Lovitz IP Law PC

Lovitz IP Law PC A trusted counselor in protecting the equity and integrity of your brands, ideas, creations and other creative capital.

Operating as usual

For a good cause, and will make a sweet holiday present for any cat lover or kid!
10/29/2020
Saved by A Whisker: A Children's Book

For a good cause, and will make a sweet holiday present for any cat lover or kid!

The true story of cat who lost his family and the journey to reunite with them again, | Check out 'Saved by A Whisker: A Children's Book' on Indiegogo.

We're seeing more and more trademark filings for home-based events.  Here's one example: COUCHCON (https://tsdr.uspto.go...
08/22/2020
Trademark Status & Document Retrieval

We're seeing more and more trademark filings for home-based events. Here's one example: COUCHCON (https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=90-084023&caseSearchType=US_APPLICATION&caseType=DEFAULT&searchType=statusSearch) - although the applicant claims use starting in 2019, promoting itself as a way to "skip the crowds and enjoy the content you love from the comfort of home", this "at home" concept is taking on an entirely new relevance in our Covid-19 era.

If you are the applicant or the applicant's attorney and have questions about this file, please contact the Trademark Assistance Center

While we can't experience the fun of San Diego Comic-Con in person this year, and I won't be able to do my COMIC BOOK LA...
07/13/2020
Comic-Con 2020: Public Domain Comics: From Sherlock Holm...

While we can't experience the fun of San Diego Comic-Con in person this year, and I won't be able to do my COMIC BOOK LAW SCHOOL programs, I was happy to participate in a fun and lively discussion about public domain comics, moderated by the fantastic Dave Olbrich - the video should be available on Sunday, July 26th - here's a link to the program description. Here's hoping we can all be live again next year!!

View more about this event at Comic-Con 2020

06/30/2020
Lee v. POW! Entm't, Inc., No. 2:19-cv-08353-ODW(FFMx), 2020 BL 236524 (C.D. Cal. June 25, 2020), Court Opinion

Remember - the courts are serious when they say they aren't interested in revisiting settled matters. In a decision handed down last Thursday, Judge Wright (Central District CA) granted a dismissal of the case brought by Stan Lee's daughter, J.C. Lee, against POW! Entertainment which Complaint purported “to not only expose manifold frauds visited upon Stan Lee from 2001 through 2018 by Defendant, its CEO Gill Champion and a range of unsavory characters, but to also vindicate and clear title to Stan Lee’s intellectual property,” by seeking to enforce a 1998 agreement between her father and Stan Lee Entertainment Inc. concerning rights in Stan Lee's name, likeness and creator rights. However, that 1998 agreement had been terminated in 2001, as was already determined in previous rulings in the Southern District NY in 2010, the Central District CA in 2012 and the District of Colorado in 2013. As a result, J. Wright granted POW!'s motion to dismiss and also found that, because the matter was "factually and legally baseless and filed without a reasonable and competent inquiry" and brought for improper purposes (to harass POW), sanctions were appropriate in the amount of 1 Million Dollars. Further, because the attorneys should have known the case was meritless, her attorneys were jointly and severally liable for 25% of the sanctions. You can read the decision here:
https://bit.ly/2YJICFs

For Joan Celia Lee, as Trustee for the Lee Family Survivors Trust A Date October 12, 1985, Plaintiff: Jonathan D Freund, LEAD ATTORNEY, Freund Legal, Beverly Hills, CA; Craig A Huber, Freund Legal, Beverly Hills, CA; Stephen P Crump, Freund Legal LLP, Beverly Hills, CA.

As reported by the Hollywood Reporter (article found here: https://bit.ly/2BDFp0Q), the Conan Doyle Estate has filed a n...
06/24/2020
Sherlock

As reported by the Hollywood Reporter (article found here: https://bit.ly/2BDFp0Q), the Conan Doyle Estate has filed a new lawsuit against Netflix over the upcoming "Enola Holmes" movie starring Millie Bobby Brown and based on the "Enola Holmes Mysteries" novel series about a fictional younger sister of Sherlock Holmes, alleging the novels and film infringe on those elements still protected by copyright in the "Sherlock Holmes" character.

[As a reminder, the 2014 7th Circuit ruling in the Klinger case held that, although ten of the 60 Sherlock Holmes stories had at that time not yet entered the public domain, those copyrights would only protect new, unique expressions found in those stories.]

The new suit appears to be focused on the "significant new character traits" with which Conan Doyle imbued his main characters of Holmes and Watson as a result of the real-world events of World War I, specifically "human connection and empathy." As noted in the complaint:

"Conan Doyle made the surprising artistic decision to have his most famous character-known around the world as a brain without a heart-develop into a character with a heart. Holmes became warmer. He became capable of friendship. He could express emotion. He began to respect women."

The action also claims that the use of "Enola Holmes" for a book series and as the title for the Netflix movie infringes an asserted "HOLMES family of trademarks".

You can read the complaint here: https://bit.ly/3evemnf

Source document contributed to DocumentCloud by Eriq Gardner (The Hollywood Reporter).

Very sad to have heard this news today.  I first got to know Todd from when he worked in Philadelphia for Sunoco, and ou...
05/06/2020
'Who Was This Guy?' Todd Dickinson, Who Changed the Face of the USPTO, Dies at 67 | National Law Journal

Very sad to have heard this news today. I first got to know Todd from when he worked in Philadelphia for Sunoco, and our first business interaction came when he decided to sell his comic book collection. Brilliant, funny and kind, re-connecting with Todd at conferences and events was always a highlight for me. He will definitely be missed...

He thought his legacy would be The Great Organizer, but former colleagues also remember a passionate advocate for the patent system who helped move legislation through Congress.

Anyone interested in listening to the 9th Circuit oral argument in the Dr. Seuss Enterprises vs ComicMix LLC lawsuit (re...
04/27/2020

Anyone interested in listening to the 9th Circuit oral argument in the Dr. Seuss Enterprises vs ComicMix LLC lawsuit (regarding the Kickstarter-funded "Oh The Places You'll Boldly Go", intended as a parody of the well-known, best-selling Dr. Seuss book "Oh The Places You'll Go") can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6R7qHz3zgM. The argument starts at around the 47 minute mark (the first 45 minutes are a different oral argument) and focuses on whether the "Boldly" book is a fair use / parody mashup created by placing 2 different source works (Star Trek and Dr. Seuss) in juxtaposition, and whether it is a transformative work entitled to the fair use defense (rather than simply a derivative work).

It goes without saying that it will be very interesting to see how the Court rules in this case.

04/27/2020

Basically, as summarized in the concurring opinion by Justice Alito (joined by Justices Breyer and Kagan):

"We took this case to decide whether willful infringement is a prerequisite to an award of profits under 15 U. S. C. §1117(a). The decision below held that willfulness is such a prerequisite. App. to Pet. for Cert. 32a. That is incorrect. The relevant authorities, particularly pre-Lanham Act case law, show that willfulness is a highly important consideration in awarding profits under §1117(a), but not an absolute precondition."

04/27/2020
www.supremecourt.gov

We don't often get the Supreme Court weighing in on trademark cases, but when they do, the impact can be quite big, as was the case last week when S.Ct. handed down its decision in Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc. (you can read the entire decision here: https://bit.ly/2xWjMaS) and settled a split among the Circuit courts concerning whether or not "willfulness" is a precondition for a trademark owner to recover the infringer's profits during a trademark infringement suit. Some Circuits, including the Ninth here in California, had promoted certain categorical rules requiring a finding of willfulness, while others had considered it to only be a factor in determining whether or not to award profits. Writing for the S.Ct., Justice Gorsuch acknowledged that the infringer's state of mind "is a highly important consideration in determining whether an award of profits is" warranted, but that is "a far cry from requiring insisting on the inflexible precondition to recovery" of profits.

Sad, but not surprised - going to miss seeing clients and friends, but as long as everyone continues to stay safe, we'll...
04/17/2020
San Diego Comic-Con Canceled Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Sad, but not surprised - going to miss seeing clients and friends, but as long as everyone continues to stay safe, we'll re-connect next year!

The annual entertainment and comic book convention was scheduled to take place from July 23-26.

Just when you think you've seen it all - glad he didn't request trial by bat'leth or lirpa as that could get messy for a...
02/14/2020
Man asks Iowa judge for 'trial by combat' with ex-wife, lawyer

Just when you think you've seen it all - glad he didn't request trial by bat'leth or lirpa as that could get messy for all involved

A Kansas man has asked an Iowa judge to let him engage in a sword fight with his ex-wife and her attorney so that he can “rend their souls" from their bodies.

I'm often asked about the value of registering your copyrights and doing so early, and a recent decision in SDNY (Hillar...
09/18/2019
LoveGilda

I'm often asked about the value of registering your copyrights and doing so early, and a recent decision in SDNY (Hillary Johnson v Magnolia Pictures, et al) provides an excellent example of problems that can arise without such registrations. The case concerned interviews of Gilda Radner conducts by journalist Hillary Johnson that were to be used in connection a book by Ms. Radner about her experiences in battling ovarian cancer. The interview recordings were retained by Ms. Radner (and kept by her brother Michael Radner), and were recently used in the documentary LOVE, GILDA, released in 2018. The district court judge not only granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the case (owing to plaintiff's failure to obtain a copyright registration), but also awarded the defendants their costs and attorney fees.
Oh, and the reason the plaintiff couldn't register the copyright? Ms. Johnson didn't have a copy of the audio recordings of the interviews and so had nothing to deposit with an application to register (another good practice tip - if you're not keeping the original, always keep copies!)
http://tinyurl.com/yxocxmgr

Source document contributed to DocumentCloud by Eriq Gardner (The Hollywood Reporter).

Great time on the Uncensored Mouse panel - thanks again to David Olbrich for organizing! [Photo: Copyright 2019 Jamie Co...
07/24/2019

Great time on the Uncensored Mouse panel - thanks again to David Olbrich for organizing!
[Photo: Copyright 2019 Jamie Coville]

Not everyone knows about this series from 1989, but it turned a surprising spotlight on the balance between copyright an...
07/16/2019
Comic-Con 2019: Comics Law: Disney, Malibu, and The Unce...

Not everyone knows about this series from 1989, but it turned a surprising spotlight on the balance between copyright and trademark rights as Eternity published public domain comic strips featuring Mickey Mouse using a very unusual packaging - the comic sported a totally black cover and was bagged to prevent anyone from paging through it prior to purchase, but was that enough to avoid trouble with the Mouse House? (Non-)Spoiler - no it wasn't; but the full story of The Uncensored Mouse is a fascinating one. Looking forward to participating on this panel on Friday afternoon!

View more about this event at Comic-Con 2019

Part 2 of this year's COMIC BOOK LAW SCHOOL triptych for the 50th anniversary edition of Comic-Con will focus on licensi...
07/16/2019
Comic-Con 2019: Comic Book Law School© 202:...

Part 2 of this year's COMIC BOOK LAW SCHOOL triptych for the 50th anniversary edition of Comic-Con will focus on licensing and other monetizing events, including dealing with potential Hollywood opportunities. Excited to have Terri Feldman Lubaroff and David Lizerbram joining me for this year's Friday panel.

View more about this event at Comic-Con 2019

Hard to believe that Comic-Con starts next week - and 50th anniversary to boot! Here's a link to the first of the Comic ...
07/09/2019
Comic-Con 2019: Comic Book Law School© 101: IP Law...

Hard to believe that Comic-Con starts next week - and 50th anniversary to boot! Here's a link to the first of the Comic Book Law School panels I'll be doing at this year's event.

View more about this event at Comic-Con 2019

Had a great time participating on a panel at this year's International Trademark Association's Annual Meeting in Boston ...
05/23/2019
INTA 2019: Character Wars: Protecting Fictional Characters

Had a great time participating on a panel at this year's International Trademark Association's Annual Meeting in Boston discussing protection of fictional characters in different jurisdictions, including the US (me), Europe and China. Great speakers and a good crowd - a real honor to have been asked to participate.

Intellectual property can provide robust protection to fictional characters, but it’s important to understand the specific rights available in particular jurisdictions. Rory O’Neill reports.

04/30/2019
Dynamite - The Official Site | The Shadow, Game of Thrones, Vampirella, Evil Ernie, Damsels, The Boys, and More!

For anyone that wants to help Joyce Chin with the medical bills arising from her subarachnoid hemorrhage (stroke) that she suffered in Chicago on the way to this year's C2E2 convention, here's a pain free way - Dynamite has created a nifty lithograph of a Vampirella cover drawn by Joyce (both signed and unsigned versions are available), the profits from which will be donated to Joyce's fundraiser (and any excess raised from her fundraising will be donated to Hero Initiative, the non-profit organization that assists comic creators meet otherwise unmet health, medical and quality-of-life needs). Seems simple - you get a beautiful lithograph and others get help that they need - a win-win in my book!

DYNAMITE was founded in 2004 and is home to several best-selling properties, including The Boys, The Shadow, Vampirella, Warlord of Mars, Bionic Man, Game of Thrones, SEAL Team Six and more!

There is a bit of an uproar among certain press groups and media organizations concerning a photograph agreement coverin...
04/11/2019
NPPA, Joined by 15 Other Groups Protests Ariana Grande Photo Agreement

There is a bit of an uproar among certain press groups and media organizations concerning a photograph agreement covering the new Ariana Grande tour. Specifically, the agreement given to photographers requesting permission to photograph Grande during the live performances (you can read the agreement here: https://bit.ly/2Ghyv1b) limits the photographers to only taking still photographs during the first 3 songs, designates the only locations from which the photos may be taken and, most troubling for those groups and organizations, all photos would be "work-made-for-hire" meaning the rights in the photos (including the copyrights) would be owned by Grande's tour company, and can't be used without Grande's approval. There is certainly a reasonable basis for wanting the photographers to sign off on such an agreement - keeping a tight control over Grande's image in the press is an important one in this social media age. However, I find there's a certain irony that the uproar being generated over this agreement is leading to Grande developing an entirely different (and not necessarily flattering) image among the press and media members impacted.

The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) joined by 15 other press groups and media organizations, including the Associated Press, Gannett, The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, sent a letter to the tour company of Ariana Grande, objecting to a photography agreement that requires photo...

Can't believe convention season is upon us yet again.  Next week is WonderCon in Anaheim, and I'll be there doing my Com...
03/20/2019
WonderCon Anaheim 2019: Comic Book Law School: The ABC of Intell...

Can't believe convention season is upon us yet again. Next week is WonderCon in Anaheim, and I'll be there doing my Comic Book Law School 101 class - stop by if you have the time and be exposed to (or brush up on) all kinds of nuggets of helpful legal knowledge!

View more about this event at WonderCon Anaheim 2019

The awfulness known as "Comicsgate" has touched several of my clients, and while people may disagree on politics and are...
10/26/2018
GoFundMe | Mark Waid

The awfulness known as "Comicsgate" has touched several of my clients, and while people may disagree on politics and are entitled to their opinions and conclusions (even when we're sometimes wrong), this particular matter touches on something that for me is even more important - the integrity of the legal system and my personal frustration over the ever-growing misuse of a system intended (at its best) to right wrongs and mete out justice. The lawsuit against Mark Waid is yet another example of the worst of abuses that continue to pervade our legal system in the US, attempting to chill speech and use the courts to further a socio-political agenda. I'm sharing this link for informational purposes, but encourage donations to help Mark defend himself from this stupidity.
http://tinyurl.com/y7xfp5ep

Going to be speaking at the first Comic Creator Conference in Long Beach next Friday, September 7 - there's a great list...
08/30/2018
MAD Gets Even: A Conversation with LBCC's Martha Donato

Going to be speaking at the first Comic Creator Conference in Long Beach next Friday, September 7 - there's a great list of programs and speakers, so any of you creative types who are in SoCal (or who want to visit) should consider signing up.

Column by Rob Salkowitz

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Founder: Michael L. Lovitz, Esq. At Lovitz IP Law, we have a passion for innovation and originality - whether that be a global brand, corporate identity, new invention, computer program, screenplay or illustration. We couple that passion with experience, knowledge of the law and business strategy to maximize the equity and protect the integrity of your creative capital. In an area as dynamic as intellectual property, you need people you can trust to stay ahead of the curve. With more than two decades of experience advising multi-national corporations, start-ups and individuals in a variety of industries, including software, pharmaceuticals, apparel, clean tech, publishing and consumer products, Lovitz IP Law will guide you through the convergence of creativity and commerce. Lovitz IP Law is one that provides the level of client service traditionally found only at large firms along with the deep industry knowledge and strategic thinking of a boutique, while allowing for extraordinary value in fee structure and predictability in costs. The success of Lovitz IP Law is premised on our clients' success. For more information on the firm and our services, or to contact us, please visit our website at: www.lovitziplaw.com

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