Lanham Act Trademarks

News & Analysis as of

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

Freedom of Speech Protects “Disparaging” Marks, Federal Circuit Holds

In a recent landmark ruling, the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, held that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act’s ban on “disparaging” marks violates the First Amendment. Section 2(a) provides that no trademark shall be refused...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

USPTO To Suspend New Trademark Applications Containing Scandalous Or Disparaging Material

On March 10, 2016, The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) issued new examination guidance for trademark applications containing potentially immoral or scandalous matter, which is expressly prohibited by...more

Trademark Red Tape: Disparaging Marks And TTAB Tidbits

Welcome to Trademark Red Tape, our periodic round-up of trademark news and happenings at the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Here are the highlights: - A Time-Out for Offensive Trademarks. According to IP...more

New Game Plan: Federal Circuit Decision May Revive “Redskins” Trademarks

Federal Circuit finds that barring the registration of disparaging trademarks is unconstitutional, creating potential running room for the Washington Redskins. An appeal of the 2014 decision to cancel the REDSKINS...more

Trademark Review | February 2016

The Federal Circuit Considers Constitutionality of Refusal to Register Scandalous and Immoral Marks - The Lanham Act prohibits registration of marks that are defamatory, scandalous or immoral. Last month, in In re Tam,...more

Gibson Guitar Corp. v. Viacom International, Inc. (USCA, Ninth Circuit, February 19, 2016)

Ninth Circuit affirms district court's dismissal of SpongeBob SquarePants trademark suit against Viacom but revives claims against U.K.-based defendant on grounds that question of whether product was used in commerce in U.S....more

Glass Half Full for Russian Federation Successor’s Stolichnaya Infringement Saga (Fed. Treasury Enter. Sojuzplodoimport et al. v....

Addressing issues of international comity, res judicata, and laches, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part the district court’s decision concerning a dispute over rights to the...more

Justice Scalia on Trademark and Copyright: Dastar, Penguin-Shaped Cocktail Shakers and “Guilt by Resemblance”

When we decided to mark the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia by recounting a few of his copyright and trademark opinions, we were somewhat surprised to discover that there really hadn’t been that many. In fact, we located...more

Federal Circuit Decision Signals Game Not Over for Washington Redskins Trademark

In a decision that should bring some comfort to the fans of the Washington Redskins football team, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in In Re Simon Shiao Tam declared unconstitutional Section 2(a) of the Lanham...more

The Strategic Use of TTAB Proceedings to Advance Trademark Registration Efforts

Yesterday we wrote about how petitions for partial cancellation under Section 18 of the Lanham Act can be creative and powerful tools when an applicant is confronted with likelihood of confusion registration refusals under...more

Katy Perry, Last Year’s Super Bowl, and a Shark with a Mark

With Super Bowl 50 quickly approaching, it’s a perfect excuse to check in on one of the IP issues that made big waves at last year’s “Big Game.” You may recall that the Super Bowl halftime show last year featured Katy Perry...more

Celebrity Trademark Watch: Who Owns Marilyn Monroe’s Image? – Right of Publicity vs. Trademark Rights

In her posthumously published autobiography, My Story, screen legend Marilyn Monroe wrote: “I knew I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful but because I had never belonged to...more

In re Simon Shiao Tam - USCA, Federal Circuit, December 22, 2015

In case with potentially far-reaching effects, including on Washington Redskins’ ongoing legal battle to maintain federal trademark registration, Federal Circuit sitting en banc strikes down federal statute that permits...more

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