Author: Morgan Galland
In E.S.S. Entertainment 2000, Inc. v. Rock Star Videos, Inc., the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the makers of a popular video game did not violate section 43(a) of the Lanham Act by depicting a modified version of plaintiff’s Los Angeles strip club. On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California, the Ninth Circuit upheld a summary judgment decision for defendants, holding that use of a modified trademark in a video game to create a parody of a real setting is protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. In doing so, it expanded the traditional application of the test developed by the Second Circuit in Rogers v. Grimaldi, 875 F.2d 994, 999 (2nd Cir. 1989).