Full Of Sound And Query, Signifying Something: Recent Noise Over Acoustic Trademarks

Leo the Lion has been the most regular star of MGM Pictures since it was founded on this day in 1924, and his roar is probably the sound most commonly associated with the studio.

–Kat Eschner, The Story of Hollywood’s Most Famous Lion (2017)


There’s no roar quite like a Nittany Lion’s!

–Penn State Football @PennStateFball on 12/7/2020

So, there you go— Metro Goldwyn Mayer and Pennsylvania State University are two different entities each associated with a distinctive roar connected to their institution.  They are marketed through different, yet related, channels of trade (sports and entertainment, which were melded together as ESPN’s original name). The MGM roar and the Nittany Lion roar are certainly not identical, but they might be considered confusingly similar, should one ever need to distinguish or compare them. (I am unaware of any reported comparison, but I did find the latter compared to a toilet flushing and have seen the former’s trademark suffer indignities at times too).  I start with MGM and Penn State, not because MGM’s registered trademark and Penn State’s common law one are at odds, but because they are two well-known acoustic, or sound (or auditory), marks that can help us understand those sounding off recently about such non-traditional trademarks.  That noise includes this one, which is “the sound made by a drinks can being opened, followed by a silence of approximately one second and a fizzing sound lasting approximately nine seconds,” according to Ardagh Metal Beverage Holdings Gmbh & Co. Kg v. European Union Intellectual Property Office, T-668/19.  The uproar also includes numerous articles by diverse scholars and various bloggers expressing a renewed interest in sound marks in many countries.

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HRSA uninsured program to stop accepting claims for testing and vaccination

With the Health Resources & Services Administration without the $22.5 billion in emergency funding it had requested, there are expected to be significant disruptions to programs administered by HRSA and other COVID-19 response efforts. The lack of funding comes at a critical time as a new hybrid variant of COVID-19 emerges in the United States and Europe.

As a result of the lack of funding, providers will soon be prohibited from submitting claims to HRSA for testing, treatment, and vaccination. Starting March 22, HRSA will stop accepting new claims for testing and treatment and on April 5, HRSA will stop accepting vaccination claims.

Click here to learn more about what providers can do and how this lack of funding will impact uninsured patients.

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Preparing for a Legal and PR Crisis After Company Vaccine Mandates

Among the many disruptions that COVID-19 has visited upon the business world, the pandemic has made many corporate crisis management playbooks obsolete when it comes to managing interconnected legal and reputational risks.

What’s different about today’s crisis landscape that makes organizations vulnerable to new, unprecedented problems? The most inflammatory issue is clear: COVID-19 vaccine policies. Read more…

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Vaccine mandates: The final blow for nursing homes?

In an effort to quell the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, President Biden has announced a series of new measures that seek to bolster the United States’ healthcare and financial response to the virus. In addition to recommending vaccine booster shots, the measures include new regulations requiring all employees of nursing homes to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 if such nursing homes participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. While the logic of requiring health care workers who engage with those most vulnerable to COVID-19 has a clear appeal, the consequences of the new regulations could prove devastating for nursing homes. Read more…

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All information contain within this update is accurate at the time of publication. During these unprecedented times where the situation is constantly changing at pace it is vital that you take expert advice where necessary. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss any issues covered in these updates further. The Hill Brown Licensing Team and the wider team at Miller Samuel Hill Brown remain committed to providing the fullest possible service for the trade at this extremely challenging time. Read more…

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International Lawyers Network

The International Lawyers Network (ILN) is a leading association of 91 high-quality, full-service independent law firms.

Since 1988, the ILN has helped its members keep pace with today’s global economy, through access to the tremendous strength and depth of the combined expertise of 5,000 lawyers in 66 countries on six continents.

ILN member firms are among the most respected and most experienced counsel in their jurisdictions. Clients’ increasing need for reliable foreign counsel is well-met by the personalized, high-quality and cost-effective legal services provided by ILN member firms. Unique to the ILN are the strong personal and professional relationships among its members and their clients developed over the past 30 years. Far from a mere directory, the ILN is an affiliation of lawyers who gather on a regional and worldwide basis annually and work routinely with each other to address client requirements and needs.

Each of the ILN’s member firms is international in outlook and staffed by highly trained senior attorneys, who are experts in a broad range of practice areas. ILN members have demonstrated experience in working successfully with international companies. They are independent, mid-sized firms within their jurisdictions, and are committed to the focus of the International Lawyers Network, admitted to the Network only after a rigorous application process. The ILN provides clients with high-quality service from experienced local counsel who work in firms that maintain excellent reputations in their own countries. This means that clients have immediate access to attorneys who are native, both linguistically and culturally, to the country of interest.

The ILN’s international directory app is available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry smartphones. To access the app, click here or log on to ILNmobile.com from your smartphone. Request more information about ILN membership here.

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Safeguarding Technical Data: A Lesson from the Honeywell Consent Agreement

Safeguarding technical data and preventing unauthorized exports of controlled technical data is a challenge for most companies. As demonstrated by the Honeywell consent agreement, the U.S. Government (“USG”) will not take violations involving unauthorized exports of controlled technical data lightly. Therefore, industry should carefully assess their compliance programs to ensure that technical data is safeguarded properly. This article provides an overview of the Honeywell consent agreement and discusses general recommendations for safeguarding technical data. Read more…

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Α financial “breath” for the film industry

A Common Ministerial Decision (Ν. 24907/2021 – Government Gazette – B’ 1820 / 29.04.2021) has been issued recently in Greece according to which a total amount of 8,000,000 euros will be granted as a support measure for cinemas and film distributors that have been affected by the restrictive measures due to Covid-19 pandemic, as part of the initiatives taken for the support of the sector of culture who has suffered particularly badly. According to members of the Government, this program is part of a general plan of initiatives for the practical support of the sector of culture, with both horizontal and specialized measures.

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EEOC weighs in with updated guidance on vaccine mandates, incentives and more

Responding to COVID-19 was uncharted territory for many employers. The EEOC helped guide employers through many challenging employment aspects of the pandemic with regular updates to its Technical Assistance document, What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws. However, since addressing just a few vaccine-related issues in December 2020, the EEOC has been silent for months. With questions mounting, employers and business groups have clamored for answers from the EEOC on critical issues such as vaccine mandates, incentives, proof of status, and confidentiality. Now, with progress on vaccines well underway and many employers implementing return to office plans, the EEOC finally weighed in with updated guidance on May 28, 2021. Read more…

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Restaurants with unconfirmed bankruptcy plans may seek emergency dismissal of bankruptcy case to gain access to Restaurant Revitalization Funds

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which is a $28.6 billion federal fund for struggling restaurants that was established as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed on March 6, appears to be having an unintended effect on bankrupt restaurants trying to apply while their bankruptcy cases are pending. We previously summarized the key terms of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and details regarding the portal and the initial applicants for the fund can be found here. Unlike the Paycheck Protection Program that provided loans throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (the RRF) offers substantial grants, not loans, to restaurants that have struggled for the past year, and restaurants may use the grants to pay for payroll expenses, mortgage payments, rent utilities, supplies, and food and beverage expenses, among other costs. Like the Paycheck Protection Program, however, funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, and companies that are currently in chapter 11 bankruptcy are not eligible for grants from the RRF unless the bankrupt company already has a confirmed plan of reorganization. Although companies in bankruptcy were not eligible for PPP loans for much of last year, the Small Business Administration recently revised its guidelines in April 2021 to provide the companies in chapter 11 bankruptcy are eligible for PPP loans if they have a confirmed reorganization plan. Read more…

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