9th Circ. Shoots Down Trademark Suit Over Fox's 'Empire'

Law360, New York (November 16, 2017, 3:06 PM EST) -- The Ninth Circuit ruled Thursday that Fox couldn't be sued for trademark infringement over its hit show "Empire" by a real-life record label of the same name, saying the network was protected by the First Amendment.

The ruling will end three years of litigation from Empire Distribution Inc., a real-life hip hop record label, over "Empire," a primetime drama based around a fictional hip hop label of the same name.

Lawsuits over the use of trademarks in expressive works like TV shows are almost always barred by the First Amendment; to hold water, the author must use it for a completely...

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