Category Archives: Trademark

Anti-SLAPP Motions: a Powerful Tool for Media Defendants

Actor Frank Sivero sued Fox over his claim that “The Simpsons” character “Louie” was based upon Sivero’s character Frankie Carbone in “Goodfellas.” Sivero’s case was thrown out of court by a California state judge. (See “Fox Gets $250M ‘Simpsons’ Lawsuit From ‘Goodfellas’ Actor Tossed.”) No jury heard his claim. Nor was he defeated by a motion for summary judgment, a traditional pretrial motion to dismiss a claim that should be rejected if there is any triable dispute of fact for a jury to resolve. Instead, Sivero’s claim was dismissed pursuant to an “anti-SLAPP” motion, a powerful procedural device that was originally intended to benefit public interest groups, but has become the courtroom weapon of choice for media companies. read more

That’s My Name and You Can’t Use It: Trademarks Battles Over Personal Name Marks

There was snickering recently in the blogosphere about efforts by Kylie and Kendall Jenner to register their names as trademarks in relation to various goods and services, including “entertainment in the nature of providing information by means of a global computer network in the fields of entertainment, fashion and pop culture,” trademark-speak for a gossip website. Apparently these sister/models were guests on the Kardashian reality show and have garnered their own spinoff series. The dig was that spoiled teenagers want their names to belong to them and them alone.

There may be excellent philosophical reasons to bemoan the unearned fame of people who garner attention and riches for no reason other than that they are young, attractive and were birthed by famous and wealthy parents. read more