“Let’s Play:” DMCA Takedown Notices and Game Developer Acquiescence

There is an entire gaming sub-culture developed around watching others play video games.  I’m not talking about gathering around the Game Cube in your friend’s basement and passing the only controller.  “Let’s Play” videos are game play videos made by players and posted or streamed online.  The videos usually include the players’ own running commentary,... Continue Reading

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This week’s Matal v. Tam (formerly Lee v. Tam) Supreme Court ruling serves as a reminder that free speech is a two-way street.  It also suggests the value of a sympathetic litigant, at least in terms of public response. Many rallied behind Simon Tam and his rock band, The Slants.  The band members, who are all-Asian... Continue Reading

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Dubious Patent Trolls and a Crowdfunded Infringement Defense

We’ve spent time discussing the patent troll phenomenon in the past.  Patent trolls are less pejoratively referred to as non-practicing entities, because they do not make or use the inventions covered by their patents.  Instead, these non-practicing entities operate by purchasing patents on various technologies, accusing companies of infringing those patents, and demanding the companies... Continue Reading

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Blizzard v. Bossland: Game Over for Video Game Botting?

I’m a rules follower. Going back to the days of the Game Genie—a device that allowed gamers to play Super Mario Bros. with infinite lives or the Legend of Zelda with infinite bombs—I have always preferred the satisfaction of beating the game by its own rules.   Like the video games that have progressed since... Continue Reading

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The News is Fake, but the Trademarks are Real

The trademark filings for new political slogans and catchphrases continue. Over the last couple of months, Donald Trump has repeatedly accused various news sources of disseminating “fake news.”  As a result, 14 trademark applications have recently been filed for variations of FAKE NEWS. The goods and services associated with these applications cover a wide range.  Film... Continue Reading

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Do I Need a Patent Prior Art Search?

This is a common question among many new inventors. To be patentable, an invention must be novel and non-obvious in view of the “prior art.” Prior art includes prior filed patents, patent applications, and other public materials. A patententability search, or prior art search, can give the inventor an idea of what the prior art... Continue Reading

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Boldly Going Where no Fanfic has Gone Before

Fanfiction refers to the art of creating fiction using another author’s characters or universe.  I was first introduced to the concept in high school, when a friend began writing Harry Potter fanfiction.  (Side note: this is not one of those situations where the “friend” is actually me.)  My friend used the same well-known characters—Harry, Hermione,... Continue Reading

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Santa Goes to the Trademark Office

This is Fashion Santa. Or at least it was until recently. Fashion Santa is a role that originated with model, Paul Mason and Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall in 2014. He promoted the mall and a successful charitable giving campaign. Mason continued as Fashion Santa during the 2015 holiday season, and became somewhat of a social media sensation.  But... Continue Reading

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Such a Nasty Trademark

After the last presidential debate, the Republican nominee’s “such a nasty woman” utterance led to somewhat of a rallying cry.  Within minutes, #Nastywoman was trending across social media, and streaming of Janet Jackson’s “Nasty” spiked 250% on Spotify. While many debated the societal and political implications of the comment, a few enterprising individuals recognized a... Continue Reading

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