Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

Battle of Breweries – Trademark Style

One might think that if a company is well established, its intellectual property would be de facto protected. But that is not the case. Two of America’s most iconic companies, easily recognizable and hard to confuse, are currently in a battle over trademarks. These two companies are none other than Anheuser-Busch and Yuengling, two of America’s oldest breweries. Yuengling was founded in 1829 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, Anheuser-Busch, on the other hand was founded in the late 1850s, in St. Louis, Missouri.  But recently these two giants of the industry have been warring over trademark rights. Continue reading

What Artists Need to Know About Moral Rights

From the outside the art world seems beautiful and luxurious, creative, and carefree. While this is true, it is also full of tense litigation over rightful ownership, issues of authenticity, and copyright violations. Copyright protection is important to artists. Most people believe that copyright is important because it can prevent others from literally copying the artist’s works without permission. While this is true, there are another reasons why copyright protection is important. Continue reading

Fair Use Flop: Understanding The Second Circuit’s Decision in Warhol v. Goldsmith

On March 26, 2021, the Second Circuit ruled that a decades-old series of prints created by Andy Warhol depicting music legend Prince infringed the copyrighted photograph by Lynn Goldsmith on which the series was based. Warhol’s series of prints takes Goldsmith’s traditional, black and white portrait of the singer and superimposes it with his signature pop art stylization. Goldsmith did not find out that Warhol had used her image until Prince died in 2016. The court’s decision overturned a district court ruling which declared Warhol’s works legal under the fair use doctrine. But what exactly is the fair use doctrine, and why was it so important in this case? Let’s find out.

Continue reading

In the Market for Affordable Medicines

Patents and pandemics.  At first, these two things might not seem too related.  Beyond patenting useful things for a pandemic – personal protective equipment, medicines, etc. – what do they have to do with one another?  Well, it turns out that the COVID-19 pandemic has put the spotlight on how to make patented medicines affordable.

Continue reading

Patents and Pancakes

I had a fairly clear idea when I came to Loyola University Chicago School of Law that I wanted to focus on patent law. Having a science background, it seemed like a natural fit given the intersection between patent law and science. However, my interests weren’t solidified until I read patent cases assessing the validity of a patented pancake recipe. You’ll have to learn a little bit about my childhood to understand why those interests solidified though. 

A consistent motivating force throughout my life has been figuring out how things worked. As a kid, whenever I got bored with a toy, I would sneak tools from my dad’s toolbox and take it apart. I wanted to get a better understanding of how the toy worked. Knowing that I’d get a lecture on why I shouldn’t break my toys, I’d try to put them back together—often unsuccessfully. Nevertheless, the hunt for that forbidden knowledge was worth the lecture and one less toy. I needed to figure out how it worked, no matter the consequences.

Continue reading

Justice for Social Movement Trademarks

Thousands of people have taken to the streets, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, to demand justice and equal treatment for Black Americans after the murder of George Floyd. Throughout these protests, the slogan “Black Lives Matter” is often used by those condemning the treatment of Black Americans at the hands of police officers around the country. Is this phrase a trademark, and if it is, who owns it? Do trademark principles allow the Black Lives Matter Foundation, an entity associated with the movement, to have a trademark in phrases such as “Black Lives Matter” so that they can prevent other entities from commercially profiting from using it?

Let’s start by discussing some trademark principles.

Continue reading

IP – Surprisingly Relevant to Public Health

I started telling people I was going to law school just about one year ago. One of the first questions everybody asked was whether I was going into IP law. I had been working in software development for several years, so the assumption made sense given my technology background. I had other plans though.

Continue reading

Do Trademarks Trump Public Health?

The answer to this question might seem obvious that public health—­and especially protecting the public from the coronavirus pandemic—should always take precedent. But, a recent dispute before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois highlights a conflict that judges likely did not contemplate when entering General Orders to protect public health.

 

Continue reading

Incentivizing Innovation in Rare Disease Research

You might know that patents exist to incentivize innovation. In other words, the inventor who meets patent standards is given a period of market exclusivity (permitting the inventor to exclude others from various activities involving the patented invention) in exchange for publicly disclosing his/her invention. While this may be sufficient incentive for many technological areas, rare diseases pose a unique challenge.

Drug companies don’t generally target rare diseases. Why? A small patient population means that even if expensive research efforts are successful, there will not be a large return on investment. In 1983, the Orphan Drug Act (ODA) was passed with the intent to solve this problem. Has it worked? The answer to this question is more complicated than it may seem. Continue reading

THE Ohio State University and THAT Trademark Application

I will never forget the first time I heard it. It was in an information session hosted by my high school’s college counseling department. The college counselor was talking about finding the “right school for you” by evaluating criteria like school size and location. He suggested, for example, if we liked the big, midwestern feeling of the University of Michigan campus, that we also consider visiting the University of Iowa or Ohio State University. And then it happened. He stopped, and with a wry smile said, “oh I’m sorry, THE Ohio State University.” I didn’t end up attending OSU, as I chose the University of Wisconsin instead, but that memory resurfaced this summer after it was announced that OSU had decided to attempt to trademark the word “the.”

Continue reading