Keeping Up With the (Alleged) Infringements

My Pop Culture Obsession

I must confess that I love pop culture. When there is a new sitcom or meme everyone is talking about, I have to see it. I love to be “in the know” and for me, Twitter (now known as “X”)  has been my go-to platform for keeping up with trends. Little did I know that social media would be my first exposure to the world of intellectual property (“IP”).

In 2017, there was a viral incident where many Twitter users accused Kylie Jenner,of using aspects of PluggedNYC’s designs in her clothing launch. As a pop culture enthusiast, I read multiple Twitter threads where users suggested the business should sue Kylie Jenner for copyright infringement, a type of IP lawsuit.

To be honest, I was a bit confused and remained confused for years – how could this small business possibly sue over a clothing design? After my first year at Loyola University Chicago School of Law (“Loyola”), I now understand where those Twitter users got that idea.

But, before I explain what I’ve learned, let me backtrack to what sparked my interest in IP, since that is what led to me finding the answer during my first year of law school.

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High Drug Prices: Meet Bayh-Dole

Imagine this: you have just been diagnosed with cancer. The diagnosis is serious, and if untreated, will end your life. But good news – there is a lifesaving treatment available! It will just cost you $150,000 a year. Not only are you left with the emotional stress of a serious diagnosis, but now have the added financial stress of the unaffordable price tag that comes with the treatment. Is there anything that can be done to make the treatment more affordable? Continue reading “High Drug Prices: Meet Bayh-Dole”

What Could Cookies and Dresses Have in Common…? Trade Dress!

Picture this – you walk into a new bakery. The smells hit you from every direction. You see the different kinds of frosting oozing out of the glass case showing off all the new goodies. Where could you possibly be you might wonder… You’re at Crumbl Cookies! Crumbl is a new-ish national cookie franchise that sells its unique, freshly baked, rotating flavored cookies out of most big cities around the country. Emphasis on the *unique* part.

But, is it really unique? Crumbl discovered two cookie companies were trying to copy their packaging, logos, and rotating weekly ensemble of cookie flavors. As a result, Crumbl filed two  lawsuits against two of its competitors, Dirty Dough and Crave Cookies in May of 2022, alleging trademark and trade dress infringement.

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Is Disney Losing Mickey Mouse Because of Copyright Law?

When I first read the headline to this New York Times article, “Mickey’s Copyright Adventure: Early Disney Creation Will Soon Be Public Property,” I thought that Mickey Mouse would soon lose its copyright and enter the public domain. If Mickey Mouse were to enter the public domain, artists could use Mickey without fear of a copyright infringement lawsuit. I learned from an IP survey course … Continue reading Is Disney Losing Mickey Mouse Because of Copyright Law?

Are Crocs an endangered species? How an iconic company protects itself from poachers

Crocs and the Importance of their Intellectual Property

We all recognize the brand! Crocs has sold over 850 million pairs of their iconic shoes in over 85 different countries since 2002. Today, Crocs offers numerous models of shoes. However, the company’s success can be attributed to their original clog-style shoe named the “Classic Clog.” The Classic Clog is made from a resin-based material known as Croslite. This material allows the shoe to be durable while offering the user exceptional comfort. These features have led Crocs to market its clog design for use across a variety of applications including boating, gardening, hiking, and even hospital-use.

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Bad Spaniels: Free Speech, Parody, or Blatant Infringement?

Trademark Tug of War

A dispute between a dog toy manufacturer and Jack Daniels recently reached the Supreme Court. The dispute is about a new toy called “Bad Spaniel” that parodies the shape and look of the iconic Jack Daniels Bottle. did the Court side with Jack Daniels, or did the bad dog have its day?

Jack Daniels is an established whiskey brand sold in stores and bars nationwide. Bad Spaniel is a dog toy sold by VIP Products LLC that looks similar to the alcohol products sold by Jack Daniels.

The dog toy is in the shape of a Jack Daniels whiskey bottle. A label “Bad Spaniels” appears where the whiskey label would normally be placed. The label also lists “The Old No. 2 on your Tennessee Carpet” below the brand name. This is similar to the Jack Daniels brand Old No. 7 which lists the product name and “Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey” on the front label. The dog toy is a parody of the Jack Daniels bottle used to “make fun” of the famous bottle and brand. Continue reading “Bad Spaniels: Free Speech, Parody, or Blatant Infringement?”

Finding a Fix for TDM’s Issues

For all the good copyright law does to protect the creative works of authors, it causes problems for Text and Data Mining (TDM) by researchers and AI. TDM is a tool that allows computers to “read” and analyze large amounts of text or data. As I explained in Part 1 of this post, TDM is likely copyright infringement under current U.S. law. However, the initial copyright infringement isn’t the only issue. Continue reading “Finding a Fix for TDM’s Issues”

Harry’s Style: Trademark Infringement Against Counterfeit Sellers

Harry Styles might be the world’s biggest pop star. Styles began his musical career in 2010 as a member of the band One Direction, and he is now one of the most popular solo artists in the world. At February’s GRAMMY Awards, Styles’s “Harry’s House” won Album Of The Year, arguably the most significant award at the show. Styles is known not only for his … Continue reading Harry’s Style: Trademark Infringement Against Counterfeit Sellers

To Be or Not To Be…A Copyright Infringer? Jeff Koons & My Journey to IP

When parents send their kids off to college, they often wish for them to grow as people, have fun, and (perhaps most importantly) major in something that will get them a job. Neuroscience, data science, and finance are the coveted majors – not theatre, communications, or (my personal favorite) art history. I pursued an art history minor in undergrad where I was first exposed to … Continue reading To Be or Not To Be…A Copyright Infringer? Jeff Koons & My Journey to IP