Lanham Act

News & Analysis as of

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

Nutritious and Judicious: Nutribullet Blender False Ad Claim Survives Attack from Ninjas and Phantom Reviewers

While courts may not officially be in the business of ghostbusting, a district court in California recently offered some support to a blender manufacturer apparently haunted by a phantom reviewer. The court found that...more

Federal Circuit Confirms That Advertising Services Is Not Use in Commerce

In Couture v. Playdom, Inc., the Federal Circuit held that the use of a mark on a website to offer services is not use in commerce sufficient to support an actual-use service mark application. As a result, the Court affirmed...more

Bayer Given a Headache by Trial Court Decision in FLANAX US Trademark Dispute

On February 6, 2015, a US District Court issued a ruling which underscores the territorial nature of trademark rights and the need to seek formal protection for your marks where possible in all countries of interest. The US...more

Statements Regarding Live Scientific Debate Still Subject to False Advertising Claim - Eastman Chemical Company v. PlastiPure,...

According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, even if scientific claims are the subject of live scientific debates, that status will not immunize such statements containing such claims from false advertising...more

No Presumption, but Inference of Irreparable Harm Permissible Under Lanham Act - Groupe SEB USA, Inc. v. Euro-Pro Operating LLC

Addressing interpretation of advertising claims when the packaging or label unambiguously defines a claim term and an inference of irreparable harm where the advertisements were literally false, the U.S. Court of Appeals for...more

Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, Ltd. v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc. - USCA, Ninth Circuit, February 20, 2015

Following jury verdict on Lanham Act claim in favor of entity owned by Bob Marley’s children, Ninth Circuit affirms denial of defendants’ motion for judgment as matter of law, finding that trial evidence supported jury’s...more

The Court’s Decision in the FLANAX US Trademark Dispute Gives Bayer a Headache

On February 6, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia reversed the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s ruling in Bayer Consumer Care AG v. Belmora LLC, 110 USPQ2d 1623 (TTAB 2014) holding that...more

Trademarks That Violate Public Policy

As our friend John Welch reported last week,  the place to be on March 10, 2015, is Washington, D.C., at the 25th Annual “PTO Day,” sponsored by the Intellectual Property Owners Association: John will be part of the panel...more

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