Recent Posts by Michael Thomas

9th Circuit Slams the Door on Bikram’s Rehearing Request

The 9th Circuit has rejected Bikram's request for an en banc rehearing after losing his copyright infringement case at the district court and appellate levels. The three judge panel that heard the appeal voted 2-1 to reject the rehearing request. The full 9th Circuit court was advised of the request but no active judge requested a vote…
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Popcorn-Worthy: First Amendment Plays Key Role in Recent Trademark Cases

Two recent cases demonstrate rare intersections of trademark and constitutional law that may require onlookers to get some popcorn ready as the arguments play out in federal courts this year. In Twentieth Century Fox Television v. Empire Distribution, Inc., Fox, a declaratory relief plaintiff, is battling Empire’s trademark infringement counterclaim by invoking the First Amendment via…
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Four Pitfalls to Avoid with Independent Contractor Agreements

Many small businesses utilize independent contractors because they offer certain advantages over hiring employees, like reducing overhead costs and avoiding headaches such as payroll taxes and employment-related claims. Others may hire independent contractors for discreet one-time services. In either case a written agreement is a must, but beware: there are pitfalls related to the language…
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Copyright Claims in Video Game Characters Dismissed in World of Warcraft Case

Gaming behemoth Blizzard Entertainment, makers of the World of Warcraft franchise, suffered a setback when a federal judge threw out the complaint in its copyright infringement case against Lilith Games and co-defendant uCool. The court cited a lack of specificity related to the allegedly infringed characters, and a failure to adequately apprise uCool of which…
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