Unfair Competition

News & Analysis as of

Expect a Mess When Food and Class Actions Collide: Part 1

Remember eating pasta and spaghetti sauce as a kid? Remember what it did to your shirt? Your face? Want to rekindle that memory? Two recent cases will help you revive it. One involves gumbo; the other, gourmet foods and...more

These Boots Are Made For Walkin’: Trade Dress and the Distinctive Look of a Boot Sole

Airwair, the owner of the Dr. Martens brand, recently launched a series of lawsuits in the Northern District of California to enforce the trade dress of its “iconic boots and shoes.” One lawsuit was filed in October against...more

Anti-unfair competition law

On 22 February 2017, at the 26th session of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) of China, the State Council put forth a bill to amend the Law Against Unfair Competition (LAUC). The bill was...more

Three Stripes and You’re Out

On March 17, Adidas American, Inc. sued Juicy Couture, Inc., in the District of Oregon (3:17-cv-00437), alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution, deceptive trade practices, and breach of...more

Three Stripes and You’re Out: adidas Seeks to Protect its Mark

On March 17, 2017, athletic apparel giant, adidas, filed suit against Juicy Couture, Inc. asserting trademark infringement and unfair competition claims. The case is styled adidas America Inc. et al. v. Juicy Couture Inc.,...more

State Law Cannot Blur the Line Between Patents and Copyrights

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit determined that a plaintiff could not use a state law claim for unfair competition to protect a valve design, because federal copyright law preempts such a claim. Ultraflo Corp....more

Lanham Act Cannot Be Used to Create “Species of Mutant Copyright Law”

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a district court decision granting summary judgment to a defendant that its use of digital files did not infringe plaintiff’s trademark or trade dress for its CD-Gs...more

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Published Statements on Your Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program

Has your company developed a corporate social responsibility program that you highlight on marketing materials? If so, you must choose your words carefully. Corporate social responsibility is a broad concept replete with...more

Food and Beverage Law Update: March 2017

Legalized Drug Use Impacts the Food and Beverage Industry - In the November 2016 general election, voters in Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota amended their state constitutions to authorize the use of marijuana for...more

Proposed Changes - China’s commercial bribery laws face major revision.

On February 22, 2017, draft amendments (the 2017 Draft Amendments) to the Anti-Unfair Competition Law (AUCL) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) were submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress...more

Standing to Enforce Foreign Trademark Rights After Belmora v. Bayer Certiorari Denial

On February 27, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari in Belmora LLC v. Bayer Consumer Care AG, 819 F.3d 697 (4th Cir. 2016), cert. denied, __ S. Ct. __, 2017 WL 737826 (U.S. Feb. 27, 2017) (No....more

The Five Year Divide: Limited Recourse to Cancel Registrations, Even Those Void Ab Initio

The Sixth Circuit recently issued an opinion in NetJets Inc. v. IntelliJet Group, LLC Inc. (unpublished), holding that where a trademark registration is incontestable, it may not be cancelled on the ground that it was void ab...more

When Does Preparing to Compete Cross the Line?

An employee or former employee who starts preparing to compete with his employer or former may get tripped up in one of two scenarios: (1) breaching a fiduciary duty of loyalty; or (2) running afoul of a noncompete...more

France: No requirement for a domain name to be distinctive in unfair competition claims

In a decision of 6 December 2016, the French Supreme Court of the Judiciary (“Cour de Cassation”) provided a very useful clarification in relation to unfair competition claim (“concurrence déloyale”, a tortious action) based...more

Washington Weighs In On The Scope Of Insurance Regulators’ Authority

In January, we reported that California’s Supreme Court had embraced a problematic approach to the state’s Unfair Insurance Practices Act—one that allows the Commissioner of Insurance to create new statutory torts by...more

China moves to implement security review of network products and services: but leaves foreign investor and manufacturer concerns...

On 4 February 2017, the Cyberspace Administration of China issued a draft of the Network Products and Services Security Review Measures (“Draft Measures”) for public comment: the Draft Measures remain open for comments until...more

Selective Enforcement Not A Viable Defense to Non-Competition Agreements Under Ohio Law

Employers sometimes worry whether seeking to enforce their non-competes in some circumstances but not others might preclude enforcement altogether in the future. Not so, says one court. Applying Ohio law, the United States...more

Misappropriation Versus the Copyright Act: Round 2 in the Fifth Circuit

A few months ago, Trade Secrets Watch covered the GlobeRanger Corp. case in which the Fifth Circuit joined 10 other circuits in determining that the Copyright Act does not preempt state trade secret misappropriation claims....more

CGL Coverage for False Advertising and Intellectual Property Claims: Sometimes It’s There, but You Need to Know Where to Look for...

A recent case in the Northern District of California offers two cautionary tales to policyholders. First, when buying insurance, companies should understand their risks and ensure that the policies they’re buying match those...more

Copyright and Trademark Case Review: Copyright Preemption, Software-as-a-Service and Popularity on the Internet

Copyright Decisions - Claim for Copying of Useful Article Design Preempted by Copyright Act: Ultraflo Corp. v. Pelican Tank Parts, Inc., No. 15-20084 (5th Cir. Jan. 11, 2017)...more

Litigation Alert: The Ninth Circuit Holds That a Telephone Consumer Protection Act Violation Alone Is Sufficient To Establish...

This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that allegations that unsolicited advertisement text messages were sent in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) established a concrete...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

The (Sometimes Unethical) Reality of Competition and Your Ammo to Combat a Rival's False Advertising

Competition in the free-market economy is cutthroat and businesses seek to gain a slight edge over their competitors however they can. In an effort to gain such an advantage, these businesses may spread falsehoods about the...more

New Lawsuits Challenge Qualcomm’s Allegedly Anticompetitive Patent Practices

The Federal Trade Commission filed suit last week in federal court against Qualcomm, Inc., following its investigation launched in September 2014. The FTC alleges that the semiconductor manufacturer illegally maintained a...more

Deceptive Marketing — Is Coca-Cola taking a page book from the tobacco industry?

Coca-Cola has been called out in California for deceptively advertising is sugar-saturated sodas so it can sell more of them. A 39-page lawsuit filed in San Francisco makes 13 claims against the iconic beverage brand...more

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