Fair Use Trademarks

News & Analysis as of

Circuit Split Remains: SCOTUS Passes on Defining Nominative Fair Use

In a recent disappointment to those advocating clarity for the muddy waters of determining permissible use of third-party trademarks under the nominative fair use doctrine, the Justices of the United States Supreme Court...more

Louis Vuitton Left Holding the Bag

In Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. My Other Bag, Inc., [16-241-cv] (December 22, 2016), the Second Circuit affirmed summary judgment for My Other Bag that its parody bag did not infringe or dilute Louis Vuitton’s trademark...more

Celebrity Brands: The Line Between Fair Use and Infringement

All brand owners are faced with difficult decisions regarding how aggressively to police their brands. The decision is particularly difficult when the unauthorized use is by a loyal customer or fan. While some traditional...more

It Is Not “Easy Like Sunday Morning” To Use Commodore As A Trademark

The band’s song “Easy” does not reflect Commodores’ founder Thomas McClary’s court battle to use the trademark “COMMODORES founder Thomas McClary” for his solo career. As I dug further into the meaning of the song, it is...more

Copyright and Trademark Case Review: Who’s on First?, Virtual Lockers and Lanham Act Fee-Shifting

Copyright Opinions - Second Circuit Permits Distribution of Cloud-Based Samples, But Declines to Consider “Novel” Cloud Storage Infringement Issue: Smith v. Barnesandnoble.com, LLC, No. 15-3508 (2d Cir. October 6,...more

Puttin’ on the “Ritts”: Political Speech and Fair Use

Leaving aside the outcome of election day (and indeed I confess I wrote this before the polls closed), I couldn’t help but notice these ads in downtown Minneapolis...more

Legal Concerns for Social Media Influencers: Intellectual Property

Social media “influencers” – individuals who are powerful, popular and relevant enough to influence others within their online social sphere – generate ad dollars, product endorsement opportunities and other revenue streams...more

Certification Mark May Be Infringed Despite Nominative Fair Use, Lack of Source Confusion

Addressing the use of a certification mark in connection with information systems training, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed and remanded a district court grant of summary judgment for the defendants on...more

Eight is Not Enough: Second Circuit Adopts Eleven Factor Nominative Fair Use Test in Certification Mark Case

International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (known as ISC2) is a non-profit organization that owns a registered certification mark for the term CISSP® (meaning “Certified Information Systems...more

Nominative Fair Use of a Trademark: The Second Circuit Weighs In

If a defendant in a trademark case uses the plaintiff’s trademark, not to identify the defendant’s own products, but rather to refer accurately to the plaintiff’s products, is that trademark infringement? Called “nominative...more

Nominative Fair Use: The Second Circuit Joins Neither The Third Nor Ninth Circuits In Its Approach

In an important decision delineating the boundaries of fair use of another person’s trademark, the Second Circuit announced a standard by which nominative fair use of a trademark will be evaluated in that Circuit in...more

Second Circuit Highlights Splits on Nominative Trademark Fair Use

The Second Circuit disagrees with sister circuits and rejects arguments that nominative fair use is an affirmative defense that is available even when confusion is likely and that the traditional nominative fair use analysis...more

Law à la Mode: A new provision for trademark parody - is it a joke?

A number of fashion players base their business on the very thin line running between tribute and misappropriation. In this context, it is difficult to understand how quotations of wellknown fashion trademarks made with...more

Nominative Fair Use: The Second Circuit Joins Neither The Third Nor Ninth Circuits In Its Approach

In an important decision delineating the boundaries of fair use of another person’s trademark, the Second Circuit announced a standard by which nominative fair use of a trademark will be evaluated in that Circuit in...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Spring 2016

Supreme Court to Weigh In on Damages for Design Patent Infringement - Recent decisions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit regarding damages available in design patent cases highlight the court’s...more

Vacation rental websites create difficult choices for hotels

In just a few years, vacation rental websites have exploded onto the scene, commanding a significant market presence in the hospitality industry and redefining traditional “vacation rentals.” In particular, websites like...more

6 Unique Challenges for Protecting and Exploiting Intellectual Property in the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an attractive global business centre and gateway to the wider Middle East region for international companies seeking to commercialise and exploit their brands, products and...more

Avoiding The NCAA’s Full Court Press During the Month of Mental Anguish

It’s a wonderfully maddening time of year. “Selection Sunday” (all 2+ hours of it!) is in the rear view mirror, collegiate teams are scurrying off for their opening games, and millions of basketball fans are spending...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

Trademark Fair Use, Where Are You TYLT?

A little nominative trademark fair use might have saved these little gems from going right back to Costco, as gently used merchandise, with opened and not so gently mangled packaging to boot...more

iPhone 6, Can You Say Nominative Fair Use?

We cover a lot of topics related to nominative fair use of trademarks. Does the example below on product packaging from J. Crew qualify for fair use of the iPhone 6 mark?...more

FAN ART: Tribute or Tribulation?

“Fan Art”—you’ve probably seen it and didn’t know it. Maybe you’ve even purchased it, not knowing it wasn’t legally created. So what is it, exactly? Fan art is art created by fans of characters that were originally created by...more

Pinterest fails to pin Pintrips on trademark infringement and dilution claims | World Trademark Review

In Pinterest Inc v Pintrips Inc (No 13-CV-04608-HSG, October 21 2015), the US District Court for the Northern District of California has held that the PINTRIPS and PIN marks used by Pintrips did not infringe or dilute...more

Using “Borrowed” Images in Your Blog

An engaging image, be it a photograph, line art or other graphic, can capture the reader’s attention and drive interest in an online post. Bloggers, especially, are well aware of the attention grabbing benefits of a great...more

Trademark Review | November 2015

I AM Similar - The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) affirmed the examiner’s decision to deny three applications for “I AM” marks filed by i.am.symbolic, LLC (“Applicant”), finding that Applicant’s proposed “I AM”...more

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