Lanham Act

News & Analysis as of

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

Intellectual Property 2014 Year in Review

The year 2014 saw some important developments in the area of intellectual property law. A number of intellectual property-related issues even made national headlines. Who can forget the public debate over the rightful...more

Texas Court Holds No Duty to Defend Claims of Monopolistic Practices

In its recent decision in Uretek United States v. Cont’l Cas. Co., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18610 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 17, 2015), the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas had occasion to consider a general...more

Take Down for “Chinatown”?

Famous brand owners, take note: a Turkish artist and designer named Mehmet Gozetlik recently released “Chinatown,” a mesmerizing series of photographs in which neon lights depict famous design marks, with the word mark...more

(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Enforce Your Copyrights!)

The Beastie Boys can look back on 2014 as a year of good copyright outcomes. The preceding years had seen their music used without authorization in two promotional videos, by Goldieblox and Monster Energy, despite the...more

The Katten Kattwalk - Issue 06

In this issue: - “Google It”: The Search Engine’s Trademark May Be a Verb, But It’s Not Generic - You Say “Tom‘ah’to,” I Say “Tom‘ay’to”: Determining the Correct Pronunciation of Uniquely Coined...more

For the Redskins, NFL Playoff Season Means. . . Constitutionality Questions?

The NFL playoffs aren’t the only big football news happening this month! The U.S. Department of Justice recently decided to intervene in the Washington Redskins trademark litigation over the constitutionality of certain...more

Low Octane Levels? Octane Fitness’ Impact in the Trademark and Trade Secret Realms

We have previously addressed the Supreme Court’s decision in Octane Fitness, LLC v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc., 12-1184, Slip Op. at 7 (2014), which relaxed the standard for awarding attorney’s fees under Section 285 of the...more

Advertising Law - January 2015

SPECIAL FOCUS: Fifth Circuit Clarifies the Law on False Advertising Involving “Scientific Debates” - In 2013, the Second Circuit issued an important opinion in Ony, Inc. v. Cornerstone Therapeutics, Inc., a false...more

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