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Keep it Legal Blog

San Diego Comic-Con Panel Preview

San Diego Comic-Con Panel Preview For the 5th year in a row, I will have the opportunity to participate in a panel during the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con (or, if you insist, Comic-Con International). The panel will be moderated, as always, by Michael Lovitz, and the panelists will include David Branfman and Professor Marc Greenberg. Please join us on Saturday, July 14, 2012 from 10:30am to noon in Room 11AB.

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SUPER HEROES: Marvel & DC’s Joint Trademark

SUPER HEROES: Marvel & DC’s Joint Trademark   In 2006, Dan Taylor, the creator of the critically acclaimed Super Hero Happy Hour comic, announced that he had to change the name of his comic. The reason behind the change? Taylor had received a cease and desist letter from trademark attorneys for both DC and Marvel Comics, claiming they jointly owned the trademark SUPER HEROES and any variations of the word.   It turns out that DC and Marvel own U.S. trademark registrations for the mark SUPER HEROES for toys (US Reg. No. 1140452 – Oct. 14, 1980) and comic books…

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Black Keys Sue Pizza Hut for Song Theft

Black Keys Sue Pizza Hut for Song Theft The Black Keys, a duo from the rock mecca of Akron, Ohio, have sued Pizza Hut for copyright infringement. The suit concerns this Pizza Hut commercial (warning: lousy audio), which allegedly contains portions of their single “Gold on the Ceiling.” Based on what I’ve been able to hear of the Pizza Hut commercial, it’s not entirely clear if the ‘Hut (people call it that, right?) uses the actual recording or if they just hired a band to make a reasonable facsimile of “Gold.” Either way, it’s probably not good news for Yum!…

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University of Alabama Sacked for a Trademark Loss

A significant trademark ruling came down on Monday in University of Ala. Bd of Trustees v. New Life, Inc. The case pitted the University of Alabama, a longtime college football powerhouse, against Daniel Moore, an artist who creates and sells paintings of famous ‘Bama football plays. The University claimed that these images, such as the one to the left of this paragraph, violated their trademark rights in the distinctive ‘Bama uniform and logo. Does an artist have the right to use trademarks in his works? And what are the broader implications of the ruling?

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