Trademark Trial and Appeal Board

News & Analysis as of

The B&B Hardware Case and its Potential Impact on Trademark Litigation

Trademark disputes can often play out in a number of forums. Trademark disputes often start off in the marketplace, with a confused consumer, and then proceed to litigation in several tribunals including the Trademark Trial...more

Federal Circuit: Lack of Bona Fide Intent to Use at the Time of Filing Fatal to Trademark Application

In a recent ruling the Federal Circuit affirmed the decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) sustaining an opposition against a trademark application on the grounds that the applicant failed to prove that it...more

TTAB Balks at Parody Argument in Yankees Trademark Case

In honor of Foley Hoag’s new New York office, we here at the Boston office reluctantly present a victory by the New York Yankees — albeit not one won on the baseball diamond. In a trademark opposition that has been...more

In re Tam – Federal Circuit Orders En Banc Review of Trademark Act’s Ban Against Registration of Disparaging Marks

The Slants is a Portland-based band composed of musicians of Asian-American descent who characterize their genre as “Chinatown Dance Rock.” The band’s bassist, Simon Tam, filed a trademark application for THE SLANTS for...more

Supreme Court Corner: Q2 2015

B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc. Trademark - Holding: A Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) ruling refusing registration on likelihood of confusion grounds can have preclusive effect on a district...more

Appealing a Trademark Registration Refusal? Win or Lose, You May Have to Pay the USPTO’s Legal Fees

The federal Trademark Act (the Lanham Act) instructs that if an unsuccessful trademark applicant appeals a refusal to register in federal district court, the applicant must name the Director of the U.S. Patent & Trademark...more

Filing a New ITU Trademark Application? Be Prepared to Prove Your Intent

Staking an early claim to a brand has inspired many hasty (and sometimes ill-advised) trademark applications. For example, trademark applications representing political rallying cries and pop culture slogans such as JE SUIS...more

Pepsi’s Next Generation: The Last Generation

Back in the 1960s, Pepsi burst onto the scene by announcing to the youth of decade that they were the Pepsi Generation (they didn’t have a choice). Then, in the 1980s, Pepsi became “The Choice of a New Generation.” And...more

NOPALEA Mark Merely Descriptive of a Product Derived from Nopalea Cactus - In Re TriVita, Inc.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB’s) decision that the trademark NOPALEA was descriptive of TriVita’s products, which contain juice from the nopal cactus....more

Federal Circuit Vacates Panel Decision on Disparaging Trademark and Orders En Banc Hearing - In re Tam

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a sua sponte order vacating its April 20, 2015, decision in In re Tam to consider the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which provides that the U. S....more

Summary of Recent Precedential Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Decisions

In the past two months, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has issued three opinions citable as Board precedent. The following is a brief summary of each opinion and its precedential impact....more

Heinz Seeks “Smart” De Novo Review In Light Of B&B Hardware

H.J. Heinz Co. (“Heinz”) filed a federal lawsuit recently against Boulder Brands USA (“Boulder”) seeking to vacate and reverse a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board decision finding that Boulder’s SMART BALANCE trademark is not...more

MBHB Snippets: Review of Developments in Intellectual Property Law: Spring 2015 - Vol. 13, Issue 2

In This Issue: - After B&B Hardware, What is the Full Scope of Estoppel Arising From a PTAB Decision in District Court Litigation? - When You Don’t Know What You Know: The Role of Unappreciated Inherency in the...more

Lawyer Who Started Fight Over "R-Word" Mascot Awaits Decision

About a quarter century ago, Steve Baird — at the time, a freshly minted graduate of the University of Iowa law school clerking for a federal judge in Washington, D.C. — was spending most of his free weekends working on an...more

After B&B Hardware, What is the Full Scope of Estoppel Arising From a PTAB Decision in District Court Litigation?

The America Invents Act (AIA) created several adjudicative proceedings within the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, including inter partes review, post-grant review, and covered...more

Offering of Services Alone Insufficient Basis for § 1(a) Trademark Application - David Couture v. Playdom, Inc.

Addressing for the first time whether the offering of a service was sufficient “use in commerce” under the Lanham Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB)...more

Trademark Review | May 2015

Attorneys’ Fees Might be More Readily Granted in Trademark Cases - Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court relaxed the standard for awarding attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party in patent infringement cases. Octane...more

Pretzel Logic: Federal Circuit holds that TTAB Failed to Consider Mark as a Whole

An application to register PRETZEL CRISPS as a mark will live another day, thanks to a Federal Circuit opinion reversing a TTAB decision that had canceled the mark on grounds of genericness....more

Supreme Court Holds that Issue Preclusion May Apply to TTAB Decisions

In a 7-2 decision authored by Justice Alito, the Supreme Court held on March 24, 2015, that issue preclusion may apply to Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) decisions. The case, B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries,...more

IP Dispute Resolution Review Newsletter, Spring 2015

In This Issue: - The New “Clear Error” Standard of Review in Patent Infringement Mediation - Trademark Trial Appeal Board Decisions Now Have Preclusive Effect - Engaging Panelists for Neutral Analysis Provides...more

Yankees Win Big Trademark Battle at the USPTO

On May 8, 2015, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) upheld an opposition instituted by the New York Yankees to block several trademarks from becoming registered. New York Yankees Partnership v. IET Products and...more

The Juice Runs Out for Yankee Parody Trademarks

A good general business practice is to apply to register trademarks early. You’ll find out if there is an issue. You’ll have time to change rather than having to take everything off the shelf under the threat of a lawsuit....more

The House That Juice Built: TTAB Denies Registration To Parodies

On May 8, 2015, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) issued a resounding blow to trademark applicants who seek to register others’ trademarks as parodies. In New York Yankees Partnership v. IET Products and...more

Likelihood of Preclusion: Fallout From the Supreme Court Ruling on Likely Confusion

Move over likelihood of confusion, there is another sheriff in town, at least when it comes to looking for guidance on best practices and strategic considerations for a brand owner’s clearance, registration, protection and...more

Constitutional Law vs. Trademark Law: Which Law Wins in the Battle of "Disparaging Trademarks": Part II

Earlier this week we covered Part I of this battle, trademark law. Now, let’s get to the second half: Constitutional law. Constitutional Law Considerations - Where do constitutional law considerations fit in...more

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