In a 2-1 ruling last Wednesday, June 18, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) resolved an opposition proceeding in favor of five Native American plaintiffs who sought to cancel six trademark registrations that contain the word REDSKINS and are owned by Pro Football, Inc., the owners of the National Football League’s Washington, D.C. team.
Website owners are battling or quietly settling an increasing number of copyright infringement claims for images posted without permission. To avoid such claims, webmasters should be careful to make sure they have the proper permission from the copyright owner. Just because an image is on the Internet and easy to cut and paste from another website, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites does not mean it can be re-used without permission. Images are protected even if they do not display the symbol ©. Save yourself headaches and legal fees by first going through the proper channels to obtain the clearances you need to use others’ images. This article focuses on copyright issues but depending on how a photograph is used on your website, other permissions may be needed. For example, publicity rights laws may require that you obtain permission from the people in the photograph, and trademark laws may require permission from the owner of any logo or branding appearing in the photo.
Professional athletes spend considerable time working with sports equipment. Baseball players, for example, use different types of shoes, various protective equipment (such as helmets), devices to block the sun (such as bills of hats), and devices to otherwise improve performance (such as batting gloves to better grip a bat). In part because of the time they spend using such equipment, and the time they spend on a field or court in front of a large crowd, not to mention the impact equipment can have on their athletic careers, professional athletes can recognize the desire for improved equipment to meet a need and can envision such improvements. In at least a few situations, professional athletes have conceived of new ideas and have applied for and received patent protection for their inventions.
The Sports, Arts & Entertainment group at Foster Garvey provides full service legal representation on sports, entertainment and business matters, including handling transactions related to brand management, licensing, joint ventures, venture capital, private equity, technology, the Internet and new media.