The Supreme Court made a ruling that will have an impact on intellectual property, specifically trademarks, in New Jersey and across the country. On June 24, the justices struck down a rule that had been in place for a long time banning scandalous or immoral symbols and words from trademark protections. The immediate case involved a clothing brand whose trademark application had been rejected.
Individuals or companies in New Jersey and around the country must apply for trademarks or patents if they wish to protect inventions, formulas, symbols or designs, but copyrights are issued automatically. However, intellectual property owners who wish to take legal action against copyright infringers must first register their original works with the U.S. Copyright Office. District courts have made contradictory rulings in this area, but any confusion over the issue was cleared up by a recent Supreme Court ruling.
New Jersey residents may be surprised to learn that the once notorious Crips street gang is taking steps to rebrand itself and escape its violent past. The Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle was a member of the Crips until he was gunned down outside a clothing store he owned in March. Hussle denounced gun violence in his music and worked tirelessly to provide opportunities to marginalized young men. In a step widely seen as an effort to associate themselves more closely with their esteemed former member, the Crips LLC filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on May 16 to trademark the late rapper's "The Marathon Continues" slogan.
Many people in New Jersey remember the classic opening theme song of "The Andy Griffith Show," which aired on CBS from 1960 to 1968. Now, the tune is the subject of a legal dispute as heirs of its composer allege that CBS continues to use the song without a proper license. The song, known as "Theme for the Andy Griffith Show," was written in the 1950s by two songwriters who later registered its copyright in 1960. The songwriters later gave the rights to the song to the Larabee Music partnership and passed them on after death to two trusts.