The Changing Landscape of Trademark Law in Tinseltown: From Debbie Does Dallas to The Hangover

Hollywood and the Law, (Palgrave Macmillan/British Film Institute Press, 2015)

22 Pages Posted: 26 May 2016 Last revised: 13 Jan 2017

See all articles by Mark Bartholomew

Mark Bartholomew

SUNY Buffalo Law School

John Tehranian

Southwestern Law School

Date Written: March 7, 2016

Abstract

This Essay, a chapter published in the book Hollywood and the Law (Palgrave Macmillan / British Film Institute, 2015), explores how courts have sought to balance the competing interests at stake when filmmakers make unauthorized uses of trademarks in their work and brand owners threaten liability for infringement. Using the seminal Rogers v. Grimaldi decision as a key pivot point, the Essay traces the remarkable change in approaches that courts have taken to First Amendment defenses in trademark cases in the past few decades. In presenting case studies of two opinions -- Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Inc. v. Pussycat Cinema, Ltd. (decided a decade before Rogers) and Louis Vuitton v. Warner Bros. (decided two decades after Rogers) -- the Chapter contextualizes the growing judicial recognition of free speech defenses by filmmakers, the critical limitations of this solicitousness to artistic choice, and the way in which this trend may have impacted the artistry and economics of Hollywood.

Suggested Citation

Bartholomew, Mark and Tehranian, John, The Changing Landscape of Trademark Law in Tinseltown: From Debbie Does Dallas to The Hangover (March 7, 2016). Hollywood and the Law, (Palgrave Macmillan/British Film Institute Press, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2743907

Mark Bartholomew

SUNY Buffalo Law School ( email )

528 O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States
716-645-5959 (Phone)

John Tehranian (Contact Author)

Southwestern Law School ( email )

3050 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
United States

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