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Not all bananas are created equally. Rasta Imposta, a retail wholesaler of Halloween costumes, filed a claim for copyright and trade dress infringement and unfair competition against Kangaroo Manufacturing, another costume retailer, after Rasta’s CEO discovered Kangaroo selling a costume that resembled one of Rasta’s costumes without a license. The costumes in issue in Silvertop Assocs. v. Kangaroo Mfg., No. 18-2266, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 22989 (3d Cir. Aug. 1, 2019) consisted of full-body yellow banana outfits:

banana costume copyright infringement


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.


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With businesses engaging in increasingly more commerce over the internet, it is crucial to understand the consequences of displaying, using, and transferring another entity’s works online. Enter The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998, which was signed into law by President Clinton to keep pace with the new realities of internet technology and commerce. The Act sought to protect intellectual property rights while simultaneously advancing the growth and development of e-commerce.

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Although New Jersey lawmakers cancelled a vote on an adult-use recreational cannabis bill recently, medical cannabis use gained some support following a ruling from the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey that an employer’s failure to accommodate medical marijuana use by an employee constituted a valid basis for an employment discrimination claim.

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The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued an opinion earlier this year lending support to those interested in seeking patents related to cannabis. GW Pharmaceuticals, a U.K. company focused on therapeutic cannabinoids, walked away with a partial win concerning a patent that involved the use of cannabinoids to treat epilepsy.

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On March 4, 2019, the United States Supreme Court resolved a longstanding split among the circuit courts concerning what exactly the copyright registration prerequisite to filing a copyright lawsuit means – whether an application to register is sufficient or an actual issued registration is required. The Supreme Court chose the latter holding that a copyright owner must first obtain a copyright registration certificate from the Copyright Office before filing a copyright infringement suit.

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