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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

  • It’s December 1: time to update your DMCA agent designation 14240670 – copyright If you operate a website that accepts user-generated content, it’s time to contact the Copyright Office. Many online service providers (OSPs) accept user-generated content. Examples include e-commerce websites that accept product reviews, news sites that publish user comments on posted articles, social media sites that permit users to share photos or videos, and even blogs who post comments from other users. It can be very difficult for an OSP to determine whether user-generated content was created by the user who posted it, or whether... More
  • What’s in a Name? Not a Trademark Registration, At Least Christopher P. Beall writes: Although a rose “by any other name would smell as sweet,” (Romeo & Juliet, Act II, sc. 2, ln 48), there just aren’t any trademark registrations to be had in a person’s name, at least not without the person’s written consent.  So the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently reminded a trademark applicant who had applied for a trademark registration for the mark “LOVE TRUMPS HATE,” in connection with clothing. Copyright: silvia / 123RF Stock Photo In an Office... More
  • Disparaging Trademark Dispute Heats Up Before Supreme Court The ongoing battle before the United States Supreme Court regarding the ability to register disparaging trademarks, prior details of which can be found in earlier blog posts here, here, and here, is heating up with a recent flurry of amicus brief filings. Earlier this month, the USPTO filed its opening brief in the case involving the rock band The Slants pending before the Supreme Court, urging the Court to uphold section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, the section that bans the... More
  • Ripe For Deception No More: FTC Signals Intent To Crack Down on Efficacy Claims for OTC Homeopathic Products Ever been skeptical of symptom relief claims made by medicine made of things like crushed bees or poison ivy?  It seems you are not alone–the FTC is skeptical too, and a recent FTC announcement may leave marketers scrambling to change the claims made on homeopathic drugs. Homeopathy, dating to the 1700s, is based on the theory that disease symptoms can be treated by minute doses of substances that produce similar symptoms when provided in larger doses to healthy people.  While many people believe in... More
  • Monet Painting Sets Sales Record at $81.4 Million After a 14-minute bidding war, Claude Monet’s 1891 painting “Meule” sold for a record $81.4 million.  “Meule” was among the offerings at Christie’s Impressionist and modern art auction held on Wednesday evening, which brought in a total of $246.3 million. According to a Bloomberg report, Christie’s also set an auction record for Wassily Kandinsky whose 1935 abstract composition “Rigide et courbe” fetched $23.3 million. Christie’s successful auction comes after dampened expectations for this week—Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips are targeting at least $1... More
  • Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts The Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia is an organization dedicated to strengthening Philadelphia arts, culture, and for-profit creative businesses, by connecting the creative sector with the business, legal and technology communities. One of the ways it fulfills its mission is through the Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts program, which provides pro-bono and low cost legal assistance, educational programs and business counseling to artists, arts organizations, culture and heritage organizations, collectives, makers, inventors and startups in an effort to... More
  • Marijuana Will Soon be Legal in Half of the United States But Not Trademarkland This week eight of the nine states voting on the issue said yes to cannabis decriminalization but the USPTO continues to say no. Trademarkland takes a hard line against drugs, refusing to register any trademarks linked to cannabis. If anything, it has gotten even stricter on this issue over time. The law animating the USPTO, the federal Lanham Act, bars the registration of trademarks that are connected to “unlawful” uses. While the USPTO seemed to invite companies to apply to register these types of trademarks... More
  • Museum Shows Impact Market Value of Art The New York Times recently reported that gallery owners and collectors alike are recognizing the link between the art market and museum exhibitions.  According to one art consultant:  “A museum show can be very influential for an artist.  It changes the price point, the popularity, the awareness a person has for an artist.” For current owners, loaning artworks to a museum may increase its value, but is not without its risks—including potential damage, seizure and insurance issues.  And, for those looking... More
  • Lessons in Confidentiality: Hoffman v. L&M Arts, et al. The National Law Review recently summarized key lessons gleaned from Hoffman v. L&M Arts, et al., No. 15-10046 (5th Cir. Sept. 28, 2016), regarding the drafting and construction of confidentiality provisions for the sale of artwork. Hoffman involved a claim for breach of a confidentiality provision in a Letter Agreement between Marguerite Hoffman, a wealthy art collector seeking to sell her “Untitled” 1961 Mark Rothko oil painting, and L&M Arts, a broker which was acting as an intermediary between Hoffman and... More
  • The U.S. Olympic Committee’s Unique Ability to Enforce Its Trademarks The U.S. Olympic Committee, like many other major sports organizations, does not shy away from enforcing its trademarks. In addition to enforcing use of the words “Olympic,” “Olympics,” and “Olympiad” and any use of the interlocking rings logo, the Olympic Committee also enforces the use of names and years in the particular convention used by the Olympics (e.g. “Sochi2014” or “Rio2016”).  For example, last year the Olympic Committee sued an individual who had registered 177 websites using the Olympic Committee’s naming convention.  In addition, the... More
  • City of London Makes Investment in the Arts Support of living artists can be rare. Everyone knows the cliché “starving artist.” However, things are about to change across the pond.  Last week, London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, announced a new program designed to fund artist’s studio space through the financing of a special trust.  The trust known as the Creative Land Trust has been established through public and private dollars to keep artistic talent in the city of London and to avoid artist flight due to astronomical housing costs. Somerset House Studio,... More
  • Prominent New York City Art Gallerist Accuses Actor Of Fraud By Failing To Pay Sales Tax In Disputed Art Transaction In recent New York art world news, a dispute between actor Alec Baldwin and art gallerist Mary Boone has taken a new twist with the filing of a motion in New York State Supreme Court by Ms. Boone’s attorneys accusing Mr. Baldwin of committing fraud by failing to pay sales tax on a painting he had purchased from her in 2010. The filing comes on the heels of a lawsuit brought by Mr. Baldwin against Ms. Boone over a month earlier... More
  • CARS Describe Not Just Automobiles? USPTO Cancels Applicant’s Registration of Automobile Data Collection Software The word “cars” is a synonym for “automobiles” (go figure!). But in the field of “software for capturing road data and determining safe curve speeds for automobiles, as well as hardware for capturing telemetry and road data,” the word “cars” as a trademark impermissibly describes the goods and services in that field, according to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The Board recently affirmed a Trademark Examining Attorney’s refusal to register the... More
  • White House urges restrictions on non-compete agreements This week the Obama administration issued a “call to action” statement in which it urged state governments to restrict many of the non-compete agreements that employers often impose on employees. The statement calls on state legislatures to adopt certain “best practices” for regulating employee non-compete agreements, including: banning non-compete clauses for certain categories of workers, such as workers under a certain wage threshold, workers in certain occupations that promote public health and safety, and workers who are unlikely to possess trade secrets; refusing... More
  • Will your patent assignment document satisfy new European Patent Office requirements? Effective November 1, 2016, new European Patent Office (EPO) Examination Guidelines governing the transfer of European patent applications will take effect. The new Guidelines make two changes that transacting parties need to know: the assignment document must include the signatures of both parties (i.e., assignor and assignee); and the assignment document must include the precise job title of each person who signs the document. In the past, it was common for a patent holder to execute an assignment in favor of an assignee, without the assignee signing the document. Under... More