Tuesday, July 26, 2011

7th Circuit: Decisions on Assignability of TM License; Originality of Architectural Plans

In In re XMH Corp., No. 10-2596 (7th Cir. July 26, 2011), an appeal of a bankruptcy court decision, Judge Posner held that the debtor could not assign an allegedly executory trademark license because the agreement was silent on assignability and trademark law’s default rule is that “trademark licenses are not assignable in the absence of a clause expressly authorizing assignment.”

In the architectural copyright case, the panel held that the architect failed to demonstrate that its designs were original (and therefore protectable) where they were based “for the most part” on its hotel-chain client’s prototype, and the few differences were “specifically requested by [the client] through written requests accompanied by graphic designs.” The case was Nova Design Build, Inc. v. Grace Hotels, LLC, No. 10-1738 (7th Cir. July 26, 2011).

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