Communications & Media Intellectual Property Administrative Agency

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US Patent & Trademark Office Issues New Trademark Use Rule

On January 19, 2017 the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a notice in the Federal Register introducing new requirements for declarations of use in commerce filed pursuant to Sections 8 and 71 of the...more

What's in a Name?: An Overview of the TTAB's Recent Surname Decisions

Barr. Aldecoa. Hechter. Adlon. Kepler. Butterfields. What do these words have in common, you may ask? They were all recently found to be "primarily merely a surname," and refused registration by the Trademark Trial and Appeal...more

MarkIt to Market® | January 2017

The January 2017 issue of Sterne Kessler's MarkIt to Market® includes an overview of the TTAB's recent surname decisions, the changes made by the USPTO to their trademark processing and services fees, and lists the new gTLD...more

Federal Circuit Narrows Patent Eligibility for CBM Review

In the recently decided Unwired Planet, LLC v. Google, Inc. case, the Federal Circuit significantly narrowed the eligibility standards for covered business method (CBM) patent review. Prior to the decision in Unwired Planet,...more

Diamonds In The Rough: TTAB Refuses Registration For Repeating Pattern

In a precedential decision in In re Fantasia Distribution Inc, Serial 86185623 (September 21 2016), the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) held that a repeating diamond design pattern appearing on an electronic hookah...more

MarkIt to Market® - November 2016

The November 2016 issue of Sterne Kessler's MarkIt to Market® includes practical tips for registering certification marks, a look at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board's latest revisions to the Rules of Practice-its most...more

No Love for ♥ DC

In a case before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”), the Board cancelled and abandoned the trademark registration and trademark application for the I "Heart" DC marks owned by an individual, Jonathan A. Chien...more

More Than Zero: Under the Lanham Act, One Interstate Sale Qualifies as Actual Use of a Trademark in Commerce

In 2009, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected shoe manufacturer Adidas’s application to trademark the phrase “ADIZERO,” due to a likelihood of confusion with an existing mark: “ADD A ZERO,” a clothing trademark held...more

Back to Basics: Trademarks Part 4

What Happens After My Application is Filed? After your application is filed, you should receive an email from the USPTO confirming the submission. In a few business days, the USPTO will confirm the application has the...more

Your Trademark on Steroids - Making Your Trademark Registration Stronger

In our previous articles we discussed ways in which trademarks are maintained and protected through filings that are mandatory and which filings would result in abandonment or cancellation if not timely...more

New Copyright Office Electronic Registration System for DMCA Agents – Are You Ready?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) sets forth a mechanism through which online service providers can avail themselves of a safe harbor from copyright infringement liability by recording an agent with the Copyright...more

Appeal of Final Refusal Maintaining that Human Jewelry is “Closely Related” to Pet Accessories

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. asked the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) to reconsider its rejection of an application for the mark GEORGE in connection with watches, clocks, jewelry, and imitation jewelry in Class 14 (U.S....more

PUT YOUR DOCS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM: Seattle Police Enjoined From Disclosing Software Secrets in Public Records Act Dispute

What happens when trade secret protections collide with laws granting public access to government records? This question took center stage in a recent case involving the Seattle Police Department (“SPD”). A federal district...more

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

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