Judge Posner awards fees against the Conan Doyle Estate. Special word search game: find the words ‘violate the antitrust laws’ in this decision.
Bonus reference to the Happy Birthday copyright scheme, uh, dispute.
Narrator of ‘Honey Badger Don’t Care’ video, registers the phrase, and sues t-shirt company.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority operates the Garden State Parkway. It owns a federal registration for its logo. There are rest stops on the Garden State, and people stop there and eat pizza. Defendant has two pizza restaurants in Florida, and aspires to be a franchisor for Jersey-themed restaurants. It uses a logo apparently based on the Garden State Parkway logo.
Which cheap joke should we go for: Someone is in one of Defendant’s restaurants and thinks “wow, how did I find myself in a rest area on the Garden State Parkway?” or “Why would Defendant think that rest areas on the Garden State Parkway was an association worth evoking?”
[click here for rimshot] Chicago Cubs sue guy who wears Cub mascot costume, who allegedly hit a fan.
Largest Filer of Trademarks in U.S. Accused Of Fabricating Documents Relating To Trademark Priority in Civil Suit
The largest filer of trademarks in the United States is Raj Abhyanker PC. It is my understanding that Raj Abhyanker is the principal behind Trademarkia, the search database. I’m not quite clear as to the relationship between Trademarkia, and his law firm, which appears to do business under the name LEGAL FORCE. The two entities seem to co-market under the Twitter handle LF FORCE.
Mr. Abhyanker is involved in two lawsuits in the ND Cal with the company, Nextdoor Inc. Nextdoor accuses Mr. Abhankyer of various torts including cybersquatting, and Abhankyer accuses Nextdoor and co-defendants of, inter alia, theft of trade secret, in 3:12-cv-056670EMC. A summary judgement decision below summarizes some of the story. Mr. Abhankyer accuses Nextdoor of patent infringement in Fatdoor v Nextdoor, 5:2014cv02335.
Law360 now reports that Abhankyer’s attorneys (who were associated with Legal Force) moved to withdraw. The hearing was in camera, but the article notes that Nextdoor has alleged that Abhankyer has proffered fabricated evidence with regard to his alleged priority in the NEXTDOOR trademark. Its allegations are in the second document embedded below, page ten of its ‘opposition to motion.’ Mr. Abhankyer’s responses, characterized in the Law360 article, are contained in docket numbers 251 and 255 on Pacer.
The attorneys’ motion to withdraw was granted (which is not a reflection on the veracity of any allegations they may have made, other than that they can no longer function effectively as Mr. Abhankyer’s representatives.
This is a complex case, with 277 documents in the record less than two years in. We recommend looking at the original court documents before coming to any conclusions.
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.
Discussion in CD Cal of multi-factor test for forum non conveniens. New Jersey and Swiss plaintiffs, Virginia defendant, no indispensable non-party witnesses in CD Cal, so transfer to ED Va. Raffi Zerounian, John Welch and I represented defendant Belmora.