MLB Team May Strike Out

Baseball name dispute

In light of the upcoming third game of the World Series featuring the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves, a separate MLB baseball team is facing legal trouble. The former Cleveland Indians intend to adopt the Cleveland Guardians moniker in the 2022 season. Following this announcement of the baseball team’s newly adopted name this past July, the Cleveland Guardians roller derby team have alleged trademark infringement. One of the key pieces to the roller derby team’s argument is the perceivably hidden manner in which the trademark rights were obtained, which has contributed to the team’s frustrations and need to file a lawsuit. Read more

Toy Stuntman Lands in Court

Not all fun and games

Fans of the Toy Story movies may recall the character Duke Caboom and his striking resemblance to Evel Knievel.  The likeness of Evel Knievel is owned by K&K Productions, the company that is now suing Disney and Pixar, as well as subsidiaries that helped in the production of Toy Story 4.  The character, portrayed by the voice of Keanu Reeves, was adapted into the film without prior authorization from the company that owns the branding rights to Knievel, who passed away in 2007.  The movie itself is not only mentioned in the lawsuit, but also promotional toys sold in 2019 are included. Read more

Estate of Artist Pops Back into Court

Will a museum ever be built?

The reproduction rights for the artwork of deceased artist, Robert Indiana, will be determined in a court of law. Michael McKenzie filed the lawsuit in Portland, Maine this month and claims that he is fully entitled to the reproduction rights.  McKenzie worked with Indiana for many years as an art publisher and collaborator.  Indiana was known for creating pop-style art.  Despite the deal made while Indiana was alive, the executor of the late artist’s estate contends that McKenzie’s rights to reproduce ceased as soon as Indiana died. Read more

Doll Creates an Uncomfortable Space

Out of this world

Since 1986, American Girl Doll has become a household name.  The 18-inch dolls bear likenesses of young girls with different ethnicities, and the persona of each doll is developed into a character.  The introduction of the aspiring astronaut doll, Luciana Vega, in 2018 has caused more damage than intended. According to a recent lawsuit filed against American Girl Doll and its parent company Mattel, the Luciana doll is based off of a real person.  Lucianne Walkowicz did not approve of the representation and is suing the doll maker for trademark infringement. Read more

Tattoo Dispute Fades Away

Tattooed work of art

Much like painters or musicians, tattoo artists are creators in their own right.  However, are their inked canvases considered unique designs worthy of copyright protection?  Solid Oak Sketches seemed to think so, as the company filed a lawsuit against producers of NBA 2K video games, including Take-Two Interactive Software.  In 2016, the tattoo licensing firm accused NBA 2K of embodying athletes such as LeBron James, Eric Bledsoe, and Kenyon Martin with their real-life tattoos in the video games, without properly compensating the artists who tattooed them.  That lawsuit, initially filed in a Manhattan court, was just dismissed this month. Read more