Meredith Frank Mendez
Ms. Mendez earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, with honors, and her law degree from the University of Florida, with honors. She is Board Certified as an Expert in Intellectual Property Law and concentrates her practice in Intellectual Property Litigation, Trademark Prosecution, Copyright Law and Entertainment Law. She is a member of the Florida Bar and is licensed to practice in the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Florida. Ms. Mendez is also Co-Chair of the Attorney's Network of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and a member of the International Trademark Association, the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section of the Florida Bar, and LegalArt.
Intellectual property issues have becoming increasingly present during presidential elections as candidates frequently use music, phrases and even fictional characters in their campaigns. This presidential election is no different.
lululemon, the popular designer of yoga clothing has filed a Complaint in federal court in Delaware against Calvin Klein alleging that Calvin Klein is selling pants that infringe three design patents owned by lululemon. The design patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are for pants with a waistband featuring overlapping panels of fabric.
Timelines Inc., a Chicago-based company filed a lawsuit against Facebook for trademark infringement based on Facebook’s much-hyped and anticipated Timeline, which is a new profile touted by Facebook as “"the story of your life.” Timelines Inc. operates the www.timelines.com website, which allows users to record and share personal or historic events, and contribute descriptions, links, photos and videos related to those events, people, etc. In its Complaint, Timelines alleges that it has been using the “TIMELINE” mark since 2008 and is the owner of two federal trademark registrations for “TIMELINE” and claims that Facebook’s Timeline could eliminate” its entire business.” Timelines has its own Facebook page and alleges that Facebook is redirecting visitors to Facebook’s own Timeline page and away from Timeline’s Facebook page. The lawsuit seeks damages and a temporary restraining order to prevent itself from "being rolled over and quite possibly eliminated by... the world's largest and most powerful social media company." Facebook’s Timeline is scheduled to go live any day to Facebook’s 750 million users.>
Paris-based footwear designer Christian Louboutin was denied a preliminary injunction to prevent famed-fashion house Yves Saint Laurent from selling shoes with red soles similar to Louboutin's. In April, Louboutin filed a federal lawsuit for trademark infringement against Yves Saint Laurent in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York claiming that YSL infringed Louboutin's signature red soles.
After a year of negotiations with fashion industry members, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has introduced the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act which would extend copyright protection to design of apparel, footwear, and accessories and protect such works from being copied and reproduced. To qualify for protection under the proposed Act, the design must be "a unique, distinguishable, non-trivial and non-utilitarian variation over prior designs" and the copy must be "substantially identical" to the original so as to be mistaken for it. The design need not be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. The proposed Act provides an exception for home sewers who will be permitted to copy a protected design for personal use or the use of a family member. If passed, the Bill would provide protection to new and original designs for three years after they were first introduced to the market.
To view the proposed Bill, click here.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has prevailed in its copyright infringement lawsuit against LimeWire, one of the largest remaining commercial peer-to-peer services. The Court ruled that LimeWire was liable for copyright infringement because its users commit a "substantial amount of copyright infringement" and the company behind the software "has not taken meaningful steps to mitigate infringement."
RIAA has alleged that at least 93 percent of LimeWire’s file sharing traffic was unauthorized copyrighted material. The RIAA is seeking up to $150,000 per violation, although the final damages have not yet been determined.
As the New Orleans Saints get ready to take the field in their first SuperBowl on February 6th in Miami, the game is not the only battle that has the Who Dat Nation talking. The National Football League, who claims to be the owner of the "Who Dat" phrase, has sent cease and desist letters to retailers, including mom and pop shops, who are selling merchandise with the "Who Dat" phrase. The NFL claims that such sales would cause confusion among Saints fans about whether such merchandise is officially licensed by the NFL.
However, the ownership of the "Who Dat" phrase may not be so clear cut. Sal and Steve Monistere, who recorded a version of "When the Saints Go Marching In" in the early eighties incorporating the "Who Dat" chant, claim that they are the owners of the phrase.
Florida-based independent blues label Blues Destiny Records, LLC has filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida against Microsoft and Google, and the German file sharing service Rapidshare. Blues Destiny alleges that Microsoft and Google are liable for contributory and vicarious copyright infringement due to the search functions of Google and Microsoft's Bing, which allow users to search for artist names and album titles and locate websites featuring illegal downloads of Blues Destiny's copyrighted works that are hosted by Rapidshare.
To view the Amended Complaint, click here.
The French fashion house, Balenciaga Corp. has sued New York shoe company, Steve Madden Ltd. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York claiming infringment of its trade dress and copyrights for manufacturing and selling knockoffs of its "Lego" shoe. Interestingly, "LEGO" is a registered trademark of Lego Juris A/S/ Corp.