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Category Archives: Agreements

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An Energized Trademark Monster?

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Three months ago we discussed a “trademark bullying” allegation against Monster Energy, detailed in a declaratory judgment complaint filed in Montana federal district court by energy-drink competitor Victory Energize. Last week, Law360 reported the case settled on confidential terms, and the claims were dismissed with prejudice, at Victory Energize’s request, so the “trademark bullying” charge… Continue Reading

Personal Brand Management for Retirees (…of the NFL)

Posted in Agreements, Branding, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Television, Trademarks

Dozens of former NFL players lit up the federal court docket here in Minnesota with filings on Monday targeted at Defendants including the National Football League, NFL Films, Inc., and NFL Productions, LLC. The retired players’ suits are the latest in a line of cases dating back to about 2009 when former players first brought claims… Continue Reading

The House That Solitude Built

Posted in Agreements, Trademarks

Ever tried to search for directions on your so-called “smart” phone by the name of your intended destination?   What if it directed you to the museum you searched, but unwittingly not the museum you intended to visit…in the same area?  As if there were not enough things to be afraid of in New Jersey like… Continue Reading

Silicon Valley x Fashion District = Blurred Lines

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Branding, Copyrights, Fashion, Infringement, Marketing, Patents, Product Configurations, Technology, Trademarks

Growing up in the 80s, it’s amazing how both fashion and technology have evolved since Scrunchies and Commodore 64s – although a quite separate evolution. I can’t recall a fashionable pager (really, go try to find one), or a chic mp3 player (I had an Archos Jukebox, look at that brick). That all changed once Apple… Continue Reading

Dethroning a Right to Register a Trademark?

Posted in Agreements, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Dilution, Famous Marks, Infringement, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Last month, you will recall we wrote about the important difference between the right to register a trademark and the right to use a trademark, here and here. Despite the fact that in most cases, a “likelihood of confusion” test governs both determinations, the right to use and the right to register are not necessarily coextensive rights – defeating… Continue Reading

Rubber Hits the Road: Rust-Oleum Trademark Case Leaves TTAB for Minnesota Federal Court

Posted in Agreements, Articles, Civil Procedure, Infringement, Law Suits, Product Packaging, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Lately we’ve been discussing more and more the difference between the right to register a trademark and the right to use a trademark. In many trademark disputes the perfect forum for an amicable resolution is the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of the USPTO. The TTAB can be a cost effective forum for parties to achieve… Continue Reading

New v. Old: Was Tesla’s Model E Blocked by the Model T?

Posted in Agreements, Branding, Famous Marks, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, USPTO

It’s a rare phenomenon in the 21st century when a US start-up car company can make commercially viable vehicles essentially from scratch, let alone one using new technology and bucking the dealership model.  Tesla’s been in the news a lot recently – fires, new lithium battery factories in the US (curiously the largest lithium deposits… Continue Reading

Everything You Need to Start Your NBA Franchise

Posted in Agreements

- Derek Allen, Attorney – When NBA owner Donald Sterling’s racist comments came out last weekend, they led to a lot of things, among them the decision by the NBA to finally release its previously secret constitution and by-laws.  (As an aside, it was particularly terrible to hear that someone at the highest levels of basketball holds… Continue Reading

It’s a Mouse World After All

Posted in Agreements, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Television, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Deadmau5 (\’ded-mau̇s\; a.k.a. Joel Zimmerman) is a popular house music artist who performs wearing a mouse-like head covering called the mau5head.   On Twitter he calls himself an “Event Driven Marketing specialist,” so I thought this was a fitting subject for the hip legal, creative and marketing folks who follow us here at DuetsBlog – although… Continue Reading

High Performance. Delivered. In 83 Days.

Posted in Agreements, Articles, Branding, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

Sometimes if you blink you can miss a trademark infringement suit from beginning to end. Well, ok, that’s probably a slight exaggeration. In case you missed the news reports from June, Accenture sued rival Deloitte for trademark infringement, asserting that Deloitte’s use of the slogan HIGH PERFORMANCE.AMPLIFIED. infringed on Accenture’s prior federally-registered rights in HIGH PERFORMANCE. DELIVERED. A… Continue Reading

Seagate Technology’s $630 Million Trade Secret Win Reinstated

Posted in Agreements, Contracts, Idea Protection, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media

- Anjali Shankar, Attorney – Protection of a business’s trade secrets may prove more difficult with the rise of social media and the recent debates surrounding the use of non-compete agreements. Social media, while a great tool for expanding networks, carries certain risks for businesses, such as ownership of social media accounts (including any “followers”… Continue Reading

Could Having a Tattoo Result in a Lawsuit?

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Copyrights, Fair Use, Infringement

As football season approaches, it is not surprising that star quarterbacks such as San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick are making the news. I read an article in Forbes magazine about “Questions Concerning Copyright of Athlete Tattoos has Companies Scrambling.” The impetus for the article was a Yahoo! Fantasy Sports advertisement with him in a tattoo… Continue Reading

Airing Your Kinky Trademark Laundry: Distinguishing Between Consent Agreements and Concurrent Use Agreements

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

Last week I captured a few eye-popping photographs of a delivery truck parked in downtown Minneapolis promoting Kinky Liqueur, “a delightfully fruity fusion of super premium vodka“: And my hunch — that scratching the surface of this interesting brandname would reveal a worthwhile trademark story — actually paid off. As it turns out, Kinky Liqueur didn’t have a straight shot at federal… Continue Reading

How Good Does a Good Company Have to Be?

Posted in Agreements, Goodwill, Guest Bloggers, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media

-  James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA This week’s news is again full of the relentless legal, political, and adversarial pounding British Petroleum (BP) continues to receive as a result of its huge and disastrous spill in the Gulf of Mexico. If one takes a breath, steps back, and maybe goes to 10-12,000 feet… Continue Reading

Xbox One: Single Player Lawsuits Only

Posted in Agreements

- Derek Allen, Attorney – Microsoft is dropping its new console, the Xbox One, just in time for Christmas this year.  The official unveiling occurred last month and reviews have been . . . mixed.  The most controversial aspects of the console were requirements that the console be able to access the internet once every… Continue Reading

There’s always money in the banana-based intellectual property rights…

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Branding, Contracts, Copyrights, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks

In its list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, the Rolling Stone ranked the 1967 album The Velvet Underground & Nico at number 13 – not bad for the band’s very first album.  The album had a simple cover, some would say iconic, cover:   And get this: the banana peel was actually a… Continue Reading

Distinguishing the Fictional From the Real: Names and Brands in Television and Movies

Posted in Agreements, Branding, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Television, Trademarks

We have an interesting question to answer, leading us into the holiday weekend, during which I suspect a few movies will be watched by more than a few marketing types and trademark types: “Is it trademark infringement if a fictional company or product in a movie or television drama bears the same name or brand as a real… Continue Reading

Canine Inspired Copyright Confusion?

Posted in Agreements, Contracts, Copyrights, Infringement, Marketing, Social Networking, Trademarks

When we mention confusion on DuetsBlog, we’re typically referring to the well-known likelihood of confusion test of trademark infringement. But today, we’re focused on the apparent confusion many have about the important question of: When copyright protection comes into being. If you ever have wondered whether something is or has been “copyrighted,” this post is for… Continue Reading

FTC’s New Rules for Advertising Mobile Apps

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Almost Advice, Contracts, False Advertising, International, Technology

The Federal Trade Commission has published guidelines for advertising mobile applications. In general, the guidelines incorporate the FTC’s policies on truthful advertising and data privacy. On the advertising side, if you make objective claims about your app, then you will need proof to support your claims. The proof necessary to support objective clams is competent… Continue Reading