On behalf of P&G, the firm obtained summary judgment in a trademark infringement case brought against its highly popular show, the “People’s Choice Awards.”
The plaintiff operated a music-sharing website and claimed that the show’s “Favorite Web Celeb” award category infringed its registered mark. P&G prevailed on summary judgment on grounds that its use of “web celeb” was protected by the First Amendment and classic fair use. On appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the firm secured an affirmance of the judgment based on fair use. In the Ninth Circuit’s written decision, the court adopted Willenken’s arguments nearly word for word.