Communications & Media Administrative Agency

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New Trademark Office Audit May Result in Cancellation of Registrations

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) announced a final rule that took effect on February 17, 2017. To assess and promote the accuracy and integrity of the trademark register, the USPTO amended rules...more

Use It or Lose It: USPTO to Conduct Post-Registration Trademark Use Audits

Trademark owners take note: Affidavits to renew your U.S. trademark registrations may be getting a closer look. On March 21, 2017, the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") implemented a new rule aimed at...more

USPTO launches new proof of use audit program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has launched a new program that will require some trademark owners to submit more “specimens” (i.e., proof of use) and information than was required in the past. As a...more

California Public Employees' Personal Accounts May Be Subject to Public Records Act Requests

In City of San Jose v. Superior Court, No. S218066 (Cal. Mar. 2, 2017), the Supreme Court of California decided unanimously that communications made or stored on a public employee's personal account, including emails sent...more

Just Like You and Me: Difficulties with Celebrity Trademark Applications

Under U.S. trademark law, any person (including a celebrity) can obtain a trademark registration for their name if they can establish that the public recognizes the name as a source identifier for certain products or...more

Social Media and Public Records Laws

Social media is ubiquitous these days. Facebook alone, for example, has nearly 1.5 billion monthly active users. Given social media’s widespread use, it is not surprising that some municipalities have sought to harness its...more

Is a Private Email a Public Record? Context Matters!

In deciding last week that communications on public agency employees’ private devices may be subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act, the California Supreme Court included some direction to help make the...more

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

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. Work Gets Underway at Maine State House - Momentum is building in the Maine Capitol as...more

FDA Takes Action in the Last Days of the Obama Administration to Clarify Some of Its Views on Off-Label Communications

In the last few days of the Obama Administration, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA or the Agency) issued a number of documents with implications for manufacturer communications with health care practitioners and payors. ...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

FCC Shot Clock Not Tolled by Applicant Delays or Vague Notice of Incompleteness, Court Finds

A city granting an applicant’s request for a continuance of a public hearing over installation of a wireless tower is not a mutual agreement to toll the FCC’s “shot clock,” a federal court has ruled. In addition, a vague...more

OFCCP Sues Google, Seeking Pay Data

On January 4, 2017, the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP) sued Google, claiming that the tech giant is illegally withholding information about the compensation it provides its employees.  OFCCP seeks...more

When the Strength of the Facts Cannot be Lifted – SDNY Dismisses Muscle Maker Slack-Fill Class Action

The Southern District of New York recently dismissed a putative class action against Cytosport, the maker of Muscle Milk protein powder. The plaintiff, Orlando Bautista, alleged that he bought a container of Muscle Milk...more

FTC Grants Summary Judgment Against California Naturel, Inc. Falsely Advertising “All Natural” Sunscreen Products

In its opinion in In re California Naturel, Inc., the Federal Trade Commission held that the California Naturel, Inc. advertising promoting its “all natural” sunscreen on its website as containing “only the purest, most...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

Are Private E-mails & Text Messages “Public Records?”

Decision Expected Soon from California Supreme Court - Public agencies in California should prepare for the likelihood that communications on officials’ and employees’ private devices related to the agency’s “conduct of...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

Litigation Alert: The FCC Enforcement Bureau Advises That Text Message Senders Must Comply With the Telephone Consumer Protection...

On November 18, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Enforcement Bureau issued an Advisory declaring that autodialed text messages, also known as robotexts, must comply with the requirements set forth in the...more

Will the D.C. Circuit Overturn Fax Opt-Out Requirement?

Though not as common as they once were, fax advertisements continue to be used in several industries, particularly healthcare, where providers and manufacturers rely on faxes to comply with regulatory obligations. Earlier...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

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