Trademarks

A Trademark is a legally registered distinctive mark or sign which identifies goods, products or services that originate or are associated with a particular person or enterprise . A typical example of a trademark... more +
A Trademark is a legally registered distinctive mark or sign which identifies goods, products or services that originate or are associated with a particular person or enterprise . A typical example of a trademark would be a company's logo such as the Nike "Check" or McDonald's "Golden Arches."  less -
News & Analysis as of

Distinguishing License Agreements from Franchise Arrangements

MGDC Management Group v. Marilyn Monroe Estate, 2014 ONSC 4584 provides some guidance on the distinction between franchise agreements and license agreements. However, the ruling falls short of providing a clear framework for...more

Aggie-ravating Trademark Issues with College Mascots

Colleges serve an important role in American society, providing education, experience and leadership to each new generation. Also, sports. And did I mention SPORTS? Regardless of the reason (cable?), college sports have...more

How Health Care Providers Can Avoid Common Intellectual Property Mistakes

Intellectual property can be some of the most valuable assets any business, including a health care provider (“Provider”) has. Adequately protecting this intellectual property can increase the value of the Provider’s business...more

Legal FAQ: Section 337 Investigations Before the International Trade Commission

What types of intellectual property claims can be brought before the International Trade Commission? - The U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) investigates claims of unfair competition under Section 337 of the...more

Don’t Be Confused: The Washington Football Team Still Owns Rights in the REDSKINS Trademark

The Washington Redskins football team (“Washington”) recently appealed the cancellation of its federal registrations for its REDSKINS trademarks to the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. When the...more

Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s Trademark Lawsuit

Whether you love, hate, or are indifferent to the Kardashian franchise, the Kardashian sisters undeniably know how to market and brand themselves and their products. In December 2012, the Kardashian sisters hoped to...more

Use as a verb not always the kiss of death for trademarks: Elliot v. Google

Use of a trademark as a verb is an oft-cited example of trademarks becoming generic, and frequently used as an easy case of “genericide” by legal textbook authors (not to mention legal bloggers). The owners of famous...more

Amy, Whatcha Wanna Do (About this TM)?

As we start to think about welcoming in the weekend, why don’t we all hum this Pure Prairie League tune, while viewing this image and reading this very brief blog post...more

International v domestic US trademark registrations: pick your poison

The USPTO’s statistics for the year to date report that just 2.6% of international trademark applications (Madrid) are approved upon first action, compared to 34.1% of applications via TEAS Plus and 17% by TEAS. For...more

Beer Is Not the New Wine: USPTO Again Rejects Beer Trademark Citing Wine Mark

As the number of craft breweries and craft beer brands grow, many breweries are finding it increasingly difficult to register their marks, not necessarily because there are many new beer trademarks filed with the USPTO (which...more

Gibson Guitar Facing 15 Trademark Opposers

A brand owner’s non-traditional trademark application will sometimes gain the critical attention of multiple direct competitors. Gibson Guitar’s unlucky number is apparently fifteen....more

The PTO vs. The Phantom Marks: A Ghost Story

Don’t read this one before bed. As autumn sets in and Halloween approaches, my mind turns to jack-o-lanterns, skeletons, and phantoms. Phantom marks, that is. Equally incorporeal though perhaps somewhat less...more

Georgia State Academic Fair Use Decision Vacated by 11th Circuit: A (Relatively) Quick Read for the Busy Practitioner

Last Friday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded the Northern District of Georgia’s 350-page fair use analysis of the electronic reserves practices at Georgia State University (“GSU”). Although this...more

A Black Hole in the Distinctiveness Continuum for U.S. Trademark Applications

Marks that border the line that divides descriptive from generic often topple into a virtual “black hole” on the distinctiveness continuum. The owner of such a mark may be required to meet an indefinite threshold of proof to...more

“Look and Feel” of a Website can Constitute Protectable Trade Dress

The United States District Court for the Northern District of California, in Ingrid & Isabel, LLC v. Baby Be Mine, LLC, --- F. Supp. 3d ----, 2014 WL 4954656 (N.D. Cal. 2014), in reviewing the arguments before it, attempted...more

Targeting an Old Liquor Store

When I moved from Minnesota to Wisconsin to go to college, among the local customs that I had to get acclimated to were the revulsion against the word “pop” for carbonated beverages named “soda;” hearing classmates say “I...more

Converse: Stomping Out Counterfeits through Int’l Trade Commission Proceedings

Earlier this week, Converse launched an all-out offensive to combat what it considers counterfeit and knock-off versions of its Chuck Taylor All-Star line of sneakers. Reports peg the number as at least 22 separate lawsuits...more

Brand Experience

The Atlantic’s recent article, Buy Experiences, Not Things, addresses the fact that while, as consumers, we tend to think we want more material things, what really makes us happy are experiences. Anticipating experiences,...more

Generic Top Level Domains - Current Sunrise Periods Open

As first reported in our December 2013 newsletter, the first new generic top-level domains (gTLDs, the group of letters after the "dot" in a domain name) have launched their "Sunrise" registration periods. Please see our...more

Significance of Disclaimers in U.S. Trademark Law

In United States trademark applications, it is not uncommon for an Examining Attorney to issue a disclaimer requirement for descriptive portions of a mark. Disclaimers have particular significance in three steps of the...more

Order Pierces Allegations Unsupported By Receivable Evidence In Granting Summary Judgment To All Parties In IP Dispute

In 2011 EarthCam, Inc. (“EarthCam”) brought suit against Richard Hermann (“Hermann”), OxBlue Corporation, Chandler McCormarck, John Paulson, and Brian Mattern (collectively “OxBlue”) asserting corporate espionage to...more

Bottega Veneta Unties a Trademark Knot

It is easy for some to get all tied up in knots at the USPTO when facing challenging grounds for refusal against federal registration of a claimed non-traditional trademark. Not Bottega Veneta....more

Appearances Aside, “Something More” Still Needed for Trademark Infringement Liability in Keyword Advertising Cases

Search engine optimization is a vital issue for brand owners. When a potential customer searches online for Company A, a well-known brand, Company A naturally wants its own website to be as high in the search results as...more

European Community Trademarks – Why it Now Matters if They’re Black and White (or Grayscale)

Whether it’s black or white may not have mattered to Michael Jackson (at least that's how the song goes), but it does seem to matter now to the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) and other trademark...more

ICANN’s gTLD Program – A Look Back and Forward

ICANN’s new Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) program has been in full swing for over a year now, so it seems an apt time to examine some statistics as to how brands are engaging with new gTLDs, utilizing the Trademark...more

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