The Powley & Gibson Blog

Developments in Intellectual Property Law

Three Types of Intellectual Property Protection for Tangible Objects – Trade Dress, Copyright, and Design Patent

Suzanna M. M. Morales

A couple of recent court decisions have brought attention to the manner in which the design features of a tangible object can be protected under U.S. intellectual property law.

The Supreme Court, in Star-Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc. held in March that the design on a cheerleading uniform can be eligible for protection under U.S. copyright law.  Previous precedent made it difficult to obtain copyright protection in fashion because clothing is considered a “useful article” not valid for protection.

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Powley & Gibson Wins Favorable Summary Judgment Decision for Client Energy Intelligence Group

On January 24, 2017, Powley & Gibson, P.C. defeated a summary judgment motion brought by Kayne Anderson (“Kayne”) alleging that EIG is entitled to only one award of statutory damages per compiled annual volume of EIG’s publication and a partial summary judgment motion alleging that the statute of limitations limits EIG’s damages to infringement occurring three years prior to the filing of the complaint, while at the same time prevailing on summary judgment against all of Kayne’s affirmative defenses.

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Abandoning Your Trademark Rights, and What You Can Do to Avoid It

Suzanna M. M. Morales

On January 17, 2017, Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, announced that it is closing down the circus. According to a press release, the last performance of the Ringling Bros. circus will be May 7, 2017. Feld will continue to offer other shows such as Disney on Ice and Marvel Universe LIVE!.

Since its inception in 1871 under a different name, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus built up a valuable brand. Generations of circus goers (this author included) cherish childhood memories of lion tamers, tightrope walkers, and other death-defying feats, all orchestrated by a ringmaster in a top-hat and tails. Read More