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The Cheerios Challenge of Registering Color Marks

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) delivered a primer on demonstrating the acquired distinctiveness of product packaging or trade dress, including color marks, in refusing registration of a trademark application for...more

Summary Judgment “Disfavored” for Resolving Fair Use Trademark Defense

Examining the issue of trademark fair use, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court grant of summary judgment in favor of a promotional products company and remanded the case for reconsideration...more

Band Trademark Can Rock On: Lanham Act Disparagement Clause Unconstitutional

In an 8–0 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed an en banc panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and found the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act to be facially unconstitutional...more

No Trademark Genericide: GOOGLE Is Not “a Google”

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit made a point to remind trademark litigants of the relevant laws and policies pertaining to trademark “genericide” when it sustained summary judgment in favor of ubiquitous search...more

SCOTUS and the Slants: Disparagement Proscription of § 2(A) of the Lanham Act Unconstitutional

A unanimous decision from the Supreme Court of the United States in Matal v. Tam affirmed an en banc panel of the Federal Circuit and found the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act to be facially unconstitutional under the...more

Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ Attempt to Compel Trademark Arbitration

In a case stemming from a trademark dispute involving a beauty line owned by the Kardashian sisters, the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of a motion to compel arbitration filed by...more

TTAB Serves It Straight Up: TEQUILA Is Not Generic

Addressing whether the word “tequila” can be registered in the United States as a certification mark, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) answered in the affirmative, dismissing an opposition alleging that “tequila”...more

USPTO Changes Pertaining to Trademark Declarations, Post-Registration Use Filings

In Depth - In efforts to enhance the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) electronic filing system and to “assess and promote the accuracy and integrity of the trademark register,” the USPTO has ushered in changes that...more

Federal Circuit Instructs TTAB to Revisit Software Services as Evidence of Use

On appeal from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reviewed the issue of trademark use in commerce and, more specifically, the extent to which certain services can be...more

Ninth Circuit Joins Octane Fitness Trend for Trademark Cases

In 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its ruling in Octane Fitness (IP Update, Vol. 17, No. 5), in which it examined the fee-shifting provision of the Patent Act and clarified the types of “exceptional” cases...more

No Post-Trial “Bait-and-Switch” on Legal Theory

In a trademark infringement dispute, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit found that a district court abused its discretion in allowing the plaintiff to argue that the defendant failed to prove continuous of use of...more

Use of Rule 45 Subpoenas in TTAB Proceedings

The US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit clarified the proper discovery procedures for a Rule 45 subpoena to compel a nonparty to produce documents in a trademark dispute before the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO)...more

“Churrascos” Is Generic for Restaurant Services

On appeal from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the TTAB’s refusal to register a stylized form of the mark CHURRASCOS for restaurant services, finding that...more

International News: Focus on Real Estate - April 2016

New UK Requirement to Publish Annual Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement - The United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires large commercial organisations operating in the United Kingdom to publish a “slavery...more

Re-Registration of a Domain Name Constitutes “Registration” Under the ACPA (Jysk Bed’N Linen, Inc. v. Monosij Dutta-Roy)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed a district court ruling imposing a mandatory injunction requiring transfer of certain domain names to the trademark rights holder. Jysk Bed’N Linen, Inc. v. Monosij...more

Ninth Circuit Does an About-Face in Military Watch Trademark Dispute - Multi Time Machine, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit previously found that a jury could potentially find that online retailer Amazon.com created a likelihood of consumer confusion with the format of its product search returns when...more

Grrrr . . . Paw Print Trademarks Can Co-Exist - Jack Wolfskin Ausrustung Fur Draussen GmbH & Company KGAA v. New Millennium...

On appeal from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB or Board), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the Board’s decision on the issue of likelihood of confusion with regard to two parties’ paw...more

Do Amazon.com’s Search Results Constitute Trademark Infringement? - Multi Time Machine, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc.

Holding that a reasonable jury could find that online retailer created a likelihood of consumer confusion through the format of its product search returns, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the district...more

Federal Circuit Vacates Panel Decision on Disparaging Trademark and Orders En Banc Hearing - In re Tam

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a sua sponte order vacating its April 20, 2015, decision in In re Tam to consider the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which provides that the U. S....more

Cleaning Up a Trademark Damage Mess - Georgia-Pacific Consumer Prods LP v. von Drehle Corp.

In one of three parallel actions for trademark infringement involving competing paper towel manufacturers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit examined the appropriate remedies that may be granted under the...more

Supreme Court: TTAB Decisions May Have Preclusive Effect in Litigation

Issuing its second trademark decision in 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States in a 7–2 decision reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, concluding that an administrative ruling by the U.S. Patent...more

Supreme Court Finds Trademark Tacking to Be a Jury Question - Hana Financial, Inc. vs. Hana Bank, et. al.

The Supreme Court of the United States, in a unanimous decision stated that “because the tacking inquiry operates from the perspective of the ordinary purchaser or consumer, we hold that a jury should make this...more

Supreme Court Finds Trademark Tacking to Be a Jury Question

On January 21, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a unanimous decision in Hana Financial, Inc. vs. Hana Bank, et. al., pertaining to a substantive trademark matter, namely, whether a judge or jury should...more

First Amendment Protects Use of Third-Party’s Trademark in Video Game

Mil-Spec Monkey, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard, Inc. et al. - Confirming that video games, including customizable multi-player games, qualify as expressive works entitled to First Amendment protection, a California...more

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Sustains Opposition on the Basis of Fraud

Nationstar Mortgage LLC v. Mujahid Ahmad - The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB or Board) sustained an opposition on the basis of fraud, finding that Ahmad’s...more

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