Disparagement

News & Analysis as of

Federal Circuit Vacates Panel Decision on Disparaging Trademark and Orders En Banc Hearing - In re Tam

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a sua sponte order vacating its April 20, 2015, decision in In re Tam to consider the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which provides that the U. S....more

Lawyer Who Started Fight Over "R-Word" Mascot Awaits Decision

About a quarter century ago, Steve Baird — at the time, a freshly minted graduate of the University of Iowa law school clerking for a federal judge in Washington, D.C. — was spending most of his free weekends working on an...more

Trademark Review | May 2015

Attorneys’ Fees Might be More Readily Granted in Trademark Cases - Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court relaxed the standard for awarding attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party in patent infringement cases. Octane...more

Trademarks Can Be a Bitch

And I mean that literally. We’ve laid down a lot of digital ink in the past about pejorative marks – lately in reference to the Redskins and The Slants, both of which have been deemed disparaging enough to deny them a...more

A Scandalous Mark to Some, Free Speech to Others: Federal Circuit to Decide Whether Controversial Limit on Trademark Registrations...

The Federal Circuit has decided to revisit the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act in the case of In re Shiao Tam, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6840 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 27, 2015). Section 2(a) of the Lanham act allows the...more

IP Newsflash - May 2015

FEDERAL CIRCUIT CASES - Subjective Term Not Indefinite when Intrinsic Record Provides Reasonably Certain Scope - On remand from the Supreme Court, on April 27, 2015, the Federal Circuit reassessed whether...more

Constitutional Law vs. Trademark Law: Which Law Wins in the Battle of "Disparaging Trademarks": Part II

Earlier this week we covered Part I of this battle, trademark law. Now, let’s get to the second half: Constitutional law. Constitutional Law Considerations - Where do constitutional law considerations fit in...more

Constitutional Law vs. Trademark Law: Which Law Wins in the Battle of "Disparaging Trademarks"

The topic of “disparaging trademarks” has been a fairly common topic in the trademark industry, especially when you consider how little this issue comes up in the prosecution and litigation of trademarks. ...more

Slanted Perspective?

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I refer you to “the Slants?” Is it a non-perpendicular or horizontal line? Is it the news coverage of MSNBC or Fox News? Is it a derogatory term for Asians? Or, perhaps its...more

Liability for Commercial Speech: A Guide to False Advertising, Commercial Disparagement, and Related Claims

This volume summarizes related bodies of law – false advertising, commercial disparagement, and defamation – that govern the conduct of business communications. It sets forth elements, damages, and related defenses for each...more

Trademarks That Violate Public Policy

As our friend John Welch reported last week,  the place to be on March 10, 2015, is Washington, D.C., at the 25th Annual “PTO Day,” sponsored by the Intellectual Property Owners Association: John will be part of the panel...more

For the Redskins, NFL Playoff Season Means. . . Constitutionality Questions?

The NFL playoffs aren’t the only big football news happening this month! The U.S. Department of Justice recently decided to intervene in the Washington Redskins trademark litigation over the constitutionality of certain...more

California Bans Nondisparagement Clauses in Consumer Contracts

The “Yelp” Bill impacts any entity or person doing business with consumers in California. Those who are fans of writing product or service reviews for sites such as Yelp will be pleased that California law just made it much...more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates "Rules of the Road" Orders in Custody Disputes

It’s become commonplace in domestic relations cases with custody issues, in Cook County and certain other jurisdictions, for the trial court, early in the proceedings, to enter a kind of “rules of the road” order specifying...more

Social Media Risk: Forget the Constraints and Open the Employee Conversation

By now, we all have at least one example of how social media can turn into a double-edged sword for organizations. Personal favorites include the SEC’s investigation (and ultimate non-action) regarding Netflix CEO Reed...more

Covered or Not: Has Hartford v. Swift Opened a Faster Lane for Intellectual Property and Insurance Mediation?

The California Supreme Court recently issued its longawaited coverage decision in Hartford Casualty Ins. Co. v. Swift Distribution, Inc., 59 Cal. 4th 277 (2014). The Court, applying California state law, upheld the trial...more

Congressman Proposes Federal Non Disparagement Law

Last Friday, I wrote about a new California law that provides that a contract or proposed contract for the sale or lease of consumer goods or services may not include a provision waiving the consumer’s right to make any...more

Status Updates - September 2014 #4

..Disappearing ink. Facebook is testing, for a small group of users, a feature that will permit a user to schedule a post for automatic deletion after a specified period of time. It seems that the period can range from an...more

A Bad Review For California’s New Non-Disparagement Law

The advent of social media has dramatically lowered the cost to consumers of acquiring and disseminating information. Formerly, only a handful of people might hear about a bad experience with a retailer or service provider. ...more

California Supreme Court Clarifies an Insurer’s Duty to Defend in Disparagement Cases

Advertising injury liability coverage offered under commercial general liability (“CGL”) policies is aimed at protecting companies against claims, often brought by competitors, alleging harm by purportedly derogatory...more

Washington Redskins Challenge the Constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act

The Washington Redskins trademark controversy is far from over. Despite the fact that certain news and sports commentators and mainstream newspapers and organizations have announced that they will no longer use the term...more

Texas Supreme Court to Hear Defamation Case Involving Fracking Claims

On August 21, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court agreed to hear oral arguments in an ongoing dispute between a homeowner and Texas-based oil driller Range Resources Corp. The case is not a typical homeowner vs. oil driller...more

California Supreme Court Defines Scope of Advertising Injury Coverage

Hartford v. Swift imposes “specificity” requirements that may provide comfort to companies facing disparagement claims while requiring careful navigation to trigger CGL policies. The California Supreme Court recently...more

TTAB’s Washington Redskins Decision: the Enforceability and Commercial Impact of Cancelled Trademarks

The cancellation of a U.S. trademark registration on any grounds, including disparagement, does not always mean the end of enforceable rights in the mark. However, cancellation may create both legal and financial...more

20-Day Jail Sentence for Employee who Released Employer’s Confidential Information in Breach of Court Order

In July 2013, Ceridian entered into an agreement with Pendylum Inc. (“Pendylum”) to assist in the delivery of services to Ceridian’s customers. Under the terms of its agreement with Pendylum, Ceridian required that all of...more

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