Tattoo Copyright Infringement and Post-Brexit Trademark Considerations

For our weekly SoCal IP Institute meeting on Monday, June 7, 2021, Chris Kopitzke will lead a discussion of the legal issues arising from unauthorized copying of a photograph for a tattoo and will highlight selected trademark responsibilities resulting from Brexit.


What happens when a celebrity tattoo artist copies the photograph of an acclaimed photographer on the body of a client without a license to the photographic image?
In Sedlick v. Katherine Von Drachenberg, et al., No. 2:21-cv-01102-DSF-MRWx (C.D. Cal., filed Feb. 7, 2021), available here, award-winning professional photographer Jeffrey Sedlick claims that tattoo artist and reality TV star Kat Von D and her associated companies infringed his copyright in an iconic photograph of jazz musician Miles Davis by creating an unauthorized derivative work in the form of a tattoo and posting images of her process and the finished tattoo on social media. (Copies of the original photo and selected social media postings appear in the complaint.) The case raises a host of interesting questions about transformative use, the removal of copyright management information, secondary liability, equitable remedies, and the overlap of copyright and the right to publicity.


What are the post-Brexit rights and responsibilities of the owner of an EU or International trademark registration or pending application?

The United Kingdom officially left the European Union on January 31, 2020 (“Brexit Day”). An eleven- month Transition Period followed, ending on January 1, 2021. We’ll discuss the resulting status of pre-Brexit EU and International trademark registrations, some features of the newly created “cloned” UK registrations, renewal strategies for the UK, and the UK deadline for obtaining protection of marks for which EU applications were pending on January 1 of this year. Handy guidelines from a British IP firm and WIPO are available here and here.

All are welcome to attend the program at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time. To join the discussion, please RSVP via email to elisham @ (remove the spaces, which have been inserted to thwart spammers) by noon the day of the program to obtain a video conference link. This activity has been approved for one hour of CLE credit.