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Hilton v. Hallmark Cards

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
580 F.3d 874 (9th Cir. 2009)


Paris Hilton (plaintiff) was a reality-television celebrity famous for her lavish lifestyle. Hilton starred in a show called “The Simple Life,” in which Hilton took part in forms of drudgery familiar to everyday Americans. One episode featured Hilton working at a fast-food restaurant. Throughout the show, Hilton frequently expressed approval by using the catchphrase “that’s hot.” Hilton registered “that’s hot” as a trademark. Hallmark Cards (defendant) sold greeting cards. One of Hallmark’s cards pictured Hilton’s face superimposed on a cartoon waitress’s body, along with a joke incorporating Hilton’s “that’s hot” catchphrase. Hilton sued Hallmark, asserting a right-of-publicity claim and two federal trademark claims. The district court dismissed Hilton’s trademark-infringement claim but denied Hallmark’s motion to dismiss the right-of-publicity claim. Hallmark appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (O’Scannlain, J.)

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