Fair Use Trademarks

News & Analysis as of

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

GoDaddy victorious in dispute over OSCARS and ACADEMY AWARDS marks | World Trademark Review

In Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences v GoDaddy.com, the US District Court for the Central District of California has entered judgment in defendant GoDaddy’s favour, holding that plaintiff Academy of Motion Picture...more

MLB Strikes Out in Acquiring Twins.com

October—the month of seasonal changes, crunching leaves, artificial pumpkin flavoring, and, for sports fans, the October Classic. As survivors of the never-ending major league baseball regular season battle for World Series...more

To Tweet or Not to Tweet: Social Media and Intellectual Property Issues

Social media platforms are very useful, but they also create legal issues. Without question, social media has changed the way businesses communicate with their clients and consumers. Likewise, social media has changed the way...more

MoFo IP Newsletter - October 2015

The Survey Says: Tiffany Is Not Generic for A Ring Setting - Last month, the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment to Tiffany & Co. on its trademark infringement claim against Costco Wholesale...more

Copyright Strategies for Start-Up Companies

As a leader of a start-up company, you are probably aware of the importance of protecting your company’s innovative products, services and technologies through patent filings. If you are savvy, you are also aware of the...more

The Survey Says: TIFFANY Is Not Generic for a Ring Setting

Last week, the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment to Tiffany & Co. on its trademark infringement claim against Costco Wholesale Corporation for selling rings advertised under the TIFFANY mark. Tiffany &...more

Wanted: Brand Deputies at the MN State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair continues to provide endless blog fodder for those who care about intellectual property. Last week, we wrote about a State Fair vendor concerned about its claimed, but unarticulated “intellectual...more

No MN State Fair Photos, Pretty Please?

Well, it is opening day at the 2015 Minnesota State Fair, it was a great day, perfect weather, thank you very much! Happy to see that Lulu’s Public House is going strong, she appears to have some new food items this...more

Trademarks in the Crosshairs: Non-Trademark Use of a Descriptive Term - Sorensen v. WD-40 Co.

Addressing likelihood of confusion and the fair use defense in a trademark infringement suit pertaining to corrosion inhibitors, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment...more

Harry Potter Lawsuits And Where To Find Them

On July 31, 2015, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling celebrates her 50th birthday, according to muggle sources. The enormous success of Rowling’s literary creation and its associated multimedia empire has spawned countless...more

Update on Battle Over the Navajo Mark

In a surprising move last week, Urban Outfitters and its subsidiaries (collectively “Urban Outfitters”) moved to withdraw their motion for partial summary judgment on the secondary liability claims being brought against them...more

The Juice Runs Out for Yankee Parody Trademarks

A good general business practice is to apply to register trademarks early. You’ll find out if there is an issue. You’ll have time to change rather than having to take everything off the shelf under the threat of a lawsuit....more

The House That Juice Built: TTAB Denies Registration To Parodies

On May 8, 2015, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) issued a resounding blow to trademark applicants who seek to register others’ trademarks as parodies. In New York Yankees Partnership v. IET Products and...more

Imported from “Dertroit”

Readers of the blog know the dangers of selling unlicensed apparel and the oft-litigious stance of Major League Baseball when it comes to defending its marks.  But a recent viral t-shirt phenomenon may just be one time the...more

New Guidance Regarding Employee Handbooks Part Three: How Much Do Employers “Own” Their Logo, Copyright and Trademark?

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) restricts all employers from issuing policies or rules – even if well-intentioned – that inhibit employees from engaging in activities protected by the act, such as discussing wages,...more

Crafting an Effective Fair Use Defense

The beer industry is rife with trademark legal issues. We’ve discussed quite a fe here, including disputes over brewery names, attempts to register as a trademark the design of a beer glass, or the longstanding issue of...more

Federal Government Wins Trademark Battle to Shut Down “Voice of America” Website with “Undeniable Governmental Aesthetic”

Since its first broadcast on February 1, 1942, the Voice of America radio service (VOA) has aired countless hours of programming in dozens of languages to what is currently an estimated global audience of over 100 million...more

Georgia State Academic Fair Use Decision Vacated by 11th Circuit: A (Relatively) Quick Read for the Busy Practitioner

Last Friday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded the Northern District of Georgia’s 350-page fair use analysis of the electronic reserves practices at Georgia State University (“GSU”). Although this...more

Arrow Productions, LTD v. The Weinstein Company LLC

Arrow Productions, LTD v. The Weinstein Company LLC - USDC, S.D. New York, August 25, 2014: District court dismisses copyright and trademark infringement claims of copyright owner of 1972 pornographic film Deep Throat,...more

Fair Use of GM’s Corvette Stingray?

While filling up my gas tank at our local Costco last week I coudn’t resist capturing this photo of pump signage to ask our dear readers a few pointed questions...more

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