Category Archives: public domain

No “Happy Birthday” for Trolls? Filmmaker seeks public domain judgement on song’s copyright

“Happy Birthday to You” is protected by copyright? The song is based on the tune from “Good Morning to All,” written in the late 1800’s. Over the years families adapted the tune for singing birthday greetings. Vexed with paying synch fees for use of the song in a film, producer Jennifer Nelson of Good Morning Productions asked a court to determine that “Happy […]

Can a celebrity’s post mortem right of publicity enter the public domain?

Banking on a dead celebrity’s right of publicity being public domain is an extremely dangerous advertising practice. Rights of publicity are a suite of legal rights that have developed from invasion of privacy and trademark law since the early 20th Century. There is a web of state and federal laws that can protect dead celebrities– even celebrities from […]

Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus

In the post-Bilski/KSR/Prometheus regime patents are unquestionably a costlier and riskier investment. Statistics confirm this. Fifty percent of patent applications are abandoned these days, as opposed to only thirty-five percent in 2004. Paying more to prolong prosecution (via request for continued examination) restores the odds of success, but at a price. [USPTO statistics at www.uspto.gov/dashboards/patents] […]

Hey HON, how did a trademark become a Kitchen Nightmare?

There was lots of excitement in Baltimore on Monday when Cafe Hon owner Denise Whiting held a news conference with TV reality show chef/provocateur Gordon Ramsay, in which she announced that she was relinquishing her trademark in the word “Hon”. The news conference was timed to coincide with the filming of an episode of Gordon […]

A Hater’s Guide to Golan v. Holder

At first I hated the idea of restoring copyrights in public domain works.  This week the US Supreme Court heard arguments in Golan v. Holder taking me back to when Section 514 was first implemented. I hated the idea even though I am pro-copyright.  I hated the idea despite my feeling that on some level […]