News & Analysis as of

Supreme Court Corner: Q4 2014

KIMBLE V. MARVEL ENTERPRISES, INC. Patent Licensing - Cert. Pending - Issue: Whether the Supreme Court should overrule Brulotte v. Thys Co., which held “a patentee’s use of a royalty agreement that projects...more

Henley Is Not Taking It Easy

According to music icon Don Henley, intellectual property rights are not a joking matter....more

Aviator Brewing Company Asks Court to Declare: MAD BEACH Beer Label Does Not Infringe California Brewery’s Beer Label

On November 17, 2014, craft brewer Aviator Brewing Company filed an action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, seeking a declaration from the Court that its MAD BEACH beer label...more

Procedural Missteps Cause Fifth Circuit to Affirm Judgment, Fee Award

M2 Tech., Inc. v. M2 Software, Inc. - In an unpublished decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that a federal district court did not abuse its discretion in issuing a default judgment and fee...more

Eponymous companies and use of the designer’s personal name: Mr. Alviero Martini vs. Alviero Martini S.p.A.

The Court of Milan has recently issued a decision in a case regarding the limits to use the personal name of a well-known designer by a company which had legitimately acquired the corresponding eponymous trademarks....more

The Great Bottle Battle – Coke vs Pepsi

On 28 November 2014, the Federal Court of Australia (Court) dismissed claims of trade mark infringement, misleading or deceptive conduct and passing off made by The Coca-Cola Company (Coke) against PepsiCo Inc, PepsiCo...more

Intellectual Property Alert: Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc.

On December 2, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., the first trademark case to reach the Court in nearly ten years. William F. Jay, of...more

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument Over the Preclusive Effect of Administrative Trademark Determinations on Future...

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument last week in a much anticipated trademark matter, B&B Hardware Inc. v. Hargis Industries Inc. et al. The primary question presented was whether a likelihood-of-confusion...more

A Trademark Year in Wine and Beer: Our 2014 Holiday Buyer’s Guide to Disputed Beverages

If you are hosting or attending a party this holiday season, you probably need to pick up something to drink. This year, why not pick up a conversation starter as well? See if your local liquor store (in our neck of the...more

Mil-Spec Monkey, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard, Inc. - USDC, N.D. California, November 24, 2014

Mil-Spec Monkey, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard, Inc. - USDC, N.D. California, November 24, 2014: District court grants summary judgment in favor of publisher of military-action video game Call of Duty: Ghosts on trademark...more

No IP Holes in this Crystal Head

We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink here over the past several years discussing the protection of non-traditional trademarks. We’ve also written about the importance of layering various intellectual property rights (trademark,...more

Angry Monkey See, Angry Monkey Sue

Video games have come a long way since I was a kid. I grew up with a pixelated plumber jumping on on turtles with frozen facial expression. Sometimes it is hard to believe how far video games have developed, with games like...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

Political Ad’s Use of Trademark until Election Day Not Infringement

On October 28, 2014, Judge Paul Grewal of the Northern District of California ruled that a political advocacy website’s confusing use of the mark CHOOSE ENERGY could stay up . . . but perhaps only until election day....more

Holy Non-Infringement, Batman!

Fortres Grand Corporation v. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. - The U.S Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a trademark infringement claim, finding that a real computer software product...more

Ninth Circuit Finds Permanent Injunction Questionable Despite Trademark Infringement

La Quinta Worldwide LLC v. Q.R.T.M., S.A. De C.V., dba Quinta Real - While affirming trademark infringement with respect to a Mexican hotel chain’s use of its trademark in the United States, the U.S. Court of Appeals...more

Counterfeit Goods: Has the War on ISPs Just Gotten Tougher?

The pressure on ISPs to take responsibility for the sites accessible through their services has been growing in recent years (e.g., the requirement for certain ISPs to block filesharing sites). On October 17, 2014, the High...more

When is a Flavor/Taste Trademark Possible?

Are your intellectual taste buds craving more discussion of non-traditional trademarks? It’s not every day we have the opportunity to write about a restaurant’s claimed trademark protection for the flavor or taste of certain...more

Converse: Stomping Out Counterfeits through Int’l Trade Commission Proceedings

Earlier this week, Converse launched an all-out offensive to combat what it considers counterfeit and knock-off versions of its Chuck Taylor All-Star line of sneakers. Reports peg the number as at least 22 separate lawsuits...more

Will Montana-Based Victory Energize Win Its “Trademark Bully” Charge Against Monster?

Last week more allegations of “trademark bullying” appeared in the headlines. This time, Victory Energize, an energy drink company based in Missoula, Montana, is calling out Monster Energy for sending a cease and desist...more

Maintaining Strong Trademark Rights

I. Determining the Strength of Your Mark. The strength, or scope, of a trademark as used in the marketplace is determined by a multi-factored analysis called the likelihood of confusion test, and the scope can differ...more

(Subway) Eat Flesh, An Effective Parody?

This past weekend one of my sons said, “Dad, I have a good blog topic for you.” After he explained, it was clear, yes, son you do! So, he sent me the photo to the left. It is one that he recently snapped at a place that sells...more

Res judicata Does Not Bar Claims Arising After Prior Litigation, Even One Based on Similar Conduct

TechnoMarine SA v. Giftports Inc. - Addressing whether a prior litigation between the parties resolving claims of unfair competition bars subsequent suit over similar conduct occurring after settlement of the earlier...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

Ice Cream Maker No Softee When It Comes to Infringement of Its Trademarks

Just as summer is coming to a close, the battle between Mister Softee and Master Softee appears to be heating up. Mister Softee is a family-owned business that has been in operation since 1956. It is the franchisor for the...more

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