News & Analysis as of

Inherently Distinctive

Six Key Trademark Filing and Protection Strategies for Canada in 2018

by Smart & Biggar on

As 2017 draws to a close and we begin to look forward to the new year, the countdown to the implementation of Canada’s new trademark law begins in earnest. Announced in 2014, Canada’s Bill C-31 is expected to be implemented...more

International Trademarks: Japan has Embraced Color

by Revision Legal on

Trademarking colors has been a complex and confusing legal history question. Color has always been allowed as part of the mark design, but for many years trademarking was denied for stand-alone colors and schemes. Even now...more

Intellectual Property Law Series: Common Trademark Pitfalls Even the Pros Make

We’ve all heard of trademarks. But, what exactly do they do? And how do you select your trademarks, protect them, and then properly use them in commerce?...more

7 Lessons in Trademarks: Smashburger/In-N-Out Burger Battle Royale

by Revision Legal on

According to recent news reports, fast-food hamburger chain, In-N-Out Burger (“In-N-Out”) has filed a federal lawsuit alleging trademark infringement against Smashburger, another fast-food hamburger chain. The trademark fight...more

Does getaroom Make U Want 2 BookaRoom?

by Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. on

A tv commercial for yet another hotel booking website just caught my eye, called getaroom...more

European Union Trademark Reform—Further Changes Have Arrived

by Jones Day on

The Situation: Alterations to the European Union’s trademark laws came into force on October 1, 2017. ...more

Getting a 3D mark in Vietnam - Overcoming refusals and an industrial design comparative.

by Hogan Lovells on

The National Office of Intellectual Property in Vietnam (“NOIP”) has granted a significant number of trade mark registrations for 3D marks. Recently there are around 1-3 3D marks granted each month, but unfortunately there is...more

5 Reasons for Trademark Refusal

by Revision Legal on

The US Patent and Trademark Office will not register a trademark unless it functions as a mark (see 15 U.S.C. §§1051, 1052, 1053, 1127). To do so, the mark must serve as an indicator of the source of the goods, identifying...more

Following The Earnhardt’s Race To the Courtroom, USPTO Raises the Bar on Surnames

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

Last month we reported on the Federal Circuit decision in Earnhardt v. Earnhardt, vacating and remanding the TTAB’s dismissal of the opposition by Teresa Earnhardt (widow of Dale Earnhardt) to the “Earnhardt Collection”...more

Narrow scope of protection for 3D trademarks?

by DLA Piper on

The Finnish Supreme Court’s decision 2017:42 handed down on 13 June 2017 regarding the distinctiveness of 3D trademarks and the likelihood of confusion with the shapes of competing goods, follows the trend we have seen from...more

An Iowa Rivalry Mixes Football, Farming, and Trademark Disputes

It sure feels like fall already. Apart from the fifty degree walk with my dog this morning, we’re now entering the second week of college football. Regular readers might have noticed that our blog has a couple of Iowa Hawkeye...more

It’s as Suggestive as a Butter Knife for Steak

We’ve written quite a bit over the years about the Spectrum of Distinctiveness for trademarks, and the all-important difference between suggestive marks and merely descriptive ones, with only the former being allowed...more

Is Someone Illegally Using Your Trademark? The 8 Factor Trademark Infringement Test

by Revision Legal on

A court will apply the “likelihood of confusion” test in a trademark infringement suit. This is actually an umbrella term for several tests employed by the various federal circuits. However, most courts use a group of similar...more

Chartreuse Color Trademark Still on the Loose

Back in December we wrote about a trademark infringement case (Weems v. Plews) involving claimed exclusive rights in the color chartreuse as applied to various kinds of hoses....more

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

by Knobbe Martens on

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

The Designer Formerly Known As…Intellectual Property Issues Arising From Personal Names As Fashion Brands

by Ladas & Parry LLP on

Kate Spade, Paul Frank, Joseph Abboud, Catherine Malandrino, and Karen Millen—aside from being well-known designers, all have something else in common; they no longer own the right to use their personal names as their brands....more

Diamonds In The Rough: TTAB Refuses Registration For Repeating Pattern

by Ladas & Parry LLP on

In a precedential decision in In re Fantasia Distribution Inc, Serial 86185623 (September 21 2016), the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) held that a repeating diamond design pattern appearing on an electronic hookah...more

Have Sense About Scents

In today's marketplace, companies are constantly seeking their moment, day, or --if they are lucky--year on the top of the "best of" list for new, unique, and/or fabulously redesigned goods or services. The sheer number of...more

The Distinctiveness Threshold for Stylization of Descriptive Marks

In a recent TTAB case, the Board considered whether a stylization of a descriptive term supports registration on the Principal Register. The short answer? It depends....more

Mark It to MarketTM - July 2016

The July 2016 issue of Sterne Kessler's Mark It to MarketTM newsletter discusses an upcoming SCOTUS design patent case, In One Nation Enterprises and stylization of a descriptive term, and currently open gTLD Sunrise...more

MACCOFFEE Found Likely To Ride Coat-Tails Of McDonald’s EU ‘Mc’ Family Of Trademarks

On July 5, 2016, the European General Court rendered an interesting decision illustrating the broad protection enjoyed by those trademarks with “a reputation in the EU.”...more

Don’t Copy “Bounty” Bars: Distributors of Chocolate Bars Prohibited from Imitating “Bounty Bar Shape”

by King & Spalding on

Mars saw a violation of its three-dimensional “Bounty” trademark and filed a lawsuit against the distributor of the “Wish” chocolate bar....more

Can You Identify Your Trade Dress?

by Foley & Lardner LLP on

Trade dress is a type of trademark intellectual property right that can protect almost any unique identifying aesthetic design used by a company, from the shape of a product, to the appearance of a website, to the decor of a...more

Famous Empire State Building Trademark At The Heart Of An Opposition Case

by Ladas & Parry LLP on

The Empire State Building has been in the heart of New York City since 1931 and was recently at the heart of a beer logo in a case heard before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). In the recent case of ESRT...more

DICKMAN’S Pickles: Just Another Unregistrable Surname

The US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has, again, explained how and when surnames may function as trademarks. In re Enumclaw Farms LLC, Application Serial No. 85942195 (TTAB June 24, 2016). ...more

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