Intellectual Property



Above the Fold

The increasingly scrutinized area of advertising and marketing has a wealth of legal hurdles. When creating content, advertising professionals and companies often find themselves in hot water with various regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission. In this blog, our team of seasoned media and trademark attorneys address emerging trends and issues in this complex area.
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Art Law

Attorneys Daniel Schnapp, Lisa Karczewski and John Wait cover issues relating to art litigation and finance, specifically art recovery, art preservation, art as collateral and valuation of art. They also discuss recent trends in the art market.
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IP Spotlight Blog

Intellectual property is often the lifeblood of a company. As an experienced IP and registered patent attorney, Jim Singer keeps you up-to-date with the legal and business aspects of intellectual property and other intangible assets on his IP Spotlight blog. Covering topics such as licensing, due diligence, acquisition, compliance and risk management associated with patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, IP Spotlight provides insight, commentary and tips regarding recent legislation and developments in the industry.
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Recent Blog Posts

  • Fake Painting Sold For £8.4 Million Raises Concern Of More High Value Forgeries In The Art Market In recent art world news, a painting recently sold by Sotheby’s for £8.4 million ($10.6 million) has been determined a fake causing concern that more high value forgeries exist in the art market.  In 2011, an anonymous buyer from the United States purchased the painting by Dutch artist Frans Hals.  Sotheby’s took back the painting after it was discovered by the auction house that the work was connected to another alleged fake. The scandal dates back to this past March when... More
  • Charities Enforce Trademarks Too Trademark infringement disputes are not limited to those between for-profit companies.  Indeed, charities also own trademarks and they can and do enforce their trademarks against other organizations (charitable or not) through cease and desist letters, lawsuits, etc. Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo Case in point:  Last week, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (“MADD”), a non-profit founded in 1980, sued the founders of a relatively new charity, Mothers Of Drunk Drivers (“MODD”), for trademark infringement and dilution of MADD’s trademarks and service marks.  MADD’s complaint,... More
  • Federal Circuit invalidates three software patents; Judge Mayer calls for ban on all software patents In the past few months, the Federal Circuit reversed a two-year trend of overturning software patents by publishing three decisions that outlined various parameters in which software can be eligible for patenting.  In those decisions (described in previous IP Spotlight posts published here and here) the court cautioned that not all improvements in computer-related technology are inherently abstract.  It also said that when assessing patent-eligibility, one must be careful to not use patent-eligibility to invalidate a claim when the real issue with the claim is obviousness. A new opinion from... More
  • Is This Food “Healthy” — The Answer May Change Soon. The Food and Drug Administration recently invited public comment on an updated definition of what constitutes a “healthy” food.  An updated definition is not merely fodder for food policy gurus.  This will have a very real impact on advertisers and consumers alike because the new standard will set the stage for what brands will label and advertise as “healthy.” What is “healthy” under the current definition—which reflects decades old views on nutrition—may no longer be “healthy” after the FDA’s final determination. Perhaps that... More
  • Suit Alleges Met Picasso Was Sold Under Duress After German Businessman Fled Nazis The New York Times has reported that the estate of a German businessman has sued the Metropolitan Museum of Art last Friday to claim one of its valuable Picassos, “The Actor” (1904-05), alleging in the court filing that the museum does not hold title to the painting because the businessman was forced to sell the work for a low amount after fleeing the Nazis in the late 1930s.  The treasured oil on canvas depicts an attenuated male figure making hand... More
  • SCOTUS Will Not Hear Redskins’ Trademark Dispute Today the Supreme Court announced that it will not hear the Washington Redskins’ trademark dispute, despite the fact that the Supreme Court announced last week that it will hear the related trademark dispute involving the rock band, The Slants.  As referenced in an earlier blog post, the Washington Redskins filed a request last spring asking the Supreme Court to hear its case even though the case is currently pending before the Fourth Circuit.  Although the Supreme Court rejected the Redskins’ request,... More
  • Step Carefully To Avoid Fraud in Trademark Land It makes complete sense that a brand owner shouldn’t be able to lie to the Trademark Office when it tried to register its brand name as a trademark. Let there be consequences for making false statements! But it is not always that easy to avoid the fraud cow pie. For example, when you file an application to register a trademark you are supposed to list the goods and/or services associated with that trademark. Cow pie alert! In 2002, a medical device company... More
  • Two Stolen Van Goghs Recovered The New York Times has reported that two van Gogh paintings that were stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 2002 have been recovered in Italy. According to the article, the paintings were recovered as part of an ongoing investigation into organized crime by Italian authorities. Specifically the Italian authorities were investigating the Amato Pagano clan of the Camorra Mafia family, which is allegedly associated with international cocaine trafficking. The works in question, “Seascape at Scheveningen” (1882) and “Congregation Leaving... More
  • What Happens When a Company Makes Unsubstantiated Claims? One likely result is that companies will get sued by its competitors. Such a lawsuit will cost money to defend, cause a distraction to the company, and has the potential to embarrass the company with consumers. Another potential result is more troubling – an enforcement action by the FTC. Such actions, like competitor lawsuits, are expensive to defend, cause distraction, and have the added problem of communicating to consumers that the government thinks the company is making false statements. A recent FTC... More
  • SCOTUS Will Hear The Slants’ Trademark Dispute Copyright: bakelyt / 123RF Stock Photo This morning, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to hear the trademark dispute involving the rock band, The Slants.  The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) previously denied The Slants’ trademark registration on the basis of section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which prohibits the registration of disparaging trademarks.  In 2015, the Federal Circuit held that section 2(a) is itself an unconstitutional restriction on the right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. ... More
  • Back That Ad Up The FTC has long required that if an advertiser makes a specific, verifiable claim, the advertiser needs to have adequate substantiation for the claim before it is made. One of the more interesting and recognizable examples of this rule came on December 1, 2015, when the FTC announced a proposed settlement with Tommie Copper for its claims that its products—copper-infused compression clothing—relieve pain.  Tommie Copper’s advertisements claimed that its copper-infused compression clothing provides pain relief from a number of conditions.  In... More
  • Is a Sale Always a Sale? It says “sale,” but is it a bargain?  According to a number of class action lawsuits filed in recent years, the answer is no. The situation is this:  You go to the store.  You see a nifty looking widget and HOLY BUCKETS it is 50% off!  But are you really getting a deal?  If the store is following the law, you are…but a recent series of putative class action lawsuits have alleged that the deal might be no deal at all. The... More
  • New IRS Revenue Procedure Provides Tax Benefits For Art Collectors Forbes recently published an informative online piece on a new IRS Revenue Procedure that makes the use of Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs) as a means for tax deferral more achievable for art and collectibles.  CRTs are generally used by those who are charitably minded and wish to sell a highly appreciated asset without having to pay a significant capital gains tax bill. If the appreciated art is sold unconditionally by an art collector, the art collector, of course, would be responsible... More
  • Dutch National Museum Attributes Questioned Work To Dutch Old Master In recent international art world news, it has been recently reported that the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has recently attributed a questioned work, “River Landscape With Figures” (1625-30), among other works, to the highly respected Dutch 17th-century artist, Hercules Segers.  The landscape painting had been attributed for many years to Segers, but it had been discredited in the 1970s by a leading Segers scholar who was uncertain of the authenticity of the work. New research has led the Dutch national museum to... More
  • Beware Deceptive Advertising Context, Not Just Content You’ve done your due diligence and you are sure that the content of your advertisement is accurate and fully substantiated with reliable data. All good, right? Not necessarily. It’s a good first step – but the FTC and advertising laws are not limited to content, they also require that the context and presentation of the advertisement not be misleading or deceptive. The FTC recently re-affirmed this rule in explaining its standards for so-called “native advertising.” Copyright: adiruch / 123RF Stock Photo Native advertising... More