By: Amy Goldsmith
In my May 12, 2015 Lawline presentation regarding Rights of Publicity, we discussed the litigation between actor Cindy Lee Garcia and Google/YouTube involving the film Innocence of Muslims. The dispute arose several years ago, when Cindy Lee Garcia was hired (absent the typical written assignment of copyright) to appear in a film called “Desert Warrior.” Five seconds of her performance was converted into a diatribe against the Prophet Mohammed and uploaded by the producer to YouTube. The producer even dubbed over her words: “Is George crazy? Our daughter is but a child?” turned into “Is your Mohammed a child molester?” Millions of view ensued, and Ms. Garcia received death threats. She asked Google to take down the film, citing violations of her right to control her likeness and her right to privacy. Google refused.
Trade Dress: A Bite Taken Out of the Apple by Amy Goldsmith
Apple has been battling Samsung since 2012, asserting claims of utility and design patent infringement and trademark and trade dress infringement. The California jury handed Apple over a billion dollars in damages (later reduced by the lower court to $930 million), agreeing with the allegations of infringement. Samsung appealed, and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals rendered its decision on May 18, 2015, reversing the jury’s verdict on the trademark and trade dress component but affirming the rest (Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Case: 14-1335, May 18, 2015).
In my Lawline presentation on May 12, 2015, I stressed the importance of defining the trade dress and in understanding the differences between functional and non-functional features, especially when trade dress is claimed in a product configuration. The functionality of certain features of the iPhone 3G/3GS was the question before the Federal Circuit.