Thursday, October 27, 2011

Recent Developments in Various Pending Trademark Cases

Back in the good ole days of 2009-2010 when I actually had time to blog, I posted about three particular lawsuits filed in the District of Nevada – each of which had significant developments this week (all reported on by VegasInc’s Steve Green).

Arrow Productions Ltd. v. V.C.X., Ltd. et al, Case No. 09-cv-00737 (D. Nev.) (previous blog post here)
The copyright and trademark dispute over “Deep Throat.” As reported by VegasInc., the parties reached a settlement whereby VCX agreed to stop selling “Deep Throat” (the copyright to which Arrow claimed) and Arrow agreed to stop selling “Debbie Does Dallas” (the copyright to which VCX claimed). As part of the court’s order and judgment (copy here), there are stipulated facts regarding the chain of title for the copyright to the film “Deep Throat” (including addressing the issue of how copies of the film were distributed without a copyright notice, and yet how that did not put the film in the public domain because the copyright owner technically leased the theaters when the film was shown (so-called “four walling”) and retained control over the prints – with any other copies being unauthorized prints).

Mine O'Mine, Inc. v. Michael Calmese, True Fan Logo, Inc. and Dan Mortense, Case No. 10-cv-00043 (D. Nev.) (previous blog post here)
The trademark lawsuit filed by Shaquille O’Neal over Defendants’ use of the mark SHAQTUS. As reported by VegasInc., the court issued a detailed summary judgment ruling earlier this year (copy here) that found the Defendants only started using the mark SHAQTUS after sportswriters gave O’Neal that name when he began playing for the Phoenix Suns and that there was a likelihood of consumer confusion arising between shirts sold by O’Neal’s company and SHAQTUS shirts sold by Defendants. This week, the court entered judgment against the Defendants (copy here) which terminated the litigation because of O’Neal’s willingness to drop the cybersquatting and dilution claims that remained following the court’s summary judgment order.

Caesars World, Inc. v. July et al, Case No. 11-cv-00536 (D. Nev.) (previous blog post here)
The cybersquatting action filed by Caesars Palace against Marcel July and his use of the mark OCTAVIUS TOWER. As reported by VegasInc., the court denied July’s motion for preliminary injunction (copy here) finding that July failed to meet the necessary burden to merit injunctive relief. July’s only argument was his PTO registration for the name OCTAVIUS TOWER for entertainment services (along with some state registrations). The court noted that while the registration served as prima facie evidence of July’s exclusive rights to use the mark for entertainment services, such evidence can be rebutted – and in this case, the court found that Caesars had made “strong arguments” against July’s use of the mark that “extinguishes” July’s prima facie case. July did not respond to Caesar’s arguments. Moreover, July also failed to demonstrate irreparable harm, balance of hardships favoring him, or that that injunction would be in the public interest.

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