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First Amendment Bars Many Lanham Act Claims Concerning Artistic Uses of Trademarks

Darren W. Saunders and Alpa V. Patel of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips write: Where trademarks are used in artistic works, two competing interests come into play—a trademark owner’s right to prevent consumer confusion, and the First Amendment right of freedom of expression. Both are important and worthy of strong protection. So where lies the boundary? Several recent federal court decisions provide guidance.

How the Second Circuit Liberalized Rule 11 Sanctions Availability

Robert J. Jossen and Neil A. Steiner, partners at Dechert, write that since the 1993 amendments to the FRCP, sanctions motion practice has become a relatively small part of litigation in commercial cases in federal court, typically reserved by most practitioners for rare and truly egregious misconduct. In the view of some, this development also improved the civility among litigators. A recent decision by the Second Circuit may have the potential to reverse that trend and revitalize Rule 11 sanctions as a weapon in the litigator’s arsenal.

Navigating the Amended New York False Claims Act

Lori L. Pines and Vanessa W. Chandis of Weil, Gotshal & Manges write: The 2010 amendments to New York’s False Claims Act have unquestionably increased the exposure of businesses to FCA liability and expanded the protections offered to whistleblowers. With the Attorney General already demonstrating his willingness to pursue actions aggressively, it is imperative that practitioners take steps to understand the potential issues they may face when litigating such actions.

Lawyers, Funds and Money: The Meeting of Finance and Employment

Jack Yoskowitz, a partner at Seward & Kissel, and Benay Josselson, an associate with the firm, write: The intersection between the world of complex financial products and employment/partnership disputes brings up significant issues that must be thought through when a partner, key employee or group of employees joins or leaves a hedge fund or financial institution. Issues of performance, valuations of complex derivatives, holdback of bonuses, and non-competition provisions must all be considered.