The information age has created a raft of new challenges for copyright holders and content creators in New Jersey and around the country. Digital infringers often defend their actions by claiming that their use of copyrighted materials was permitted under the fair use doctrine or was exempted from copyright law because the original work was substantially transformed. These issues were recently argued in a case filed by a photographer against a New York media company.
For decades, boys and girls in New Jersey have participated in programs operated by the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. The Boy Scouts of America's decision in 2017 to include girls has prompted the Girl Scouts of the United States of America to file a lawsuit alleging that BSA has confused consumers and infringed on trademarks held by the GSUSA.
Many consumers in New Jersey recognize Chuck Taylor shoe designs for Converse. Over the past several years, the shoe company has battled with competitors over alleged infringement of its trademark design for the Chucks. A new decision from a federal appeals court has reversed a previous court ruling and directed the U.S. International Trade Commission to reconsider the trademark claims based on evidence from only the previous five years instead of the information spanning decades used in the original case.
Those who come with up with new or unique ideas in New Jersey or elsewhere may be able to trademark them. However, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is warning those with active trademark applications about a scam designed to alter them without permission. If a trademark application or registration has been changed, the USPTO will send an email to whoever submitted it. It is important to take such an email seriously.