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On the road I had the pleasure of attending the California Lawyers Association-International Law Section joint meeting in Prague with the Czech Bar Association from October 17-18, 2019. The concept of the Rule of Law takes on a new and visceral meaning when you are seated in the courtroom of the High Court in Prague, one of two such courts in today’s Czech Republic. The chamber has been in use since 1918 and has witnessed…
The Brunetti Case The United States Supreme Court decision in Iancu v. Brunetti issued June 24, 2019 held that the Lanham Act provision barring federal registration of immoral and scandalous marks violated the First Amendment. The majority opinion, by an odd fellows grouping of justices (Kagan, Thomas, Ginsburg, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh) explained that this part of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act was as repugnant to First Amendment values as was the disparagement clause…
A novel attempt to seize a registered mark is captivating headlines in Los Angeles. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has prosecuted a motorcycle club known as Mongols Nation on charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering. The club is alleged to be operating as a gang and the Government has argued that the gang bears responsibility for several violent crimes and drug dealing committed by some of its members. The recent case is a culmination…
A press release from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in early October heralded the key achievements of the recently concluded U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, intended to replace the vilified NAFTA agreement that dated from the early 1990s. Let’s take a look at what the release said about Geographical Indications: “The Parties agreed to provide important procedural safeguards for recognition of new geographical indications (GIs), including strong standards for protection against issuances of GIs that…
It’s hot as the blazes in most of the U.S., Europe and Central America these days. Which makes a watermelon salad with mint and feta cheese sound very appealing, to say the least.  But the recipe calls for “real” feta cheese, the salty kind, to offset the sweetness of the melon. Is there more than one kind of feta cheese? That question is at the heart of a simmering dispute between the U.S. dairy industry…
It’s almost August, signaling time to really kick back and relax in Europe. In the U.S., it’s time to buy back-to-school supplies. Vive la différence!  In our last post, we looked at the significance of July 18th in Spanish history and copyright law and examined how the works of the prolifically gifted poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca passed into the public domain in Spain in January 2017 yet remain protected in the United States.…
Summer calls out for a cool drink and good reading material. In today’s blog entry, we’ll look at the significance of the months of July and August in terms of literary copyright history. Grab your sangria. Part I: July 18th is celebrated in many European countries as Saint Frederick’s Day, commemorating the murder in 838 of Frederick, Bishop of Utrecht, known for his piety and erudition. In Spain, St. Frederick’s Day holds special significance. It…
For our inaugural issue, and because it’s harvest time in California where we are located, we’ll devote space to a little understood form of intellectual property protection called geographical indicators or GIs that are about to become headline news. In the U.S., GIs can be protected as certification marks or perhaps collective marks through registration at the USPTO and some trademarks may incorporate geographic terms.  But other countries and the European Union have more elaborate…