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Recently, a lawsuit was filed by Solid Oak Sketches, LLC (“Plaintiff”) against various companies responsible for creating the “NBA 2K” video game.[1] The Complaint alleges that the Defendants are liable for copyright infringement over the use of tattoos of professional basketball players in Defendants’ “NBA 2K16” video game.[2] The dispute is over tattoos done by artists on various professional basketball players, such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and DeAndre Jordan.[3]  Plaintiff alleges that it is the owner of the copyrights in such tattoo designs as a result of license agreements with the individual artists. Read more

Recently, the Defend Trade Secrets Act was passed by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. The Defend Trade Secrets Act is headed by U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch and Chris Coons, who issued a press release stating their case for the bill.[1] The Defend Trade Secrets Act attempts to create a federal cause of action for misappropriation of trade secrets.[2] Currently, trade secret law is governed by state law and is subject to the various differing standards within each state. Having a federal standard would provide clarity, but the passing of a federal law may create concerns about whether the current state laws will be preempted by the proposed federal law. The Economic Espionage Act of... Read more

On January 15, 2016, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case which requests that the Supreme Court determine the proper standard for attorneys’ fees awards in copyright cases.[1] The party requesting review by the Supreme Court, Kirstsaneg (“Petitioner”) prevailed against Respondent, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (“Respondent”), who had sued the Petitioner for copyright infringement as a result of allegations that the Petitioner had purchased Respondent’s textbooks and then resold them without authorization.[2] Petitioner prevailed under the “first sale” doctrine which was found to be a complete defense to Respondent’s claims.[3] Having... Read more

Recently, Home Box Office, Inc. (“HBO”), Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg were sued for copyright infringement over the HBO show “Ballers.”[1] The lawsuit was brought by two writers who allege that the show “Ballers” copies elements from their trailer and treatment entitled “Off Season,” for which the Plaintiffs have submitted copyright applications.[2] The Plaintiffs allege that they pitched their “Off Season” movie to one or more of the Defendants prior to the airing of the show “Ballers.”[3] Plaintiffs also allege that Defendants were interested in producing “Off Season” but a deal was not able to get done since one or more of... Read more

Recently, a lawsuit that was filed against various entities and persons related to the professional ice hockey team, the Orlando Solar Bears, was dismissed.[1] The lawsuit was originally brought in the Western District of New York but was then moved to the Middle District of Florida.[2] The Plaintiff’s complaint alleged causes of action for trademark infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution, and copyright infringement.[3] The Orlando Solar Bears are a professional ice hockey team in the East Coast Hockey League, which operates as one of the developmental/minor leagues for the National Hockey League (“NHL”). The ECHL is a tier below the... Read more

Recently, Actor/Musician Jared Leto, through his company Sisyphus Touring, Inc., filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against celebrity gossip/entertainment news company TMZ.[1] The Plaintiff alleges in the Complaint that TMZ used video footage of Jared Leto in his home music studio, in which Mr. Leto allegedly critiqued various Taylor Swift songs and otherwise uses profanity.[2] The Complaint alleges that the Plaintiff has filed an application to copyright the video footage and that TMZ obtained the footage without Plaintiff’s consent or authorization.[3] Plaintiff alleges the Defendants obtained the video footage from a former videographer hired by... Read more

Recently, E. & J. Gallo Winery (“Gallo”) opposed the registration of a trademark application filed by Conscious Cultures LLC (“CC”) for the term BAREFOOT BUCHA.[1] CC applied for registration of the mark BAREFOOT BUCHA for use in connection with Kombucha Tea.[2] According to CC’s website, Kombucha Tea is a “naturally carbonated, fermented tea that originated in Eurasia” which is usually drank after a meal and provides digestive benefits.[3] The Kombucha Tea provided by CC does not contain alcohol.[4] In its opposition Gallo alleges that it is the owner of the family of trademarks for the term... Read more

We previously wrote a blog entry on whether copyright protection could be obtained for a “Selfie”. A novel question of copyright law was raised in that blog entry regarding the ability of an Indonesian crested macaque, a type of monkey, to obtain copyright protection in photographs taken by the macaque. Earlier this year a lawsuit was filed by People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. (“PETA”), on behalf of the macaque, seeking copyright protection for the photographs.[1] In 2011, the macaque took several photographs of itself with a camera left unattended by photographer and defendant, David John... Read more

Recently, the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) denied an opposition, by Boston Athletic Association (“BAA”), to the registration of the mark MARATHON MONDAY by Velocity, LLC (“Velocity”).[1] Velocity filed an application for the mark MARATHON MONDAY for use in connection with “clothing, namely tops, bottoms, headwear, sweatshirts, sweat pants, jackets, pullovers, caps, hats, socks.”[2] Velocity’s application was opposed by BAA, which is the entity responsible for organizing the annual Boston Marathon. BAA objected to registration of the mark MARATHON MONDAY because it created a false association with BAA. Read more

Recently, the creator of the “HONEY BADGER DON’T CARE” YouTube video filed a lawsuit against Kohl’s Department Stores alleging various federal trademark and copyright claims.[1] The Plaintiff published a YouTube video on January 18, 2011 which consisted of his comedic narration describing the traits of a honey badger.[2] The video became popular generating more than 75 million views on YouTube.[3] The Plaintiff subsequently obtained a copyright for the narration of the video and trademarks for the phrase “HONEY BADGER DON’T CARE,” which was repeated often by the Plaintiff throughout the YouTube video.[4]... Read more

Recently, the Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases which involve questions regarding the proper standards for willful patent infringement and the enhancement of damages for infringement.[1] The Patent Act provides that damages in a patent infringement lawsuit may be enhanced where there is clear and convincing evidence that the infringement was willful.[2] Willful infringement may be found where: 1) there was an objectively high likelihood that the infringer’s actions constituted infringement, and 2) this likelihood was either known or so obvious that it should have been known to the accused infringer.[3] Further, “[o]bjective recklessness will not be... Read more

Recently, musician and entrepreneur William Adams, a/k/a will.i.am, who was a member of the musical group Black Eye Peas, was denied a trademark registration for the term “I AM”.[1] I.am.symbolic, LLC, a company affiliated with will.i.am, filed the trademark application for “I AM” for use in connection with various goods, including without limitation cosmetics, makeup remover, massage oils, sunscreen, toothpaste and mouthwash.[2] The trademark application states that these goods are “all associated with Willliam Adams, professionally known as will.i.am.”[3] The trademark examiner rejected the application due to likelihood of confusion with a... Read more

Recently, musicians and entrepreneurs Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Rihanna, filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against French based fashion company ELEVENPARIS for various claims relating to right of publicity violations, unfair competition, and trademark infringement.[1] The lawsuit results from ELEVENPARIS’ alleged unauthorized use of the Plaintiffs’ names, images, likeness and trademarks on various clothing products, “including but not limited to, t-shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts, hats, backpacks and cell phone cases.”[2] For example some of the t-shirts use the slogan “Kanye is My Home” or “Pharrell is My Brotha” or lyrics of famous... Read more

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently decided a significant case regarding whether college student-athletes should receive monetary compensation. In O’Bannon v. National Collegiate Athletic Ass’n,[1] a group of current and former college football and basketball players brought a class action lawsuit alleging anti-trust law violations against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”). The dispute primarily focused on the NCAA’s compensation rules which prevent college student-athletes from receiving monetary compensation for the use of a player’s name, images and likeness, such as in video game depictions of college student-athletes. Read more

Recently the Central District Court of California ruled that no copyright protection exists for the popular “Happy Birthday To You” song after several decades of dispute.[1] Marya, involved a class action suit against Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. (“Warner/Chappell”) seeking to invalidate Warner/Chappell’s alleged copyright in the “Happy Birthday To You” song.[2] Warner/Chappell alleged that it owned a copyright for the lyrics of the “Happy Birthday To You” song.[3] Neither party disputed that the melody of the “Happy Birthday To You” song had entered the public domain, thus, the main dispute revolved around a copyright in the... Read more

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a significant ruling this week in the Copyright law realm. In Lenz v. Universal Music Corp.[1], the Ninth Circuit found that a copyright holder who intends to send a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) takedown notice must first consider whether the potentially infringing material may be considered fair use. The DMCA provides procedures for a copyright holder to request that infringing material be removed from online sources.[2] Under the DMCA, a copyright holder can submit what is called a takedown notice to a service provider, such as YouTube or Google,... Read more

Santucci Priore, P.L. client, Ernest Evans is a legendary musical entertainer known by his stage name "Chubby Checker." CHUBBY CHECKER – The Man – The Entertainer –The Pop Culture Legend Early Years – Origins of the State Name “Chubby Checker” Ernest Evans, p/k/a “Chubby Checker” was born in Spring Gulley, South Carolina and was raised in South Philadelphia where he would sing songs on street corners.  While entertaining his boss “Tony A” with his songs while working in the poultry section of an Italian market, Mr. “A” coined him “Chubby,” a stage name he immediately adopted with courage and pride.  The idea to add “checker” to his original nickname, was inspired by Dick Clark’s wife during a... Read more

Recently, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York found Costco liable for several trademark related claims brought by Tiffany & Co.[1] The dispute centered around Tiffany’s allegations that Costco sold diamond engagement rings bearing the Tiffany name and trademark in Costco stores.[2] The Court found that Costco had infringed upon Tiffany’s trademarks and otherwise engaged in trademark counterfeiting.[3] The Court supported its holding by finding that the evidence showed that Costco placed signs adjacent to the rings using the Tiffany name when in fact the rings were not manufactured by Tiffany. Read more

Unlike some of the neutral and unbiased articles published on this blog, this article is purely my opinion.  Florida’s new Patent Troll Prevention Act, Florida Statutes §§ 501.991-997, will be a disaster.  Similar to the “tort reform” trend of the prior decade, this Act is another overcompensation by the Florida Legislature to accommodate accused wrongdoers with large lobbying budgets who are in need of far less protection than other segments of the public and business community. Problematic Provisions of the Act The Act states that it prohibits plaintiffs from making “a bad faith assertion of patent infringement.” § 501.993, Fla. Stat.  The Act creates a private right of action for violations, entitling... Read more

Recently the United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Tenth Circuit found that a Colorado marijuana business owner could not be awarded bankruptcy relief. The Court noted that even though Colorado has legalized the acts of “[p]ossessing, growing, and dispensing marijuana” these acts are still federal criminal offenses. Thus, it was determined that the debtors could not receive any bankruptcy relief under Chapter 7 because administrating the debtors bankruptcy estate would involve the bankruptcy trustee in administering and/or distributing funds derived from activities that violate federal law. The Court also noted that the debtors could not convert the bankruptcy to a Chapter 13 because they could not propose a feasible Chapter 13 repayment plan without... Read more

Is an original trademark abandoned if a subsequent modified version of the mark creates the same, continuous commercial impression?  In a case of first impression, the Federal Circuit answered in a resounding no.  Jack Wolfskin Ausrustung Fur Draussen GmbH & Co. KGAA v. New Millennium Sports, S.L.U., 2015 WL 4934553, at *3 (Fed. Cir. 2015).  When Jack Wolfskin applied to register a nonhuman paw print as its mark for a variety of products, New Millennium Sports opposed, arguing that there would be likelihood of confusion.  Id. at *1.  New Millennium Sport’s already registered mark featured the word KELME with an adjacent paw print.  Id. Jack Wolfskin’s counter was to argue 1) that there... Read more

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently ruled that designs on cheerleading uniforms are eligible for copyright protection.[1] Varsity Brands, Inc. involved a dispute between two cheerleading apparel and accessory companies regarding whether graphic designs that appear on cheerleading uniforms and warm-ups are subject to copyright protection.[2] The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant sold cheerleading uniforms that were substantially similar to the cheerleading uniforms sold by the Plaintiff and sued for copyright infringement, among other claims.[3] The Defendant argued that the copyright registrations relied upon by... Read more

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued an official statement about the enforcement principles for policing “Unfair Methods of Competition.” 15 U.S.C. §45(a)(1) declares “unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce” to be unlawful. The FTC’s statement was the first of its kind on the subject from the FTC and was largely a result of the fact that Congress did not specifically define what constitutes “Unfair Methods of Competition.” The statement attempts to establish guidelines for the FTC’s exercise of authority under 15 U.S.C. §45(a)(1) and states that: -the Commission will be guided by the public policy underlying the antitrust laws, namely, the promotion of consumer welfare; -the act or... Read more

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently made an important ruling regarding the territorial limits of damages in a patent infringement lawsuit in Carnegie Mellon University v. Marvell Technology Group, Ltd., etc.[1] In this case Carnegie Mellon successfully obtained a jury verdict against Marvell for patent infringement of two patents related to hard-disk drives.[2] The jury awarded Carnegie Mellon approximately $1.17 billion as a reasonable royalty based upon a rate of 50 cents for each “of semiconductor chips sold by Marvell for use in hard-disk drives,” among other damages.[3] The Federal Circuit affirmed the... Read more

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently ruled that the Ray Charles Charitable Foundation can proceed with copyright claims it has asserted against the adult children of the late musical great Ray Charles.[1] The Ray Charles Foundation is a non-profit corporation which provides “research and scholarship grants for the benefit of the deaf, blind, and underprivileged youths.”[2] The Foundation is the sole beneficiary of Ray Charles’ estate and relies upon royalties from Ray Charles’ copyrighted work to operate.[3] The Foundation sued seven of Ray Charles’ twelve adult children for allegedly breaching an agreement, made... Read more

Recently, the United States Copyright Office issued a report regarding proposed changes to the Copyright Act in relation to Orphan Works and Mass Digitization.[1] The term Orphan Works refers to works where the copyright owner cannot be identified or located. One of the main problems with Orphan Works is that it prevents a potential user of the work from seeking permission to use the work because it is unclear who to contact. This subjects a user of an Orphan Work to the risk that the previously unknown copyright owner will surface after the use has occurred and file a lawsuit for monetary damages against the user. The main proposed change to the Copyright Act is to introduce a limitation on user liability for those users who... Read more

The legal term Laches is often used to describe a potential defense that a person being sued can assert. Laches encompasses the situation where a Plaintiff has delayed in bringing a lawsuit for an unreasonably long period of time. In some cases Laches can be a complete bar to a lawsuit if the delay is significant enough. In cases involving intellectual property, such as patents, copyrights and trademarks, courts will usually look to see if there is an applicable statute of limitations to determine how long is too long for a Plaintiff to wait to sue. Although patents, copyrights and trademarks are considered to be under the umbrella of intellectual property, the law varies. In the context of trademark law, Laches is an available defense which has the potential to... Read more

In 1996, an amateur artist named Frederick Bouchat designed a logo for the Baltimore Ravens that the club later adopted as a team symbol without his awareness.  The infringing symbol then appeared on Ravens merchandise sold at home football games. After winning on copyright liability in the District Court of Maryland, Bouchat pressed for disgorgement of defendant profits, which is an allowable financial remedy under the Copyright Act. Bouchat got nothing.  The District Court ruled in 2002 that the transacted merchandise payments were based on contracts signed before the actual logo was chosen.[1]  In the District Court’s view, there was no demonstrable causal connection between the later... Read more

In March of this year, a California jury awarded $7.36 million in damages to Marvin Gaye’s family, finding that Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke, and Clifford Harris, Jr.’s[1] hit song “Blurred Lines” infringed on the Marvin Gaye classic song “Got to Give It Up.” Recently, the Judge in this case made rulings on several post-trial motions.[2] Some of the most significant rulings are that a request for a new trial was denied and that the Judge reduced the jury verdict from $7.36 million to $5.3 million.[3] Also, the Judge found that T.I. was liable, reversing the jury verdict that he was not due to errors in the jury instructions. Read more

On July 8, 2015, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia upheld the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s previous ruling to cancel trademark registrations for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League finding that the trademarks are disparaging to Native Americans. See, Pro-Football, Inc. v. Blackhorse, et. al., No. 14-cv-01043-GBL-IDD, 2015 WL 4096277 at *5-6 (E.D. Va. July 8, 2015). Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), trademarks that “may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, . . . or bring them into contempt, or disrepute” are ineligible for registration. The Redskins trademarks have been opposed for several years by Native American activists under the belief that the name is... Read more

Michael I. Santucci has been selected to the 2015 Florida Super Lawyers list for Intellectual Property. No more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city... Read more

In Kimble, et. al. v. Marvel Entertainment, LLC[1], the Supreme Court upheld previous precedent[2] which created a bright line rule preventing patent owners from obtaining royalties from sales made after the patent term has expired. The dispute in this case resolved around an agreement between Marvel and Stephen Kimble for the sale of Mr. Kimble’s patent on a toy that allows a person to shot webs (i.e., pressurized foam string) “from the palm of [the] hand” similar to comic-book hero Spider-Man.[3] Pursuant to the agreement Mr. Kimble was to receive a 3% royalty on future sales from Marvel... Read more

Recently the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio addressed the question of whether a copyright can protect food recipes. Tomaydo-Tomahhdo, LLC, et. al. v. Vozary, et. al[1], involved a dispute between former business partners in the restaurant business. The Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendants opened up a competing restaurant and were copying Plaintiffs’ recipes and serving the same dishes and menu as Plaintiffs’ restaurant in violation of the federal Copyright act, among other claims.[2] The Plaintiffs also wrote a recipe book containing the subject recipes and sought copyright protection for the book. Read more

With the expanding international scope of business today, business owners need to be aware of ways to ensure that their brand and goodwill is protected internationally. Protection of trademarks is considered territorial, which means that protection over a trademark in one country usually does not provide protection in other countries. For example, a trademark registration in the United States will only provide protection against infringing uses in the United States, but not in Europe or China. To be protected in foreign countries such as those in Europe and in China, registrations must be acquired in those jurisdictions. So is international trademark protection worth the cost? Just ask basketball legend Michael Jordan, who is currently involved in a trademark... Read more

The United States Supreme Court recently decided an important issue regarding Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings. The bankruptcy code provides different types of bankruptcy cases that can be filed by individuals or entities. Two of the most prominent types of bankruptcy for consumers are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. The primary purpose of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to liquidate a debtor’s debts in order to obtain a fresh start. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a longer process which allows a debtor to pay creditors pursuant to a court ordered payment plan which typically lasts either three to five years. Many consumers who own real property subject to a mortgage lien that is upside down, i.e., the mortgage debt is greater than the current market value of the home, utilize the... Read more

The late Arthur Conan Doyle is the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories and characters. His estate recently sued several movie production companies, including Miramax, of the movie “Mr. Holmes” and the writer of the book that it was based upon, “A Slight Trick of the Mind,” for copyright and trademark infringement. “Mr. Holmes” is set to be released later this summer and features Sherlock Holmes during the later portions of his life and retirement. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico under case number 15-cv-432. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has previously ruled that many of the copyrights in the Sherlock Holmes characters and/or stories have expired. See, Klinger v. Conan Doyle... Read more

Recently, the youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner applied to trademark their first names with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Kylie Jenner applied to trademark her full name for goods such as hand bags, wallets, cosmetic bags, backpacks, and just “Kylie” for advertising services, entertainment services, endorsement services, personal appearance by a celebrity and the like. Kendall Jenner applied to trademark her name on clothing items, hair accessories, and other fashion items. After this made news last week, the question I received was “how can they trademark their first names? Is that possible?” Using a personal name as a trademark is tricky, but some of the most common trademarks today, think... Read more

Deciding to go to court over a trademark dispute is intimidating enough, and then your attorney tells you that you have three different avenues in which to bring your lawsuit. Or, if you find yourself on the other side of this situation, now being forced to litigate before a Board you’ve never heard of, it can be just as frustrating. This article will attempt to flesh out the pros and cons of various litigation options when faced with a trademark dispute – the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), federal court and state court. Starting with the TTAB, the TTAB is a governing body within the broader United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Per the USPTO website, the TTAB functions like a court for USPTO matters. The TTAB determines a person’s... Read more

New Net Neutrality rules were approved by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) on February 26, 2015. On April 13, 2015, the rules were published on the Federal Register (see https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/13/2015-07841/protecting-and-promoting-the-open-internet#h-147). The new rules currently have an effective date of June 12, 2015. The new rules prohibit broadband and mobile carriers from making efforts to slow Internet traffic or block specific web sites. Paid prioritization, or commercial deals between Internet service providers and content companies for preferential treatment, is also banned. Broadband Internet access has been reclassified as a public utility or common carrier, which is likely to increase regulation on the... Read more

We live in a very litigious society. Each year more and more patent infringement suits are filed. Some say that the over use or abuse of filing patent lawsuits clogs patent process. There are entities that profit from the threat of infringement litigation. Patent trolls are entities or individuals that buy certain patents only to pressure those accused of infringement into settling out of court for fear of tremendous litigation costs[1]. A child of capitalism, patent trolls, do what they can to squeeze every cent out of acquired patents through licensing and assignments. In 2014, MIT professor Catherine Tucker, released finding that patent trolls actually negatively affect innovation. The litigation produced by patent trolls... Read more

This entry is an update on a previous blog entry (link to December 5, 2014 entry called “Trademark Case All Trademark Attorneys and Litigants Need to Watch”) regarding the United States Supreme Court’s pending decision in the case entitled B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., et. al.  Recently the Supreme Court announced its ruling in this case. The main issue in this case is whether a finding regarding “likelihood of confusion” entered by the United States Patent and Trademark’s Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) can preclude subsequent decisions on the same issue by United States district courts. The answer is yes. Specifically, the Supreme Court found that “[s]o long as the other ordinary elements of... Read more

Congratulations to Louis Carney, entry number 2236, who just won two 3-day passes to Ultra Music Festival in Miami!  The winner was randomly chosen by a third party vendor to ensure the integrity of the sweepstakes.  Mr. Carney is not affiliated with the law firm of Santucci Priore, P.L., Save the Twinz: Live Pink! or Ultra Music Festival. The Ultra Music Festival in Miami is one of the largest electronic dance music events in the United States and, at times, has been the largest.  Recently, it was the largest music event (all genres) in the entire country with its historical event... Read more

After deliberating for two days, a California jury awarded $7.36 million in damages to Marvin Gaye's family, finding that the best selling song of 2013, "Blurred Lines" infringed on the Marvin Gaye classic "Got to Give It Up." The lawsuit stems from a 2013 preemptive suit from Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke, who sought a declaratory judgment that their song did not infringe on the Gaye chart topper. Gaye's children, who inherited the copyright from their father countersued, and included the record company Universal Music Group and Clifford Harris Jr. (professionally known as T.I.). The week long trial featured testimony from both Pharrell and Robin Thicke. Pharrell testified that he was inspired by music from that time but that the song was completely... Read more

A common question in trademark law is what constitutes “use” in commerce of a service mark. The answer is often complicated and fact driven. This week the Federal Circuit clarified the question in its ruling in David Couture v. Playdom, Inc. On May 30, 2008, Couture filed an application to register the mark PLAYDOM for entertainment services, under Section 1(a) of the Trademark Act. A Section 1(a) registration requires that a mark be “used in commerce”. A mark is used in commerce “on services when [1] it is used or displayed in the sale or advertising of services and [2] the services are rendered in commerce, or the services are rendered in more than one... Read more

The 87th Academy Awards are this Sunday, officially wrapping up award season for 2015. Neil Patrick Harris will host this year’s show, and hopefully deliver the same type of enthusiasm and enjoyment from his previous hosting gigs at the 2013 Emmys and Tonys. Red carpet coverage starts at 7:00pm and show time is  8:30 p.m. ETon ABC. If you want seven hours of pre-Oscar festivities, E! Network will start its Countdown to the Red Carpet at 1:30 p.m. For full list of nominees, a print off ballot and the winners, visit Oscars.org, the official site of the Academy of Motion... Read more

By: Justin Maya Even before the United States was formed, businesses already recognized the importance of brands in everyday life.  Today, this is especially true in the Internet and smartphone world where its 3 Billion users worldwide can shop through electronic commerce (“e-commerce”) markets like eBay.com, Amazon.com, Craigslist.com, along with many others.[1]  Indeed, reputations for quality provide strong preferences for consumers when they select which product will function best or which fashion catches the most attention.[2]  With over eighty percent of Americans using the Internet daily,[3] it comes with little surprise the World... Read more

The 57th Annual Grammy Awards will be held on February 8, 2015, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Who will win this year’s most coveted awards? Find out our picks below: Album of the Year: Nominees: Beck – Morning Phase Beyoncé – Beyoncé Ed Sheeran– X Pharrell– GIRL Sam Smith– In The Lonely Hour Winner: Beyoncé – Beyoncé. Beyoncé's self-titled fifth album was released without warning in December 2013 and changed the industry. She has never won this award, although has been nominated in the past. Sam Smith may prove to be Beyoncé's biggest competition in this category and could easily take... Read more

On February 14, 2015, the Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds will host the 22nd Annual Nine Mile Music Festival. The event is operated by Richard Booker, Bob Marley’s brother, who is a client of Santucci Priore, P.L., and previously, the late Cedella Marley Booker, who was Bob Marley’s mother. The festival’s name comes from the village in Jamaica where Cedella Marley Booker was born, raised and gave birth to her son Robert Nesta Marley, a.k.a. Bob Marley, a.k.a. “Tuff Gong.” He was eventually laid to rest in Nine-Mile. This year, the festival comes one week after what would have been Bob Marley’s 70th birthday on February 6th. The Nine Mile Music Festival celebrates life, love, music and helping out the less fortunate. Over the past 22-years,... Read more

This entry is an update on a previous blog entry regarding the Net Neutrality debate. Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Chairman Tom Wheeler recently announced that he plans to circulate a proposal implementing Net Neutrality Regulations, including classifying Internet Service Providers as common carriers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, provisions blocking broadband providers from charging premiums for faster access or blocking website content, and applying such provisions to wireless providers for the first time. This proposal is likely the strongest open Internet policy proposed by the FCC to date. The full text of the announcement can be found  Read more

The law firm of Santucci Priore, P.L., which represents the owners, operators and licensors of the Ultra Music Festival, is giving away TWO (2) THREE (3)-DAY PASSES to the Ultra Music Festival in Miami for March 27, 28 and 29th! In 2013 the Ultra Music Festival became the largest music festival of any genre of music in the United States. One winner will be randomly chosen and will receive both tickets/passes which will be valid for entry on all three days and nights of the festival in Miami. The contest benefits a local breast cancer awareness organization Save The Twin: Live... Read more

Last week the Supreme Court decided its first substantial trademark case in over ten years. Hana Financial, Inc. v. Hana Bank is a trademark infringement action involving the “tacking” of trademarks. Tacking is “a rule that allows the owner of the mark to make slight changes in the mark, without losing the priority that the trademark owner has based on the date when it first started using the original mark.”[1] The emphasis is on what the court calls a “continuing commercial impression.” Generally, tacking involves three trademarks, the original “senior” trademark, a second “junior” trademark unrelated to the first mark, and a third, modified version of the senior trademark. Read more

The Marvin Gaye estate and Robin Thicke are currently involved in a copyright infringement lawsuit which includes a dispute regarding the similarities of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up” song and Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” song. Lawyers for Robin Thicke requested that the Court exclude Gaye’s original recording of “Got to Give it Up” and prevent the song from being played to the jury during trial. This request was recently granted by the District Court Judge. One of the arguments made by the attorneys for Robin Thicke to the Court was that the Marvin Gaye estate only owned a copyright in the composition of the song and not in the actual sound recording. It is important to understand the difference between applying for a  Read more

My law firm, Santucci Priore, P.L. and I would like to express our condolences to the family of Alejandro (“Alex”) Omes who passed away this week. Alex Omes was an important part of South Florida’s music and entertainment industry from the 1990’s forward. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and close circle of friends. I have, in the past, advertised and even authored a guest article about the EDM artist, The Spacemen, in Alex Omes’ D’VOX Magazine in the late 1990’s. It was D’VOX Magazine that first published my tagline “I’ve Got Your Back,” which my firm now uses as: “We’ve Got Your Back,” at certain conventions and trade shows, like Winter Music Conference. Back then, I helped Alex, and he helped me. With D’VOX,... Read more

Santucci Priore, P.L. client SMS Audio, LLC made some big announcements at the Consumer Electronics trade Show (CES) held in Las Vegas. SMS Audio announced a new partnership with star tight end of the New England Patriots, Ron Gronkowski. SMS Audio is a premier headphone and accessories brand from Curtis “50 cent” Jackson. Commenting on his new partnership, Gronkowski said “As an athlete, I’m always on the hunt for the best fitness gear – and headphones are no exception, the SMS Audio Sport headphones, especially the BioSport heart rate monitoring earbuds, have the features I need when it comes to getting the most out of my workout.” Gronkowski was selected by the New England... Read more

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Sylvester Stewart, better known as “Sly Stone,” from Sly & The Family Stone, performed at Woodstock in 1969.  He performed classic hits like “Everyday People,” and “Hot Fun in the Summertime.”  He was one of the first artists to mix soul, funk and elements of psychedelic music in the 1960’s and 1970’s, at about the time the “Godfather of Soul,” James Brown was first doing the same.  Sly & The Family Stone influenced songwriters and musical performers such as Prince, Public Enemy, Parliament, The Red Hot Chili... Read more

Have you ever been concerned about the images you upload to your company’s website, blog or social media profile?  Well, you should be. The United States Copyright Act states that, at least initially, the owner of a “work,” is its author or authors.  17 U.S.C. § 201(a).  The term “work” is used to describe any original material which can be the subject of copyright protection.  That includes photos, video, music, lyrics, literature, dramatic performances and various other creative works.  17 U.S.C. § 102(a).  Some or all the copyrights to a particular work can be transferred to a third party, after they initially vest in the author.  17 U.S.C. § 201(d).  For that reason, seeking the proper party to request authorization to use a copyrighted... Read more

The United States and Cuba have agreed to open diplomatic relations between them, easing travel and business restrictions. On December 17, 2014, President Obama announced a swap of prisoners. Cuba will release American Alan Gross, who has spent the last five years in a Cuban prison on espionage charges, and the U.S. will release three Cubans convicted in 2001 of spying against the United States and contributing to the deaths of four members of the anti-Castro group Brothers to the Rescue. Alan Gross was detained in 2009 after traveling to Cuba to set up internet access that circumvented... Read more

Trademarks and service marks are one of the most important and valuable assets of a business, whether big or small. Trademarks and service marks operate as a source identifier and establish brand recognition. In order to maintain these rights it is essential for owners to efficiently police their rights against unauthorized third party use. For this reason every business should be familiar with the implications of third party use of trademarks and service marks. The doctrine of fair use in copyright law is well known. However, the doctrine of fair use also exists in trademark law and is often unknown or misunderstood by many businesses. There are two types of fair... Read more

Over the past few months one of the most talked about topics has been net neutrality. What is net neutrality? It is the principle that all content and applications on the Internet should be accessible to users equally, regardless of source, and without service providers being able to restrict access to specific websites or services. This principle would seem ensure basic First Amendment rights. However, the debate has begun as a result of a court ruling in Verizon v. F.C.C., 740 F.3d 623 (C.A.D.C. 2014), which overturned the net neutrality rules of anti-discrimination and... Read more

If you are involved in trademark or unfair competition litigation, you should be asking yourself:  “Will my case come to an abrupt, unexpected end in the next few weeks?” If you are considering filing such a lawsuit, or expecting to be sued, you should be asking yourself:  “Should I try to settle the potential claim or abandon plans immediately?” Prudent risk assessment regarding trademark and unfair competition claims requires your immediate consideration of the issues raised in this... Read more

A message claiming to protect the copyright of users' photos, status updates and other creations shared on Facebook is making the rounds.  There are different variations of the message, but most of them contain something to this effect: Due to the fact that Facebook has chosen to involve software that will allow the theft of my personal information, I do declare the following: on this day, 28th November 2014, in response to the new Facebook guidelines and under articles L.111, 112 and 113 of the code of intellectual property, I declare that my... Read more

Actor Frank Sivero has filed a lawsuit against the creators of "The Simpsons," alleging that Louie, a minor character in the hit cartoon series, is based on his interpretation of the character Frankie Carbone in the 1990 mobster film "Goodfellas" directed by Martin Scorsese. The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court claims Sivero "is the originator of the idea and character of Louie." The Simpsons co-creator Matt Groening, 21st Century Fox and Fox Television Studios are named as defendants in the case. The lawsuit claims that in or around 1989, Sivero was living in an apartment complex in Sherman Oaks, California, and was a neighbor of writers for the show. Sivero claims that during this time, they "saw each other almost every other day" and... Read more

Conduct some research on the firm at which you seek employment. Some of what you would be asked to do when you are working for a law firm is conduct factual, and legal research. Demonstrating that ability at an interview is impressive. Furthermore, you can ask more intelligent questions about the firm if you have some information in advance. It also shows that you cared enough about the job opportunity to do some searching and reading, and that apparently you think you are a good fit for the firm. You should at least know the areas of practice of a law firm walking into an interview. If you are interviewing and you don’t know whether the firm does personal injury or tax law, you will be embarrassing yourself. You should also know enough not... Read more

This morning, there was a subtle, but very influential set of rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court today which will have the practical effect of legalizing same sex marriage in five states and opening a path for legalization to a total of eleven more states. Today, on its first day in session for the season, the High Court declined various petitions for certiorari from several states seeking the Supreme Court’s review of appellate court decisions striking down laws banning same sex marriage. The effect of the denial of the petitions will be that the prior decisions in the cases in which the ban on same sex... Read more

In recent weeks, “selfies” have dominated internet headlines. From monkeys taking selfies, to one of the biggest celebrity phone hacking scandals involving hundreds of selfies, it seems like the selfie is here to stay. However, what kind of rights do your selfies have? Can they be protected under The Copyright Act? Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of “original works of authorship”. Copyright provides protection for the original and creative expression of an idea which is embodied in a tangible medium. Pursuant to the statute governing copyrights, “pictorial works” including,... Read more

This week, Disney Enterprises, Inc. initiated trademark litigation against Ronica Holdings Limited, the company that holds and owns various trademarks for one of the top electronic dance music (“EDM”) artists in the world, DEADMAU5.  DEADMAU5, whose real name is Joel Zimmerman, has been nominated for multiple Grammy Awards in the past five (5) years.  He is a regular performer at the Miami location of the Ultra Music Festival, which has, in recent years, gone worldwide, and has been represented by Santucci Priore, P.L.’s attorney Michael I. Santucci since the inception of the festival in the... Read more

The advent of the Internet has created several interesting and distinct legal questions. One such question is whether the maintenance of an interactive website alone can subject a non-resident defendant to personal jurisdiction in a forum state that the defendant has no other contacts with. The Eleventh Circuit and other Courts of Appeal around the country have clearly ruled that maintenance of an interactive website alone is insufficient to establish minimum contacts necessary to confer personal jurisdiction. However, another interesting question arises from this legal principle. Can a non-resident defendant who has no contact with a forum state, other than an interactive website fully accessible worldwide, be subjected to litigation in a foreign state where the... Read more

Has the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) rejected your trademark application and deemed it “merely descriptive?” If so, there are options other than appeal to the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board or complete abandonment of your trademark or service mark application. Depending upon the extent and length of time of your company's use of the mark, you could provide evidence that the mark has acquired "secondary meaning," which is sometimes referred to as “acquired distinctiveness.” That would entitle your trademark to registration on the Principal Register even though your trademark, on its face, might be merely... Read more

Fort Lauderdale attorney Michael I. Santucci, who is a managing partner of Santucci Priore, P.L, and Daniel Devine of Santucci Priore P.L., helped settle a federal lawsuit regarding intellectual property rights owned by Ernest Evans, the legendary musical artist commonly known as “Chubby Checker.” Chubby Checker is best known for his hit song “The Twist” which rose to #1 on Billboard Magazine’s “Hot 100” singles chart. In 2008, “The Twist” was selected by Billboard as the #1 all-time song on its “Hot 100”... Read more

According to the latest U.S. Department of Commerce statistics, Brazil has officially surpassed the United Kingdom in the amount of tourists visiting Florida each year.  It should come as no surprise that Brazilians have reached this top spot.  Over the last few years, Brazilians have flocked to the United States, and particularly South Florida, to invest in real estate, open businesses, to vacation and to shop.  In 2013 alone, over one million Brazilians visited Florida. U.S. Consulates in Brazil couldn’t handle the amount of visa requests it was receiving.  According to the... Read more

Today, President Obama announced that he will soon sign an executive order banning employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees of federal contractors and subcontractors.  The announcement follows years of inaction by Congress to prevent such discrimination in the workplace. The proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would make it unlawful for employers nationwide to harass or fire an employee based on gender identity or sexual orientation, passed the Democrat-dominated Senate, but was held up in the Republican-dominated House of... Read more

Section I:  Introduction In today's world, the growing popularity of Electronic Dance Music, commonly known as "EDM," is rapidly revolutionizing music, reviving rave culture from the 1990s, but at the same time, is further complicating the world of music sampling in copyright law.[1]  As a result of its popularity in dance clubs, the infatuation with EDM has naturally fostered the idea that anyone can become a disc jockey ("DJ") and that one's reliance on others' copyright-protected works to create new music is excusable.[2]  However, EDM is a unique genre of music in which its DJs thrive off... Read more

The Copyright Act defines audiovisual works as: works that consist of a series of related images which are intrinsically intended to be shown by the use of machines, or devices such as projectors, viewers, or electronic equipment, together with accompanying sounds, if any, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as films or tapes, in which the works are embodied. Leader, Inc. v. BMG Music Publ’g, 512 F.3d 522, 526-527. (9th Cir. Cal. 2008).The Copyright Act defines literary works as "works, other than audiovisual works, expressed in words, numbers, or other verbal or... Read more

How many times have you seen an article about a wealthy person who failed to do the proper planning for their estate? It is surprising when people with such wealth and access to professional financial advisors fail to take action to reduce estate taxes and preserve their wealth. The fact, however, is that most people are not ultra-wealthy and will not be affected by the Federal Estate Tax with the current exemption of $5,250,000 in 2013. In other words, most of us do not have wealth that exceeds $5.25 million. Here are three items that would affect a larger part of the population in regard to Estate Taxes: What State Do You Live In? Some states have an Estate Tax and other states may have an Inheritance Tax. Some states have both. While Federal Estate... Read more

The law firm of Santucci Priore, P.L. will host a Champion Reception for “Save the Twinz: LIVE PINK,” a local breast cancer organization on Thursday, October 3, 2013 in the lobby of their Fort Lauderdale office. The purpose of the reception is to pay homage to survivors and supporters in the fight against breast cancer. Orvino Imports & Distributing, Inc. donated Italian wines and Flora Foods supplied some traditional Italian accompaniments. South Florida artists Stichiz and Moonchild are set to perform in the Santucci Priore, P.L. lobby. Business attorney Joseph V. Priore of the law firm of Santucci Priore, P.L. said: “Save the Twinz is making an otherwise late night of work interesting, and is rallying support for their important fight.”... Read more

Imagine that you are a young photographer and you’ve just taken an interesting shot and you are now looking to sell the work in a gallery. A prominent soft drink company picks up your photo and doctors your work with a new mission — the promotion of a new brand of soft drinks. They also register the copyright of the derivative work in their names, giving them complete control over your picture in all future uses. When the commercial reaches national attention, you find that your interesting photo is now recognized by shoppers in every supermarket. However, the rights to control it may now be lost irretrievably to you! When you hire an attorney to recover copyright damages, your infringing soft drink company offers you all of $3000, which an expert presents... Read more

The renowned singer/entertainer Chubby Checker hired a couple of old friends to defend his coveted trademarks and his name. The same team of Willie E. Gary and Michael I. Santucci who, along with the late Johnnie L. Cochran, were awarded the largest single verdict ever granted against the Walt Disney Company at the time ($240,000,000), are now representing the Chubby Checker brand in a trademark infringement suit against another international corporate giant, the Hewlett-Packard Company and one of their subsidiaries. Fort Lauderdale intellectual property attorney Michael Santucci, who initiated the lawsuit in a federal district court in California with attorney James L. Brown, is now joined by famed attorney Willie E. Gary as his partner who was just this week... Read more

An individual’s name is one of the most valued aspects of a person. Therefore, it’s understandable why almost everyone will defend his or her name when it’s used negatively in a motion picture. Similarly, most individuals will most likely prefer to not have their name used for profit without first giving consent. While these intellectual property rights are applied differently across the country, Florida law does protect persons from having their name or general likeness used commercially against their will. However, it’s paramount to understand the tensions between the lack of protection when one’s name or likeness is used in a motion picture and where the law bifurcates and does protect against it’s use in advertisements. This article will first... Read more

The numerous advances in technology and the rise of the internet have created several unique legal issues. One issue that is often overlooked is whether videos posted online, such as on YouTube, can be used on a website. Individuals and/or businesses that have a website should be mindful of the risk of incurring liability for copyright infringement when YouTube videos are posted and embedded onto a website. The purpose of copyright protection is to protect original expression and not merely ideas or facts. Videos such as those posted on YouTube can be copyrighted if they are original and/or creative. A copyright can be registered with the United States Copyright Office. The owner of a copyright has the exclusive right to do and authorize the following: 1) To... Read more

To the average person the term troll conjures an image of a plastic toy with spiky blue hair. To a lawyer or business professional, the term is not something to play around with. In the world of intellectual property, patent trolls are leeches, trying to extract money out of both big and small corporations. The term patent troll, also known as a patent assertion entity (“PAE”), describes a business whose sole purpose is to acquire patents and claim that they are owed money by other companies. These unsuspecting companies are accused of infringing the acquired patents and threatened with lawsuits. The PAE will never manufacture a product or use the patents in any manner except for threatening other companies. Depending on the company being sued, they may... Read more

In today’s world, transparency is a difficult thing to find. Companies as well as the federal government are making news headlines almost daily now, with their lack of information and surplus of leaked secrets. Google has distinguished itself by publishing their Google Transparency Report, beginning in 2011. This report includes removal requests from copyright owners and the government. These requests stem from copy right holders who find a link on Google that violates their copyright. Google then processes the request and in 97% of the instances, the website is removed. Google is now receiving more removal requests each week than it did in the entire 2009 year. This report not only distinguishes them... Read more

Under Armour Inc and Nike Inc have been at each other for years. In fact, in 2003 Nike sued Under Armour for using the term “Dri-Fit” on their products. This time Under Armour believes that Nike is using their trademarked slogan “I Will” in stores and in online media. Nike believes that the slogan is not distinctively associated with Under Armour, thus giving Nike the right to use it. Only time will tell which fitness brand will win this... Read more

The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a jury’s conclusion that Jammie Thomas-Rasset pay the recording industry $222,000 for downloading and sharing two dozen copyrighted songs on the now-defunct file-sharing service Kazaa. Without comment, the justices declined (.pdf) to review a petition from the Minnesota woman who claimed the damages award was unconstitutionally excessive and was not rationally related to the harm she caused the music labels. Click here to view the... Read more

The law offices of Santucci Priore, P.L., together with The Florida Bar Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section and the Broward County Bar Association, will host a conference discussing various types of intellectual property law. Michael Santucci and Allison Sinclair Lovelady will discuss and compare trademark and copyright law. Scott Smiley of The Smiley IP Law Group, P.A. will lend his expert opinion and address the recent changes to patent law. CLE credits are available. Contact Daniel Devine to RSVP. Though the event is free to attend, seating will be limited. Further details are below:  Read more

People love March Madness. There’s no other competition in the United States so open ended. More than 60 of the nation’s premier college basketball teams compete with triumphs, upsets, and finish with an undisputed champion. Diehard and casual fans of college basketball fill out more than 40 million brackets each year trying and predict the winner. Even the president is in on it, and he’s no slouch. His bracket is currently ranked in the 98th percentile. March Madness lives up to its name. But it’s more than pure sports entertainment, there’s a fascinating legal aspect to its existence as well. The trademark “March Madness” was settled more than fifteen years ago when the courts decided the moniker was so important it deserved to be reclassified.... Read more

The luxury goods brand Coach has recently sued South Florida’s Swap Shop for damages, alleging that the “Coach” merchandise sold at the Shop are knockoffs. According to reports, the federal suit additionally targets the Swap Shop landlord and principal company for turning a “blind eye” to the vendors selling knockoff goods. Just last year, the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement completed an undercover operation which ended in the seizing of thousands of counterfeit goods from the Swap Shop. Coach is generally known for aggressive... Read more

The National Mortgage Settlement Agreement was announced on February 9th by President Obama and various involved banks. It guarantees a sum of $25 billion dollars for “immediate aid to homeowners needing loan modifications now.” The amount could rise to $32 and $40 billion dollars if more banks decide to endorse the agreement. But what does the settlement mean for persons in Florida, and how can they receive aid? The National Mortgage Settlement Agreement set funds aside to benefit qualifying homeowners. There are different ways for homeowners to qualify, and various terms of benefit. More than $8 billion in relief is available in Florida, in the form of loan modifications, refinancing, and restitutions for foreclosed homes. Only mortgages with Citi, Bank of... Read more

We posted a quick guide to risks involved in improperly using a Trademark Registration Symbol (®) a few years back, and want to make sure our new readers are just as well informed. Some businesses will improperly use the trademark registered symbol for a wide range of reasons. Most often, they’re merely mistaken, or innocently using the symbol improperly. But to do so deliberately is fraud. As per Section 906.02 of the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure: “Improper use of the federal registration symbol that is deliberate and intended to deceive or mislead the public is fraud. See TMEP §906.04. However, misunderstandings about use of federal registration symbols are more frequent than occurrences of actual fraudulent intent.” Some of the... Read more

According to Jason Rantanen and Lee Petherbridge, there is a problem with the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). The problem lies in the possible exploitation of a new procedure that the AIA introduces to patent applicants. As a result of this possible exploitation, there may be a reduction in the quality of information available to the patent office when it is making its determination on whether to issue a patent. Furthermore, it can be expected that the patent office will get it right less often than before and therefore more low-quality patents (those that do not meet the requirements for patentability) are likely to be issued. Finally, this new procedure also reveals previously non-existent risks to the integrity of the patent system. The AIA currently... Read more

The technology wars continue to smolder between Apple and other smart-phone companies. It’s a web of litigation, with Apple sustaining lawsuits from more than a dozen companies, while also targeting some of its biggest competitors with claims of their own. Though Apple blew the field wide open in 2007 with the release of the iPhone, new and old competitors reacted quickly to release their own comparable devices. For various reasons some old competitors, like Canada’s Research in Motion (RiM), have fallen hard. Others, like Motorola, are on a rebounding surge. And a new type of competition, from Google’s focus on designing specifically open-sourced software instead of hardware or devices, has proven to be resilient and steadily growing. Google’s strategy... Read more

Since the October 2011 death of Apple, Inc. founder Steve Jobs, companies have been looking for ways to profit off of the technology-icon’s life, and his sudden death. Reports indicate that a 1-foot tall action figure of Jobs was placed for sale by a company In Icons for $99. The action figure consisted of life-like properties of Jobs, including wrinkles, hair, glasses and an apple. The figure also included removable hands, which also featured a replica of his wedding band. Since the date the figure was placed for sale, Jobs fans have been scrambling to secure their purchase. The website also indicated that the figurine was set to ship worldwide in February. It didn’t take long, however, for the Jobs family and Apple, Inc. to pressure In Icons to stop the... Read more

December’s close marked the end of the court-mandated foreclosure mediation program. Although mediation remains an option for parties, and existing or pending mediations will carry forth as planned, no new court mandated mediations shall be filed. This concludes a two year saga as the courts looked for an option to alleviate a stressed system that suffered from an inundation of cases, budget cuts, and staff reductions. The goal of the program was to allow the borrower and lender one final chance at finding compromise before the case came before a judge. But, for many reasons, the system failed. A review published in September 2011 illustrated the difficulties in reaching agreement. While civil court mediations are often successful, with a near 70 percent... Read more

A few years ago, on a supply delivery route just outside of Baghdad, Lieutenant Alvin Shell and a few other U.S. soldiers from his unit were set on fire from a rocket-propelled grenade (“RPG”) attack.  While covered with gasoline, Lieutenant Shell ran back into the fire to rescue the other soldiers from his team.  He pulled them out and led them two miles back to Camp Victory where he finally collapsed, covered with burns. When everyone told him he was a hero, Lieutenant Alvin Shell disagreed. “I’m not a hero” he said.  “A hero is a sandwich…I’m a paratrooper.” Regardless of your views about the Iraq war, take time to reflect over and appreciate your holiday break, and the fact that our soldiers are finally returning home after years in Iraq,... Read more

The District Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania recently granted summary judgment in favor of the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League regarding a lawsuit for trademark infringement of the “Terrible Towel” trademark.  Beginning in 1975, at the initiation of radio broadcaster Myron Cope, fans of the Steelers have waved yellow and black colored rally towels depicting the words “Terrible Towel” as way to show support for the team during games.  These towels have gained substantial public recognition due to the Steelers’ recent Super Bowl victory in 2008, thus making Steelers merchandise a top seller. Non-profit organization Allegheny Valley School Foundation (“AVS”) is the owner of a federal trademark registration for the... Read more

The attorneys of the law firm of Santucci Priore, P.L. have been retained by the Defendants in the case of Fifty-Six Hope Road Music Limited v. Richard Booker, Bob Marley Movement of Jah People, Inc. and The Bob Marley Heritage Corporation, Case No. 1:11-cv-24326-MGC which is currently pending in the United States District Court in and for the Southern District of Florida in Miami.  The Plaintiff alleges trademark infringement,  unfair competition, dilution and unauthorized use of name and likeness claiming the exclusive right to use various Marley-related trademarks as well as Bob Marley’s name and likeness. According to public records and the Defendants, the Defendant company Bob Marley Movement of Jah People, Inc. was a family company formed back... Read more

Many of our clients seek our assistance in preparing, filing, prosecuting, opposing and cancelling federal or United States Trademark Applications and Registrations.  However, there are lesser known benefits afforded to companies and people who also seek Florida Trademark Registrations.  The benefits of registering a trademark in Florida are: 1. The Florida Trademark Act at § 495.141(1), Florida Statutes now provides for an award of attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party in a trademark infringement action.  Trademark litigation is often costly and unfortunately often determined based upon which party is the most aggressive and can endure litigation the longest.  The new fee provision permits the recovery of such expenses and therefore gives a... Read more

The Florida Legislature has recently made some changes to the Power of Attorney (POA) laws in Florida. Though some changes are merely semantic, overall they can affect your current POA and the way the Court views it. Below are some, but not all, of the important changes in POA laws. If you already have a POA, or are planning on updating yours, it is best to speak to your legal advisor for advice. The execution requirements of a power of attorney are the same as that of a deed. To make a power durable, the same language as currently required under Section 709.08, Florida Statutes is still required. Power still ceases at death, and while older ‘springboard’ durable clauses will be grandfathered in, no new ones shall be made. A photocopy or... Read more

Profit driven business and social activism are terms not commonly found together. For Eduardo Balarezo though, a marriage of the two is paramount for global interdependence and successful localized economies. His apparel company, Lonesome George & Co., is more than a brand and its product. It has a message, a purpose. The brand, product, and message all synergize to emphasize the importance of community. Lonesome George, working with and through their affiliates, supplies the community with empowering education to create new leaders and agents for local change. The objective is to create communities that will embrace the change required to protect itself and its surrounding natural habitats. Read the Forbes article  Read more

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