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CAL SUPREMES WILL HEAR DC COMICS CASE The California Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to review a lower court’s decision that DC Comics had publicity rights to depict musicians Johnny and Edgar Winter as half-worm, half-human characters in its comic books. The court will determine whether the matter should be sent back to the trial court for a trial. The singers filed suit against DC Comics for their depiction as the “Autumn brothers” in a series of comic books parodying the genre of singing Wild West cowboys. A trial court granted summary judgment in favor of DC Comics, and an appeals court upheld the decision. The two appealed to the California Supreme Court, which withheld a decision pending the outcome of Comedy III Productions Inc. v. Saderup, 01 C.D.O.S. 3380. In that case, the high court ruled that a sketch artist’s claim to a free speech right to sell shirts with images of The Three Stooges was trumped by the rights of publicity of the comedians’ heirs. The high court subsequently sent the DC Comics case back to the appeals court, which reversed its grant of summary judgment on the rights of publicity claim. DC Comics asked the California Supreme Court to review the matter, arguing that there would be a restraint of free speech before the case reaches its docket. The Winter brothers are represented by Vincent Chieffo, a partner at Greenberg Traurig’s Santa Monica office. DC Comics is represented by Michael Bergman of Weissmann, Wolff, Bergman, Coleman, Grodin & Evall in Beverly Hills. — Brenda Sandburg CRITICAL PATH EXEC GETS PRISON TERM The first sentence in the government’s case against several former Critical Path Inc. executives was handed down Tuesday. U.S. District Judge William Alsup sentenced Timothy Ganley, 46, to six months in prison on insider trading charges stemming from an accounting scheme aimed at meeting revenue goals at the San Francisco e-mail provider. Ganley, who was a sales vice president at the company, admitted in April to selling 1,300 shares before the company announced last year that it would restate several quarterly financial reports. In an agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission filed in March, Ganley also agreed to pay nearly $108,000 to the government for his illegal trading. So far, three other former Critical Path executives have been charged in connection with the scheme. — Jason Hoppin McDERMOTT HIRES LONGTIME IP PARTNER Howrey Simon Arnold & White intellectual property partner Edwin Wheeler has left the firm for the Silicon Valley office of McDermott, Will & Emery. “Edwin’s talent and experience are welcome additions to our growing practice,” said Anthony de Alcuaz, the partner in charge of McDermott’s Palo Alto office, in a statement. In the past 20 years, Wheeler, 45, has practiced all aspects of intellectual property disputes, including patent litigation in federal courts and before the International Trade Commission; trademark and trade dress litigation; trade secret protection; and standards-setting issues. He also has counseling and litigation experience in various antitrust matters. McDermott’s Silicon Valley office has 30 lawyers. Wheeler is licensed to practice law in both California and Washington, D.C., including the Federal, District of Columbia, Eighth and Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. He earned his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1983. — Jason Dearen

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