Administrative Agency Communications & Media Intellectual Property

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Administrative Agency issues written by leading professionals.
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The Zero Sum Game In The Cola Wars

In Royal Crown Company and Dr Pepper/Seven Up Inc v The Coca-Cola Company, Opposition 91178927, each party opposed the other’s trademark applications containing the term ZERO for soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks....more

Accountability and Transition in ICANN’s New gTLD Program

Bringing accountability to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the little known yet hugely significant global regulator of the Internet domain name system, is always a significant victory. ICANN...more

FTC Targets Brand Owner Policing Search Ad Keywords

This Monday, the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC” or “Commission”) commenced an administrative proceeding against 1-800 Contacts, Inc. (“1-800 Contacts”), alleging that the online contact lens retailer had entered into...more

Miss Trademark USA: Beauty Pageant Naming Disputes

Just this month, two disputes over the trademark rights to beauty pageant names were resolved, pending appeal. In World Pageants LLC v. Miss G-String International LLC, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) dismissed...more

The Distinctiveness Threshold for Stylization of Descriptive Marks

In a recent TTAB case, the Board considered whether a stylization of a descriptive term supports registration on the Principal Register. The short answer? It depends....more

(Trade)Marking Your Territory in the US: A Guide for Non-US Companies

Trademark rights exist on a country-by-country basis, and the laws in the United States differ in a number of significant ways from other markets. As a result, it is critical that before any non-U.S. company seeks trademark...more

Intellectual Property Law - July 2016

Supreme Court: Status Quo in Cuozzo - Why it matters: On June 20, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Cuozzo Speed Technologies v. Lee, where it rejected challenges to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes...more

When One Specimen Per Class May No Longer Be Enough

For use-based trademark applications filed under §1(a) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1051(a), applicants must submit the application along with one specimen per Class showing use of the mark for the covered goods and...more

MarkIt to MarketTM - June 2016

The June 2016 issue of Sterne Kessler's MarkIt to MarketTM newsletter discusses the rise in additional specimen requests from the USPTO, examines the TTAB's decision in In re Florists' Transworld Delivery, Inc., and notes...more

Dilution Update: NYC BEER Is Not Diluted, But The Empire State Building Is

Trademark dilution is a concept not easily understood. Although, we have written about this topic in previous posts, a recent decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, ESRT Empire State Building, L. L. C. v. Michael...more

Trademark Review | June 2016

Coca-Cola has Acquired Secondary Meaning in ZERO for Colas - In an opposition proceeding before the TTAB, Royal Crown (RC) and Dr. Pepper/Seven Up sought to prevent registration of seventeen applications filed by...more

Trademark applicant’s Twitter account not service mark use for social media services

Florists’ Transworld Delivery, Inc. (“Florists”) filed an application to register their SAY IT YOUR WAY trademark in Class 35 and in Class 42 for “[c]reating an on-line community for registered users to participate in...more

Spotlight on the Highlights -- Clarifications and Changes in the April 2016 TMEP

On April 30, 2016, the USPTO issued the April 2016 Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure ("TMEP"), the latest update to the go-to resource for how to prosecute applications to register trademarks with the USPTO. This...more

Trademark Review | May 2016

Surname Not Registrable Absent Substantially Exclusive Use - As a result of various third-party uses of the surname “Ayoub” for similar services, Applicant’s use of AYOUB did not meet the requirement of Section (f) that...more

Beer Lawyers Rally to Stop Federal Registration of the Mark "CRAFT BEER ATTORNEY"

You know you’re in for a fight when 14 different law firms come together to launch an opposition--an administrative proceeding before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board--against registration of your trademark application....more

Eastern District of Texas Finds Website Labeling Patent Invalid Under §101

Nearly one third of all patent cases filed in the United States are heard by a single judge - J. Rodney Gilstrap of the Eastern District of Texas. Many of these cases involve e-commerce or other internet-based patents such...more

Trademark Review | April 2016

Broad JAWS Registration Devours JAWS Cooking Channel - Mr. Recipe’s applications to register the marks JAWS and JAWS DEVOUR YOUR HUNGER were refused based on the earlier registration for JAWS, the movie. Mr. Recipe’s...more

CARRERA’s Trademark Reputation: “Luxury, High Tech, High Performance and Success”

The German carmaker, Porsche AG, which designed the iconic 911 Carrera sports car, owns the European Union and German “CARRERA” word mark, registered for “automobiles” in class 12. How far beyond automobiles does the...more

Trademark Review | February 2016

The Federal Circuit Considers Constitutionality of Refusal to Register Scandalous and Immoral Marks - The Lanham Act prohibits registration of marks that are defamatory, scandalous or immoral. Last month, in In re Tam,...more

Living in a Nonmaterial World: Determining IP Rights for Digital Data

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) regulates U.S. trade and oversees Section 337 investigations that address unfair competition based on alleged infringement of intellectual property rights. The ITC has been a...more

TTAB Finds MEAT CANDY to be Too Sweet

In a recent (non-precedential) decision , the TTAB refused to register the mark MEAT CANDY as being merely descriptive of Applicant's restaurant services. To anyone who is not a meat connoisseur, a 2(e)(1) refusal seems to be...more

B&B Hardware – District Courts Consider Impact on Both Trademark and Patent Litigation

In B&B Hardware v. Hargis Industries, the Supreme Court held that, under some circumstances, determinations by the USPTO Trademark Trial and Appeal Board could have preclusive effect in subsequent federal court litigation...more

In re Allegiance Staffing – The Rare “Any Other Established Fact”

In this case, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board reversed the refusal to register Applicant’s ALLEGIANCE STAFFING mark (disclaiming STAFFING) for temporary employment agency service on the basis of likelihood of confusion...more

Summary of Recent Precedential Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Decisions

From June through August 2015, the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board issued eleven precedential decisions. Over the course of the upcoming weeks, we are briefly summarizing each opinion and a “take away” for brand owners and...more

Federal Court Nixes City’s Attempt to Use Copyright Law to Curtail Critic’s Speech on YouTube

A California city cannot hold one of its citizens liable for copyright infringement for using clips of city council meetings in his critical YouTube videos, a federal judge has ruled. The August 20, 2015 order in City of...more

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