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Reese Witherspoon has called off a trial against the many defendants she sued in 2013 for using her name to market necklaces, earrings and imitations of her wedding ring.
Last week, a California judge was told that all the parties had come to settlements to resolve claims of violating Witherspoon’s trademarks and publicity rights.
In November, Judge Gerald Rosenberg rejected a summary judgment motion by Sears that it couldn’t be held liable for what was sold by third-party sellers in its online marketplace. Separately, the judge considered the argument by e-commerce company Skye Associates that Reese Witherspoon’s name wasn’t a protectable slogan.
A trial was scheduled for later this month and could have featured Witherspoon testifying (as she gave a deposition in the case) as well as consumer surveys about confusion in the marketplace. Her attorney Charles Harder confirms that Witherspoon has now come to private agreements with the various defendants, including Centerbrook Sales, Fragrance Hut, Gemvara and others.
Two other settlements to report:
— Just as Fox News was about to go to trial Tuesday for allegedly violating the copyright to a photo of firefighters during the Sept. 11 World Trade Center tragedy, the cable news network has come to an agreement with the North Jersey Media Group, publisher of The Record and the Herald News. The plaintiff accused Fox News of putting the photograph on the Facebook page of shows hosted by Fox News personalities Jeanine Pirro and Bret Baier, with the defendant making a fair-use defense. Terms of the deal aren’t known, but it comes after the judge in the case denied Fox News’ motion to limit statutory damages to just a single infringement.
— The Grammys were on Monday night, but the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences obtained a victory a few days prior when Craig Banaszewski and his Hollywood Entertainment Group agreed to be permanently enjoined from purchasing or selling tickets to any future Grammy Awards ceremony. Banaszewski has long been in the eye of the entertainment industry for selling tickets to awards ceremonies and while he fought back a bit in the lawsuit — looking to pry open Grammy Award sponsorship deals to rebut the charge that he interfered with contracts — he appears to have relented by accepting a fairly wide-ranging injunction that prohibits him from using Grammy trademarks and facilitating unauthorized access.
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