For our weekly SoCal IP Institute meeting on Monday, March 9th, 2020 we will discuss the following cases:

Prager University. v. Google. (9th. Cir. 2020) (available here)

The 9th circuit affirmed a district court’s ruling that dismissed a YouTube content creator’s claims alleging a violation of the First Amendment and false advertising under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1)(B), as well as various state law claims against Google and Youtube. The 9th circuit held that YouTube is not a public forum but a private one and is not subject to judicial scrutiny under the 1st amendment. Plaintiff also argued that defendant violated the Lanham Act by making false statements regarding how YouTube monitors its content. The 9th circuit held YouTube’s content moderation policies did not fall under “commercial advertising or promotion” as the Lanham Act required.

In re JC Hospitality LLC (CAFC) (available here)

JC Hospitality appealed from an order of the TTAB affirming the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s refusal to register two trademark applications. Both applications sought to register the mark “THE JOINT,” but for two different classes of services. The Board affirmed both refusals on the ground that the mark was generic and alternatively, because the mark is merely descriptive of the services and that JC Hospitality had not proven that the mark had acquired distinctiveness as a source identifier for the services. The federal circuit affirmed concluding that substantial evidence supported the TTAB’s finding that THE JOINT was merely descriptive of JC Hospitality’s services and that JC Hospitality had not demonstrated acquired distinctiveness.

All are invited to join us on Monday March 9th, 2020 at noon in our Westlake Village office. This activity is approved for 1 hour of MCLE credit. If you will be joining us, please RSVP to Elisha Manzur by 9 am Monday morning.