News & Analysis as of

Likelihood of Confusion

Cava v. Champagne: A Trademark Lawyer’s Guide

Those of you attending the annual International Trademark Association conference in Barcelona may be drinking a glass of Cava right now and wondering: what makes sparkling wine different from regular wine, and what is the...more

The Katten Kattwalk | Issue 12

The Katten Kattwalk discusses legal issues in the fashion industry affecting the trademarks, patents and copyrights associated with companies, brands and products. Please see full Newsletter below for more information....more

Court Finds Infringement of THE KRUSTY KRAB Mark

by BakerHostetler on

In Viacom International Inc. v. IJR Capital Investments, LLC, 2017 WL 1037294 (S.D. Tex. Mar. 17, 2017), Viacom successfully asserted common-law rights in the trademark THE KRUSTY KRAB for a fictional restaurant, which...more

MLB: A Monopoly on “Baseball”?

The weather is finally getting warmer up here in Minnesota and it’s a great time to watch baseball, as I’ve been doing frequently of late. It’s been fun watching my home team, the Twins, enjoy a strong start to the season...more

10 Trademark Cases About Yo Mama

Anna Jarvis led the efforts to establish the first official celebration of Mother’s Day in 1908, during which she honored her own mother, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, a Civil War-era social activist. But about a dozen years after...more

You Can’t Fake Confusion: A Lanham Act Lesson in Consumer Survey Design

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

In Phelan Holdings, Inc. v. Rare Hospitality Management, Inc., a federal court in the Middle District of Florida recently held that consumers were unlikely to be completely at sea when distinguishing between two trademarks...more

Is This “The End” for Unicorn Beverages? Starbucks Sued Over Unicorn Frappuccino

by Fish & Richardson on

On May 3, 2017, a New York-based coffee and beverage shop by the name of The End Brooklyn filed suit in the Eastern District of New York against Starbucks Corporation asserting that the recent phenom UNICORN FRAPPUCCINO...more

Studios Fire Back: Fictional Publication Depicted in a Movie is Privileged Expressive Use

Following up a previous post about the February 2017 lawsuit filed by the Sporting Times against Orion Pictures for depicting a fictional magazine of the same title in a movie about the life of Bill “Spaceman” Lee, MGM has...more

Fearless Girl Must Stay

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

In honor of International Women’s Day, State Street Global Advisors installed a statue of a Fearless Girl standing in front of Wall Street’s Charging Bull. The statue by artist Kristen Visbal was an overnight sensation,...more

No Marijuana in Margaritaville: TTAB Rejects Proposed “Marijuanaville” Mark

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

A recent decision in an opposition proceeding before the TTAB demonstrates that the leisure industry is sometimes anything but laid back. Rights holders who may be wasting away in paradise can be roused to action when their...more

Non-Trademark Use is a Non-Infringing Use

In Oaklawn Jockety Club, Inc. v. Kentucky_Downs, LLC, [16-5582] (Sixth Circuit April 19, 2017), the Sixth Circuit affirmed a district court dismissal of plaintiff’s trademark infringement action because defendant’s use of...more

Policing the Trademark Playground and Calling Out Bullies

The prevailing defendant in Louis Vuitton v. My Other Bag, LLC (previously blogged about in Louis Vuitton Left Holding the Bag), in a Motion filed on April 7 in the Southern District of New York (Case 1:14-cv-03419-JMF...more

Marijuanaville v. Margaritaville: Registering Trademarks For Chemically Induced Mental Paradises

Although marijuana is becoming legal to varying degrees in an increasing number of states, your chances of getting a marijuana trademark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) are still grim. In...more

Why Brand Owners Need to Keep a Paper Trail

by Bennett Jones LLP on

Good evidence wins cases. In a trademark opposition, evidence demonstrating how and for how long a mark has been used in commerce (for example, on hangtags, labels, packaging, signage, invoices and online platforms) can be...more

When States of Mind Collide: USPTO Rejects MARIJUANAVILLE as Confusingly Similar to MARGARITAVILLE

Could you write a legal opinion about Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville and Marijaunaville without displaying any trace of a sense of humor? The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) did. The USPTO wrote a 30-page...more

Parrotheads Can Rejoice As Jimmy Buffett Prevails In Trademark Dispute

Jimmy Buffett won a trademark dispute and precluded the applications for “Marijuanaville” marks from registering due to a likelihood of confusion with his famous MARGARITAVILLE® mark for clothing (including shirts and caps),...more

Keyword ads — Only infringing if they’re confusing

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

Neighbors can be helpful. Our Canadian neighbors may have just helped U.S. trademark owners who wonder about the legality of use of their trademarks in Google AdWords ads, and other search-engine keyword ads....more

The Battle of the Kylies Over the “Kylie” Trademark

In one corner, you have the 19-year-old breakout star of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, Kylie Jenner, who is making a name for herself with her cosmetics and fashion empire. In the other corner, you have the 48-year-old singer,...more

Three Stripes and You’re Out

On March 17, Adidas American, Inc. sued Juicy Couture, Inc., in the District of Oregon (3:17-cv-00437), alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution, deceptive trade practices, and breach of...more

Lanham Act Cannot Be Used to Create “Species of Mutant Copyright Law”

by McDermott Will & Emery on

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a district court decision granting summary judgment to a defendant that its use of digital files did not infringe plaintiff’s trademark or trade dress for its CD-Gs...more

Less Utility Than Alternatives Does Not Make Product’s Trade Dress Protectable

by McDermott Will & Emery on

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed a district court grant of summary judgment in favor of a defendant finding that a bag’s design and shape was functional because the claimed design features affect the...more

U.S. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Win 4-0 Over Spanish Donuts

A decision rendered by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on March 2, 2017, affirming a General Court ruling and potentially ending a nearly twenty-year legal battle, is a reminder to trademark owners that what is generic in...more

Just Like You and Me: Difficulties with Celebrity Trademark Applications

Under U.S. trademark law, any person (including a celebrity) can obtain a trademark registration for their name if they can establish that the public recognizes the name as a source identifier for certain products or...more

April Madness, the NCAA’s One Month Buffer?

We write a lot here about the scope and strength of trademark rights and how that determination is often intertwined to making intelligent likelihood of confusion determinations....more

My USPQ 1 Round Up: “Confusion in Letters”

The United States Patents Quarterly has been a resource used by intellectual property lawyers for a very long time. Most of the decisions published in USPQ are patent decisions, but there are a large number of trademark...more

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