IP/Internet Transactions

CDAS Client Alert: Federal Trade Secrets Law Provides Potent New Tool For Businesses In Online & Digital Media Space

Yesterday President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”), the culmination of several years of bipartisan efforts to federalize trade secret protection, placing it alongside the federal copyright, trademark, and patent statutes.  The DTSA – an extension of the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 – should be significant, generally, to businesses concerned about protecting competitively sensitive information from misappropriation by former employees, industrial spies, and foreign nationals.  It should prove particularly useful to those in the online and digital media space as an important tool in the prevention and remedying of the theft of software-based products.  The DTSA has strong support from the software industry, including from Microsoft, IBM, Adobe, Micron, and the Software Information Industry Association.  Here are three key takeaways from the passage of the DTSA:

Continue reading

CDAS Attorneys Appointed to 2016-2017 INTA Committees

Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams and Sheppard LLP Partner, Eleanor M. Lackman, and Associate, Joshua Wolkoff, have been appointed to International Trademark Association (INTA) committees for the 2016-17 term.

Ms. Lackman will serve on the International Amicus Committee. The committee provides expertise concerning trademark and other IP-related laws to courts and trademark offices around the world through the submission of amicus curiae  briefs or similar filings.

Mr. Wolkoff will serve on the Young Practitioners Committee. The committee develops services and programs specifically designed for young practitioners who wish to advance their careers in the trademark field.

Copyright Trumps Right of Publicity – Permitting Display and Download of Basketball Photographs (Maloney v. T3Media, Inc.)

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Maloney v. T3Media, Inc. recently held that state right-of-publicity claims brought by former college basketball players complaining of photographs licensed of their likenesses without consent warranted dismissal with prejudice pursuant to California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which prohibits suits aimed at inhibiting free expression.  Members of the 2001 NCAA Division III champion Catholic University basketball team sued T3Media, a cloud storage, hosting, and digital licensing service, alleging violations of their rights of publicity when photographs of the players from the NCAA championship were displayed and made available for licensing on T3Media’s website.

Continue reading

Fan, Foe or Free-Rider: CDAS Defeats Cybersquatter that Sought to Capitalize on Celebrity Client’s Famous Name

Case Highlights Benefits of Trademark Protection and Potential Risks in Posing as a Fan Online

A growing and unsettling trend in the legal field of domain name disputes is the prevalence of domain registration for bad faith purposes, such as to bait the public into thinking that there is an association between a website operator and a famous brand or person.  Recently, Cowan DeBaets Abraham & Sheppard LLP (“CDAS”) brought a complaint under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP” or “The Policy”) which demonstrated the potential pitfalls of this trend. In Sofia Vergara v. Domain Administrator, Fundacion Private Whois / Domain Admin, Whois Privacy Corp. / Guy Bouchard, WIPO Case No. D2014-2008, Sofia Vergara (“Ms. Vergara”), represented by CDAS, prevailed before the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) Arbitration and Mediation Center, due to the demonstrated bad faith conduct of Fundacion Private Whois / Domain Admin, Whois Privacy Corp. / Guy Bouchard (collectively, Respondent) in their registration of the domain name www.sofiavergara.org (the “Domain Name”).

Continue reading

Newly Announced CDAS Partner Doug Jacobs Featured on Broadcasting & Cable

Following today’s earlier announcement that Former General Counsel of A&E, Doug Jacobs, was joining the firm as a Partner, Mr. Jacobs had an opportunity to speak with Jon Lafayette, Business Editor at Broadcasting & Cable, about the transition. Mr. Jacobs touched upon the current state of the Television Business, as well as the future of the business as it relates to new technology and developments.

You can find the full article here.

Shifting Injunction Standards in Copyright, Trademark Cases

Note: This blog is cross-posted from Law360.com with permission from Portfolio Media, Inc.

For decades, obtaining an injunction in a copyright or trademark case was simple: Show success on the merits (or likely success on the merits, at the preliminary injunction stage), and injunctive relief was usually automatically yours. Then, in 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in a patent case called eBay Inc. v. MercExchange LLC, which upended the standard for obtaining injunctive relief in patent cases. Around 2010, appellate courts began to apply eBay to copyright cases; the past few months have seen the first instances of appellate courts’ application of eBay to cases under the Lanham Act.

Continue reading

CDAS Partner Nancy Wolff’s Webinar Available Online

Recently, CDAS Partner Nancy Wolff hosted a webinar for the Digital Media Licensing Association which answered common questions about when you need releases when using visual images. The webinar is now available online for free, and is a useful resource for anyone publishing or displaying still or motion images and wondering whether permissions are needed from the subjects or property owners depicted in the content. The webinar footage can be found here.

Toto Can’t “Hold the Line”: Sony Prevails in Digital Royalty Dispute with Classic Rockers

Toto, Inc. v. Sony Music Entertainment, No. 12-cv-1434 (RJS) (S.D.N.Y. 2014)

A New York federal judge recently ruled in favor of Sony Music Entertainment (“SME”) in the latest dispute over the proper characterization of artist royalties on digital music sales, dismissing a breach of contract claim brought by rock group Toto (best known for the hits “Africa” and “Rosanna”). Ever since the Ninth Circuit’s 2010 decision in favor of Eminem’s former production company in FBT Productions LLC v. Aftermath Records, artists such as Toto – whose recording contracts predated digital music sales – have taken to the courts arguing that they were underpaid on digital record royalties. Toto’s claims, like FBT’s and many other plaintiffs’ claims, focus on whether, under recording contracts, digital purchases are “sales” as opposed to higher-paying “licenses” or “leases.” Continue reading

Getting a Handle on the New Generic Top-Level Domains: Strategies for Brand Protection in the Era of New gTLDs

After years of intense discussion and debate, the new generic top-level domain names (known as gTLDs) are here.  And they have been popular:  when .club went live on May 7, 2014, over 32,000 domain names ending in .club sold in the first 24 hours, and nearly 30,000 more were sold over the next three weeks.

Whether these new names will have any staying power remains to be seen, but what is clear is that the new gTLDs can create new challenges for brand owners, and new solutions for cybersquatting problems are being put to the test.  This post will provide an overview and update on the new gTLDs and discuss ways in which brand owners can approach and manage rights enforcement as new domains continue to roll out. Continue reading

CDAS Partner Eleanor M. Lackman Ranked as Leading Lawyer in Chambers 2014 USA Guide

Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard LLP is pleased to announce that partner Eleanor M. Lackman was recognized by the prestigious and client-focused Chambers as among just 41 New York lawyers ranked as a “Leading Individual” in the field of “Intellectual Property: Trade Mark and Copyright” in the 2014 edition of Chambers’ Leading Lawyers for Business guide. Continue reading