Here’s one more brief that the UCLA First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic submitted last week. This one is on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in Fortres Grand Corp. v. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (7th Cir.) (the link is to the decision that is being appealed), and my students Nathan Davis, Sara Liss, and Paulette Rodriguez-Lopez worked on the brief. I quote the brief below, for those who want to read it on the blog, though you can also find a PDF here.
Please note that, in all Clinic cases, the students and I act as advocates for the clients. We are making the best arguments we can for the position we are taking; we are not necessarily endorsing it as the position that we think the law ought to take. (Sometimes you can tell from past posts of mine that I do personally agree with that position, but you should not draw such an inference simply from the filing of the brief.) I should also note that the amicus briefs are designed to be read alongside the parties’ briefs, so they naturally omit much of the factual and procedural background that the parties’ briefs make clear; my apologies if, as a result, some of the material is therefore opaque to other readers.
Here’s a summary of the case, from the opinion below:
Warner Bros. produced the latest Batman film — The Dark Knight Rises — and it includes a handful of references to a fictional software program called “clean slate.” The Plaintiff, Fortres Grand Corporation, manufactures and sells a real software program called “Clean Slate.” Fortres’s theory is that it is in fact trademark infringement when a fictional product bears the same name as its real product. Warner Bros. takes the opposite view and has moved to dismiss