Trademark Litigation

News & Analysis as of


In appealing the cancellation of six trademarks, the Washington Redskins filed their opening brief in the Fourth Circuit this week. Cancellation of the team’s REDSKINS trademarks was upheld by a federal district court in...more

TTAB Makes Double Brown Ale Open to Nut Sack Mark

In a ruling bound to please 15 year-old boys everywhere, the USPTO Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) reversed the Examining Attorney’s refusal to register the trademark NUT SACK DOUBLE BROWN ALE (in standard character...more

Boston Marathon Can’t Stop MARATHON MONDAY Trademark Registration

In 1897, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) first organized the Boston Marathon and has been running the event ever since. The world famous race has been held on the third Monday of April every year since 1969, and it is...more

Third Circuit Announces Coverage-Defeating First Publication Rule

On October 23, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a ruling that may make it more difficult for Pennsylvania policyholders to obtain coverage for the misappropriation of advertising ideas...more

Amazon Wins Ruling on Results for Searches on Brands It Doesn’t Sell

On October 21, 2015, the Ninth Circuit ruled that online retailer Amazon does not violate the Lanham Act when, in response to a search for a brand it doesn’t sell, it returns a results page that fails to disclose that fact...more

Back to the Future – The DeLorean Trademark Saga Continues

"Doc…are you telling me you built a time machine out of a Delorean?" We all know about the iconic gull-wing DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) car made famous in the Back to the Future trilogy starring Michael J. Fox and...more

MoFo IP Newsletter - October 2015

The Survey Says: Tiffany Is Not Generic for A Ring Setting - Last month, the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment to Tiffany & Co. on its trademark infringement claim against Costco Wholesale...more

An Evaluation of Secondary Meaning Can Consider Both Parties’ Use of the Mark - Test Masters Educ. Servs., Inc. v. Robin Singh...

Addressing when a descriptive mark acquires a secondary meaning, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court, determining that neither party is entitled to a federal registration of the...more

Grrrr . . . Paw Print Trademarks Can Co-Exist - Jack Wolfskin Ausrustung Fur Draussen GmbH & Company KGAA v. New Millennium...

On appeal from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB or Board), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the Board’s decision on the issue of likelihood of confusion with regard to two parties’ paw...more

Thirty Years’ Use of Mark Is Not Enough to Prove Acquired Distinctiveness if Evidence Is Insufficient - In re Louisiana Fish Fry...

Addressing the issue of distinctiveness, the Federal Circuit affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB) decision to deny registration of a plaintiff’s mark due to the dearth of evidence supporting the plaintiff’s...more

Fifty-eight Problems and Trademarks Are Just One: Beyoncé, Jay Z, Kanye, Pharrell and Rihanna Sue Fashion Retailer

It’s become a hard-knock life for ElevenParis, a French fashion retailer with stores in the U.S. After selling t-shirts and other merchandise with these not-so-subtle designs...more

Earning Trademarks with Every Coupon? How Johnson & Johnson Secured The Mark: Earning Trust With Every Bottle

A recent ruling from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“the Board”) found a coupon to be an acceptable specimen for the U.S. Trademark Office (“Office”) showing proper trademark use. Johnson & Johnson submitted the coupon...more

North Face Scales Sanyang Applications For Clothing and Services

In The North Face Apparel Corp. v. Sanyang Industry Co., Ltd., Opp. No. 91187593 (September 18, 2015), the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) handed The North Face Apparel Corp. (“The North Face”) significant victories...more

Pow! Boff! Thwack! Batmobile Wins Copyright Litigation

It's not every day a Ninth Circuit court opinion includes, "Holy copyright law, Batman!," or “To the Batmobile!” But in affirming a district court’s ruling in a copyright infringement case by DC Comics against the maker of...more

Chocolate Bear Beats Gummy Bear

Can a wordmark with a particular meaning be infringed by a three-dimensional product design? Disputes regarding the infringement of a wordmark by a purely figurative mark (and vice versa) have been the object of several...more

Is Gatorade Gonna Hate Hate Hate?

It may be because I attended her concert last weekend, but a new trademark lawsuit brought by the owner of the GATORADE mark made me think of Taylor Swift. One of her popular songs, “Shake it Off” has a chorus that says,...more

Of Slants, Skins and Signs: The Coming First Amendment Showdown

Are we heading for a constitutional showdown over Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act? Will the Supreme Court strike down this prohibition on disparaging marks as an abridgement of First Amendment rights? It is certainly...more

Marshmallow Justice: 10 Tales of Legal Fluff and Other Stuff

Just about one hundred years ago, Archibald Query of Somerville, Massachusetts invented the first commercial marshmallow cream, which he pedaled door-to-door in Union Square. Around 1917, he sold the recipe for $500 to two...more

A Wolf in Swiss Clothing: TTAB Finds No Bona Fide Intent to Use

The number of successful oppositions against trademark applications based on a claim that the applicant had “no bona fide intent to use” has been increasing in recent years. On September 10, 2015, in Swiss Grill Ltd. v. Wolf...more

Summary of Recent Precedential Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Decisions

From June through August 2015, the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board issued eleven precedential decisions. Over the course of the upcoming weeks, we will briefly summarize each opinion and a “take away” for brand owners and...more

The Survey Says: TIFFANY Is Not Generic for a Ring Setting

Last week, the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment to Tiffany & Co. on its trademark infringement claim against Costco Wholesale Corporation for selling rings advertised under the TIFFANY mark. Tiffany &...more

What Does It Take to Trademark Your Name? - Tartell, M.D. v. South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center, Inc., et al.

Addressing the question of when a professional name can be protected as a trademark, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit found that the plaintiff doctor’s name had not acquired that distinction. Tartell, M.D....more

A Spin of the Wheel Results in Broader Injunctive Relief - CFE Racing Products, Inc. v. BMF Wheels, Inc.

Addressing numerous evidentiary issues arising during the course of a jury trial, as well as the scope of a permanent injunction, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed in part and remanded in part the...more

When Peace and Love Are Not Enough: Consider It All - Juice Generation, Inc. v. GS Enters., LLC

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a refusal by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB or Board) to register the mark “PEACE LOVE AND JUICE” in connection with juice bar services due to...more

Do’s Search Results Constitute Trademark Infringement? - Multi Time Machine, Inc. v., Inc.

Holding that a reasonable jury could find that online retailer created a likelihood of consumer confusion through the format of its product search returns, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the district...more

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