United States Patent and Trademark Office Trademarks

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is an agency of the United States Department of Commerce that serves a fundamental role in the U.S. intellectual property system by issuing patents and registering trademarks.... more +
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is an agency of the United States Department of Commerce that serves a fundamental role in the U.S. intellectual property system by issuing patents and registering trademarks.    less -
News & Analysis as of

In re Tam Redux: The PTO seeks Certiorari

On April 20, 2016, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Federal Circuit seeking Supreme Court review of that Court’s decision in In re Tam, 117 USPQ2d 1001...more

USPTO to SCOTUS: SOS on the Lanham Act ASAP

On April 20, 2016, the USPTO made it official: It formally requested the U.S. Supreme Court to review the en banc Federal Circuit decision that held Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act violated the First Amendment. At issue...more

What’s That Sound? It Might Just Be a Trademark.

Trademarks are not only words or logos, but can come in many other forms, including sounds. In the words of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in the case In re Gen. Electric Broad. Co., 199 USPQ 560, 563 (TTAB 1978),...more

FLANAX: Protecting Foreign Marks from US Unfair Competition Under Section 43(a)

In today’s increasingly global economy, trademark owners are more frequently butting up against the territorial limitations of trademark law. It has long been a matter of black letter law that trademark rights are...more

Supreme Court Battle Set Over Prohibition of Disparaging Trademarks

Section 2(a) of the Lanham act bars the registration of “scandalous, immoral or disparaging trademarks.” The USPTO has used this applied this provision to refuse the registration of marks such as F**K PROJECT, PORNO JESUS,...more

Obtaining and Recording IP Assignments

The earliest-acquired and most valuable assets of a typical startup company are the elements of that company’s intellectual property, which may include copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. Failure to...more

News of Note in IP

Each week, Sheppard Mullin brings you News of Note in IP: The latest news in the IP-related fields of technology, privacy, fashion, advertising, music, and social media, curated by our IP team.  Here are some of the stories...more

USPTO Seeking Comment on Proposed Amendments to Trademark Rules of Practice

On April 4, 2016 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a Federal Register notice asking for comments to proposed amendments to Trademark Rules of Practice. Specifically, the rules to practice before the Trademark...more

Serial: A Story Stopped Short by the USPTO

Serial is an award-winning podcast narrated by journalist Sarah Koenig. It is a long-form story examining a criminal legal case. Season 1 focused on the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee and the resulting conviction of her former...more

In re Tam: Still No Trademark Registration for The Slants

In the continuing saga of whether Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment, the rock band The Slants will have to wait a little longer before it knows whether it can register...more

Of Slants, Skins and Signs: No Relief For Trademark Applicant Until Supreme Court Weighs In

As part of our continuing monitoring of this issue, we bring you the latest chapter in the saga over the registration of THE SLANTS trademark. After the en banc Federal Circuit struck down Section 2(a) as facially...more

Fourth Circuit Holds No Use in the U.S. Required to Bring Claims Under the Lanham Act

On March 23, 2016, the Fourth Circuit reversed the district court’s decision in Belmora LLC v. Bayer Consumer Care AG, 84 F. Supp. 3d 490 (E.D. Va. 2015) and remanded the case....more

Freedom of Speech Protects “Disparaging” Marks, Federal Circuit Holds

In a recent landmark ruling, the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, held that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act’s ban on “disparaging” marks violates the First Amendment. Section 2(a) provides that no trademark shall be refused...more

Similar Marks Used for Wine & Beer – Confusing or Not?

After a few of either, the likelihood of confusion may no doubt increase. But in a recent sober judgment, the U.S. Trademark Office ruled that REUBEN’S BREWS for beer is not likely to be confused with RUBENS for wine....more

Kylie Minogue v. Kylie Jenner: A TTAB Clash of Celebrities

Kylie Jenner has finally decided to step out from behind her older sisters and get to work on her own independent ventures. In furtherance of this desire, Ms. Jenner filed numerous federal trademark applications in April and...more

USPTO To Suspend New Trademark Applications Containing Scandalous Or Disparaging Material

On March 10, 2016, The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) issued new examination guidance for trademark applications containing potentially immoral or scandalous matter, which is expressly prohibited by...more

What You Need to Know About U.S. Law: Trademark Opposition and Cancellation Primer

Similar to the laws of the EU and its member states, as well as other countries around the world, U.S. trademark law provides a mechanism through which parties with standing can oppose pending third-party applications or seek...more

Trademark Red Tape: Disparaging Marks And TTAB Tidbits

Welcome to Trademark Red Tape, our periodic round-up of trademark news and happenings at the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Here are the highlights: - A Time-Out for Offensive Trademarks. According to IP...more

TTAB Finds That Coexistence Agreement Does Not Support Coexistence

In a decision bound to impact trademark prosecution practice in the future, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) recently found that a consent agreement between a...more

Trademark Review | February 2016

The Federal Circuit Considers Constitutionality of Refusal to Register Scandalous and Immoral Marks - The Lanham Act prohibits registration of marks that are defamatory, scandalous or immoral. Last month, in In re Tam,...more

Intellectual Property Newsletter - January/February 2016

2015 U.S. Trademark Developments Every Food and Beverage Lawyer Should Know - In 2015, U.S. courts provided trademark practitioners with several issues to discuss and debate. Identified and summarized below are the top...more

Taco Tuesday®

I know today is Thursday, but I am a taco fan. Just be careful what you call your Tuesday evening taco promotion....more

Federal Circuit Decision Signals Game Not Over for Washington Redskins Trademark

In a decision that should bring some comfort to the fans of the Washington Redskins football team, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in In Re Simon Shiao Tam declared unconstitutional Section 2(a) of the Lanham...more

Protecting Your Trademarks: Conducting an annual trademark portfolio review

You already know how important it is to clear and register your trademarks. But clearing and registering your marks should be just the first step in your trademark-protection plan. To ensure that your marks continue to have...more

How Many Ways Can a Trademark Be, Cool?

To the extent you’re also all about brands and trademarks, and you imagine a trademark story with each brand you might encounter, I suppose there are an infinite number of ways, right?...more

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