Trademark Licensing Safe Under Betty Boop

Law360, New York (August 30, 2011, 1:33 PM EDT) -- Under intense criticism from professional sports and collegiate licensing companies and trademark advocacy groups, the Ninth Circuit, in a rare move, vacated its controversial February 2011 decision that trademark law freely permitted unauthorized reproductions of images of the famous Betty Boop cartoon character.

In its earlier decision in the case of Fleischer Studios Inc. v. A.V.E.L.A. Inc., No. 09-56317 (9th Cir. Feb. 23, 2011), the Ninth Circuit shocked the trademark-licensing world by resurrecting and expanding the doctrine of “aesthetic functionality” in a broad manner that called...
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