Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

The Hashtag / Trademark Paradox: #Trending, but #Proprietary?

As the hustle and bustle of the INTA 2016 Annual Meeting drew to a close yesterday, I reflected on the session “#HASHTAGS #EverythingYouNeedToKnow” from Tuesday. It seems trademark protection may not (yet) fit comfortably into…more
| Communications & Media Law, Intellectual Property

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 Third…more
| Civil Procedure, Intellectual Property

End of the Line-Almost….

In the waning days of the 2016 session, Gov. Mark Dayton and top lawmakers still haven’t reached agreements on the biggest outstanding issues. …more
| Elections & Politics, Taxation, Transportation

For Trademark Demand Letters, Every Letter Counts

It has not been a great week for oatmeal. The Quaker Oats Company (a subsidiary of food and beverage giant PepsiCo), on the heels of a recall for its Quaker Quinoa Granola Bars, has also made a rather embarrassing gaffe…more
| Intellectual Property

Be a Service “to Others”

It’s rare that we focus on descriptions of goods or services here, but one of the most common reasons that a trademark for a brewery or winery is refused registration at the Trademark Office comes down to the description of…more
| Intellectual Property

Feyoncé . . . he put a ring on it

Beyoncé recently filed suit against a company for trademark infringement based on their use of the term “Feyoncé” on apparel. They’ve even got this nice mug..…more
| Art, Entertainment, & Sports Law, Intellectual Property

Madonna Not Scandalous for Wine Anymore

The headline might be considered old news to some, but since intellectual property attorneys from around the world will be descending upon Minneapolis for the remainder of the week, and since I’ll be speaking tomorrow at the…more
| Intellectual Property

America’s Most Watered-Down Beer (Name)?

Last week the Twittersphere was chirping loudly and negatively in response to reports that Belgian-owned Inbev would be replacing the Budweiser brand name with “America” on beer cans, as shown above. No bow-tie can shape in this…more
| Communications & Media Law, Intellectual Property

Home Stretch-Second to Last Week

Closed-door talks aimed at striking a budget agreement began Monday with a consensus that the divide over transportation needs to be solved before lawmakers can make real progress. Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed the initial…more
| Art, Entertainment, & Sports Law, Elections & Politics, Taxation, Transportation

New Protections for Trade Secrets

On Wednesday afternoon this week, President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) into law. The Act passed unanimously in the Senate and nearly so in the House. The President has been a proponent of the Act and was…more
| Civil Procedure, Civil Remedies, Commercial Law & Contracts, Intellectual Property

Is It a Clean Fight?

It is no wonder that two companies manufacturing detergents would want to use the word “clean” for their products and brand. The Dial Corporation (“Dial”) owns the federally registered trademark PURECLEAN that it used to market…more
| Business Torts, Intellectual Property

Miles Apart

Supplemental Budget Bills - Divergent legislative priorities are reflected in the House and Senate budget bills. With respect to the projected $900 million surplus in the General Fund, House Republicans allocate the full…more
| Elections & Politics, Taxation, Transportation, Zoning, Planning & Land Use

A Missed Step in Branding Fitness Trackers?

I’ve been wearing one of these little guys on my wrist for almost a year now. Love it. The personal awareness it raises for me in the areas of sleep, diet, and activity, has been profound…more
| Intellectual Property, Science, Computers, & Technology

Trademark Litigation Keeps Getting Cheaper (If You Win)

Slowly but surely, the extension of the Supreme Court’s 2014 Octane Fitness v. LLC v. Icon Health and Fitness, Inc. decision to trademark claims is gaining traction among federal appellate courts. The Octane Fitness decision…more
| Civil Remedies, Intellectual Property

Another Pom Case

No, this one isn’t about uniforms. The Supreme Court has refused to hear POM Wonderful’s appeal of FTC findings that claims in POM’s advertising were misleading. POM’s ads claimed that its juice could help prevent heart disease,…more
| Civil Procedure, Communications & Media Law
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