The Chicago Tribune reports that Kraft Foods, Inc. has sued casual dining chain Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. and its potential retail distributor the John Morrell Food Group to enjoin and nullify their contractual attempt to licensed the trademark "Cracker Barrel" to the distributor for retail distribution. Kraft trademarked "Cracker Barrel" in 1954 and sees Cracker Barrel Old Country Store's attempts to expand the use of their mark from their restaurant chains to retail grocers as infringing their mark.
ESPN reports that the NFL has pressured a fan who clairvoyantly predicted this year's Superbowl matchup to give up his application for "Harbowl." The NFL asserted that Harbowl and Superbowl are so similar as to create a likelihood of confusion among consumers.
As the calendar year turned, many new local, state, and federal laws came into effect. One of the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which is also called "Obamacare", has raised the hackles of a pair of privately held corporations. These corporations are religiously objecting to complying with PPACA's birth control access requirements, because as we know, corporations are people except for the purposes of carpooling, but they must have religious beliefs, right? As it turns out, (surprise!) not many courts are buying the argument that closely held private corporations have religious beliefs. Clearly these Court have not run into the cultish Apple devotees.
Weak jokes aside, Hobby Lobby's attempt to escape the regulatory clutches of PPACA is a novel attempt at imputing further First Amendment rights on corporations. It is a bold strike at enlarging recent caselaw and enhancing their position as a corporation.
The US Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a 7th Circuit Appellate ruling that the Illinois Eavesdropping Statute violates the First Amendment where it prevents citizens from audio recording police officers when they make otherwise non-confidential or priviledged statements. As the Chicago Tribune reports, The Seventh Circuit reversed the trial court's holding that prevents the ACLU from amending its complaint as well as directing the trial court to enter a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the Eavesdropping Statute.
The ACLU confirmed its latest victory in Illinois when Judge Hyman approved its settlement agreement with the Illinois Department of Public Health regarding the Department's prior policy of mandating gender reassignment surgery before it would consider reissuing changed birth certificates reflecting the applicant's new gender.
The Chicago Teachers Union is striking in Chicago right now. The teacher's union hurdled the many procedural requirements to legally strike for wages, but recent changes to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act, 115 ILCS 5/1 (IELRA) may have made the strike illegal as wage demands have been met. Below is an unofficial napkin analysis of the legal issues at play. Since some provisions have only been effective for a bit over a year, there is no real precedent on this issue and this napkin analysis reviews the plain statutory law that governs this strike.
Rishi Nair owns Nair Law LLC and practices as Of Counsel at Keener and Associates, P.C.