Posts Tagged ‘trademarks’

Bernie 2016 lawyer: take down that parody image of our candidate

BernieIsMyComradeDaniel McCall of Liberty Maniacs has put out a parody image in which the likeness of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is lined up as the latest in a row of figures such as Marx, Lenin, and Mao. Yesterday, invoking the campaign’s trademark and copyright interests, a Seattle lawyer named Claire Hawkins “has demanded that McCall stop purveying this image.” It’s the latest in a series of aggressive moves by campaigns and candidates including Hillary Clinton, Ben Carson, and Ron Paul, as well as the Republican National Committee, to assert intellectual property as a reason for taking down works that play on their image in either unfavorable or favorable ways as a means of expression. [Paul Alan Levy, Consumer Law & Policy; Ron Coleman, Likelihood of Confusion]

Trademark ambition, and How

“You may recall a story from a few years back involving self-proclaimed ‘corporate virtue advisor’ Dov Seidman and his quest to sue Chobani for using the phrase ‘How food is made matters’ and the social media hashtag #howmatters. Seidman’s problem with all of this? He had a trademark registered for the word ‘how.'” Seidman “has since sought to drop that case” but is now suing his agent for allegedly encouraging an ad agency it has a stake in to use the word in a campaign for the food company [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt; The Hollywood Reporter]

February 10 roundup

December 30 roundup

  • Federal Circuit court of appeals says government can’t deny trademark as “disparaging” just because it frowns on its expressive content, implications are favorable for Washington Redskins in their legal case [Eugene Volokh, Paul Alan Levy, In Re Simon Shiao Tam opinion, case won by past Overlawyered guestblogger Ron Coleman]
  • Mentally ill man walks into San Diego county recorder’s office, submits properly filled-out deed transferring major sports stadium to his name, chaos ensues [San Diego Union Tribune]
  • Lawsuit against prolific California class action firm includes details on how it allegedly recruits plaintiffs, shapes testimony [Daniel Fisher]
  • New Jersey: “Man Sues Because Alimony Checks Were Mean To Him” [Elie Mystal/Above the Law, ABA Journal]
  • Blustery Texan Joe Jamail, “greatest lawyer who ever lived” or not, was no stranger to Overlawyered coverage [Houston Chronicle, Texas Monthly (“We only overpaid by a factor of five, and that felt like a win”), Daniel Fisher (city should have cut down beloved oak tree in road median because “it isn’t open season on drunks”)] Jamail’s best-known case gave me chance to write what still might be my all-time favorite headline, for a Richard Epstein article in what is now Cato’s (and was then AEI’s) Regulation magazine: “The Pirates of Pennzoil.”
  • Hotel security camera footage may help decide whether Eloise tainted-sandwich tale will end up shelved as fiction [New York Post]
  • Your War on Drugs: shopping at garden store, throwing loose tea in trash after brewing combine with police goofs to generate probable cause for SWAT raid on Kansas family’s home [Radley Balko] More: Orin Kerr.

Supreme Court and constitutional law roundup

  • “There is nothing in the Constitution that …even hints that the president’s power expands because Congress won’t pass the legislation he advocates.” [David Bernstein interview with Josh Blackman about Bernstein’s new book “Lawless,” on Obama administration vs. constitutional limits more from Bernstein on book]
  • “Will the Supreme Court End Affirmative Action? A Preview of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin on the Eve of Oral Argument” [Cato event Dec. 7 with Andrew Grossman, John Paul Schnapper-Casteras, Gail Heriot, Richard Lempert, and Wallace Hall, moderated by Ilya Shapiro]
  • Theme of this year’s Federalist Society lawyers’ convention was Congress, videos of related panels [originalist views of Congress, Congressional dysfunction, deference and delegation, prospects for getting legislative branch to reclaim lawmaking power]
  • Certiorari petition asks SCOTUS to review dischargeability of law school debts in bankruptcy [BNA; Tetzlaff v. Educ. Credit Mgmt. Corp.]
  • At Cato’s Constitution Day, panels looked back at an eventful SCOTUS term [Cato Policy Report]
  • Common law vs. statutes: Richard Epstein on Spokeo v. Robins oral argument [Hoover] Must plaintiffs show they actually suffered harm? [Daniel Fisher]
  • No, the Constitution doesn’t let feds cancel Redskins trademark as offensive [Kristian Stout, Truth on the Market; Ilya Shapiro]

More cease/desists: Presidential candidates vs. their fans, and opponents

Ben Carson’s lawyers to CafePress, printer of shirts and other message products: take down unauthorized merchandise supporting our guy. Paul Alan Levy responds [Metafilter] And candidate Donald Trump, whose lawyer-intensive ways it seems we were covering only yesterday — wait a minute, it was only yesterday — is making more news: “The presidential campaign of Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened legal action against a politically oriented clothing outlet for using the GOP front-runner’s name, which is trademarked, in its domain name and merchandise.” The outlet, Boston-based StopTrump.us, is trying to drum up opposition to Trump. [Igor Bobic and Cristian Farias, Huffington Post, via Eugene Volokh, who doesn’t think much of the claims]