Lanham Act Trademarks

News & Analysis as of

The Federal Trademark Statute Assumes Hillary Can’t Win

Today’s example of unintentional sexism comes to us from Section 2(c) of the Lanham Act. On its face, the language of the statute assumes that someone other than Hillary will win the 2016 presidential election – and it won’t...more

Extending the Reach of Octane Fitness Under the Lanham Act **WEB ONLY**

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit adopted and applied the Supreme Court of the United States’ rationale for an award of attorneys’ fees in patent cases to a trademark case. In doing so, the Fifth Circuit aligned...more

Empire State Building Trademark Owner Vanquishes Beer Logo Design

Can you trademark a building design? You can if the building in question is the Empire State Building. In the film classic King Kong, the iconic art deco building is the site of a titanic battle between Kong and the military...more

How to Infringe a Certification Mark – The Second Circuit Counts the Ways

We blogged last week about a recent decision by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc. v. Security University, LLC, in which the Court...more

Nominative Fair Use of a Trademark: The Second Circuit Weighs In

If a defendant in a trademark case uses the plaintiff’s trademark, not to identify the defendant’s own products, but rather to refer accurately to the plaintiff’s products, is that trademark infringement? Called “nominative...more

Trademark Red Tape: Incoming Fee Increases And Sweeping TTAB Rule Changes

Disparaging Marks Still Held in Abeyance. As an update to our last Trademark Red Tape, the USPTO, which has now filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court in In re Tam with respect to the...more

California District Court Puts Baby In A Corner

In the United States, federal laws take precedence over state law and common law causes of action where there is an overlap. This lesson was recently learned again in Lions Gate Entertainment Inc v TD Ameritrade Services...more

Nominative Fair Use: The Second Circuit Joins Neither The Third Nor Ninth Circuits In Its Approach

In an important decision delineating the boundaries of fair use of another person’s trademark, the Second Circuit announced a standard by which nominative fair use of a trademark will be evaluated in that Circuit in...more

Second Circuit Highlights Splits on Nominative Trademark Fair Use

The Second Circuit disagrees with sister circuits and rejects arguments that nominative fair use is an affirmative defense that is available even when confusion is likely and that the traditional nominative fair use analysis...more

Generic Churrascos at the Federal Circuit

The Federal Circuit recently provided additional guidance concerning whether an applied-for mark is generic in In re Cordua Restaurants, Inc., (May 13, 2016). This case stemmed from the United States Patent and Trademark...more

En Banc Reconsideration Sought in FLANAX Case

Belmora LLC filed a petition for reconsideration en banc of the Fourth Circuit’s FLANAX decision in Belmora LLC v Bayer Consumer Care AG, Appeal No. 15-1335 (4th Cir. March 23, 2016). As we previously have blogged...more

5th Circuit Adds Fuel to the Octane Fitness Fire in Lanham Act Cases

The prospect of recovering attorneys’ fees after notching a victory under the Lanham Act just got a bit rosier–at least if you find yourself prevailing in the 5th Circuit. The Lanham Act allows the recovery of attorneys’...more

Advertising Law - May 2016

Kanye's Promise of Exclusivity a Siren Song, Suit Says - Kanye West's latest drama involves the courtroom—specifically, a putative class action complaint alleging false advertising, unfair competition, and unjust...more

Of Slants, Skins And Signs: The March To The Supreme Court

This week saw developments in the two cases challenging the application of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act to their registration: In re Tam and Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc....more

In re Tam Redux: The PTO seeks Certiorari

On April 20, 2016, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Federal Circuit seeking Supreme Court review of that Court’s decision in In re Tam, 117 USPQ2d 1001...more

Ninth Circuit Decision Finds Side-By-Side Medical Results Charts Arguably Non-Functional and Protectable Trade Dress

The Ninth Circuit recently considered whether the layout of a medical report can be protected as trade dress under the Lanham Act, or whether the layout of a report is merely functional. The subject case, Millennium...more

USPTO to SCOTUS: SOS on the Lanham Act ASAP

On April 20, 2016, the USPTO made it official: It formally requested the U.S. Supreme Court to review the en banc Federal Circuit decision that held Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act violated the First Amendment. At issue...more

FLANAX: Protecting Foreign Marks from US Unfair Competition Under Section 43(a)

In today’s increasingly global economy, trademark owners are more frequently butting up against the territorial limitations of trademark law. It has long been a matter of black letter law that trademark rights are...more

Supreme Court Battle Set Over Prohibition of Disparaging Trademarks

Section 2(a) of the Lanham act bars the registration of “scandalous, immoral or disparaging trademarks.” The USPTO has used this applied this provision to refuse the registration of marks such as F**K PROJECT, PORNO JESUS,...more

In re Tam: Still No Trademark Registration for The Slants

In the continuing saga of whether Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment, the rock band The Slants will have to wait a little longer before it knows whether it can register...more

Fourth Circuit Extends Section 43(a) Lanham Act Standing to Companies Not Selling Their Product or Using Their Mark in the U.S.

Last week, an appellate court held that a plaintiff has standing to bring a false association and false advertising claim under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, even though it did not use its mark or sell its competing...more

Fourth Circuit Holds No Use in the U.S. Required to Bring Claims Under the Lanham Act

On March 23, 2016, the Fourth Circuit reversed the district court’s decision in Belmora LLC v. Bayer Consumer Care AG, 84 F. Supp. 3d 490 (E.D. Va. 2015) and remanded the case....more

Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. v. TD - Ameritrade Services Co. Inc. USDC, C.D. California, March 14, 2016

District court holds Lions Gate's trademark-related claims under Lanham Act and related state law are preempted by Copyright Act in suit over financial services ad campaign that used modified version of famous line "Nobody...more

Rolls-Royce & the Rapper: Social Media Activity Helps Decide a Trademark Tussle

We recently wrote about a musician who got into some trouble with a court by using social media to flaunt images of hundred dollar bills after he had filed for bankruptcy. Now, an Atlanta-based rapper known as Rolls Royce...more

When the cost of default is $1.2 million | World Trademark Review

In Neutron Depot, LLC v Bankrate Inc the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas entered judgment in plaintiff Neutron Depot’s favour, enjoining defendant Insurance Depot Marketing Corporation from any activity...more

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