#OscarsSoLitigious: Academy Sues Over Decadent $200k “Oscars” Swag Bags

Looks like the 88th Academy Awards couldn’t stay out of the spotlight if it wanted to, first dealing with the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and now starting a lawsuit over the swag bags being given out at the awards. Forbes values this year’s swag bag at $232,000 and it includes such classics as: a $250 marijuana vaporizer; $1,900 “vampire breast lift” skin treatments; $250 vibrator; $275 Swiss-made toilet paper; and a 10-day first class trip to Israel, just to name a few. The company providing the gift bags is Distinctive Assets (DA), which specializes in “offering celebrity placement, product introduction and branding opportunities within the entertainment industry.”

You already know what it looks like anyway

NOT PICTURED: $250 Vibrator

Last year DA allegedly promised the Academy that it would change its ways and stop marketing its goodie bags in a manner that implies the Academy endorses DA or its products – so you can kind of see why the Academy would put its foot down when DA used slogans like “Everyone Wins At The Oscars®! Nominee Gift Bags,” and “Everyone Wins Nominee Gift Bags in Honor of the Oscars®,” this year. Continue reading

Sexy People Doing Sexy Things Isn’t Enough: YA Novelist Cassandra Clare Accused of Plagiarism Again

Sexy supernatural men falling in love with and protecting attractive young heroines, and the world, collide as NYT romance bestseller Sherrilyn Kenyon has sued YA bestseller Cassandra Clare for allegedly plagiarizing her hit Dark-Hunter series. Kenyon started writing the Dark-Hunter books in 1998, and has been releasing bestselling novels within that universe consistently ever since. Clare’s first Shadowhunters book, City of Bones, came out in 2007. Both series focus on “elite” warriors that protect the “human world” from an unseen paranormal threat, stopping the enslavement of humanity. Both introduce this concept through a heroine who does not know she is one of these warriors until saved by a handsome, gothic, tattooed, blond man who is a powerful warrior. However; where Kenyon’s books are decidedly adult, featuring some … steamy scenes, Clare’s YA (young adult) novels have reached a much broader audience. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was made into a movie in 2013, and although it was panned by critics and flopped at the box office, a TV show, “Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments,” premiered on ABC Family in January of 2016. Apparently this was the last straw, and on February 5, 2016, Kenyon sued Clare for trademark and copyright infringement based on the similarities between the Dark-Hunter and Shadowhunters names and stories.

Ehhhhhhh....

Shadowhunters TV Show – Says it all, really

A juicy tidbit in this story is that this is not the first time Clare has been accused of plagiarism. Continue reading

Close but No Cigar – GRAN HABANO Refused as Geographically Misdescriptive

“I never smoke to excess – that is, I smoke in moderation, only one cigar at a time,” Mark Twain once said about cigar smoking, a vice that many still share today. American cigar aficionados rejoiced when the Obama administration officially began to reestablish relations with Cuba in January of 2015, including provisions that allow $100 worth of alcohol or tobacco per traveler to be imported into the country. Cuban cigars are generally considered the gold standard in the USA, despite competition from around the world. Thus, it may come as little surprise that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) refused registration for GRAN HABANO for cigars when the manufacturer is from Miami, Florida. Continue reading

Night of the Living Defense: Pinterest Loses Trademark Battles in U.S. and U.K.

October, at least in these United States of America, is the spooookiest month of the year. People celebrate the macabre by wearing costumes, decorating their houses to look like graveyards, and generally getting into the spirit of Halloween. It’s usually good month for Corporate America as sales for candy, costumes, and decorations experience a much needed bump leading into the winter holiday season. For Pinterest, however, this October of 2015 has been a frightening one, and for all the wrong reasons.

Nightmare on Court Row

Pinterest has lost two separate court cases this month, one in the U.S. and one in the U.K. In both cases, Pinterest tried to prevent startups from using the word “pin” in connection with their online services. Continue reading

Nike: Just Drop It – Unexpected Issues Defending the Jumpman Mark

Sportswear giant Nike stumbled at the starting line in its Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) opposition proceeding against Palm Beach Crossfit (PB Crossfit) earlier this September, 2015. Nike owns several well-known marks, but this specific opposition concerned a mark near and dear to the hearts of all basketball fans, and Chicago in particular, the “Jumpman.” Nike has a problem with PB Crossfit’s handstand mark, shown below, claiming (1) it falsely suggests a connection with Michael Jordan and Nike, (2) shows a portrait of a living person without their consent (also Jordan); (3) likelihood of confusion with the Jumpman mark; and (4) dilution. PB Crossfit filed a motion to dismiss all of Nike’s claims in the TTAB, and in a rare precedential opinion, the TTAB granted PB Crossfit’s motion to dismiss as to the false connection with Jordan and the lack of Jordan’s consent for their mark. Nike’s likelihood of confusion and dilution claims, however, are still live. Continue reading