intellectual property law

A jury in the District Court for the Southern District of Illinois in the case of Alexander v. Take-Two Interactive Software found that the depiction of tattoos on wrestler Randy Orton in a video game published by Take Two Interactive infringed the tattoo artist’s copyright in the tattoos. In this author’s personal opinion, the District Court got it all wrong.
Continue Reading Tattoo Artist Copyright Win Will Create Uncertainty Over Celebrities with Tattoos

Last month, HBO released its new drama series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty – based on the book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s by Jeff Pearlman. To say that Jerry West, the former head coach and GM of the Los Angeles Lakers dislikes the way he is portrayed in the HBO series Winning Time is an understatement. West calls his portrayal “false and defamatory” and he has publicly called for a retraction and an apology.  In a letter to HBO, West’s lawyer claims that Winning Time falsely and cruelly portrays West as an out-of-control, intoxicated, rage-aholic. West’s lawyer claims that the producers have committed the tort of false light invasion of privacy by creating a false impression about Mr. West that is highly offensive and injurious to his reputation and have also defamed Mr. West by attributing acts of rage to him that he never committed.
Continue Reading Is Jerry West’s Potential Lawsuit Against HBO Over His Portrayal in the Lakers Docudrama “Winning Time” a Jump Ball?

This column previously addressed the case of Unicolors, Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz, L.P., when it was decided by the Ninth Circuit about two years ago. Unicolors is the owner of copyrights in various fabric designs, including a 2011 copyright registration that consisted of 31 separate designs. Unicolors sued H&M for copyright infringement when H&M stores began selling a jacket and skirt that contained artwork that Unicolors claimed to be identical to one of the designs in its 2011 registration. The jury found in Unicolors favor and H&M moved the court for judgment as a matter of law, which the trial court denied. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit disagreed with the district court and ruled that because Unicolors had made a mistake of law in connection with the registration (i.e. it registered it as a single publication when some of the designs were apparently not put on sale to the public all at once), the registration should have been found to be invalid. Unicolors appealed this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard the case last November.
Continue Reading Is that Bird A Cardinal or a Scarlet Tanager? Who Cares. The U.S. Supreme Court Weighs in on Copyright Infringement and the Issue of Mistake