Tag: Lanham Act

The Hamster Case Continues as District Court Denies Hasbro’s Motion to Dismiss

A district court in New Jersey denied Hasbro's motion to dimiss Fox news reporter, Harris Faulkner's right of publicity claim.  I wrote earlier about Faulkner's lawsuit against Hasbro for naming its hamster toy Harris Faulkner.  The real-life Faulkner claims that the toy violates her right of publicity by using both her name and likeness, and...

Eighth Circuit Tosses NFL Players’ Lawsuit

Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed a district court’s summary judgment against NFL players in Dryer v. NFL.  The underlying lawsuit involved objections by players to the use of their names and likenesses in NFL game footage and additional interviews in NFL-produced historical documentaries about “significant games, seasons, and...

PGA Can Use Caddies as “Human Billboards”

Earlier this week, a federal district court dismissed a right of publicity claim by golf caddies against the PGA. The caddies objected to being forced to wear bibs that advertise various tournaments, golfers, and third-party corporations. The complaint was filed in September 2015 as part of a move to obtain better treatment of caddies on...

Article in Virginia Law Review Documents Expansive Reach of the Right of Publicity

My latest article, Commercial Speech, Commercial Use and the Intellectual Property Quagmire, is in print this week in the Virginia Law Review. The article considers the role in intellectual property laws of commercial speech doctrine and considerations of commerciality more generally (usually in the sense of a use that is for profit). In terms of right...

Hasbro Contends that Same-Named Hamster Does Not Evoke Newscaster’s Identity

Hasbro filed a motion Monday to dismiss newscaster Harris Faulkner's right of publicity claim against the toy maker for giving a stuffed hamster toy the same name as her. The defendant contends that because the hamster toy looks nothing like the newscaster and the use of her name alone does not evoke Ms. Faulkner's identity,...

8th Circuit Appears Divided in Dryer v. NFL Oral Arguments

The oral arguments from last Thursday’s hearing before the 8th Circuit in Dryer highlight a host of flashpoints in right of publicity law. The arguments focused on whether the use of historical film clips constituted commercial speech.  The plaintiffs’ attorney claimed that the use by the NFL was clearly commercial speech and therefore not entitled...

Playboy Playmates Sue Strip Club for Using Their Images

Successful Playboy models, Tiffany Selby, Irina Voronina, and Joanna Krupa, have sued a New York strip club, Café Royale, for using their images to promote the venue.  The models complaint includes claims for right of publicity violations (under New York Civil Rights Law §§ 50-51), false endorsement under the Lanham Act (§ 43), deceptive trade...