Archive by Author | kyuheec

Limits on IP Protection: Copyright Misuse

By Jaiana Casanova

Reviewed by Kyu Hee Chu

As we all know, the purpose of Intellectual Property protection is to grant exclusive rights over certain assets, such as music, books, inventions, among others; giving the owners monopoly over the assets and the opportunity to capitalize on them for a specific period of time. After this time has passed, the asset becomes part of public domain. This happens specifically with Patents and Copyrights.

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INTA Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Christian Louboutin

By Jaiana Casanova

Reviewed by Kyu Hee Chu

As the Christian Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent saga continues, following Tiffany’s, the International Trademark Association (INTA) has filed an amicus brief with the United States Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit in support of Christian Louboutin’s famous red-sole. In this brief, INTA argues that the lower court’s decision for preliminary injunction should be vacated and remanded on the basis that the court erred in its analysis of the validity of the trademark and that they did not properly apply the aesthetic functionality doctrine.

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What’s in a Color? The Battle Between Aesthetics and Functionality

By Jaiana Casanova

Reviewed by Kyu Hee Chu

There is no doubt about the possibility of trademarking a color. This principle has been established in previous cases, and so far it has been a generally accepted principle. This was certainly the basis of the 2008 trademark registration obtained by Christian Loubuotin for his “Lacquered Red” for high fashion shoes.

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Blue Voices Support for Red

By Jennifer Williams

Reviewed by Kyu Hee Chu

Recently Christian Louboutin sued Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) claiming that the red-soled shoes that YSL was selling were in violation of the mark that Louboutin obtained in 2008.  Louboutin went further and asked for an injunction, which would prevent YSL from selling the shoes while the case was being argued.  The injunction was denied and the court questioned whether or not a designer should have sole rights to the use of a color. It was ultimately determined that designers should not be granted “trademark protection to any single color that is used in any ‘fashion item,’ even when the color has achieved ‘secondary meaning’ and is associated with a single brand.”  This rule has immediate ramifications for Christian Louboutin and its famous red sole as well as many other designers and brands.

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Mighty Morphin’ Power Knockoffs

By Gabriella Ripoll

Reviewed by Kyu Hee Chu

Halloween may have come and gone, but copyright battles involving characters from TV shows may still be full of tricks and treats for legal minds. The company that owns the rights to the Power Rangers television series, SCG Power Rangers LLC, has filed a lawsuit against Underdog Endeavors, who operates MyPartyShirt.com, alleging that their Power Ranger costumes infringe its copyrights and trademarks.

Though it is well established – and a thorn in the side of the fashion industry- that copyright protection does not generally extend to the designs of clothing insofar as permitting a “useful article” such as clothing to be copyrighted, one must be aware that the copyrighting of “pictorial, graphic, or sculptural” works is permitted; for example, the patterns printed upon a textile may be subject to copyright.

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Slipping Golden Arches (Protection) Into Red-Soled Heels?


Reviewed by Kyu Hee Chu

The Golden Arches of McDonald’s—perhaps one of the most recognizable and ubiquitous symbols in the world—are without question protected by trademark law.  The “Chinese Red”-lacquered soles on Christian Louboutin’s heels—perhaps one of the most recognizable and ubiquitous symbols in the world of high-end designer footwear—on the other hand, are NOT without question protected by trademark law, despite the USPTO granting the designer such protection back in 2008.  The disparity in protection here is quite alarming, especially to Mr. Louboutin and other trademark holders—like Tiffany & Co.—who have a vital stake in preserving their color-based trademark identities from a concept known as trademark dilution.

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Occupy Wall Street? How about Occupy NBA

By Ari Rada

Reviewed by Kyu Hee Chu

112 days ago the former Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between NBA owners and NBA players expired resulting in the possible termination of the entire 2011-2012 NBA season.  A similar situation happened back in 1999 when the NBA owners and the NBA players had difficulty compromising on a labor agreement which caused the typical 82 game season to be reduced down to 50 games because of the delay.  The NBA owners and NBA players association (NBAPA) have been negotiating and mediating for the past 112 days regarding what the new labor agreement will be for the next seven to ten years.  In other words, the owners and players are negotiating on how to split revenues generated by the NBA and how much the players can get paid over the next seven to ten years (longer than the average career of an NBA player).  The delay in reaching a new CBA has already resulted in David Stern (NBA commissioner) to cancel the first two weeks of the NBA season, which was originally scheduled to start on November 1st.

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