Header graphic for print
Sports Law Scoreboard An Inside Look Into The Legal and Business Side of Sports

Category Archives: Intellectual Property

Subscribe to Intellectual Property RSS Feed

NBA Players: Who Owns the Tats on Your Arm?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Sports Business and the Law

As featured in the Washington Post, the artist who inked superstars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant is suing the makers of the video game NBA 2K16. The game featured the tattoos on the arms of the players. Solid Oak Sketches alleges that the game developers refused to pay to license the designs after it offered such an arrangement, but… Continue Reading

Back to Basics: Nominative Fair Use

Posted in Intellectual Property

As a start to the new year, let’s take a look at the legal doctrine of “nominative fair use.” This doctrine essentially says that you shouldn’t be sued for simply describing something, even though another party might take offense or believe that their intellectual property rights have been affected as a result. For example, Mike Piazza was just elected… Continue Reading

CAFC Holds Disparagement Provision of the Lanham Act Unconstitutional in Trademark Case

Posted in Intellectual Property

Lori Kozak writes: We have blogged previously about the litigation involving cancellation of the “Redskins” trademark as disparaging and the team’s appeal to the 4th Circuit, claiming (among other arguments) that the disparagement provision of Lanham Act Section 2(a) is unconstitutional because it violates free speech under the First Amendment. Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals… Continue Reading

Offensive to You, Me or the Average Reasonable Person

Posted in Intellectual Property, Sports Business and the Law

I was in NYC last week for the annual dinner of the Media Law Resource Center. Wonderful event. The pre-dinner panel was on hate speech and it intersected with the sports law world, with of course the Washington Redskins as Exhibit “A”. The room was packed with luminary lawyers and  numerous opinions on the subject.… Continue Reading

Cancellation of Redskins Trademarks – Tackling Issues of Free Speech and Due Process

Posted in Intellectual Property

Lori Kozak writes: It’s no secret that football is big business, and the Washington Redskins, recently ranked the third most valuable team in the NFL by Forbes, are heavyweights within that enterprise.  So the ongoing legal battles over the “Redskins” trademarks have attracted a lot of interest and controversy, particularly among sports fans who also happen… Continue Reading

Fan Sues NFL For $25 Million Alleging Theft Of Idea For Original NFL Network Series

Posted in Intellectual Property, Sports Business and the Law

A Los Angeles resident has sued the National Football League, NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, and eight NFL employees in the United States District Court for the Central District of California alleging theft of intellectual property. Representing himself pro se, Plaintiff, Rickey B. Reed, claims that he developed the concept for an original production profiling the… Continue Reading

Be Creative But Be Careful with Copyrights and Trademarks in Your Designs

Posted in Intellectual Property, Sports Business and the Law

USA Today had a must-read article on Under Armour’s crazy uniform designs. Creative uniforms are wonderful, but as with all else in the world of intellectual property, care needs to be taken. Taking a copyrighted design from someone oftentimes results in a lawsuit. If you see the other design, run it by your fellows to… Continue Reading

Trademark Battles Are For The Birds

Posted in Intellectual Property, Sports Business and the Law, Sports History

On August 11, 2014, the ownership group for the Toronto Blue Jays, Rogers Blue Jays Partnership, filed a Notice of Opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, opposing the registration of Creighton University’s redesigned Bluejay logo. On September 18, 2013, Creighton filed a trademark application with the… Continue Reading

Average Joe Turns Up The Heat On Cristiano Ronaldo In Trademark Brawl

Posted in Intellectual Property, Sports Business and the Law

Not many people know “fitness enthusiast” Christopher Renzi.  In 2008, the Rhode Islander registered the “CR7” trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for use in his fashion line of jeans and t-shirts.  Mr. Renzi’s inspiration for the name allegedly comes from his initials and the date of his birth.  Unfortunately, Mr. Renzi has the same… Continue Reading

Off Topic, But Not

Posted in Intellectual Property

A friend’s daughter has an award winning blog on weddings and wedding planning. Wickedly fun and funny. She has been approached by commercial ventures about featuring their products on her blog for $$$. So far she has declined these proposals.   Nothing illegal about this  practice, although the Federal Trade Commission is supposedly looking into… Continue Reading

McNutt, But Not For Heisman

Posted in Intellectual Property

As featured in TheLanter.com, an enterprising young undergraduate at Ohio State University has been selling McNutt for Heisman t-shirts at $11 each. Seems that neither the New York Athletic Club, which owns the intellectual property rights to the Heisman, nor OSU (ditto on Ohio State) were thrilled with this promotion. Cease-and-desist letters were sent and… Continue Reading

Jay-Z and David Ortiz Slug It Out In Court Over a Club’s Name

Posted in Intellectual Property, Sports Business and the Law

In EXAMINER.COM, we see that rapper Jay-Z has sued baseballer "Big Popi" David Ortiz for trademark infringement over the 40/40 clubs.  Jay-Z got there first.  Forty-forty refers to forty home runs and forty stolen bases, a traditional standard of excellence.  Question for the court will be one of jurisdiction. Don’t see how he can maintain… Continue Reading

Tiger Woods’ New Commercial Grabs the Bull By Its Horns

Posted in Intellectual Property, Sports Business and the Law

  On April 7, 2010, the LATIMES.com reported Nike’s new commercial with Tiger Woods featuring the voice of his late father on the eve of the Masters. In this commercial, Tiger is standing silent with a golf course in the background and his father’s voice taking about responsibility and learning from mistakes.   Several people have… Continue Reading

ASK A LAWYER: What Exactly Are “Logos” and What Can I Do With Them?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Sports Business and the Law

Logos are trademarks and are protected under U.S. law.  This is true even if the mark has not been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.  Therefore, you need permission to use the marks. The products are a little less cut and dried.  It really depends on what you are using the products for:… Continue Reading