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Susan Neuberger Weller

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[email protected]

+1.202.585.3510

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Susan currently manages the firm’s Trademark & Copyright Practice. Her extensive experience assisting clients with securing and protecting IP assets spans the globe. She has worked with companies in a vast array of industries, ranging from pharmaceuticals, medical devices, software, and electronics to entertainment, fashion, finance, and education. Susan is a prolific writer and lecturer, is recognized as a leader in the field of IP and is frequently invited to comment on issues of trademark and copyright law. Susan is highly regarded for her professional and ethical excellence as well as her ongoing commitment to pro bono and community service work.

Susan has managed the firm’s Trademark Practice for over 15 years. For over 30 years, her practice has involved all aspects of intellectual property and related corporate business transactions, with a particular emphasis on domestic and international trademark and copyright searching, prosecution, enforcement, counseling, and litigation. She specializes in trademark, copyright, domain name, trade dress, and related areas of Internet, e-commerce, unfair competition, customs, and advertising law, as well as intellectual property administrative litigation proceedings before the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) proceedings before ICANN, and federal civil litigation.

Her practice also encompasses intellectual property licensing, trade secrets, establishing corporate intellectual property programs, and conducting corporate audits and domestic and international due diligence investigations. She works with IP firms worldwide in protecting and enforcing her clients’ IP rights.

Susan has served as an Associate mentor and advisor for many years. Susan represents the firm as well as its affiliated entities in trademark and copyright matters.

Throughout her career, Susan has been an active writer and speaker. Susan has authored and contributed to numerous intellectual property books and publications and has served as an intellectual property commentator on Court TV, in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and in other national and regional publications. She frequently presents and lectures on all aspects of intellectual property.

Susan participates in many professional and community service organizations. Her commitment to pro bono work for clients has been publicly recognized and is highlighted annually in the firm’s annual Pro Bono Report. She has also been recognized by many different organizations for her professional excellence and ethics.

Susan has been active for many years in the International Trademark Association (INTA), has served on numerous INTA committees and task forces, and was an editor for The Trademark Reporter. In addition, she participates in the intellectual property activities of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the American Bar Association, the New York Intellectual Property Law Association, and the DC and Virginia bar associations. She has also served on several committees of the Technology Council of Maryland.

Education

  • George Washington University (JD)
  • University of Miami (BA, English, Economics, Psychology, cum laude)

Experience

  • Represented NxStage Medical in successfully challenging the domain name filing in Chile of nxstage.cl.

Recognition & Awards

  • Included on the Washington DC Super Lawyers: Intellectual Property list (2007 – 2010, 2013 – 2019)
  • Included on the Virginia Super Lawyers: Intellectual Property list (2006)
  • Legal Media Group: World’s Leading Trade Mark Practitioners
  • Legal Media Group: World’s Leading Women in Business Law
  • American Registry: America's Most Honored Professionals
  • American Registry: Top Attorneys in the Washington, DC Metro Area
  • Arrive magazine: “Top Women Lawyers in the Northeast”
  • Who’s Who Legal USA: Trademarks
  • The United Who’s Who Registry
  • Biltmore Who's Who Among Executives and Professional Women, Honors Edition
  • Guide to the World’s Leading Trade Mark Law Practitioners
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
  • Excellence in legal writing award, International Trademark Association

Involvement

  • Member, INTA
  • Member, American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Member, New York Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Member, DC Bar Association
  • Member, Virginia Bar Association
  • Board of Directors, George Washington Law School Alumni Association
  • George Washington Law Community Art Collection Committee
  • Intellectual property mentor, GWU law students
  • Co-chair, GWU Law School 30th and 35th Class Reunions
  • Host committee, 2nd World Conference of Women’s Shelters (March 2012)
  • Volunteer, Montgomery County Humane Society in Maryland

Recent Insights

News & Press

Viewpoints

Viewpoint General

Whose Game is On? Carrie Underwood and NBC Sued Over SNF Song

July 9, 2019 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

As any football fan knows, Carrie Underwood has performed the introductory song for Sunday Night Football since 2013. “Waitin’ All Day For Sunday Night” was the introductory song for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and “Oh Sunday Night” was the song performed in 2015, 2016, and 2017. On September 6, 2018, Sunday Night Football opened with Ms. Underwood singing a new introductory song entitled “Game On." Well, this “Game” is now the subject of a copyright infringement suit in Federal District Court in New York.
Viewpoint
This past May, in a highly-anticipated decision, the Supreme Court held in Mission Product Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC that a debtor’s rejection of an executory contract under Section 365 of the Bankruptcy Code has the same effect as a breach of contract outside of bankruptcy.  The decision resolves an inter-circuit split on the effect of a bankrupt trademark licensor’s rejection of a trademark license, a question regarded by legal experts in the trademark community as the most significant unresolved legal issue in trademark licensing. 
Viewpoint
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court granted the State of Georgia’s petition to review the Eleventh Circuit’s decision in Code Revision Comm'n v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc., 906 F.3d 1229 (11th Cir. 2018). In that case, the Eleventh Circuit held that the privately-compiled but officially-sanctioned and adopted Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) was not protected by copyright under the “government edicts” doctrine.
Viewpoint
The U.S. Supreme Court, in a split decision, held that the federal ban on registering “scandalous” and “immoral” trademarks is an unconstitutional violation of free speech under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The trademark FUCT is what was at issue in Iancu v. Brunetti, case number 18-302 (June 24, 2019).  Although the mark had been in use on clothing for many years, it was never accepted for registration by the US Trademark Office on grounds that it violated the ban on registration of “scandalous” and “immoral” marks under Section 1052(a) of the Lanham Act.
Viewpoint
Legalizing “hemp” under the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) has triggered an important change for the examination of federal trademark applications concerning cannabis and cannabis-derived goods and services.  In response to the Bill’s enactment on December 20, 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a new examination guide to clarify its examination procedures involving hemp goods and services.  For businesses in the cannabis industry, the examination guide (recently issued on May 2, 2019) will impact the viability of federal trademark applications filed on or after December 20, 2018 that were once previously barred.
Viewpoint General

The FUCT Mark: Is the Prohibition on Scandalous Marks Unconstitutional?

March 14, 2019 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller, Adam Samansky, Serge Subach

The constitutionality of yet another portion of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act will soon be determined. Following in the footsteps of the blockbuster decision in Matal v. Tam, 137 S. Ct. 1744 (2017) (“Tam”), the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to Iancu v. Brunetti on January 4, 2019. In Matal v. Tam, the Supreme Court held that the prohibition in Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act against registering disparaging trademarks at the U.S. Trademark Office (“USPTO”) was an unconstitutional restriction on free speech. However, Section 2(a) also prohibits the registration of other categories of marks, including marks that are immoral and scandalous. It is the constitutionality of this prohibition which is at issue in Brunetti.
Viewpoint General

U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Copyrights Must Be Registered before Plaintiffs Can File Infringement Suits

March 5, 2019 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller, Andrew D. Skale, Harold Laidlaw

The U.S. Supreme Court held today that bringing a suit for copyright infringement requires that the infringed work actually be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, and that a mere application for registration will not suffice.
Viewpoint
Effective August 3, 2019, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will require foreign entity applicants, registrants, or parties to a trademark proceeding whose domicile is not located within the United States or its territories to be represented by qualified U.S. counsel (i.e., an attorney who is an active member of a state bar in the U.S.).

Monkeys Lack Standing to Sue for Copyright Infringement

May 1, 2018 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

Well, it’s official: Naruto, the crested macaque monkey who took photographs of himself while on a reserve on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia in 2011, lacks statutory standing under the US Copyright Act to sue for copyright infringement.
Two incredible things happened in 1992 for the NFL football team Washington Redskins. It won the Super Bowl and applied to register a trademark Washington Redskins. It has not been so lucky ever since. It has not won another Super Bowl and has not registered that mark since 1992.

News & Press

Susan Weller, who currently manages Mintz’s Trademark & Copyright Practice, provides commentary in this feature article looking at whether or not the U.S. Supreme Court will revive a federal ban on the registration of profane trademarks.
Mintz is pleased to announce that eight attorneys have been named Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers for 2018 and three others have been named Washington, D.C. Rising Stars. The annual publication identifies lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.
Law360 published an article discussing BuzzFeed’s decision to drop the “all the news” slogan after being threatened with legal action by the New York Times, thus avoiding a trademark fight. Susan Weller, Mintz Washington, DC Member, is one of the sources quoted in the article discussing the case.
Mintz Member Susan Weller is featured in this Law360 article on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to rule in favor of the rock band “The Slants”. The court decided the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act was in direct violation of the First Amendment.
Susan Weller, a Member of Mintz’s Washington, DC office, is featured in an IP Watchdog article on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Matal v. Tam trademark case. The Supreme Court ruled that the disparagement clause was in violation of the First Amendment. 
Eight Mintz attorneys have been named Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers for 2017 and four have been named Washington, D.C. Rising Stars. The list will be published in a special advertising supplement in The Washington Post Magazine and in a stand-alone magazine, Washington D.C. Super Lawyers Magazine.
This article discusses Lee v. Tam, a Supreme Court case involving the band The Slants in their attempt to trademark their name, in opposition to the Lanham Act, which denies trademark protection of any work or name that disparaged someone.

US Supreme Court Examines Many Angles in Slants Oral Arguments

January 22, 2017 | http://www.managingip.com/Article/3655973/US-Supreme-Court-examines-many-angles-in-Slants-oral-arguments.html Managing Intellectual Property

Susan Neuberger Weller is quoted in this Managing Intellectual Property article addressing Lee v. Tam, a U.S. Supreme Court case involving the band The Slants in their attempt to trademark their name and examining the arguments made and how the court may rule.
Susan Neuberger Weller is among sources quoted in this article discussing a high-profile trademark case involving the Washington Redskins and the band The Slants.
Susan Neuberger Weller, a Member of the Intellectual Property Practice at Mintz, is speaking at the 2016 World Intellectual Property Organization Summer School presented by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Global Intellectual Property Academy.
Susan Neuberger Weller, Chair of the Trademark Law Practice, is featured in this Law360 article on being named to Law360’s Intellectual Property Editorial Advisory Board.
Seven Mintz attorneys have been named Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers for 2015 and five have been named Washington, D.C. Rising Stars. The list will be published in a special advertising supplement in Washington Post Magazine and in a stand-alone Washington D.C. Super Lawyers Magazine.

Events

Speaker
Jul
23
2015

World Intellectual Property Organization Academy Summer School

WIPO and United States Patent & Trademark Office

Alexandria, VA