Adventures in legal scholarship
A business law professor’s scholarly article about a 2006 trademark law typo that barred the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from bringing a dilution claim against another organization using its “Oscar” mark reverberated far outside the ivory tower.
The article by Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business associate professor Tim Lemper ignited the intellectual property bar and sparked a revision to the Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006 this fall.
Congress intended the law to bar more state dilution claims against owners of federally registered trademarks. Instead, the error barred all state and federal law dilution claims.
Lemper has been collecting kudos. The article’s real-world reverberations through the business environment “was a dream situation for me,” he said. — Sheri Qualters
Render unto caesar
The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission has filed formal charges against Leon County Circuit Judge Judith Hawkins for allegedly using her judicial office to promote a private ministry. According to its website, the mission of Gaza Road Ministries consists of “searching timeless Bible truths for today’s applications.” In addition to publications, the company offers speaking engagements, seminars, conferences and mission trips. — Daily Business Review
Everyone’s a critic
A friendship that extended as far back as high school didn’t prevent a Virginia woman from savaging her construction contractor on Yelp. Neither did it prevent him from suing her for defamation. Jane Perez complained that Christopher Dietz’s company left her “with damage to my home and work that had to be reaccomplished for thousands more than originally estimated,” The Washington Post reported. Also, jewelry mysteriously disappeared, and Dietz “was the only one with a key.” He has filed a $750,000 Internet defamation claim, contending that the harsh review has cost him at least $300,000 in new business. He also asked the judge to issue an injunction to block Perez from writing any more reviews. — Richard Binder
Wedding bell blues
A seamstress owes a bride almost $1,500 after the zipper she replaced on her wedding dress split apart just before the ceremony, a New York state trial judge has ruled. Just an hour before the wedding, a bridesmaid lifted the zipper and the seam split. Two housekeepers sewed the distraught bride into the dress but the incident transformed the nuptials into a “nightmare,” Samantha Shea testified. She paid the housekeepers $200 and the officiant an extra $100 for overtime. The dress had to be ripped apart to come off. — New York Law Journal