Mestaz Law Newsletter – December 2023

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End-Of-Year Reflection

On the precipice of a new year, we are inspired to reflect on the decisions we’ve made and those waiting to unfold. In this end-of-year edition of the Mestaz Law quarterly newsletter, we invite you join us in a contemplative review of the milestones behind us and the aspirations that call us forward in the year to come.

This past year was rich with challenges met, victories honored, and lessons learned. It’s been another year of growth and adaptation; we are grateful to have shared it with you, our valued readers and clients.

As we fix our attention on the year ahead, we see the abundant possibilities. In the legal realm, every challenge is an opportunity, and every dispute holds the potential for artful resolution. Join us as we contemplate our intentions for the coming year, driven by the knowledge that change is the only constant, and the belief that the best is yet to come.

With insight from attorneys Daniel Mestaz and Matthew Hersh, we offer illuminations on legal trends, reflections from our seasoned team, and a dose of optimism for your journey into the future.

Two Years of Mestaz Law: A Look Back . . . and Ahead

By Daniel Mestaz

In the spring of 2021, during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was a partner at a small law firm. One afternoon, I received word that our office lease would be terminated by late summer. After years of pondering the idea of my own solo practice, that notion suddenly seemed to be a now or never choice. I could either sign a lease at the new space with the small firm or use the news as an opportunity to make a clean break and hang out the proverbial shingle.

But the risk and upside of a solo firm seemed dark and cold from my warm perch of predictability and stability. In a time of great uncertainty, I was drawn to the known commodity. I made a good enough living. Why risk that? I had a family to support after all.

I reflected on past choices at other crossroads. I switched majors in college from get-rich business to moral philosophy . . . because I loved the intellectually vibrant discussions. I resigned from a lucrative, L.A. big firm partnership to pursue a mad crush in Arizona and join the low paying Public Defender’s office . . . because who needs money when you have true love and justice for all! Those risky choices worked out beautifully. Philosophy led me to law school. My crush led to a wonderful marriage and children. The Public Defender’s office taught me how to be a real trial lawyer instead of a big firm paper pusher.

So, in September 2021, I hung a “Mestaz Law” sign in the lobby of my new office, where I began my solo practice.

The Challenge of Doing it All Myself

My greatest fear in going solo was that I would not have enough clients. It felt like throwing a party; I worried that nobody would show up. Instead, from the very outset, I got ample referrals and enough business to match what I had received at my small firm—and I didn’t have to share it with anyone!

The real challenge was that I suddenly became responsible for everything, on top of all of the legal work. Administration, billing, accounts payable, vendor relationships, file organization, and other little things that, for 25 years, I always relied on others to do for me. Meanwhile, the very thing I could do well—the litigation work itself—was met with technical challenges that slowed me down considerably. Software glitches and not yet knowing how to do secretarial things like electronically file pleadings cost time and energy. It felt like being in a room with an array of unfamiliar knobs and buttons that, if switched and pressed correctly, would start the machine—but I didn’t know what to press and turn!

Thankfully, I did not have to do it alone. I found help. I began with remote vendors and professionals. I contracted with bookkeepers, IT folks, process servers, a fractional marketing company, an electronic evidence consultant, and even a remote paralegal. I farmed out all that I could, and, what I could not, I learned what was necessary. I was off and running.

The Challenge of Growth

Within six months, I had enough cases that I needed more than remote contractors. I needed the significant help of a real litigator. Enter Matt Hersh, an experienced first-rate litigator from a blue chip law firm who had returned from sabbatical. Matt somehow fell from the heavens to help me with commercial litigation matters while he grows his IP litigation practice. Matt is the firm’s of counsel attorney with extensive federal and United States Supreme Court experience. He does superb work product and has been integral to the firm’s litigation victories.

And the work kept coming. I could no longer rely on a remote paralegal and needed someone smart and dedicated in a litigation support role, including evidence processing, chronning, discovery and disclosures, and administration. So, recently, I hired my first full time paralegal, Jamie Bonnell. Jamie has been fantastic. She is extremely intelligent, a great writer, and a fast learner. Now that she is on board, I cannot imagine what we would do without her. Mestaz Law this year became an elite three person team.

Clearly, hiring the right people has been essential—emphasis on “right.” I waited for the perfect fit. I did not use a recruiter. I did not interview anyone. I met Matt through a good friend who happens to be an incredible transactional lawyer. When I desperately needed a paralegal, I remembered Jamie from years ago, when she did stellar work for me as a private investigator.

Although she had never been a paralegal, she had the perfect skills for the job. So I trusted my gut and intuition rather than conventional hiring practices. I waited for the right people to appear instead of chasing résumés. Matt and Jamie have since become essential to the firm’s success.

There is nothing more important to the success of a small business than having a dynamic team of skilled, aligned people.

The Best Parts of My “Solo” Practice

The firm is called Mestaz Law, but it is hardly solo. In fact, the relationships are the best part: Matt and Jamie, the friends who remain reliable referral sources, and the extremely competent vendors—many of whom I’ve known so long that I count them as friends. These relationships shape, support, and drive the work we do.

I also love the absence of something I have long disliked and that I now realize I can abandon: conventional “networking.” I despise rubber chicken events—the small-talking with strangers, elevator pitches, and business cards. I always worried that my aversion to networking would doom my success. I am sort of an introvert, and I like who I like. It turns out they like me well enough too, and refer me cases to boot. The upshot is that it is okay to be who you are. I am able to plug the networking gap with a fractional marketing firm that gets my name out into the world. So no rubber chicken dinners for me, thank you. I trust that what I enjoy, and what I am good at, is enough, because I have firsthand experience that indeed it is.

Deciding how to practice and run things is particularly fun. I get to create whatever rules, processes, and procedures make the most sense. I’ve now spent two years setting up systems and protocols, revolving around the firm’s custom technology, the Chron. We are a tight ship: precise, organized, and disciplined. For a perfectionist who abhors time-wasting, it has been extremely rewarding to see it in practice, particularly now that others—Matt and Jamie—have learned, adopted, and endorsed the systems and protocols I’ve spent so much time and intention developing.

Although I am grateful for the bottom line success of the business, that is only part of the story. I did not expect to experience such profound freedom and joy. It has been incredibly liberating. I am my own boss. I get to practice and run the firm exactly how I want. Even as a partner in other law firms, where I may not have “reported” to anyone, conflict was always lurking. These things inevitably draw our attention and energy. Now I conserve that energy solely for what I am hired for: the nature-of-the-beast conflicts with my litigation adversaries.

Lessons Learned for the Road Ahead

“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.”
— Albert Camus

As 2023 winds down, I reflect on several important lessons I have learned from starting my own law firm.

First: Bet on, invest in, and trust yourself. I know what I enjoy. I know what I’m good at. Making myself a better litigator, whether through the investment in others or bold choices that I believe in, has paid dividends.

Second: People matter most. The firm would not be what it is without Matt and Jamie. If I want to grow more, I must continue to be discerning about character and competence when bringing others on board.

Third: Be who you are. That means, as a business person, I should act how I act as a litigator, namely, being well prepared, aggressive, and decisive. It also means that I accept what I am. I am a commercial litigator. I do not dabble in other practice areas. I do not do construction litigation. I do not do personal injury. If cases like that come along, I refer them out to fine attorneys who focus in those areas. Consequently, I do exceptional work, which makes referral sources happy. I am now part of an organically created referral network that is responsible for more new business than anything else.

Fourth: Adapt to the circumstances. Change is constant and certain. For example, at first, I was obsessed with engaging only remote contractors, including for secretarial and paralegal functions. But that was too much to ask for the complexity of the firm’s systems and protocols relating to the Chron. It takes some time to master. It was not reasonable to expect a remote, fractional worker to learn it. Hence the full time paralegal.

Fifth: Be better. Always. We are all free to be better. Perfection may be impossible, but we can arc that way.

I am thrilled with the choices I have made, the risks I have taken, and the trust I have placed in myself and the people on my team. 2023 has been a year that has reified the values behind those choices. I am so excited to see what 2024 brings!

Meet Jamie Bonnell

Meet Jamie Bonnell

Mestaz Law is delighted to announce that Jamie Bonnell has joined the firm.

Jamie, our new Paralegal, has been a licensed private investigator since December 2017. As she has extensive experience in complex litigation work at the pre-trial, trial, and post-trial/conviction stages, we are excited to add her skills and abilities to Mestaz Law.

Jamie is also an experienced educator of over a decade, having been an English adjunct professor at Mesa Community College, a department chair and a creative writing instructor at the Phoenix Center for the Arts, and an instructor of English for a Major League Baseball team. Jamie’s specialized topics of interest include research, writing, and project design.

Please join us in welcoming Jamie Bonnell to Mestaz Law!

Artificial Intelligence and Copyright in the Year 2023

By Matthew Hersh

An Introduction

artificial intelligence2023 was the year of artificial intelligence. No, the robots haven’t become our overlords yet. And we are “still a long way from the science fiction version of artificial general intelligence that thinks, feels, and refuses to open the pod bay doors”, as one wag put it. But this was the year that AI broke out of the labs and into the consumer space in full form.

The phrase you need to know is “generative AI”. That’s the form of AI that is capable of generating human-like responses to inputs.

Some of the main examples of generative AI are the following:

  • Large Language Models: These are the ones that can give human-like responses to text inputs. (They’re “large” because they consumed massive amounts of text in order to learn.) You probably know ChatGPT, but there are others—Meta’s LlaMA, Google’s BARD, and so on. They’re pretty amazing. Ask ChatGPT when Shakespeare was born and whether Francis Bacon wrote his plays, and you’ll get surprisingly accurate responses.* Ask it to write you a sonnet about copyright law in Shakespearean style and it will whip one up in seconds that is freakishly good, if a bit incoherent. They’re not perfect of course. When in doubt, they prioritize human-sounding responses to accurate ones. Ask for a legal opinion and it will sometimes make up caselaw, as more than one lawyer has learned the hard way. But they get better every day. Actually, every millisecond.
    *The answers are “1564” and “probably not”.
  • AI Art Generators: These are the programs that allow you to create images out of text input. Stable Diffusion might be the best known, but there’s also Midjourney, DALL-E, Deviantart, and countless others. They’re also capable of cool stuff. Put in “dog wearing a baseball cap eating ice cream” and you’ll get something that more or less resembles just that.
  • Music and Video: There are plenty of these too. Try Boomi AI and you can, as their website proclaims, “create original songs in seconds, even if you’ve never made music before”. (And then “submit them to streaming platforms and get paid”, supposedly.) And as anyone who has ever been fooled by a “deepfake” knows, it’s easy to generate video and audio that sounds and looks just like a politician or a celebrity.

AI threatens to impact, and even reshape, our copyright jurisprudence in any of a number of ways. Here are some of the questions that the Copyright Office, Congress, and the courts—and eventually the Supreme Court—will have to address:

  1. Can a work made by AI be copyrighted? We know only works by humans can be copyrighted, not works by machines. But where is the line crossed? If a human does most of the creative work, but the machine just acts as a tool (think Computer Aided Design), then that’s a human product. If a human just asks a computer to create a picture of a dog eating ice cream, that’s not a human product. What if the human does some of the creating and the machine does the rest? What if the human provides detailed instructions to the computer that guides its creative efforts? Somewhere in there is the line, but we haven’t found it yet.
  2. When generative AI programs ingest copyrighted material for training purposes, is that fair use? There’s some latitude under the fair use doctrine to make limited amount of copies of protected work in order to create something with a wholly different purpose or character. (Read Justice Sotomayor’s majestic opinion in Warhol v. Goldsmith to know more.) But wholesale copying of entire libraries raises different issues. Expect this debate to be front and center in 2024.
  3. Is the output of generative AI programs also infringement? Suppose a program hoovers up books I’ve written and uses what it learns from those books to respond more accurately to user queries. Are those responses derivative works that require my license? What if the output uses a small snippet of my work, a sentence here or a phrase there? Where is that line crossed?
  4. Does generative AI threaten the name, image, or likeness of celebrities and politicians? If I ask for writing in the distinctive style of Isabel Allende, does the computer’s response impinge on her own right to her likeness?

I will focus on copyright in this writeup—but it won’t surprise you to learn that AI is talked about everywhere. President Biden put out an executive order on AI (and every federal agency is engaged in the issues too). Congress is holding hearing after hearing. The European Union just reached an agreement on comprehensive regulations (they’re ahead of the U.S. on this). AI is playing a role in labor negotiations (case in point: the agreement that ended the Screen Actors Guild strike has a provision that AI can’t be considered a writer). Pretty much every area of law and commerce is changed—for the better, we can all hope—by AI.

Copyright Office Action

The Copyright Office—to its great credit—has been out in front of this issue. They’re working on two distinct fronts.

One front is decision-making. More and more authors are now generating works with artificial intelligence and trying to persuade the Copyright Office to register a copyright in them. So far, the Office has been holding firm. In March, the Office put out guidance on registration of AI-generated works. The gist of the guidance was that there’s a difference between a human using AI as an assisting tool (think CAD, Instagram filters, Adobe formatting tools, and the like) and using a computer to make the actual creative decisions that otherwise would be left to humans. “[If] the traditional elements of authorship in the work (literary, artistic, or musical expression or elements of selection, arrangement, etc.) were actually conceived and executed not by man but by a machine”, the Office says, then no luck.

The Office has consistently applied this guidance. In February, it refused to register a work created by an inventor with the aid of Midjourney. In September, it refused to register another Midjourney work (this one, as it happens, had just won an art award at the Colorado State Fair—you can imagine how upset people were when they learned it was created by AI!). And earlier this month (in a decision we recently covered on our blog), the Office refused to register a piece of artwork created using an AI machine known as RAGHAV. (That one was particularly interesting because putative author had success getting the same work registered in India and Canada—but no dice here.)

The Copyright Office’s view on registration of AI-created works was significantly bolstered in August when the federal court for the District of Columbia sided with the Office over a work called A Recent Entrance to Paradise. The colorful, unusual artwork—showing a set of train tracks running through an array of unidentifiable foliage—was submitted for registration by Stephen Thaler, a prominent inventor and developer of a computer system entitled the Creativity Machine. The Copyright Office rejected the claim, and the court agreed. Humans can use computers to aid their work, the court held, but “copyright has never stretched so far as to protect works generated by new forms of technology operating absent any guiding human hand”.

The other aspect of the Office’s work has been policymaking. The Office maintains a website that is chock-full of information about its public activities—testimony to Congress, guidance letters, webinars, and other information. The Office has also undertaken a massive study on artificial intelligence which kicked off an open call for opinions on the impact of artificial intelligence and copyright law. They received a whopping ten thousand responses to the inquiry. (I asked a copyright office attorney at one point who was responsible for reviewing those responses. She said: “I have been instructed to tell you that the review is being undertaken by humans.”)

Copyright Litigation

The courts are also busy making law. Over the course of the last year, a wide range of songwriters, writers, visual artists, photographers, and other creators have been filing lawsuits against the makers of artificial intelligence programs. Those lawsuits, which are now in their preliminary stages, will require the courts to eventually decide all of the key issues involving artificial intelligence—from ingestion to output to everything in between.
Here’s a look at the most prominent ones.

A. Visual Artists

  • The visual artists were the first to strike in 2023, when a trio of artists filed a lawsuit against Stability AI, Midjourney Inc., and Deviantart Inc. Andersen v. Stability AI Ltd., No. 23-201 (N.D. Cal. filed Jan. 13, 2023). I covered the filing of the lawsuit here. The gist of the lawsuit was that their works were used as training images in the underlying software—scooped up and copied by the software and then fed into its algorithm. Moreover, the artists claimed, the software’s output was necessarily derivative of their works and—for good measure—violated their right of publicity to the extent that the software could “be directed to prioritize inclusion of specific artists’ works by invoking the name of the artist or artists”.
    The artists ran into a roadblock at the end of October, however, when Judge Orrick of the San Francisco bench—a longtime legend in IP circles—dismissed much of the claim. I covered the opinion for IP Law Daily here. The direct infringement claim against Stability AI for copying up the images was fine. But everything else in the complaint would have to be repleaded with more specificity—or dropped. The most important flaw, Judge Orrick found, was the claim that the image software’s output constituted derivative works. The problem for the artists, he noted, was none of them alleged that any of the output images were substantially similar to their originals. “The alleged infringer’s derivative work must still bear some similarity to the original work or contain the protected elements of the original work”, Judge Orrick noted.
    The plaintiffs have just amended their complaint, so we will see where this goes. At least on my quick review, it doesn’t seem to fix the problem with the derivative works claim, although it adds a good deal of additional details that might address Judge Orrick’s other issues.

B. Photographers

  • Photographers got into the game in February, led by Getty Images. It’s somewhat of a battle of the titans—the leading photo agency takes aim at Stability AI, perhaps the most prominent of the image-generation programs available. Getty Images v. Stability AI, No. 23-135 (D. Del. filed Feb. 3, 2023). I covered the complaint for IP Law Daily here. The complaint alleges that Stability AI has copied without permission more than 12 million photographs from Getty Images’ database, along with the associated captions and metadata, to train its software. The lawsuit also contends that some of the computer-generated renderings even contained distorted recreations of the watermark that Getty Images embeds in all of its photos, thus tarnishing the photo agency’s reputation. Stability AI has contested the Delaware court’s jurisdiction and the parties are engaged in jurisdictional discovery now.

    Notably, the United States is not the only battleground for these two behemoths. Earlier this month, a UK court allowed Getty’s claim against Stability AI to go forward on that side of the Atlantic.

C. Print writers

  • Writers joined the mix in July when Sarah Silverman, Richard Kadrey, and Christopher Golden filed a lawsuit against Meta. Kadrey v. Meta Platforms, No. 23-03417 (N.D. Cal. filed July 7, 2023). (The case has been since been consolidated with a similar case that Paul Tremblay and Mona Awad filed against OpenAI a week earlier. Tremblay v. OpenAI, No. 23-03223 (N.D. Cal. filed June 28, 2023) The writers claimed that Meta’s LLaMA infringed their works by direct infringement (that is, copying them to ingest into its database) and indirectly (by outputting works that were impermissible derivatives of their originals). I wrote about this case for the IP Law Daily here

    But the lawsuit has run into immediate trouble. In November, Judge Chhabria (following the path already taken by his fellow jurist Orrick in the Anderson case) wrote a concise opinion dismissing all of the claims except the direct infringement claims. The derivative infringement claim, the court noted, was “nonsensical” because the authors failed to allege any actual similarity between their works and the program output. “To the extent that they are not contending LLaMa spits out actual copies of their protected works”, the court observed, “they would need to prove that the outputs (or portions of the outputs) are similar enough to the plaintiffs’ books to be infringing derivative works”. They failed to do that.

    Silverman and company are not done yet. On December 11, they filed an amended complaint that joins a host of other authors to the cause, including Michael Chabon, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Junot Díaz, Andrew Sean Greer, and half a dozen others. But it also appears that they have given up the ghost on the dismissed derivative works claims—the new complaint includes only a direct infringement claim.

  • The next big move was made by the Authors Guild, the main trade organization for working writers. The Guild, along with a star-studded list of authors including John Grisham, David Baldacci, Jodi Picault, among others, sued OpenAI for infringement in September. Authors Guild v, OpenAI, No. 23-8392 (S.D.N.Y. filed Sep. 19, 2023). I wrote about the lawsuit for the IP Law Daily here. Like the original Silverman et al. lawsuit, the Authors Guild lawsuit alleges infringement on both ends: by ingesting the authors’ work without a license, and by spitting out works that are derivative of the originals. Unlike the Silverman suit, though, the complaint seems to contain a very detailed set of allegations to shore up the derivative works claim. The case has been assigned to Sidney Stein, a legend on the New York bench, and is still in preliminary stages.
  • Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, along with several other non-fiction authors, filed a lawsuit in October against Meta and Microsoft, also taking aim at the LLaMA program. Huckabee v. Meta Platforms, Inc., No. 23-9152 (S.D.N.Y. filed October 17, 2023). I wrote about the lawsuit for the IP Law Daily here. The parties have been wrangling about jurisdiction and venue with no substantive movement.
  • The newest lawsuit to hit in this area is Sancton v. OpenAI, Inc. (S.D.N.Y filed November 27, 2023). Writer Julian Sancton (you might know him from Madhouse at the End of the Earth: The Belgica’s Journey into the Dark Antarctic Night) filed a class action lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft. The lawsuit claims that the material fed into ChatGPT was “scraped indiscriminately from the internet and included a massive quantity of pirated and copyrighted material”, including Madhouse at the End of the Earth. (Interesting side note: How did Sancton know that his own work had been incorporated into the ChatGPT training database? He asked ChatGPT—and it told him.)

D. Songwriters

  • Songwriters finally got into the game in October, when the major music publishing companies brought a lawsuit against the company that owns the AI chat program Claude. Concord Music Group, Inc. v. Anthropic PBC, No. 23-1092 (N.D. Tenn. filed October 18, 2023). The issue here is lyrics. The music publishers own or manage the music and lyrics to millions of songs (on behalf of the songwriters who hire them). Claude, which is run by a company called Anthropic, happily spits out the lyrics to those songs when it is asked to. Briefing is currently underway on a motion to dismiss.


Last but not least—or given the state of political affairs these days, perhaps indeed least—is Congress. It’s hard to expect a lot out of the legislature these days. But Congress is nonetheless doing its thing, holding hearings, etc.

The main action this year has been in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. That committee held a two part hearing (I covered the second one for IP Law Daily here) over the summer. The biggest issues on tap are the following:

  • Should the Copyright Act be amended to expressly address artificial intelligence? For example, should Congress create an express “safe harbor” of fair use in order to ensure that AI developers can advance technology without fear of lawsuit, as tech companies generally want? Or on the other side, as some creators advocate, should Congress tighten the law to make clear that the ingestion of creative works to train generative AI programs is never permitted?
  • Should Congress enact a federal right of publicity law? One of the biggest concerns of creators is that, in addition to having their work used to train AI programs, the programs are also able to mimic their writing style, singing style, or image. But to the extent that individuals have the right to control their “name, likeness, and image”—or NIL, as the phrase is usually used—it is only through a patchwork of state laws that offer differing levels of protection from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
  • What kind of transparency requirements should be imposed on AI models? For example, should the developers of every generative AI program be obliged to make public all of the works that were used to train that program? And what about outputs? Should every AI-generated product be expressly labeled as such? (Think: deep fakes.)
  • These issues are going to keep Congress busy for a while. Don’t expect answers soon.

Ending (Deep) Thoughts

Hang on tight. 2024 will be a wild ride.

Real-Life Yellowstone Drama Results in Federal Lawsuit


If you’re a fan of the TV show Yellowstone, then you might be aware of some real-life drama going on behind the scenes and on set. In a nutshell, it seems production on the last half of the farewell season of the show has been delayed several times due to either Kevin Costner wanting to pursue a different Western-themed passion project, contract disputes, or creative differences, depending on whom you believe.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that there is a grievance between two Yellowstone co-workers, but it’s not part of a script or an upcoming episode.

Taylor Sheridan is a prolific writer, actor, director, and has served all of those roles for Yellowstone, plus he is a creator and executive producer of the very popular series. He is the owner of Bosque Ranch, which is not only a filming location for Yellowstone and its spinoffs, but it also markets its own coffee brand. Cole Hauser, one of the stars of Yellowstone, launched a brand of coffee called Free Rein. The fact that each are so closely tied and released coffee brands isn’t the issue – the problem comes from the logo design, and Bosque Ranch has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit citing false advertising and unfair competition due to the similarity of the logos.

Cole Hauser introduced his coffee brand in early October 2023, and by late November, the lawsuit alleging “a brand mark strikingly similar to Bosque Ranch’s registered trademark, potentially misleading consumers” was filed in the Northern District Federal Court of Texas. Both coffee brands’ logo use intertwined letters incorporating the first letters of each word in the name, and Sheridan argues that this could lead to confusion. Below, you can see each logo.

coffee brands logos

Apparently, the two overlapping letters are at the heart of the issue. Bosque Ranch has employed that design for its logo for almost 20 years (which seems about as long as Sheridan has owned the ranch), but only started marketing coffee in the summer of this year. Free Rein began using their logo design in the fall of 2023. According to CNN’s article about this situation, Sheridan’s ranch claims that Hauser and his coffee company had not “asked or received permission or authorization” from Sheridan “to use a mark confusingly similar to the ‘BR’ brand for virtually identical goods.”. It also added that the logo is “likely to cause confusion or to cause mistake or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association” with Bosque Ranch.

Bosque Ranch is seeking an injunction against Free Rein, as well as both profits and damages, and that the company “destroy all products, marketing, and promotional materials displaying” the logo in question.

Cases brought regarding trademark infringement are usually close calls and the evidence brought by the plaintiff needs to be very persuasive. Will an average customer think they are buying Bosque Ranch’s coffee but really bought Free Rein based on the logo? That is a question the judge or jury will have to answer.

Some legal experts have weighed in on this case and do not consider it to have a clear conclusion. They have also commented that it seems there was a chance for a settlement to happen before a federal lawsuit was filed. We don’t know if that was attempted or not, but considering the two are co-workers, we hope that a lawsuit wasn’t the first option. The drama on Yellowstone has definitely spilled over into the real world! If there are any updates on this case, we’ll let you know in future newsletters.

More Recent Copyright Law Updates

By Matthew Hersh


Mestaz Law is a commercial litigation firm serving businesses, business owners, business executives, and entrepreneurs.

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