Intellectual Property Blog

SoCal Professor Sues Students for Copyright Infringement with Surprising Motivations

Can copyright lawsuits ever be used for purposes other than protecting your own intellectual property? A recent case in Southern California shows a novel copyright infringement suit.David Berkovitz, a professor at Chapman University, taught his Business 215 class remotely throughout the pandemic. In January 2022, he discovered Course Hero, a website in which students share documents to help each other study and excel. Berkovitz stumbled across a surprising document in this labyrinth of forums: His […]

Continue Reading

McDonald’s, Russia, and the Territoriality of IP Rights

On March 9, 2022, McDonald’s announced it would be temporarily closing over 800 locations in Russia. Three days later, a trademark application was submitted to the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property for a logo with familiar arches and recognizable color scheme: The text beneath the logo reads “Uncle Vanya,” the name of a Russian fast-food restaurant. Given the timing and rapidity of the application, the trademark application appears to be a form of retaliation […]

Continue Reading

Defense Research Institute Intellectual Property Conference 2022 – Houston, TX

I am writing to you from Houston, TX this week. I spent the past few days attending a Defense Research Institute (DRI) conference on Intellectual Property Litigation here.   For two days, I have listened to speakers and watched presentations about copyright, trademarks, right of publicity, trade secrets, and patent issues.  We even had a lawyer from NASA, Rebecca Bresnik, provide a fascinating presentation on space law. She talked about several space law topics:  the four […]

Continue Reading

Copyright Infringement at the Winter Olympics: House of the Rising Sun

What do you imagine when you hear “Winter Olympics”? Steep hills of snow, racers on skis, lyrical ice skaters… And copyright infringement? Musicians and brothers Robert and Aron Marderosian – known as the musical artist “Heavy Young Heathens” – are waging a copyright infringement case against U.S. Olympic ice skaters Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier.  The duo used the Heavy Young Heathens’ master recording version of “House of the Rising Sun” for an Olympic short […]

Continue Reading

What To Do If You Suspect a Patent Infringement

Patent infringement lawsuits are not uncommon.  For example, in 2021, chip manufacturing giant Intel was ordered to pay $2.18 billion to VLSI Technology for infringing on eight of that company’s patents. The jury verdict is on appeal by Intel. The award was the third billion-dollar verdict in patent infringement lawsuit history. Though your patent may not rise to the level of infringement by a multi-billion-dollar company, you still have rights under the law to protect […]

Continue Reading

Cult Gaia “Ark” Bag: What Makes a Mark Generic or Distinctive?

The fashion world is incredibly focused on iterations, drawing on historical style choices and reusing them over time. Because of this, it is an interesting question to consider what products can be registered as a distinct trademark – and what cannot. If a product design achieves popularity in the present, is that enough to claim the design distinctive and warrant the registration of the design as a  trademark? The trademark application for a Cult Gaia […]

Continue Reading