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An Iowa Rivalry Mixes Football, Farming, and Trademark Disputes

It sure feels like fall already. Apart from the fifty degree walk with my dog this morning, we’re now entering the second week of college football. Regular readers might have noticed that our blog has a couple of Iowa Hawkeye...more

Game Over for Nestlé? Atari Sues Over “Breakout” Kit-Kat Ads

For most of us, video games and candy go together perfectly, but that doesn’t mean they always get along. In fact, last week the “original” video game company, Atari Interactive, sued food and candy behemoth Nestlé in...more

Trick or Trademark? Mars Says Hershey’s Can’t Own “SCARY” Candy.

Sandwiched between 90 degree days in a Minnesota summer, the idea of Halloween wasn’t on my radar – until I learned about the latest dispute between candy giants Mars and Hershey’s....more

Is Foster’s Australian for False Advertising?

While trademark infringement is the headliner for claims brought under the Lanham Act, the law also precludes false advertising and unfair competition. Most states also have laws addressing deceptive trade practices...more

USPTO Proposes Cheaper, Faster Cancellation Option

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office register contains a lot of dead weight. In order to obtain a trademark registration and maintain the registration, the owner must use the mark in U.S. interstate commerce (as always, with...more

Welcome to the (Courthouse) Hotel California

While it may be a lovely place, the Eagles are not too keen on a small hotel in Todos Santos, Mexico and its use of the name HOTEL CALIFORNIA. After opposing the hotel’s trademark application last January, the band earlier...more

While the Slants are in the Spotlight, Chief Wahoo is on Deck

Throughout the past decade, attorneys, judges, plaintiffs, and defendants have invested thousands of hours in the fight over offensive trademarks. Most of the public is aware of the controversy surrounding the Washington...more

Help! Someone Copied My Stuff!

At some point in this digital age, almost every individual or business in the creative space will discover that somebody has copied them. You may see it yourself, or you may get the stomach-dropping “Doesn’t this look an...more

Hasbro thinks the Smell of Play-Doh Is a Trademark, will the USPTO Agree?

As we have discussed previously, trademark protection isn’t an exclusive club for words and pictures. Shapes, sounds, and even the tactile feel of a product can all qualify for trademark protection. And as a recent...more

The Big Ten and the NCAA Tip Off for MARCH Marks

You don’t have to be a sports fan to be aware of MARCH MADNESS, the name associated with the annual tournament to determine the college basketball national champion. The tournament is organized by the National Collegiate...more

Trademarks First!

President Trump has been in office for less than a month. Yet it would be fair to say that his time in office has been, if nothing else, eventful. While the more important aspects of his policies have received far greater...more

Song Titles and Trademarks: The Eagle(s) Have Landed

Regardless of whether you’re a fan of “classic rock,” there are some songs that everybody knows. The song Hotel California by the Eagles is one of those songs. Not everyone likes the Eagles (looking at you, Dude), but most...more

The Chargers leave San Diego, but will they leave the brand too?

According to recent reports, the Chargers will announce this week that they are leaving sunny San Diego for also sunny Los Angeles. Over a short two year span, Los Angeles will have gone from zero NFL teams to two NFL teams,...more

Second Circuit Agrees: Louis Vuitton Can’t Take a Joke

If you’re still looking for holiday gift for that special someone, the Second Circuit has your back. Fresh off the docket, the Second Circuit gave its blessing to My Other Bag’s line of parody canvas tote bags. For additional...more

Trademark Scam Results in More than $600,000 in Refunds in New Zealand

The records of applications and registrations at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are publicly available, allowing individuals and companies to evaluate the registered trademark rights of third-parties. Unfortunately,...more

Is Your Intent-to-Use Trademark Application Vulnerable?

A common misunderstanding about trademark law involves what is actually necessary in order to “own” a trademark. There are a number of requirements that many companies miss if the company doesn’t do its research or hire an...more

A Handy List of Star Wars References that Might Get You Sued

With its purchase of Lucasfilms and the Star Wars franchise, Disney did not wait long to begin exploiting the works. Episode VII: The Force Awakens was released on Dec. 18, 2015 and grossed more than $2 billion at the box...more

Austin’s SXSW Festival Wins Trademark “Fight” with the Australian Labor Party

Austin, Texas is well-known for its food, music scene, and of course its University of Texas Longhorns. The exclamation point on Austin’s notoriety though is the annual South by Southwest (a.k.a. SXSW) festival. Since its...more

Raiding the Register: Trademarks and Franchise Relocation

It seems like each year a new sports franchise is threatening to move to a new city. Here in Minnesota, we recently ensured at least 15 more years of the Vikings with the newly opened U.S. Bank Stadium. Before the...more

The RedBox Mark Has Gone to Waste and 3 Quick Lessons to Learn

The RedBox brand continues to dominate the movie rental market. For the uninitiated, RedBox is a brand of movie and video game rental vending machines placed in convenient locations like grocery stores, gas stations, and fast...more

With 5,000,000 Registrations in the Books, What’s Next?

Two months ago we discussed the impending issuance of U.S. Trademark Registration Number 5,000,000. That milestone has now come and gone, with Reg. No. 5,000,000 issuing on July 12, 2016. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you,...more

8/11/2016  /  Trademark Registration , USPTO

Is the US Olympic Committee’s #TwitterBan Fair or Foul?

The 2016 Summer Olympics will officially* begin in eight days. Yet the U.S. Olympic Committee’s (USOC) efforts to enforce the Olympic trademarks are truly an eternal battle. While the USOC has a reputation for aggressively...more

USPTO Keeps the Door Locked for Marijuana-related Services

Medical marijuana is currently legal in 25 states, including four states that have also legalized recreational use (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington). On Nov. 8, California voters will have a chance to make their...more

On the Precipice of Registration Number 5,000,000

Don’t look now, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is about to hit a major milestone: we are only 24,819 registrations away from the magic number 5,000,000. The only thing more incredible than that number is the...more

6/9/2016  /  Trademark Registration , USPTO

Second Circuit Weighs in on Nominative Fair Use

The federal courts of appeals have split as to how to apply the doctrine of nominative fair use in trademark infringement cases. Last week, the Second Circuit endorsed the nominative fair use factors used by the Ninth and...more

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