When you Go! To court for Boldly trying to Go to Space: A Copyright Tale

Mashup’s of fictional stories is something that has become more and more relevant in the digital age. You can search for stories that discuss the D.C. Comic superheroes versus the Marvel Comic superheroes.  In an episode from the Golden-Globe winning show Parks and Rec in which Patton Oswalt guest starred, his character filibustered by giving his own Star Wars and Marvel cross over idea. Needless to say, we would all love for these types of epic universes to collide, but Copyright law stops that (for the most part) from happening without requisite permission. 

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The Murky Waters of Tattoo Ownership and Video Games

When you see a tattoo on someone’s body, you probably wonder what the significance of the tattoo is. Some people use tattoos to honor family members, like Lebron James’ portrait of his son on his forearm. Others get tribal tattoos, like Mike Tyson’s famous face tattoo. You might want to ask a person why they got their tattoo, but you would likely never ask: “Do you own the copyright to that tattoo?” 

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Samantha StanfillComment
“It’s how our decision along that path affect the whole that matters” – How a decision during production of Bandersnatch led Netflix to a Trademark Lawsuit

Netflix started out 2019 with a fresh Trademark lawsuit filed over their “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” film. The film has been a big hit as Netflix took advantage of the strong following their original series, Black Mirror, already had. Bandersnatch allows viewers to dictate the story line and ultimately decide the ending. There are several different choices that can be made throughout the film with the main character setting the scene early on in the movie, and coincidently for this lawsuit, by informing his father that a videogame he wants to create is based on a fictional “’Choose Your Own Adventure’ Book.” Unfortunately for Netflix, Choose Your Own Adventure books are very real, and the owners of the book series brought suit against Netflix for trademark infringement and dilution. 

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Susan FordComment
The Trademark Licensing Protection Act of 2018 Removing Impediments to the Franchisee – Franchisor Relationship

When you go to a Sonic in Portland, you have a certain expectation that the tater tots and frozen drinks are going to taste the same as they do in Atlanta. And you expect the Sonic employees’ uniforms to be the same in Dallas as they are in Orlando. These expectations for Sonic and all Sonic franchises can be traced back to Section 5 of the 1946 Lanham Act. 

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Susan FordComment
Collective Membership Marks: Trademark Protection for Clubs and Organizations

Collective membership marks are a lesser known species of protectable marks—they do not indicate commercial origin of goods or services, rather, their purpose is to "indicate that the user of the mark is a member of a particular organization." Think social clubs, or motorcycle “gangs.” Read about the recent Trademark Trial and Appeal Board case, Devil's Desciples v. Woodard.

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Jia FengRes Nova LawComment
Lessons from Dr. Dre About Drafting Settlement Agreements (and Other Contracts)


Last month, a California jury awarded $25 million in damages to Steven Lamar in his lawsuit against Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. Specifically, Lamar claimed that he brought the idea for celebrity-endorsed headphones to Dre and Iovine in 2006 and, pursuant to a later settlement agreement, that Lamar was entitled to over $100 in damages for unpaid royalties. Read more to learn how the jury decision came down, as well as takeaways about drafting settlement agreements.

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Portland Business Spotlight: Level 10 Group X

As sunny skies and warm weather set in, Res Nova Law shines our Portland Business Spotlight on fitness equipment and training company, Level 10 Products. Founded by Reggie Senegal, an entrepreneur who realized his passion for creating fitness products when he retired from a decorated and professional track running career, Level 10 rises with its new flagship product: the Octofit.

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Waymo v. Uber: Patrolling the Line Between Patents and Trade Secrets

Wise businesses will carefully patrol the line between patents and trade secrets, which is not always an easy task. While disclosing more information helps strengthen a patent, you lose trade secret protection by making that information public. On the other hand, if you can hold back key technology, you might gain perpetual trade secret protection. A recent California case, Waymo v. Uber, highlights this very tension.

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