Christine E. Weller

Christine E. Weller is an Associate in Griesing Law, LLC’s Intellectual Property & Technology practice group.

What do you focus on?

My practice focuses primarily on intellectual property, new media, nonprofit, hospitality, and employment law matters.

What do you see on the horizon?

Creative collaborations that utilize new and developing technologies to produce work that pushes boundaries. Clients are looking for an advisor who not only understands the process of creative output, but who can also help them understand how the quickly developing legal landscape in arts and tech will impact their working relationships and the unique projects that they develop.

Biography

Christine works closely with for-profit, higher education, and nonprofit clients on intellectual property and new media matters including commission agreements, copyright and trademark clearances, reviewing licensing requests, privacy policies, and data retention policies. She advises on employment matters, including Pennsylvania background check requirements, and employee screening.

Christine also assists on nonprofit governance issues including bylaw review and nonprofit tax compliance on the local, state, and federal level. Christine has a broad background in charitable planned giving, and has worked with general counsel at two large nonprofit institutions to make promised gifts a success for the public, the donor, and the receiving institution.

Christine graduated cum laude from Drexel University, Thomas R. Kline School of Law, and cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Art History and English. At Drexel, Christine focused her study on areas where art and the law intersect which included an independent study of the Art Advisory Panel of the IRS. She received an award for the best student performance in copyrights, and was selected to serve as a research assistant by both her constitutional law and trusts and estates professors. Christine was also actively involved with the Women’s Law Society, and the Drexel Summer Theory Institute.

Before law school, Christine worked within the visual arts sector. She has worked with collectors, university art galleries, private and public collections, alternative arts and culture spaces, auction houses, art fairs, international art scholars and curators, as well as local and international artists. While working as the collections manager of a university art collection, she developed her interest in copyrights, new media, trusts and estates, taxes, and nonprofit law.

Outside the firm, Christine sits on the Board of Directors for the Leah Stein Dance Company. She has completed the 2016 Pathfinder Program for the Legal Counsel on Legal Diversity and Young Involved Philadelphia’s Board Prep Program in 2015. She was also a Higginbotham Fellow at the Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and has volunteered with the Senior Law Center.

Contact

215.732.3923

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Education
  • Thomas R. Kline School of Law, Drexel University, J.D., cum laude
  • University of Pennsylvania, B.A., English and Art History, cum laude
  • CopyrightX, Harvard Law School, HarvardX and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society
Bar Admissions
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania
Community Involvement
  • Leah Stein Dance Company, Member
    – Board of Directors, 2015-2017
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
    – Pathfinder, 2016
  • Young Involved Philadelphia
    – Board Prep Program, 2015
  • Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
    – Volunteer, 2013-2015
    – Higginbotham Fellow, 2012
  • Senior Law Center
    – Volunteer, 2012
Languages
  • Spanish
Training and Publications
  • “Legal Considerations for Contemporary Weddings” – Legal Commentator, Healthy Lifestyle with Eraldo on WMCN 44, June 2017
  • “How Celebrity Depictions in Video Games May Infringe on the Right of Publicity” – Author, New Jersey Law Journal, April 2017
  • “Risks and Best Practices When Recording Classroom Lectures” – Co-Author, The Legal Intelligencer, March 2017
  • “NLRB Finds Northwestern Football Player Social Media Policy Fumbles” – Co-Author, The Legal Intelligencer, December 2016
  • “Professional Conduct: Close the Curtain on 2016” – Co-Author, The Legal Intelligencer, December 2016
  • “Would Kylie by Any Other Name Still Make Millions? The Rise of Trademark Disputes over Celebrity Branding” – Co-Author, Landslide: ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law, December 2016
  • “Art Collecting 101: An Interactive Experience” – Panelist, Stanek Gallery, October 2016
  • “School Bells Ring in Brave New World of Digital Compliance” – Co-Author, The Legal Intelligencer, October 2016
  • “What In-House Counsel Need to Know About Pokémon Go” – Co-Author, The Legal Intelligencer, July 2016
  • “Title IX and Student Behavior on Social Media”
    – Co-Author, The Legal Intelligencer, July 2016

  • “Lessons from Two Recent Art Forgery Cases” – Author, Stetson Journal of Advocacy and the Law, May 2016

  • “Outsourcing IT While Protecting Student Data and Your Institution’s Reputation” – Co-Author, The Legal Intelligencer, March 2016
  • “Review of Recent Changes Relating to Handling of Client Funds” – Co-Author, The Legal Intelligencer, September 2015
  • “When an Online Griper Becomes a Cyber-Squatter” – Co-Author, The New Jersey Law Journal, September 2015
  • “Consciously Criminal: Cyberstalking and Internet Threats in the Third Circuit” – Co-Author, The New Jersey Law Journal, August 2015
  • “The Instagram Appropriator: Thief or Forward Thinker?” – Author, The Legal Intelligencer Blog, June 2015
  • “More than Just ‘Street Cred’: Why Intellectual Property Rights Matter to Street Artists” – Author, Center for Art Law, May 2015
  • “Finding a Firm with a Passion for the Arts” – Author, Law Practice Today, May, 2015
  • “Why Higher Ed is Being Hit with Defamation Suits” – Co-Author, The Legal Intelligencer, February 2015
  • “The Importance of Choosing and Building a Practice Area” – Author, The Legal Intelligencer, February 2015
  • “Legal Issues for Restaurants and Their Customers” – Co-Author, Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s Dining Out Program, December 2014

@thelawsofmonet

Media Clips

  • Supreme Court Opens a Can of &#%! You by Holding Disparagement Clause in the Lanham Act Unconstitutional August 15, 2017

    The recent Supreme Court decision, Matal v. Tam, is the closest most trademark lawyers get to a professional discussion of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.  In this case, Simon Tam, the lead singer of the rock band The Slants, filed a federal lawsuit because the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) refused to register a trademark for the band’s name.  The application was denied registration because of a provision in the Lanham Act (commonly referred to as the Trademark Act), which prohibits registrations of trademarks that “may disparage … persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.” (emphasis added). This provision is commonly referred to as the “disparagement clause.”  Football fans may be familiar with the disparagement clause because it was used to cancel six federal trademark registrations associated with the Washington Redskins in 2014 because the word “redskins” is considered by many to be an offensive term for Native Americans.

    In refusing to allow the trademark application for THE SLANTS to move forward, the USPTO examining attorney pointed to the historical use of the term “slants” as offensive when applied to those of Asian descent.  For the record, the members of The Slants are Asian-American rock musicians, and part of their stated goal in adopting the racially charged name was to “reclaim and take ownership of stereotypes about people of Asian ethnicity.”  After the band’s application was blocked, Tam appealed through the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”), but was still refused registration.  Tam eventually filed a lawsuit, and an en banc panel of the Federal Circuit Court sided with the band, finding the disparagement clause to be unconstitutional on its face.  The Government filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”).  SCOTUS also sided with the band, and found the disparagement clause to be unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.  As a result, the trademark application for THE SLANTS, used in connection with “Entertainment in the nature of live performances by a musical band” in International Class 041, was published for opposition on August 29, 2017.  Sports fans will also be interested to know that in the wake of the Matal v. Tam decision, the legal action surrounding the cancellation of the Washington Redskins federal trademark registration also ended in favor of the team.

    Free speech and social justice motivations aside, shrewd business people usually do not intentionally pursue offensive trademarks.  So why is the Matal v. Tam decision so significant?  Now that the Supreme Court has held the disparagement clause to be an unconstitutional restriction on speech, the ban on “immoral” or “scandalous” trademarks is likely next up on the chopping block.  Currently, “immoral” or “scandalous” marks are blocked by the USPTO in the same way that “disparaging” trademarks were blocked before the Matal v. Tam decision.  This open issue of whether blocking “immoral” or “scandalous” trademarks violates free speech in light of the Matal v. Tam decision will be addressed at oral argument on August 29, 2017 in a pending Federal Circuit case, In Re Brunetti.  In Brunetti, the USPTO denied a trademark application for FUCT used in connection with apparel because FUCT was considered by the examiner to be “immoral” or “scandalous” as it contained either the past tense of the “F word” or the phonetic equivalent of the “F word.” Moving forward, if “scandalous” and “immoral” marks are given the same green light as “disparaging” marks, the USPTO may be faced with an influx of applications for previously unattainable marks.  For many trademark applicants and trademark holders, this potential influx of applications may require some planning and forethought to avoid any unnecessary delays when preparing new applications or submitting maintenance filings to keep existing trademarks live.

    The USPTO is already backlogged with new and pending trademark applications, and the lag time may continue to increase as the USPTO grapples with the administrative procedures to properly examine the previously impermissible trademark applications.  We routinely inform our clients and potential clients that a wait time of four months to have an examining attorney assigned to a new trademark application is not uncommon, and it may take up to two months to have specimens of use reviewed by an examining attorney.  With this potential influx of USPTO activity, if your business is thinking of growing an existing brand, or exploring a new federal trademark application in the near future, the process and timeline of clearing and obtaining a new trademark registration is worth discussing with a trusted legal professional to avoid any­­­ surprises.

  • Drexel Law School – New York Times Quotes ’14 Alumna on Copyright Kerfuffle: Christine E. Weller August 2, 2017
  • The New York Times – After a Frank Ocean Set, a Week of Big Sales and Copyright Questions: Christine E. Weller August 1, 2017

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Philadelphia (Headquarters)

New York

Cincinnati

Contact Us P 215.618.3720 F 215.814.9049

Philadelphia 1717 Arch Street, Suite 3630 | Philadelphia, PA 19103 New York 68 3rd Street | Brooklyn, NY 11231 Cincinnati 11 Garfield Place | Cincinnati, OH 45202