Professor Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog featured an article titled “Depiction of Michigan as Hands Doesn’t Preclude Similar Depictions,” that addresses copyright protection over the outline of two hands in the Michigan hand map configuration—a gesture commonly used by Michiganders everywhere. A local t-shirt company claimed copyright and trademark protection in its version of the hand map, and filed an infringement suit against a Warner client in a different industry using its own version of the gesture in advertising meant to rally support for businesses suffering during the pandemic.
Warner Partners Brian Wassom and Michael Azzi filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Michigan hand map was such a generic concept that even slight differences between the designs should defeat the copyright and trademark infringement claims as a matter of law. A federal judge in Lansing agreed, and dismissed the case in its entirety.
Brian advocates for clients in a wide range of commercial and intellectual property matters and disputes. He counsels in matters of commercial branding, publicity rights, creative expression and privacy. His practice serves businesses in many industries and spans the legal doctrines of copyright, trademark, privacy, right of publicity, advertising, journalism and related fields. Learn more about Brian here.
Michael focuses his legal practice on complex commercial litigation and represents a wide range of clients across a diverse spectrum of industries – in state and federal courts throughout the country. His particular area of practice concentrates on intellectual property, bankruptcy and creditor rights litigation. Learn more about Michael here.
To read the full article, view the graphic depictions and review the court decision, visit the Technology & Marketing Law Blog article here.
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