Congratulations to Firm Partners, Jennie Malloy, Peter Matos, Oliver Ruiz, and John Cyril Malloy III on being named to this year’s list of SuperLawyers, and to Firm Senior Associate, W. John Eagan, on being named a Rising Star. Of note, Mr. Matos, Mr. Malloy, and Ms. Malloy, have been named Super Lawyers for more than ten years. Relying on a patented process of nominations, research, peer evaluation, and final selection of less than 5% of all attorneys, this Thompson-Reuters company produces one of the more reliable attorney rankings available.
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Israeli writer, Ehud Yonay, authored an article in 1983 which inspired the 1986 movie “Top Gun” starring Tom Cruise. In 2018, the Yonays sent Paramount a statutory notice of termination under the Copyright Act, making them the sole owners of the US copyright for the story in 2020. In doing this, the Yonay’s invoked an aspect of the law that allows artists to reclaim transferred copyrights 35 years later. Upon the release of the new “Top Gun: Maverick” movie just last month, Yonay’s family commenced a lawsuit in California alleging that Paramount’s response to their May cease-and-desist letter was a “total denial of the fact that its 2022 sequel was obviously derivative of” Ehud Yonay’s story. Throughout the lawsuit, Paramount has claimed, however, that the “Top Gun: Maverick” movie had been “sufficiently completed” before the effective termination date of its copyrights. The Yonays are alleging that Paramount infringed on their copyright, in addition to seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The case is Yonay v. Paramount Pictures Corp., 22-cv-03846, US District Court, District of Central California (Los Angeles).
In a recently filed trademark infringement lawsuit, the Seattle Space Needle asserts that the Local Coffee Spot is infringing upon its trademarked logo (comparisons shown below). Embedded within that trademark lawsuit is another dispute as to whether the Local Coffee Spot was willing to re-brand. While the Seattle Space Needle claims that the Local Coffee Spot did not meaningfully respond to pre-suit demands, the Local Coffee Spot contends that it was willing to engage in next steps to work together regarding graphic design and logo changes (but never heard back from the Space Needle). The lawsuit is styled Space Needle, LLC v. NRBM LLC, Case No. 22-cv-00708.
The American rapper Kendrick Lamar recently released a music video entitled “The Heart Part 5”. In the video, Lamar transforms into celebrities, including Will Smith and Kobe Bryant, using deepfakes. Deepfakes employ “deep learning” technology to create fake videos and images of people. However, there are no copyright laws specifically addressing the use of deepfakes. Instead, deepfakes arguably fall under the “fair use” exception to copyright infringement. Accordingly, the celebrities who seemingly appear in the video may not have legal recourse under copyright law.
Delhi High Court Views a Competitor’s Use of a Registered Trademark in a Google AdWord as Trademark Infringement
The case M/S DRS Logistics Pvt. Ltd and Anr. v. Google India Pvt Ltd and Ors is the latest addition to the more than 50 lawsuits that have been filed against Google AdWords internationally over the past ten years. India’s Delhi High Court made a preliminary ruling that use of a competitor’s registered trademark as a keyword in Ads creates confusion in the minds of consumers, and thus violates the rights of the trademark owner. Moreover, the Court found that invisible use of a trademark can result in trademark infringement. However , the Court ultimately set aside the interim injunction against Google and instead ordered an investigation into the matter. Nevertheless, this case showcases another nation’s interpretation of the trademark “use” requirement and lends support for trademark owners’ rights in Google AdWords disputes.