Lanham Act Trademarks

News & Analysis as of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Federal Circuit Clarifies What Constitutes Use “In Commerce” Under the Lanham Act

On November 14, 2016, the Federal Circuit clarified confusion regarding what is necessary to satisfy the registration requirement that a mark be used “in commerce.”...more

A Tale Of Two Hats: Trademark “Use In Commerce” Expanded In A Potentially Game-Changing Decision

Our readers no doubt understand that trademark use is the basis for trademark protection in the U.S. But all use is not created equal, and sometimes it’s not so easy to tell whether a trademark is actually used in a manner...more

Second Circuit Affirms Preliminary Injunction of "Identical" Gray Goods

Earlier this month in Abbott Laboratories v. Adelphia Supply USA et al, the Second Circuit affirmed a district court's grant of a preliminary injunction halting the alleged sale of gray-good diabetes test strips made by...more

The World in US Courts: Orrick's Quarterly Review of Decisions Applying US Law to Global Business and Cross-Border Activities

Alien Tort Statute (ATS)/Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA)/Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) - District Court Dismisses ATS Claim Where Alleged Conduct in US Was Not Directly Linked to Injuries Claimed in Other Countries...more

More Than Zero: Under the Lanham Act, One Interstate Sale Qualifies as Actual Use of a Trademark in Commerce

In 2009, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected shoe manufacturer Adidas’s application to trademark the phrase “ADIZERO,” due to a likelihood of confusion with an existing mark: “ADD A ZERO,” a clothing trademark held...more

Ninth Circuit Expands the Octane Fitness Attorneys’ Fee Standard to the Lanham Act

Following several other circuits as well as patent law precedent, in SunEarth, Inc. v. Sun Earth Solar Power Co., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently made it easier for Lanham Act litigants to recover...more

Some Like It Infringed? Monroe Estate Continues Intellectual Property Battles Despite Lack of Publicity Rights

On Wednesday, November 9, 2016 the estate of Marilyn Monroe filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York against Fashion Central. The Monroe Estate claims that Fashion Central infringes its intellectual property...more

USPTO Asks Supreme Court to Uphold Its Right to Deny “Offensive” Trademarks

I previously wrote about a Supreme Court case pitting the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) and Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act against the First Amendment, the Federal Circuit, the Slants and, lurking in the...more

“Use in Commerce”: Look Before You Leap

Order Granting Motion to Dismiss, With Leave to Amend, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, LLC, et al. v. Treasury Wine Estates Americas Co., 16-cv-04922-RS (Judge Richard Seeborg) - Plaintiffs in trademark cases may be tempted to...more

Tiffany Wins the Generic Battle, and the Spoils of War are Significant

In February of 2013, high-end jeweler Tiffany & Co. sued Costco Wholesale Corp. in the federal court for the Southern District of New York for using the designation “Tiffany setting” since 2007 in the sale of two styles of...more

Supreme Court to Review Registrability of Disparaging Trademarks

On September 29, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States granted a petition for certiorari to consider the constitutionality of a provision of the US trademark laws directed to the registrability of disparaging...more

Copyright and Trademark Case Review: Who’s on First?, Virtual Lockers and Lanham Act Fee-Shifting

Copyright Opinions - Second Circuit Permits Distribution of Cloud-Based Samples, But Declines to Consider “Novel” Cloud Storage Infringement Issue: Smith v. Barnesandnoble.com, LLC, No. 15-3508 (2d Cir. October 6,...more

Puttin’ on the “Ritts”: Political Speech and Fair Use

Leaving aside the outcome of election day (and indeed I confess I wrote this before the polls closed), I couldn’t help but notice these ads in downtown Minneapolis...more

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