Trademark Act

News & Analysis as of

Maintaining Strong Trademark Rights

I. Determining the Strength of Your Mark. The strength, or scope, of a trademark as used in the marketplace is determined by a multi-factored analysis called the likelihood of confusion test, and the scope can differ...more

Surviving a trademark opposition challenge: do you have a true "intent-to-use"? 5 key tips

Unlike the vast majority of jurisdictions around the world, under the US Trademark Act, only someone “who has a bona fide intention, under circumstances showing the good faith of such person, to use a trademark in commerce...more

Could Offensive Trademarks Find Refuge in Common Law?

The 177-page tome the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) just issued in Blackhorse v. Pro-Football Inc. is remarkable for its length and its subject matter, cancellation of the controversial REDSKINS mark as disparaging...more

A Football Team, by Any Other Name…: USPTO Decision Illustrates that Law is More than Hard & Fast Rules

At Meadowlawn Elementary in the 1960s, my West Michigan friends and I would boast about things that made us "better" than each other. It was the golden age of Superman comics and, while I didn't have super strength or x-ray...more

Beyond Disparaging: Five Important Clarifications Regarding Redskins Trademark Decision

Over the past year, debate regarding whether the National Football League’s Washington, D.C. franchise should continue to call itself the Redskins has risen to a fever pitch once again. So, naturally, it was big news when, on...more

The Redskins Decision: Much Ado About (Probably) Not Much

I’ve been having fun listening to commentators – most of whom appear to know little or nothing about trademark law – expound on last week’s decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to cancel six trademark...more

Redskins’ trademark decision ushers in more questions - Cancellation of trademark registration may not have impact some believe

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) most likely knew it was going to generate headlines Wednesday when it issued a monumental decision to cancel six registrations of the...more

Redskins trademark case highlights value of linguistic analysis

The Washington Redskins trademark case, with its conclusion that REDSKINS trademark registrations should be cancelled, has sparked heated discussion among football fans, advocates of Native American interests, and foes of...more

The Redskins Decision: What It Means and Does Not Mean

On June 18, 2014, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB or Board) issued its ruling in Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc. (TTAB Cancellation No. 92046185) cancelling the Washington Redskins’ federal trademark registrations...more

USPTO Cancels Washington Redskins' Trademark Registrations

In a landmark case, the Unites States Patent and Trademark Office cancelled six trademark registrations associated with the National Football League team, the Washington Redskins, finding that use of the term "redskin" is...more

What does the Redskins Cancellation Mean for My Business and Trademarks?

The US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board recently cancelled several Washington Redskins trademarks on the grounds that at the time these marks were registered, they were disparaging or offensive. This means the marks should...more

Let’s Set the Record Straight….the Redskins Still Own the REDSKINS Tradmarks

The overwhelming public reaction to the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s June 18 decision canceling six REDSKINS trademark registrations on grounds that the mark disparaged Native Americans has been impressive. However,...more

Trademark Disparagement Kills the R-Word

My father-daughter time was wonderful in London when the news hit about the USPTO ordering cancellation of the six ”Washington Redskins” trademarks as disparaging to Native Americans....more

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Orders Cancellation of "REDSKINS" Trademark Registrations

On June 18, 2014, a divided panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) ordered cancellation of six of the Washington Redskins’ trademark registrations holding that “Redskins” was a...more

TTAB Cancels REDSKINS Trademark Registrations

In a ruling that has quickly spread throughout social media, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) issued an order cancelling six trademark registrations which contain the word REDSKIN (the “Redskins...more

“REDSKINS” US Trademark Registrations are Canceled for Disparaging Native Americans

A three-judge panel of the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), for the second time and in a 2-1 decision, has held that the REDSKINS trademark used in connection with professional football and related services by the...more

Redskins Trademarks Cancelled - Found Disparaging to Native Americans (Again)

On June 18, 2014, in Amanda Blackhorse et al. v. Pro-Football, Inc., Cancellation No. 92046185 (TTAB 6/18/2014), the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (TTAB) cancelled six trademark registrations issued between 1967 and 1990...more

Trademark Review - The Miners, Boi Na Braza and Pretzel Crisps (April 2014)

Battle of the Miners - The University of Texas at El Paso (“UTEP”) has used the nickname MINERS since at least 1914. UTEP, through its governing board, owns several registrations for the mark MINERS and a logo for...more

MarkIt to Market - April 2014

The April issue of Sterne Kessler's MarkIt to MarketTM newsletter contains a cautionary tale regarding use of social media, a clarified test for false advertising standing, updates to Canada's Trade-marks Act, and an updated...more

TTAB Refuses to Register “The Slants,” Finding it to be “Disparaging”

Racial and ethnic disparagement is a hot topic at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board these days. While a decision is still pending in the latest cancellation action involving the long disputed WASHINGTON REDSKINS...more

Official Marks and Kermode Bears

The Kermode bear is a rare species of Canadian black bear, native to the beautiful province of British Columbia. The recent case of City of Terrace v Canadian Pacific Phytoplankton Ltd., 2013 TMOB 156 brings the iconic...more

China’s National People’s Congress Amends The Chinese Trademark Law

China’s National People’s Congress enacted the third amendment to the trademark law on August 30, 2013, and it will come into force on May 1, 2014. The amended trademark law appears to be a significant improvement on the...more

Oops! Assignment Of Intent-To-Use Trademark Applications: Easy But Not Simple

The language in the Trademark Act is very clear on the issue of assignment of intent-to-use applications. In a recently issued precedential opinion, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has held, once again, that Section...more

Update: Combating Counterfeit Products Act

As a follow-up to our earlier post (Combating Counterfeit Products Act), we wrote in March 2013 that Parliament had introduced a bill (Bill C-56) to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act, to combat counterfeit...more

Foreign Marks Vulnerable in US

“Cancellable? Unenforceable? Why?” This is likely to be the reaction of most foreign owners of U.S. trademark applications and registrations, and of many of their U.S. counsel, when challenged by claims that the owner lacked...more

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