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Harvie Wilkinson

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Harvie Wilkinson
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Current Court Information:
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Title:   Judge
Appointed by:   Ronald Reagan
Active:   8/13/1984-Present
Chief:   1996-2003
Preceded by:   John Butzner
Personal History
Born:   1944
Hometown:   New York, NY
Undergraduate:   Yale University, 1967
Law School:   University of Virginia Law, 1972

James Harvie Wilkinson III is an Article III federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He joined the court in 1984 after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan.[1]


Wilkinson graduated from Yale University with his bachelor's degree in 1967 and received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1972.[1]

Military service

Wilkins served in the United States Army from 1968 to 1969.[1]

Professional career

Judicial career

Fourth Circuit

On the recommendation of Virginia U.S. Senator John Warner, Wilkinson was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit by President Ronald Reagan on January 30, 1984, to a seat vacated by Judge John Butzner, Jr. Wilkinson was confirmed by the Senate on August 9, 1984, and received commission on August 13, 1984. Wilkinson served as the chief judge of the court from 1996 to 2003.[1]

Notable cases

Copyright suit over NFL Baltimore Ravens logo (2013)

     United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens Limited Partnership, et al, 12-2543)

On December 17, 2013, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit, composed of Judges Harvie Wilkinson, Allyson Duncan, and Albert Diaz, found that both the Baltimore Ravens' and National Football League's (NFL) use of the team's old "Flying B" logo did not infringe upon plaintiff Frederick Bouchat's copyright.[2]

In the underlying case, Bouchat, an amateur artist, proposed a new logo for the Ravens after the team moved to Baltimore in 1995. The Ravens then presented a logo that was strikingly similar to the one Bouchat suggested. Bouchat obtained a copyright on his original drawing and filed suit, ultimately winning the case but without damages awarded. Several years later, the Ravens again changed the team logo, but Bouchat alleged infringement once more, and attempted to prevent the team and the NFL from using its previous "Flying B" logo in documentary films and photographs. The district court found that the defendants' use was fair.[2]

Judge Wilkinson, writing for the majority, affirmed the lower court's decision, noting that the use of Bouchat's copyrighted work was transformative (i.e., it was used for a different purpose than its original one). Wilkinson further stated:

The uses here were not only transformative, but also -- take your pick -- fleeting, incidental, de minimis, innocuous. If these uses failed to qualify as fair, a host of perfectly benign and valuable expressive works would be subject to lawsuits. That in turn would discourage the makers of all sorts of historical documentaries and displays, and would deplete society's fund of informative speech.[2][3]
The use of the Ravens logo, as negligible and incidental as it was, failed to rise to the level of "the type of commercial use frowned upon" by copyright law. Bouchat was not awarded any damages.[2]

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Biography of James Harvie Wilkinson III from the Federal Judicial Center
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Courthouse News Service, "Old NFL Ravens Logo Won't Cost Team Again," December 19, 2013
  3. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
John Butzner
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
Succeeded by: