Charming Charlie, the teen jeweler and accessory retailer, filed its second Chapter 11 bankruptcy case in less than two (2) years this morning in Delaware under docket number 19-11534.

This Chapter 22, which is the filing of two (2) Chapter 11 bankruptcies in a short period of time, appears to mark the end of the retailer. It lists in its filings that it has plans to close all 261 stores. The company emerged from its prior Chapter 11 bankruptcy, where it shed about 100 stores, only 14 months ago. According to USA Today, the company expects to vacate its stores by August 31, 2019.

Continue Reading Charming Charlie Bankruptcy: Retailer Files for Second Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

This month, the Supreme Court struck down 25 U.S.C. § 1052(a) of the Lanham (Trademark) Act of 1946, which prohibited federal trademark registration of “immoral or scandalous” marks for goods and services, on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause as impermissible viewpoint-based discrimination due to its favoring of certain ideas over others.

Continue Reading <i>Iancu v. Brunetti</i>: The Best Defense is a Great Offense

In December 2018, Congress approved the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the “Farm Bill”) which authorized the production of hemp and removed hemp and hemp seeds from the DEA’s schedule of illegal Controlled Substances. After passage of the Farm Bill, questions arose with respect to interstate hemp transportation and who could obtain a license to produce hemp. Adding to the confusion, a number of Midwestern states seized hemp traveling through their borders and charged drivers with felonies for interstate drug trafficking.

Continue Reading USDA Clarifies Hemp Production, Use, and Transportation

Earlier this year we noted 10 potential retailer bankruptcies to watch in 2019. Four (4) of those retailers, Payless, Gymboree, Charlotte Russe, and Things Remembered, filed within months of our report.

The following is a revised list of potential Chapter 11 retailer bankruptcy filings to watch for during the second half of the year.

Continue Reading Halfway Thru the Year – More Retailers to Watch for a Bankruptcy Filing in 2019

After passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (“The Farm Bill”), many professionals in the cannabis industry wondered how the new law would affect the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) stance on trade and service marks for cannabis sativa L species (hemp) and hemp-related goods and services.

Continue Reading USPTO Provides New Guidance for Registration of Cannabis and Cannabis-Related Marks

The legal wheel is (slowly) turning toward recognition of companion pets as more than mere “property” in divorce proceedings. The traditional view that family pets are no different from tables or chairs is evolving toward acknowledging of their “special subjective value,” most notably in custody cases but also in divorce cases where no children are involved.

Continue Reading Companion Pets and Divorce

ICSC’s RECon 2019 in Las Vegas provided a very good vibe for new deals and excitement not seen since before 2007. Unofficial statistics noted that attendance was up, likely above 37,000 with more than 12,000 exhibitors. Low interest rates, heightened consumer demand and an overall positive national economic outlook provided the backdrop for the increased optimism. Here are a few take-aways from this year’s show.

Continue Reading ICSC RECon 2019 Wrap-Up

Over 2700 additional copyright infringement lawsuits were filed in U.S. federal courts in 2018 compared to 2017. That increase was due in large part to cases that pornography studios, Strike 3 Holdings and Malibu Media, filed against John Doe internet downloaders alleging illegal downloading of the studios’ videos over file-sharing services like BitTorrent.

BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol that allows users to exchange large amounts of data in short periods of time. Unlike other download methods, BitTorrent maximizes transfer speed by gathering pieces of the file users want and downloading these pieces simultaneously from people who already have them. Moreover, once a user downloads the pieces, which together combine to create the complete video, the protocol shares them with other users downloading the same content. Thereby, users who download videos using BitTorrent are also inadvertently sharing and distributing that content with other users.

Continue Reading Invasion of the Copyright Trolls: What to Do If You Have Been Sued by Strike 3 Holdings or Malibu Media over Alleged BitTorrent Downloads

On June 3rd, the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) announced will be seeking applicants for 108 additional medical marijuana licenses across the state. License applications will be available online July 1st and must be submitted by August 15th.

The expansion of medical cannabis facilities intends to accommodate the 30,000 new patients now qualified for medical marijuana under Opioid Use Disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, migraine, anxiety, and chronic pain conditions. New Jersey now has more than 47,000 medical marijuana patients, an exponential increase from the 17,000 patients in 2018.

Continue Reading The Real Estate Hunt Is On: New Jersey to Issue Up to 108 Additional Medical Cannabis Licenses

A short time ago I had a conversation with a lawyer who had been the subject of a custody battle between her parents more than thirty years ago. Later in life, she decided to satisfy her curiosity of what her parents had said to the court, and obtained copies of all the pleadings they filed. In New Jersey, as in many states, very few documents are sealed or confidential, allowing this woman to access all of the certifications, or affidavits, her parents filed.

Continue Reading A Cautionary Tale: What You Say in a Certification May Not Be in Your Children’s Best Interests, or Yours