee. A minority of courts have also held that “registrant” encompasses an exclusive...

    Read more →

    Think of the Name

    by  • September 16, 2019 • right of publicity, trademark • 1 Comment

    In transactional work, don’t think just about what you’re getting, but also what you don’t want the target to do in the future. Three family members with the surname Traeger had a business in wood pellet grills. They sold the business to plaintiff Traeger Pellet Grills. At least one of the Traeger family later...

    Read more →

    A House’s Right of Publicity

    by  • August 19, 2010 • right of publicity, trade libel

    Photo by Julian Walker, licensed as CC-BY-ND Robinson v HSBC Bank USA is a case I characterize as a harm in search of a legal theory.  You have some sympathy for the plaintiffs, but not every wrong suffered gets you legal relief. Plaintiff Douglass Robinson owns a much-photographed house in the Haight neighborhood of...

    Read more →

    Zorro a Preview to Steamboat Willie?

    by  • March 28, 2010 • copyright, right of publicity, trademark

    There’s a somewhat puzzling complaint newly filed in the Northern District of California. Zorro Productions, Inc. (ZPI) filed an unfair competition suit against Mars, Inc., maker of M&M’s candies, and its advertising agency, BBDO Worldwide, Inc. The complaint alleges that ZPI is the owner of all rights, including without limitation, trademarks and trade dress,...

    Read more →

    Estate of Saunders v Estate of Garcia

    by  • January 2, 2009 • copyright, right of publicity

    According to the complaint, Merl Saunders and Jerry Garcia performed together as the Merl & Jerry Band. It was a partnership with equal shares. The two created Master Tapes, which were jointly owned but in the Garcia estate’s possession. Jerry Garcia’s estate released the recordings on an album (left) entitled Pure Jerry: Jerry Garcia...

    Read more →

    Who Owns Player Names and Statistics?

    by  • September 10, 2008 • right of publicity

    The NFL Players Association, through National Football League Players Inc., is a nonexclusive licensing entity for NFL players’ rights of publicity. CBS Interactive, which runs the web site CBSSports.com, did not believe that it needed a license to use player names and statistics for its fantasy football site, but, according to CBS Interactive, the...

    Read more →