In the first iteration of what is expected to be a hot constitutional issue, a Federal court in New York upheld New York’s ban on ballot-box selfies. The court found the law triggered strict scrutiny as the result of its suppression of voters’ political expression, but that it was sufficiently narrowly tailored to further compelling government interests in accordance with First Amendment precedent. View Full Post
The U.S. Supreme Court denied nonprofit Patriotic Veterans, Inc.’s petition for review of Indiana’s ban on the use of technology that automatically dials residential phone numbers and plays prerecorded messages. Patriotic Veterans, based in Illinois, uses this “robocall” technology to disseminate pre-recorded messages about political candidates’ positions on issues affecting veterans.  View Full Post
In a previous post, we analyzed the battle over the trademark COMIC CON, which is owned by the San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC) but has been used by over 100 other comic book convention organizers.  SDCC brought suit against one of these alleged infringers, Dan Farr Productions, in 2014, but failed to secure summary judgment earlier this year. View Full Post
In the highly-publicized case about unauthorized reselling of Trader Joe’s merchandise by renegade Canadian merchant “Pirate Joe’s,” social media provided the powder keg for Trader Joe’s arbitration enforcement demand. The case set sail in May 2013, when Trader Joe’s sued Pirate Joe’s proprietor Michael Hallatt for federal trademark infringement and violations of Washington state consumer protection and trademark dilution laws.  View Full Post
Earlier this year, two plaintiffs launched a putative class action against Portland-based Craft Brew Alliance, the fifth largest brewing company in the U.S. and parent company of Kona Brewing Co. Craft Brew acquired Kona in 2010, emblazoning its bottles and cans with images and text that conjure Hawaii’s scenery and lifestyle.  View Full Post
U.S. District Court in Utah decided an interesting case involving whether an advertiser can use the word “local” in Bimbo Bakeries USA, Inc. v. Leland Sycamore et al.  Defendant Leland Sycamore had invented the trade secret process and formula for making “Grandma Sycamore’s Home-Maid Bread.”  After securing trademark registration for the bread packaging design, Leland sold Grandma Sycamore’s and its related intellectual property rights to Plaintiff Bimbo Bakeries.  View Full Post
The San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC) and the proprietors of Utah’s “Salt Lake Comic Con” sparred recently in summary judgment arguments over the SDCC’s COMIC CON trademark. The SDCC owns four registrations for COMIC CON, and claims that Dan Farr Productions and other defendants infringed those trademarks by capitalizing upon the fame and goodwill of COMIC CON in promoting their “Salt Lake Comic Con” events.  View Full Post
Earlier this year, coffee chain Peet’s Coffee & Tea LLC was sued by a putative class comprised of all California customers who purchased subscriptions of coffee and tea from the company after February 2013. The class alleged that Peet’s Coffee violates California’s Automatic Renewal Law (“ARL”) and Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) by automatically charging customers’ credit or debit cards on a recurring basis for coffee and/or tea subscriptions.  View Full Post