©2022. Published in Landslide, Vol. 14, No. 4, June/July 2022, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

This article was written by Josh Escovedo and Michelle Yegiyants.

The landscape has changed. After decades of the NCAA reaping the benefit of college players, their labor, and their name, image, and likeness (collectively, NIL), the NCAA has changed its policy and allowed players to market their NIL without sacrificing their amateur status. However, the NCAA only made this change after a scathing U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a related matter, where the Court affirmed a decision from a U.S. district court enjoining the NCAA from limiting universities from providing student-athletes with certain education-related benefits.[1] In Justice Kavanaugh’s concurring opinion, he warned the NCAA that it should strongly reconsider its NIL-related policies before such matters are taken before the Court.[2] The Court issued its decision on June 21, 2021. The NCAA responded by changing its policy effective July 1, 2021.[3] 
Continue Reading A Brave New World: The NCAA’s New NIL Policy and the Need for Federal Legislation

The Supreme Court granted a petition for writ of certiorari filed by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts that arises from a copyright infringement action filed by photographer Lynn Goldsmith, who took the photos of Prince that were subsequently the subject of Warhol’s allegedly infringing works. In short, Warhol painted multiple works of art utilizing Goldsmith’s photographs as source material. Warhol and now his foundation believed that the work was transformative in nature and therefore not infringing. Goldsmith disagreed and filed suit in federal court.
Continue Reading The Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Copyright Infringement Action Involving Warhol, Prince, and Goldsmith

©2021. Published in Landslide, Vol. 13, No. 3, January/February 2021, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued numerous landmark decisions in 2020, among those—for trademark scholars and practitioners—Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc.1 The Court, with Justice Gorsuch delivering the majority opinion, held that a plaintiff in a trademark infringement suit is not required to show that a defendant willfully infringed the plaintiff’s trademark as a precondition to a profits award. But Justice Gorsuch’s opinion and Justice Alito’s and Justice Sotomayor’s concurrences were clear that mental state is still a highly important consideration in determining whether to award profits. To that end, even with the Romag decision clarifying that willfulness is not a precondition for a profits award in a trademark infringement suit, the lower courts are likely to still require plaintiffs to prove that defendants had high levels of culpability before awarding profits for trademark infringement. Practitioners should expect that juries will find that defendants who knew of infringement or were reckless concerning the possibility of such conduct deserve to lose their profits.

Romag solidifies the threat posed to companies that rely on third-party manufacturers. By allowing a profits award when infringement is perpetrated with a mental state less than willfulness, this decision incentivizes companies using Chinese and other foreign manufacturers to innovate in order to mitigate these risks, either by strengthening supply chain oversight or (more likely) by writing contracts to control the risk as much as possible. Considering the importance of Chinese manufacturing to global trade, the Chinese legal system and its evolving trademark enforcement system will likely cause companies to get creative.
Continue Reading Meeting of the Minds: The Price of Recklessness: Disgorgement of Profits in a Post-Romag World

The Supreme Court recently denied petitions for certiorari in two of the most highly watched intellectual property cases before the Court. Those cases were Jack Daniel’s Properties Inc. v. VIP Products LLC and The Moodsters Company v. Walt Disney Company. Both cases were on petition from the Ninth Circuit and are summarized below for your convenience.

I.          Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. v. VIP Products LLC

In Jack Daniel’s Properties, Jack Daniel’s sued the maker of a dog toy, known as the Bad Spaniels Silly Squeaker, that was comedically modeled after the Jack Daniel’s Old. No. 7 bottle. The toy was a clear parody, but Jack Daniel’s alleged that the toy infringed its intellectual-property rights. VIP Products argued that their use wasn’t infringement because the toy was an expressive work entitled to First Amendment protection under Rogers v. Grimaldi. The district court rejected the argument and found VIP Products had infringed Jack Daniel’s trademark/trade dress.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Update: SCOTUS Denies Review of Two Highly Watched IP Cases