College sports is big business. Student-athletes generate truckloads of cash for their schools, but are prohibited by NCAA rules from sharing in the haul. In fact, if the student-athlete learns that someone is commercially exploiting his or her name or picture, NCAA rules require the student “to take steps to stop such an activity in order to retain his
There are so many fun things you can do with celebrities. In addition to the traditional things like writing books about them, you can also use their catchphrases to make greeting cards; make movies about them using puppets; or even use claymation television to have them fight each other to the death. But what about including digital
In celebration of Tax Day today, we here at Law Law Land offer tribute to our favorite celebrity/IRS run-ins. Now, lest you think this is just another list airing dirty celebrity tax laundry, think again. This is a classy publication, as you well know, so if you’re looking for dirt on which celebrities owe what, look elsewhere. . . like
[In honor of Super Bowl XLVII — because everyone knows that Roman numerals make everything very distinguished and significant — we’re bringing back one of our most-read, and most personally-favored posts. Enjoy your SUPER BOWL PARTY, everyone.]
Unless you live here, I’m assuming you’re aware of a little football game taking place this weekend between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. (And maybe, just maybe, you might have heard something — but probably nothing original — about that whole Harbowl storyline. Well here’s a little-known wrinkle about it.)
I’m as excited as anyone for the game, which is why, this Sunday, I might try to find a local bar hosting a Super Bowl party. But I’ll probably be out of luck, unless I’m willing to go to a “Big Game” party instead. And if I’m feeling spendthrift — the always-confusing word that sounds like “thrifty” but actually means “profligate” — I might try to pick up a new flat-screen TV at a Super Bowl sale. But unless I’m willing to settle for one of those ubiquitous “Big Game” sales, I’ll probably be forced to stick with what I’ve got.
Every year, while every sports yak in America is obsessing over Super Bowl scouting reports, every business in America is trying to capitalize on the game. But most of them aren’t using the words “Super Bowl” to do so, and the reason is fairly obvious: the phrase “Super Bowl” is trademarked by the NFL, which is famously protective of its intellectual property. Moreover, the privilege of using the phrase “Super Bowl” in advertising is one of the valuable rights bestowed by the NFL upon its advertisers and promotional partners — which gives the NFL extra incentive to keep freeloaders from poaching the phrase (thereby diminishing its value to potential paying promotional partners).
But what if the NFL is wrong? What if I really could check out the Super Bowl party at my favorite watering hole without them being subjected to the threat of legal doom?
Guess what, folks: I can.
So last week, I was on my 173rd consecutive hour of consuming blog articles, news stories, tweets, posts, video interviews, transcripts of interviews, analyses of transcripts of interviews, and opinions on the analyses of transcripts of interviews about Manti Te’o and his imaginary dead girlfriend, when I noticed that something else critical happened in the world of sports. OMG
Seattle sports fans recently rejoiced when the Maloof family announced that they have (finally) agreed to sell their stake in the Sacramento Kings to a Seattle-based investment group that (spoiler alert) intends to move the team back to the Emerald City. Considering how well the former Seattle SuperSonics are doing as the new OKC Thunder, coupled with the
My wife is very excited about tonight’s Laker game. Not because she is a Laker fan. Indeed, any actual Laker fan (like me) knows that now is a decidedly bad time to be a Laker fan. True, during the last off-season we acquired Superman a/k/a D12 a/k/a Dwight Howard, and two-time MVP Steve Nash season. True, we still have the …
Continue Reading You Can’t Sue Your Favorite Team for Stinking, But Can You Sue Them for Intentionally Stinking?
There is a lot to be thankful for in Los Angeles this Thanksgiving. As I’m sure we can all agree, near the top of the list is the Lakers’ recent acquisition of superstars Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, as well as team USA Coach Mike D’Antoni, all in time for the holidays. Of course, I’m guessing that the Buss family’s decision not to hire Coach Phil Jackson (who is dating Lakers executive and daughter-of-the-owner Jeannie Buss) is going to make things awfully awkward at the Buss family Thanksgiving dinner table.
Of course, that’s only going to the second most awkward turkey-related incident of the last month for a member of the Lakers family. The dubious first prize goes to Laker great Magic Johnson, whose passion for turkey and other tasty treats has found its way into a civil lawsuit against him.
Just before Halloween, a woman named Latina Thomas — who, until recently, was Magic’s personal flight attendant — filed a wrongful termination action against Magic and the aviation company that had co-employed her. Ms. Thomas alleges that she was fired for being seven minutes late to work after waiting an extra-long time at a deli counter trying to purchase “two types of specific turkey” for Magic’s sandwich. Ms. Thomas claims that the turkey incident was a pretext for her firing so that Magic could replace her with a younger woman.
So who’s the real turkey here? Magic Johnson or the flight attendant?
After being barred from going after opposing quarterbacks in 2012, Jonathan Vilma is now going after the biggest bounty of them all — NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell. Last week, Vilma sued Goodell for defamation based on Goodell’s accusations that Vilma participated in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty program.
As any self-respecting sports fan (or anyone else who doesn’t live here) knows by now, the NFL recently discovered that Saints coaches and players created a system by which the players would receive monetary bonuses for knocking opposing players out of a game with injury. (And you know a scandal is serious when it gets its own Wikipedia page.) Goodell claims Vilma was at the center of that program, going so far as to promise $10,000 of his own money to anyone who knocked Brett Favre (and later Kurt Warner) out of a playoff game. Vilma insists that he did not take part in the bounty program, that he never offered money to his teammates to take out Brett Favre or Kurt Warner and that Goodell had no reasonable basis on which to make those allegations. Vilma seeks unspecified damages for the harm to his reputation caused by Goodell’s statements.
As my regular readers (somebody must read this stuff, right?) should know by now, I’m a football fan, so the idea of an NFL player suing the almighty Roger Goodell is fascinating stuff. Since becoming commissioner in 2006, Goodell has become the judge, jury and executioner regarding player (and coach) misconduct. Players who get in trouble must go meet with Goodell (presumably to kiss the brass ring, or maybe just something that rhymes with the “brass” part) and then await his punishment without any rules or guidelines on how that punishment will be administered. But don’t worry: if the player (or coach) believes the punishment is unjust, he can always appeal to — guess who? — Goodell. Although Goodell has, on occasion, reduced a player’s punishment, it happens rarely and there is little explanation of why. (Doesn’t really seem fair to me, but I’m just a Bills fan…and Bills players never do anything wrong… Or, in recent years, right.) It’s safe to assume that more than one NFL player out there (like Goodell’s BFF James Harrison) would offer a chunk out of his salary to have someone take Goodell down a peg or twelve.
So, the real question for us here at Law Law Land is: does Vilma stand any chance of winning and forcing Goodell to change his ways? Probably not. Here’s why.
The problem you have as a lawyer is that you start to see the “law” in everything you do, including those things you do for fun.
I backpack. And I am just a tad overweight, which I means I have a few extra pounds to lug around the woods for 10 miles at a time. While a more sensible man might look to simply lose those extra pounds, however, I have opted instead to eat more cookies and look to lower the weight of my pack.
The easiest way to lower pack weight is to lower the weight of one or all of the “big three” — the pack itself, the sleeping bag or the tent. So, before every trip, I spend hours and hours researching the latest in ultra lightweight gear, focusing most intensely on these three categories of backpacking equipment. This would seemingly have nothing at all to do with the law.
But then, enter the tents.…
Continue Reading A Tale of Two Tents: Functionality in Utility Patents, Design Patents and Trade Dress