Likelihood of Confusion

News & Analysis as of

Hear Hard Candy Roar – Sues Over CoverGirl Katy Perry Makeup Line

Hard Candy, LLC (“Hard Candy”) sued The Procter & Gamble Company (“P&G”), parent company to CoverGirl in the federal district court of Florida for 1) federal trademark infringement, 2) federal unfair competition, 3) common...more

Former Member of The Commodores Sued For Using Band’s Name to Promote Solo Career

A Florida federal court enjoined Thomas McClary, an original member of famed Motown band the Commodores, from branding himself as “COMMODORES’ Founder Thomas McClary” in his booking advertisements for solo gigs. McClary left...more

Can Internet Comments and Search Results Prove Trademark Infringement?

You’ve selected a unique trademark, marketed and sold products under the brand, and continue to build up a base of satisfied customers. But then a new company emerges with a very similar trademark, piggybacking on your...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

Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. v. X One X Productions, dba X One X Movie Archives, Inc. - USCA, Eighth Circuit, November 1, 2016...

In dispute over merchandise with images taken from old posters and lobby cards for “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz,” Eighth Circuit affirms $2.57 million award to Warner Bros. for copyright infringement and...more

Consumers Are Unlikely to Confuse Yelp with a Local Property Management Company Using the Same Tagline in Ads, Court Rules

In a ruling that neatly illustrates some of the challenges a company is likely to face when trying to enforce trademark rights in an advertising tagline, a federal judge in the Northern District of California recently denied...more

Considerations When Creating Your Brand

I. Conducting a Clearance Search - A clearance search is an investigation to determine whether a new trademark1 can be used without interfering with an existing, senior trademark. No matter how unique you think your...more

Use of Judicial Notice in Likelihood of Confusion Analysis Held Improper

Addressing the likelihood of confusion for competing marks used in connection with financial services, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit largely reversed the district court’s finding that the defendant’s use of...more

Appeal of Final Refusal Maintaining that Human Jewelry is “Closely Related” to Pet Accessories

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. asked the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) to reconsider its rejection of an application for the mark GEORGE in connection with watches, clocks, jewelry, and imitation jewelry in Class 14 (U.S....more

“Snap” decision leads to litigation — Snap Interactive files suit against Snap Inc.

A recent litigation brought against the parent company of the popular app Snapchat is a good reminder of the importance of clearing a mark and the pitfalls young companies face as they begin to mature. Snapchat is, of...more

Likelihood of “Initial Interest” Confusion Powers The University of Houston to Preliminary Injunction Win in Law School Name...

On June 22, 2016, the South Texas College of Law announced that it was changing its name to Houston College of Law. This seems like a natural choice, as the school is based in Houston and is a stand-alone institution not...more

Sonic v. Supersonic Coffee v. AKA Coffee: Bullied to a better brand?

A specialty coffee roastery in San Francisco, Supersonic Coffee, has decided to rebrand to the name AKA Coffee, as reported yesterday. The impetus for the rebrand was an opposition at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board...more

Supplemental Registrations – Actually Worth a Hill of (Coffee) Beans

The potential defensive value of a registration on the Supplemental Register is highlighted in a recent opinion of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, In re Morinaga Nyugyo Kabushiki Kaisha. While we often think of...more

To Search or Not to Search

Inditex – the parent company of fashion giant Zara – sued a small New York-based brand over the use of the mark Zara Terez (“ZT”). Zara Terez was launched in 2008 by friends Zara Terez Tisch and Amanda Schabes. The complaint...more

Trademark satire is no joke to the City of Atlanta

Check out this City of Atlanta Facebook page. The funny thing is that it’s not run by the City of Atlanta. Although the posts are titled “City of Atlanta” and use the City’s official seal, the page consists of satirical...more

The Trademark Board Cancels the Trademark Registration for HOPNOTIC Beer

In another disappointment to the beer brewing industry, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board canceled a trademark registration for the mark HOPNOTIC for beer on the basis that it is confusingly similar to liquor brand...more

Supplemental Register Gets Nod from Trademark Trial & Appeal Board

On September 8, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board lent support to the strength of a registration on the Supplemental Register, indicating that it is worthwhile to pursue federal registration, even if that means your mark...more

A Common Cue Creates No Confusion

Cue, Inc. sells high-end home audio equipment (e.g., table radios and speakers). In 2007, it applied to register the trademark CUE ACOUSTICS, and in late 2009 the USPTO allowed its application. Cue’s CUE ACOUSTICS mark was...more

Circuit to District Court: Pucker Up for a Remand

Addressing the application of the Sleekcraft likelihood-of-confusion factors in the context of a summary judgment motion, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment,...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Summer 2016

Supreme Court Expands Discretion to Award Enhanced Damages for Patent Infringement and Eliminates the Federal Circuit’s ‘Seagate Test’ - In Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court...more

The Zero Sum Game In The Cola Wars

In Royal Crown Company and Dr Pepper/Seven Up Inc v The Coca-Cola Company, Opposition 91178927, each party opposed the other’s trademark applications containing the term ZERO for soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks....more

Copyright and Trademark Case Review: Wine, Vodka and a Little Karaoke

Copyright Opinions - Eleventh Circuit Seeks Florida High Court's Guidance on Pre-1972 Sound Recordings: Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio, Inc., No. 15-13100 (11th Cir. June 29, 2016) - Anderson, J. In a suit...more

Nutrition Consulting Firm Sues Gatorade Over “SportsFuel” Trademark

SportsFuel, Inc., a nutrition consulting firm outside of Chicago, has filed a lawsuit against PepsiCo Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary The Gatorade Company over the SPORTSFUEL trademark. SportsFuel owns...more

Miss Trademark USA: Beauty Pageant Naming Disputes

Just this month, two disputes over the trademark rights to beauty pageant names were resolved, pending appeal. In World Pageants LLC v. Miss G-String International LLC, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) dismissed...more

Not What the Doctor Ordered: Injunction Ruled Too Narrow in Trademark Infringement Case

Addressing the scope of injunctive relief awarded in a trademark infringement case, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a district court’s finding of a likelihood of confusion, but vacated, reversed and...more

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