Category Archives: Hot Topics

Supreme Court Holds Cheerleader Uniform Designs Are Copyrightable

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court held that decorative designs affixed to cheerleader uniforms may be entitled to copyright protection under the Copyright Act of 1976. The decision determined the proper approach to analyzing whether and how pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features can be identified separately from the utilitarian aspects of a useful article, potentially making such features eligible for copyright protection.

Varsity Brands, Inc., Varsity Spirit Corporation, and Varsity Spirit Fashions & Supplies, Inc. (together, “Varsity Brands”) design, manufacture, and sell cheerleading uniforms.  Varsity Brands holds numerous U.S. copyright registrations for uniform designs, including the following:  Continue reading

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Amended TTAB Rules

New rules for the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) go into effect on January 14, 2017, aiming to provide more efficiency and streamlining of inter partes (oppositions, cancellations, and concurrent use) and ex parte appeal proceedings.  The rules apply to all proceedings active on January 14 and those subsequently filed.

Some of the key rules changes are summarized below.  Continue reading

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U.S. Copyright Office Announces New Rule Governing Designation of Copyright Agents

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects eligible internet platforms from secondary liability for copyright infringement under the “safe harbor” of 17 U.S.C. § 512. One condition of safe harbor protection is that any platform seeking protection must designate one or more copyright agents with the U.S. Copyright Office to receive notices from copyright owners claiming infringement. Recently, the Copyright Office announced a new rule governing designation of such agents to receive notification of claimed infringement.  Specifically, the Copyright Office is moving from a paper system to a searchable, electronic database of designated agents.  All internet platforms seeking continued safe harbor eligibility must update their designated agent information in the new database. Designation of agents under the new system began on December 1, 2016 and agents must be re-designated by December 31, 2017.

Click here to read more on the Finnegan website.

 

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