Lanham Act

News & Analysis as of

This Year’s Top Ten IP Cases

#10 Design Patent Damages § 289 - Samsung Elecs. Co., v. Apple Inc., 580 U.S. _ (Dec. 6, 2016) - In the case of a multicomponent product, the relevant article of manufacture for arriving at a damages award under...more

It Is Not All In The Family

Although a precedential decision allowing a “Family of Marks” to be considered in the context of an ex parte prosecution of an application that has been refused under Section 2(e)(1) to show acquired distinctiveness, this...more

Pizza! Pizza!: Little Caesar’s Repeated Term Slogans Are Not a “Family of Marks”

Although most people will recognize the ubiquitous PIZZA! PIZZA! slogan mark owned by the pizza chain Little Caesar’s, the company’s collection of repeated term marks does not rise to the level of a “family of marks”...more

ORAL B Wireless Floss?

I recently purchased a post-holiday present (for myself) – Apple’s AirPods, wireless headphones designed to integrate with Apple’s various products, including the iPhone 7 (which, helpfully, discarded the headphone jack in...more

Another IP Lesson from Bikini Bottom: What “The Krusty Krab” Teaches Us About Trademark Protection for Fictional Places

In a previous post we discussed what SpongeBob SquarePants can teach us about trademark licensing. Now, more IP lessons are bubbling up from the fathoms below thanks to our absorbent, yellow and porous friend. ...more

What’s in a name? Registration obtained for “Johnny Hockey”

Applying for a federal trademark registration for a name or nickname can be tricky business. For example, the registration of a mark is prohibited if it is “primarily merely a surname,” meaning that the primary significance...more

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Arguments on January 18, 2017 in “The Slants” Case.

As we reported to you last September, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case involving the constitutionality of the provisions of the Lanham Act upon which the U.S. Trademark Office relied to deny registration of the...more

Satisfaction of Lanham Act Use “in Commerce” Requirement Does Not Require Much

In a decision addressing the use “in commerce” requirement under the Lanham Act, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed and remanded a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) decision cancelling a trademark...more

Baring It All: Judge Orders Swingers’ Club to Produce Email Distribution List

A recent case in the Southern District of Florida serves as a reminder that even trade secrets may be subject to production to opposing counsel. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman recently ordered a defendant “swingers’” club...more

Trademark Year In Review And What Lies Ahead: The Lanham Act’s New Year’s Resolutions For 2017

2016 is now in the rear view mirror. At the beginning of a new year, we often take a moment to reflect on the past year, while setting goals for the present. It’s a time to say, “Last year had its ups and downs, but this...more

Court Throws Out Back Massager Trade Dress Infringement Claims on Motion to Dismiss

As the first-filed paper in nearly any litigation, the complaint is typically subject to rigorous scrutiny from the named defendant to identify any flaws that may dispatch the case via a motion to dismiss. A plaintiff in the...more

Litigation Alert: In Louis Vuitton Trademark Suit, Second Circuit Says Parody Prevails Even if Brand Owner Doesn’t “Get” the Joke

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently affirmed the Southern District of New York’s order on summary judgment that My Other Bag’s canvas tote bags do not dilute or infringe Louis Vuitton’s trademarks for...more

Three Point Shot - December 2016

In Partial Trademark Victory over Chinese Sportswear Company, MJ Posterizes Unauthorized User of Chinese Version of His Name - In Game 3 of the first round of the 1991 NBA Eastern Conference playoffs between the New York...more

Seven IP Cases to Watch in Early 2017

SCA Hygiene AB v. First Quality Baby Products. LLC (Docket No. 15-927, S. Ct.) - In SCA Hygiene AB v. First Quality Baby Products LLC,the Supreme Court will consider “[w]hether and to what extent the defense of laches...more

CAFC: Improper Assignment Voids Trademark Registration

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit underscored the importance of being mindful of the prohibition against assigning intent-to-use applications and of carefully constructing agreements for future assignment of...more

Weak Social Media Presence Sinks Trademark Claims, Says Sixth Circuit

A DJ asserting trademark infringement and dilution claims against a similarly named rapper failed partly due to a lack of apparent popularity on social media, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled on December...more

A Trademark Use in Commerce Story: Bonobos Buzz and a Two for One Specimen?

There are at least two kinds of buzz converging at the moment (perhaps three), especially for fashion forward and fit oriented trademark types here in Minneapolis....more

Intellectual Property Law - December 2016

Design Patents—Supreme Court Decides Samsung v. Apple - Why it matters: On December 6, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Samsung v. Apple, holding that, for purposes of a "total profits" damages award for infringement of a...more

Not Gone with the Wind: IP Rights Despite Public Domain Images

In 2006, Warner Bros. filed suit against A.V.E.L.A., X One X Productions, and ArtNostalgia.com, Inc. (collectively, “AVELA”) for copyright and trademark infringement under the Copyright Act, the Lanham Act, and state law....more

Top 10 Litigation Risks and Trends for Retailers

With the 2016 holiday shopping season in full swing, the risk of litigation heightens for retailers. We created our own version of a “holiday list” to identify the top-10 risk areas where retailers may be vulnerable to claims...more

Update on Second Circuit Ruling in Church & Dwight v. SPD Swiss Precision Diagnostics “Weeks Estimator” Home Pregnancy Test...

Last month we summarized the Second Circuit’s important decision in a dispute between plaintiff-appellee Church & Dwight and its principal competitor, defendant-appellant SPD Swiss Precision Diagnostics, concerning SPD’s...more

Copyright and Trademark Case Review: John Madden Football, Rhett Butler and the Commerce Clause

Copyright Opinions - Absence of Source Code for Video Games Results in JMOL of Non-Infringement: Antonick v. Electronic Arts, Inc., No. 14-15298 (9th Cir. Nov. 22, 2016). Hurwitz, J. In a suit for royalties on EA's...more

Tiffany vs. Costco: Jury Awards Tiffany Substantial Damages for Costco’s Sale of Counterfeit Diamond Rings

In a highly publicized decision of over a year ago, Judge Swain of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of the luxury retailer Tiffany and Co., deciding that Costco Wholesale Corp., the...more

Stopping The Sale of Gray-Market Medical Devices

On November 3, 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit approved an injunction against about 200 importers and sellers preventing them from importing and selling gray market blood-glucose test strips. The case was...more

Ninth Circuit Joins Octane Fitness Trend for Trademark Cases

In 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its ruling in Octane Fitness (IP Update, Vol. 17, No. 5), in which it examined the fee-shifting provision of the Patent Act and clarified the types of “exceptional” cases...more

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