News & Analysis as of

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board

No Twist on Pretzel Crisps on Remand

In a 54 page decision issued on September 6, 2017, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) ended (again) a long-standing dispute between snack food makers Frito-Lay, Inc. (“Frito”) and Princeton Vanguard, LLC...more

General Mills Finds Out That Yellow Is Not “Magically Delicious”: Brands Fighting To Protect Their True Colors

by Knobbe Martens on

Years after the Christian Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent battle over red soled shoes, trademark protection for color continues to be a hot topic. On August 22, 2017, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) held that...more

Booking it to the District Court

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

A recent decision out of the federal district court for the Eastern District of Virginia overturned in part the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s decision that the mark “Booking.com” is not registrable on the basis that the...more

Federal Trademark Registration, the First Amendment, and Freedom of Speech: Part II

As the drum roll proceeds to the upcoming Midwest IP Institute in Minneapolis and sharing the podium with Joel MacMull of the Archer firm (and Simon Tam fame) on Thursday September 28, in a few days, I’ll be making a stop...more

Food & Beverage Litigation Update | September 2017 #2

FDA Seeks Comment on Regulation Changes for "Meaningful Burden Reduction" - Implementing an executive order titled "Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs," the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has...more

Cheerios Registration Refused for Yellow Color Mark

For the past couple years, General Mills has battled to register a yellow color mark in connection with its Cheerios® breakfast cereal. More specifically, back in 2015, General Mills applied to register (Serial No. 86757390)...more

The Washington Redskins Win Their Trademark Battle in Overtime

by Garvey Schubert Barer on

Simon Tam of the Asian rock band, The Slants, probably was not envisioning an 8-year-long legal battle when he chose the group’s name. Slant is known as a racial slur for Asians. Tam hoped to strip the term of its derogatory...more

Ongoing Family Feud over Earnhardt Name

by McDermott Will & Emery on

Addressing the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) finding that EARNHARDT was not primarily merely a surname, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit remanded the case to the TTAB to clarify its surname analysis....more

Food & Beverage Litigation Update | August 2017 #3

As plant-based beverages appear on more store shelves, the definition of “milk” has become the center of a dispute involving legislatures, regulators, litigators and industry groups. Shook Partners Katie Gates Calderon and...more

Under The 2EA: TTAB Holds Little Mermaid Merely Descriptive For Dolls

by Ladas & Parry LLP on

In a precedential decision in In re United Trademark Holdings, Inc, Serial 86836082 (June 13 2017), the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has held that LITTLE MERMAID used in connection with “dolls” in Class 28 is...more

The Earnhardts’ Race To the Courtroom: Who Will Get The Checkered Flag?

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

On July 27, 2017, the Federal Circuit decided Earnhardt v. Earnhardt, a trademark collision between two relatives of the famous race car driver, Dale Earnhardt. The case involved an appeal from a TTAB decision between Teresa...more

When is July 4 this year? When is North Carolina’s FIRST TUESDAY Lottery? and Descriptiveness

In In re North Carolina Lottery, [2016-2558] (August 10, 2017), the Federal Circuit affirmed the refusal of registration of FIRST TUESDAY in connection with lottery services and games on the first Tuesday of each month....more

Joust Do It? A New Form of Nike Battle Cry?

By now, you’re familiar with my enjoyment in capturing and sharing new billboard signage that hits the streets of the Twin Cities. Question, what tagline might have inspired this one?...more

Fresh From the Bench: Precedential Patent Cases From the Federal Circuit

This was a busy week for precedential cases at the Circuit. In AIA v. Avid, the Circuit rules that there is no right to a jury trial as to requests for attorney fees under § 285. In Romag v. Fossil, a majority rules that the...more

will.i.am: registered.u.r.not

In In re I.AM.SYMBOLIC, LLC, [2016-1507, 2016-1508, 2016-1509] (August 8, 2017), the Federal Circuit affirmed the decision of the TTAB affirming the Trademark Examiner’s refusal of registration of the mark I AM on grounds of...more

Food & Beverage Litigation Update | August 2017 #2

Chicago SSB Tax May Cause State to Lose Federal Funding, USDA Warns - According to a warning letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax that took effect in the Chicago...more

The Federal Circuit Building’s Circuitous History

I had the opportunity this week to attend an oral argument at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington this week (#humblebrag). I quickly came to realize that, like so many things in trademark law, the...more

Cannabis Trademark Opposition: A Fanciful Counterfactual Illustration

by Revision Legal on

Parties file oppositions against pending trademark applications for a wide variety of reasons. Often, a party filing an opposition or requesting an extension of time to do so will contact the Applicant before filing or at the...more

Food & Beverage Litigation Update | August 2017

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has sent a letter to Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), calling for an investigation into the use of phthalates in food and fast-food packaging. Citing a...more

Settling the Hawkwind Trademark Flap

by McDermott Will & Emery on

Addressing an opposition to the trademark registration of a band name, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) found the opposer—the originator and continuous user of the name—to be the owner and prior user. Dave Brock v....more

Paws Off: Remaining Members of a Group Own Their Mark

by McDermott Will & Emery on

Addressing a dispute over ownership of a service mark between a departing member of a group and the remaining group members, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s...more

University of Miami’s “Sebastian the Ibis” Mark Is Neither a Mutilated, Nor a Phantom Mark

On June 6, 2017, the TTAB issued a precedential opinion addressing trademark mutilation and phantom marks. The University of Miami sought federal trademark registration for its mascot “Sebastian the Ibis,” describing the...more

Spotlight on Upcoming Oral Arguments – August 2017

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - EmeraChem Holdings v. Volkswagen Group of America, No. 16-2619, Courtroom 201 - In this appeal from the PTAB, the Court will decide whether the Board erred in adopting a claim construction in...more

Who Owns that Trademark? An Incomplete Answer Voids Application

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

A recent Trademark Trial and Appeal Board decision sustained an opposition based on the applicant’s failure to identify a co-owner at the time the application was filed, resulting in the application being declared void ab...more

Distillations: The Slants Case, Distilled

by Fish & Richardson on

Oceans of ink and zillions of electrons have been spilled commenting on the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Matal v. Tam, in which the Court held that the Trademark Act’s prohibition on registration of “disparaging” marks...more

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