Trademark Litigation

News & Analysis as of

VCC vs. VCC: Where’s the Confusion?

When we’re talking about trademarks, at which point do we measure whether there is confusion in the mind of the consumer? We reviewed this issue in 2015. In that earlier decision, Vancouver Community College sued a rival...more

Sixth Circuit Drops the Beat: Social Media Relevant in Determining Likelihood of Confusion

The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a grant of summary judgment, holding that the plaintiff provided insufficient evidence to find that relevant consumers were likely to confuse the sources of his and the...more

It’s in the Bag: True Parody Cannot Dilute Famous Mark

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a grant of summary judgment that a canvas tote bag with a drawing of an iconic handbag printed on its side did not infringe or dilute the trademark of the iconic high-end...more

New York Fashion Week: A Lineup of The Most Fashionable Trademark and Copyright Claims

It’s that time of the year again when New York City becomes the most fashionable place on the planet. While I would argue that Manhattan is always fashionable, New York Fashion Week adds a bit of extra excitement, glamour and...more

Germany: Unlicensed Hard Rock Cafe in Heidelberg Germany ceases operation

After years of litigation Hogan Lovells achieved a ground-breaking settlement for the Hard Rock Group. A restaurant with the same name which operated without a license in Heidelberg will cease to operate at the end of...more

MarkIt to Market® | January 2017

The January 2017 issue of Sterne Kessler's MarkIt to Market® includes an overview of the TTAB's recent surname decisions, the changes made by the USPTO to their trademark processing and services fees, and lists the new gTLD...more

2017 Intellectual Property Law Year In Review

Though politics ruled the headlines in 2016, the year still brought big changes in intellectual property law and its application, most notably in patent subject matter eligibility, inter partes review institution and appeal...more

McNees 2016 In Review – Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents

The year 2016 saw interesting and diverse developments in trademark, copyright, trade secret, and patent law. Not only has intellectual property news been in the headlines, but these areas have made it to the Supreme Court....more

Second Circuit Upholds Parody Defense, Tosses Louis Vuitton’s Trademark Suit

In late December, the Second Circuit issued a ruling in Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A., v. My Other Bag, Inc., affirming the district court’s grant of summary judgment for claims of trademark infringement and dilution of a...more

Trademark Infringers Can Limit The Damages They Must Pay If The Trademark Owner Fails To Prove That The Parties' Marketing Areas...

It has long since been the rule that an infringing trademark use may only be prevented in the geographic areas where use of the infringing mark and owner's trademark overlap.i In the recent case of Variety Stores, Inc. v....more

Circuit Split Remains: SCOTUS Passes on Defining Nominative Fair Use

In a recent disappointment to those advocating clarity for the muddy waters of determining permissible use of third-party trademarks under the nominative fair use doctrine, the Justices of the United States Supreme Court...more

Suggestive Versus Descriptive Marks

Addressing the validity of, and likelihood of confusion between, two data-driven analytic software companies’ “Collective”-formative trademarks, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit disagreed with the district...more

Satisfaction of Lanham Act Use “in Commerce” Requirement Does Not Require Much

In a decision addressing the use “in commerce” requirement under the Lanham Act, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed and remanded a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) decision cancelling a trademark...more

The 4-Hour Plaintiff: Author/Speaker/Podcaster Tim Ferriss Secures Default Judgment

Order Granting In Part And Denying In Part Plaintiffs’ Motion For Default Judgment, Timothy Ferriss, et al. v. Alliance Publishing, Inc., et al., Case No. 15-cv-05675 (Judge Edward M. Chen) - Tim Ferriss is known for...more

Court Throws Out Back Massager Trade Dress Infringement Claims on Motion to Dismiss

As the first-filed paper in nearly any litigation, the complaint is typically subject to rigorous scrutiny from the named defendant to identify any flaws that may dispatch the case via a motion to dismiss. A plaintiff in the...more

Litigation Alert: In Louis Vuitton Trademark Suit, Second Circuit Says Parody Prevails Even if Brand Owner Doesn’t “Get” the Joke

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently affirmed the Southern District of New York’s order on summary judgment that My Other Bag’s canvas tote bags do not dilute or infringe Louis Vuitton’s trademarks for...more

Germany: WUNDER-BAUM Air Freshener is a famous trademark

Julius Sämann Ltd. wins with Hogan Lovells before German Supreme Court (Case Ref.: I ZR 75/15)- Almost everyone knows the “WUNDER-BAUM” Tree hanging from the rear view mirror of so many cars. Behind this little air...more

Weak Social Media Presence Sinks Trademark Claims, Says Sixth Circuit

A DJ asserting trademark infringement and dilution claims against a similarly named rapper failed partly due to a lack of apparent popularity on social media, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled on December...more

Close Shave on Whether Cease and Desist Letter Creates DJ Jurisdiction

Rather than wait around for the hammer to fall, companies under threat of an intellectual property lawsuit sometimes choose to file a declaratory judgment complaint. Such “DJ” complaints usually ask the court to clear the air...more

Copyright and Trademark Case Review: John Madden Football, Rhett Butler and the Commerce Clause

Copyright Opinions - Absence of Source Code for Video Games Results in JMOL of Non-Infringement: Antonick v. Electronic Arts, Inc., No. 14-15298 (9th Cir. Nov. 22, 2016). Hurwitz, J. In a suit for royalties on EA's...more

A Day Late And A Dollar Short – Court Grants Summary Judgment On Laches Defense

Order Granting Summary Judgment On Dropbox Laches Claims, Dropbox, Inc. v. Thru Inc., Case No. 15-cv-01741-EMC (Judge Edward M. Chen) - The proverb “[e]quity aids the vigilant, not the sleeping ones” aptly describes the...more

Second Circuit Affirms Preliminary Injunction of "Identical" Gray Goods

Earlier this month in Abbott Laboratories v. Adelphia Supply USA et al, the Second Circuit affirmed a district court's grant of a preliminary injunction halting the alleged sale of gray-good diabetes test strips made by...more

It Is Not “Easy Like Sunday Morning” To Use Commodore As A Trademark

The band’s song “Easy” does not reflect Commodores’ founder Thomas McClary’s court battle to use the trademark “COMMODORES founder Thomas McClary” for his solo career. As I dug further into the meaning of the song, it is...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

Ninth Circuit Applies Octane Fitness’ Loosened Fee-Shifting Standard to Trademark Cases

Ninth Circuit joins growing trend in circuit courts, which has practical implications for trademark litigants on both sides. Two years have passed since the US Supreme Court added some teeth to the Patent Act’s...more

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