While the Copyright Act has a three-year statute of limitations, most courts follow the “discovery rule,” pursuant to which “an infringement claim does not ‘accrue’ until the copyright holder discovers, or with due diligence should have discovered, the infringement.” See, e.g., Psihoyos v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 748 F.3d 120, 124  (2d

As we have previously advised, the Trump Administration is targeting the sale of counterfeit goods on e-commerce platforms. Early this year, the Department of Homeland Security issued its report to the White House on “Combating Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods,” in response to which the White House entered its Executive Order aimed at blocking

Supreme Court Confirms Profits Remedy in Trademark Cases is Not Conditioned on Proof of WillfulnessYesterday, the Supreme Court issued a much-awaited opinion holding that a plaintiff is not required to prove willful infringement in order to seek a trademark infringer’s profits under the Lanham Act. This decision resolved a split among the Circuits and changes the law in a number of Circuits, including the Second and Ninth Circuits,

Last week, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Jason Mraz filed a lawsuit against MillerCoors, arguing that the company used his song “I’m Yours” in an Instagram post promoting Coors Light without his consent. The post featured 13 seconds of Mraz performing the song with Coors Lite branding visible in the video. The caption read: “Kicking off summer

FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny is scheduled to resign effective April 28 and may leave with acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen as the sole commissioner. Law360  published an article by partner John Villafranco and professor Stephen Calkins that discusses whether the FTC can take formal action by a 1-0 vote and when does a commission cease being

Most companies understand they should obtain a license before using a photograph in an advertising campaign or on printed materials.  And yet companies may not think twice about embedding images from a tweet or social media post into the company’s own social media feed or website. But embedder beware.  A federal judge in the U.S.

As consumers get ready to watch the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, some companies are getting ready to capitalize on the public enthusiasm. Many marketers want to incorporate Olympics-related themes – ranging from overt mentions of the Olympics to more subtle sports references – in their ads in order to associate their brands with the attention

The U.S. Copyright Office has imposed new requirements on service providers in order to maintain safe harbor protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).  Service providers who don’t meet these requirements will lose the safe harbor protections afforded by the DMCA.  The deadline to comply with these requirements is December 31, 2017.

DMCA and the Safe Harbor

The DMCA was enacted by U.S. Congress in October 1998 with the purpose of addressing certain intellectual property issues in the wake of the Internet.  Among the DMCA’s key provisions is “safe harbor” protection, designed to shield companies from liability for infringement due to content posted by a user on the company’s website, provided that the company qualifies as a “service provider.

Continue Reading Regulatory Changes Affecting All “Service Providers” – 12/31/17 Deadline

The overall design (such as the shape and cut) of a garment, bag or shoe is not protectable under current U.S. Copyright law because such items are considered “useful articles.” However, Section 101 of the Copyright Act provides protection for the “pictorial, graphic or sculptural features [of a useful article] that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the [useful] article.”[1]

In the fashion world, this provision of the Copyright Act allows companies to protect original pictorial, graphic or sculptural features that are applied to garments, bags and other accessories.  Examples include: fabric designs like a floral pattern; graphic art like an artistic rendition of a snake or tiger; and sculptural 3-D hardware adornments like belt buckles or buttons.  Copyright protection only covers the artwork itself, not the overall configuration of the garment or other product to which it is applied.[2]

For decades, courts and commentators have struggled to fashion a suitable test to determine when a pictorial, graphic or sculptural feature of a useful article (such as a garment) is protectable under § 101 of the U.S. Copyright Act.  On March 22, 2017, in a 6-2 decision written by Justice Thomas, the Supreme Court provided long-awaited clarificationMuch to the relief of the fashion industry, the Court adopted a test that preserves copyright protection for applied art to apparel and fashion accessories.


Continue Reading V-I-C-T-O-R-Y for the Fashion Industry: SCOTUS Establishes Uniform Test for Protection of Artistic Works Applied to Apparel

In 2014, Anheuser-Busch ran a contest on Facebook in which consumers were invited to submit photos of themselves “acting natural.” The contest rules stated that entrants could only submit their original works, and that the photos could not infringe anyone else’s copyrights, privacy rights, publicity rights, or other rights. Moreover, the rules stated that entrants