Text of SDNY Decision in Knight Institute v Trump (Twitter Blocking Case)

Plaintiff Knight Institute’s summary of issues in lawsuit:

The Knight First Amendment Institute filed suit in the Southern District of New York contending that President Trump and his communications team violated the First Amendment by blocking seven people from the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account because they criticized the president or his policies.

The suit argues that the @realDonaldTrump account is a “public forum” under the First Amendment, meaning that the government cannot exclude people from it simply because of their views. It also argues that the White House is violating the seven individual plaintiffs’ First Amendment right to petition their government for redress of grievances. Finally, the lawsuit argues that by altering the @realDonaldTrump public forum, it is violating the rights of people who have not been blocked — such as the Knight Institute, another plaintiff in the case — who must now participate in a forum that has been purged of many critical voices. 

At summary judgment, Judge Buchwald ruled that the president violated the First Amendment by blocking access to the @realdonaldtrump Twitter to several of plaintiffs, based on their  political views.


Demand Letter and Response re Author of Trump’s “Art of the Deal”

Trump lawyer Jason Greenblatt threatens Tony Schwartz, (credited) author of “The Art of the Deal” and author’s lawyer, Elizabeth McNamara’s response. Background here.



herhsey senate


8th Cir: Fortis v Warner Bros (CLEAN SLATE)

Justia.com Opinion Summary: Fortres develops and sells a desktop management program called “Clean Slate” and holds a federally-registered trademark for use of that name to identify “[c]omputer software used to protect public access computers by scouring the computer drive back to its original configuration upon reboot.” When Warner Bros. Entertainment used the words “the clean slate” to describe a hacking program in the movie, The Dark Knight Rises, Fortres experienced a precipitous drop in sales of its software. Fortres sued, alleging that the use of the words “clean slate” in reference to the software in its movie infringed its trademark in violation of Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1114, 1125, and Indiana unfair competition law. The district court dismissed, reasoning that Fortres had not alleged a plausible theory of consumer confusion, upon which all of its claims depend, and that Warner Bros.’ use of the words “the clean slate” was protected by the First Amendment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed without reaching the constitutional question. Juxtaposed against the weakness of all the other relevant factors, the similarity of the marks is not enough to establish confusion. Trademark law protects the source-denoting function of words used in conjunction with goods and services, not the words themselves.

43(b)log discussion here

fortis grand v wb _clean slate_


Join Us To Celebrate The San Francisco 49er’s Lawsuit ($10 cover, 2 drink minimum)

49ers logo

This is interesting for a bunch of reasons. The San Francisco Forty-Niners sue a nightclub near its stadium, that promotes events that refer to the Niners or its players. See Exhibits Q, R and S in the second document below for ads the club distributes to promote, for example, birthday parties ‘in honor of’ specific Niner players, with photos of the player wearing his Niner uniform. Of particular interest is the Niners’ invocation of its unusual 3-D trademark registrations in its uniforms (see Exhibit J through M).

One fact that isn’t clear (to me) from the pleading is whether the nightclub had the consent of the player whose birthday it was allegedly celebrating. And its not clear if the players showed up for their party.

There was a recent case that stands for the proposition that you can’t end-run a false endorsement cause by claiming that you were exercising your First Amendment rights by ‘foisting’ some kinds words on the celebrity (Michael Jordan prevailed against a drugstore that ‘congratulated’ him on being inducted into the Hall of Fame (in a full-page ad that featured all sort of MJ indicia)). So if the players didn’t authorize, there may be an action there as well.

p.s. There’s also a straight-forward copyright claim, as the nightclub appears to have used Niner photographs without authorization.

49ers v motif.pdf

49er exhibits.pdf


North Korea is Best Korea

Last night I took the family to see ’22 Jump Street’ (“Mindless fun” says The Trademark Blog. “Could have been a lot worse”) and we saw the trailer (above) for “The Interview,” a Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy scheduled for release this fall. The movie appears to be about an attempt to assassinate Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea.

Apparently, North Korea isn’t into the whole ‘bro-mance’ genre and has threatened ‘stern’ and ‘merciless’ retaliation.

Now, the plot device of an attempt to assassinate a recognizable individual seems to be quite common. Personally, I recommend (the original) “The Day of the Jackal“, about an attempt to assassinate Charles de Gaulle.

On the other hand, nations may get touchy about statements that can be perceived as advocating the assassination of their head of state.

The movie hasn’t been released so we don’t know what it says precisely. So we will have to wait and see.

There’s no such thing as bad publicity.


Text of Supreme Court decision in FCC v Fox (Fleeting Expletive)

2d Circuit reversed. FCC procedure followed but Court kicks it back to 2d Circuit to determine constitutionality.
Decision Fcc Expletive


That Was Quick

Available here. Yes, the logo is subject of application 77183101.
and the url has been taken. HT to GC.


"RIAA Decries Attorney-Blogger as 'Vexatious' Litigator

Wired.com: “RIAA Decries Attorney-Blogger as ‘Vexatious’ Litigator“:

The Recording Industry Association of America is declaring attorney-blogger Ray Beckerman a “vexatious” litigator and is seeking unspecified monetary sanctions to punish him in his defense of a New York woman accused of making copyrighted music available on the Kazaa file sharing system.

French décrier, from Old French decrier, from de- + crier to cry
1 : to depreciate (as a coin) officially or publicly
2 : to express strong disapproval of


Obama Suit Against "Lose Your House, Lose Your Vote" Scheme

Not IP but interesting. A Michigan Republican allegedly says to a newspaper that Republicans will challenge voters based on foreclosure lists. The paper prints it, the Republican demands a retraction, the paper refuses, the Obama campaign brings a suit requesting an injunction against a ‘lose your house, lose your vote campaign.’ Ripeness issues?

Read this document on Scribd: Complaint Lose Your House