On June 29, 2023, in Abitron Austria GmbH v. Hetronic International, Inc., 600 U.S. ___ (2023), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Lanham Act could not extend to trademark infringement that occurred almost entirely outside the United States. While it is not surprising that the Court adhered to the longstanding presumption against extraterritorial application of U.S. law, the rationale underlying its decision may complicate future U.S. trademark actions to stop foreign-sourced counterfeits.
On May 5, 2023, the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs handed down its Final Decision in T-Mobile USA, Inc. v. Comcast Cable Communications Management, LLC. The NAD found that Comcast made several express and implied claims that were disparaging and/or unsubstantiated regarding T-Mobile’s home internet service, T-HINT, by way of television and online advertising. The decision is a useful reminder that advertiser claims must be (1) truthful, (2) not misleading, and (3) supported by a reasonable (and often evidentiary) basis.
On June 8, 2023, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court resolved the petition in Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. v. VIP Products LLC with two narrow holdings: (1) the threshold trademark infringement test espoused by the Second Circuit in Rogers v. Grimaldi for “expressive” works does not apply to allegedly infringing trademark use; and (2) humor and parody does not constitute “non-commercial use” within the meaning of the Lanham Act’s exclusion from liability for trademark dilution. In so doing, the Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit’s ruling and remanded to the District Court, leaving questions about the continued viability of the Rogers test, as well as the bounds of the Lanham Act’s “non-commercial use” exclusion from dilution liability.
On May 31, 2023, the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) held the final session of its Spring 2023 AI Listening Session. This session was held across two panels and discussed the copyright implications of AI-generated content (AIGC) in music and sound recordings. The panelists consisted of various stakeholders in the music industry such as founders of AIGC music companies, songwriters, professors, and counsel to music and streaming companies.