On Monday, July 13, 2020, the ownership group of the Washington Redskins (the “Team”) announced that it will abandon the Redskins team name after nearly 30 years of controversy. The decision, despite what the Team says, is likely the product of societal pressure, which was reinforced by powerful corporations, such as Nike and Amazon, that refused to sell Redskins merchandise because of the Team’s disparaging moniker. Within days of the corporations refusing to sell their merchandise, the Team announced that it would undertake a “thorough review” of its name. Just over a week later, the Redskins announced that the name would be “retire[d].” But before you give the Team too much credit, let’s consider what it took to get here.
Continue Reading After Nearly 30 Years of Controversy, the Washington Redkins Will Retire the Redskins Team Name and Trademark

Watch: Author Josh Escovedo and trademark law professor Alexandra Roberts delve into the issues around the Redskins name change.

On Monday, July 13, 2020, the ownership group of the Washington Redskins (the “Team”) announced that it will abandon the Redskins team name after nearly 30 years of controversy. The decision, despite what the Team says, is likely the product of societal pressure, which was reinforced by powerful corporations, such as Nike and Amazon, that refused to sell Redskins merchandise because of the Team’s disparaging moniker. Within days of the corporations refusing to sell their merchandise, the Team announced that it would undertake a “thorough review” of its name. Just over a week later, the Redskins announced that the name would be “retire[d].” But before you give the Team too much credit, let’s consider what it took to get here.
Continue Reading After Nearly 30 Years of Controversy, the Washington Redskins Will Retire the Redskins Team Name and Trademark

The USPTO recently refused legendary quarterback Tom Brady’s application to register the mark TOM TERRIFIC. If you’re like me, you’re wondering why Tom Brady would want to register such a trademark. Well, according to Brady, he wanted to obtain the rights to the mark to prevent people from referring to him by that nickname. But that response isn’t satisfactory for those of us who know about trademark law for a couple of reasons.
Continue Reading The USPTO Denies Tom Brady’s Application to Register TOM TERRIFIC

By: Scott Hervey

Every practitioner should teach law school at least once. This year I am teaching Entertainment Law at the University of California at Davis. (Although flying up from and back to L.A. once a week can be a bit of a drag, so far it is a good experience.) Finding issues to trigger discussion and debate in class is forcing me to look at cases much differently. Since I already know the general holdings of the cases I am teaching, I find myself spending more time analyzing the dissenting opinion and loosing party’s position, looking for points that can foster robust in-class discussion. This week, in preparing for a class session on right of publicity, I re-read the recent 9th Circuit case of Keller v. Electronic Arts and found myself questioning whether the courts have changed the Transformative Use test set forth by the California Supreme Court and used to analyze a conflict between right of publicity and First Amendment protected speech.

The facts of Keller are straight forward. Electronic Arts produced an NCAA Football series of video games which allowed users to control avatars representing college football players and participate in simulated football games. In NCAA Football, EA replicated each school’s entire team as accurately as possible and every football player avatar had a jersey number and virtually identical height, weight, build, skin tone, hair color and home state as each real life player. EA’s player avatars reflect all of the real life attributes of the NCAA players; the only exception is that EA omitted the real life player’s name from the corresponding avatar and assigned the avatar a hometown that is different from the real player’s hometown.


Continue Reading Did The California Court Of Appeals Transform The Transformative Use Test in Right of Publicity Cases?