Lanham Act

News & Analysis as of

Tailoring the Suit: Plaintiffs File Amended Complaint in Nordstrom Rack Price-Tag False Advertising Lawsuit

Nordstrom Rack has recently found itself at the center of an unwelcome suit over its labeling practices. Nordstrom Rack discloses the savings it offers customers by placing “compare at” labels on its price tags which show two...more

Rights in Bob Marley's name and likeness trump free speech where defence not properly pleaded | World Trademark Review

Fifty-Six Hope Road is a company run by some of Bob Marley's children, and it owns the property rights to Bob Marley's name, voice and likeness. Hope Road licensed Zion Rootswear the exclusive right to use Marley's name and...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

False Advertising By Ad Agencies: No Easy Dismissals

On April 20, 2015, in Nestle Purina Petcare Company v. The Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd., the Eastern District of Missouri denied a motion to dismiss claims for false and misleading advertising brought against the advertising...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

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

Brewing Up Some IP

With so many new microbreweries popping up in Sacramento, the Bay Area, and the Greater San Diego area, I felt compelled to write the present piece for the benefit of the aspiring, as well as the established, microbrew...more

Britto v. Apple: Utilizing the IP Kitchen Sink

Can an artist’s particular style of art constitute both copyrightable expression and trade dress? Brazilian artist Romero Britto has filed suit against two artists known as “Craig & Karl” for copyright infringement —...more

Chuck Yeager’s Latest Suit Pulls Out of Nose Dive - Yeager et al. v. Fort Knox Security Products

Over the years, well-known aviation figure and retired United States Air Force general, Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager (Yeager) has been engaged in numerous legal disputes, including several lawsuits that Yeager has filed against...more

Bob Marley’s Heirs Lanham Act Win Upheld - Fifty-Six Hope Road Music v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc.

Addressing the issue of when the use of a celebrity’s likeness or persona in connection with a product constitutes a false endorsement that is actionable under the Lanham Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit...more

Laughter: It's The Best Medicine, But Not The Cure For False Advertising

Couch potatoes everywhere have had a chuckle over DirecTV’s campaign featuring Rob Lowe’s “cool” and creepy/awkward/dorky personas, wherein “cool Rob” is equated to DirecTV, and the less fortunate Rob is equated to a...more

No Lanham Act Standing Without U.S. Trademark Use or Registration - Belmora LLC v. Bayer Consumer Care AG

Addressing the issue of standing in a cancellation action at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia reversed a TTAB...more

False Advertising Claim Washed Away for Lack of Standing

The issue of whether a party has standing to litigate in federal court can end up sinking a lawsuit. And as one bottled-water litigant in the District of Maine recently found out, failure to satisfy the standing requirements...more

Court’s Maine Message to Plaintiff Suing Poland Spring: You Don’t Have a Leg to Stand on

The District Court of Maine recently provided a reminder that – even in the post-Lexmark world of Lanham Act false advertising standing – Article III standing requirements can still impose a meaningful barrier on plaintiffs....more

Litigation Alert: U.S. Supreme Court Raises the Stakes in Trademark Proceedings at the TTAB

This week, the Supreme Court issued an important ruling that will significantly impact the way parties handle trademark disputes in the United States. The opinion in B&B Hardware, Inv. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., 575 U.S....more

Trademark Review | March 2015

Registration Cancelled Where Services Related to Mark Not Provided - Playdom, Inc. filed a petition to cancel Couture’s mark, arguing that the registration was void because Couture did not use the mark in commerce as of...more

Bob Marley and Federal False Endorsement Claims

Since his death in 1981, reggae superstar Bob Marley and his “image” continue to be broadly popular and command millions of dollars each year in merchandising revenue. ...more

It’s a Complete Red Haring: Court Dismisses Wide Ranging Art-Authentication Lawsuit against Keith Haring Foundation

Art is no stranger to great controversy, although the arbiters of art world disputes are usually critics and artists rather than federal judges. Nevertheless, in early March, Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New...more

Vil v. Poteau - USDC, D. Massachusetts, March 3, 2015

District court awards summary judgment to defendant organization and its board against former vice president, finding that plaintiff did not establish genuine issue of material fact as to his copyright claim because he failed...more

Couture v. Playdom, Inc. - USCA, Federal Circuit, March 2, 2015

U.S. Federal Circuit affirms TTAB’s decision canceling trademark registration, clarifying that service mark is “used in commerce” only when mark is both used or displayed in sale or advertising of services and services are...more

Embracing Nontraditional Trademarks: Expand Your Brand Through All the Senses!

The human senses have the powerful ability to trigger memories and help retain information. The tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” helps millions of kids learn the alphabet every year, and even adults retain that tune...more

Intellectual Property Exclusion Bars Coverage for Unauthorized Use of Famous Inventor’s Name to Sell Toys

In Alterra Excess & Surplus v. Estate of Buckminster Fuller (No. A140453, filed 3/9/15), a California Appeals Court held that an ISO policy’s exclusion for intellectual property unambiguously barred coverage for a Lanham Act,...more

Three Point Shot - February 2015

Will Johnny Be Good, or Will Name Games Go up in Flames? Johnny Gaudreau, left wing for the Calgary Flames, is attempting to high-stick potential interlopers by locking up rights to his now-popularized nickname – Johnny...more

“Use It or Lose It”: Service Mark Registration Canceled When Application Supported Only by Advertising

On March 2, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its first-ever ruling addressing use requirements for registering service marks. The court held that offering a service, without the actual rendering...more

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