DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

Category Archives: Contracts

Subscribe to Contracts RSS Feed

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

Protecting the World’s Most Valuable Non-Brand

Posted in Branding, Contracts, Guest Bloggers, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Search Engines, Technology

- James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications “Brand” and “branding” are the current darlings of the fashionista class. They’re rapidly driving those terms into the realm of cliché by busily associating them with practically everything you can think of. But in the midst of branding’s 15 minutes of fame, a potentially crippling challenge faces the non-brand… Continue Reading

Fair Use of GM’s Corvette Stingray?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Genericide, Goodwill, Infringement, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Product Configurations, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

While filling up my gas tank at our local Costco last week I coudn’t resist capturing this photo of pump signage to ask our dear readers a few pointed questions: Is there any doubt that the automobile depicted in the Costco advertisement is a Corvette Stingray? If so, HiConsumption should resolve any lingering questions. How did… Continue Reading

Victoria’s Secret Defends Dream Angels?

Posted in Articles, Contracts, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

How important is the DREAM ANGELS brand to Victoria’s Secret? Victoria’s Secret has a robust portfolio of federally-registered trademarks to protect the DREAM ANGELS sub-brand for undergarments and a line of personal care products and fragrances. Years ago, apparently Victoria’s Secret entered into a consent-to-use agreement with Airs International, a company that had rights in ANGEL DREAMS… Continue Reading

Tilt-a-Whirl Trademark, Not a Service Mark?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Contracts, Trademarks, USPTO

It is State Fair time again in Minnesota, so let’s examine the Tilt-a-Whirl brand. The brand originated in Minnesota almost 90 years ago, after the amusement park ride was invented by Herbert Sellner of Faribault, Minnesota. Since 2011 the Tilt-a-Whirl brand and trademark has been owned by J&S Rides, d/b/a Larson International out of Plainview, Texas. The first… 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

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

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

Protecting Non-Functional Product Design Features Through The Entire Life Cycle: From Conception to Grave

Posted in Branding, Contracts, Guest Bloggers, Idea Protection, Patents, USPTO

- Jeffrey Stone, Patent Attorney, Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. IP protection for product designs is typically found in a combination of one or more of the following protective mechanisms: 1. Contracts which are typically used with employees and 3rd parties to prevent loss of novelty as well as provide notice of ownership. Contractual protections such… 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

Monster Cable Ordered to Pay Monster Daddy Attorneys Fees in Meritless Appeal

Posted in Contracts, Law Suits, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB

Techdirt has written extensively about why Monster Cable is considered ”somewhat famous as a trademark bully.” Numerous comments to a TTABlog post reinforce this view. One of the examples Mike Masnick over at Techdirt has highlighted is a TTAB case we handled for a Monster Cable victim a few years back, reported here, with pleadings here. This victory led us… 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

Successful Evolution of an Unlicensed Business Model?

Posted in Agreements, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, Truncation

Brand owners and managers may wonder, is a trademark license required when another’s unregistered color scheme is used? Depending on the facts, it may very well be. About four years ago brand owners scored a major victory in LSU v. Smack Apparel, when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to the existence and successful enforcement of… Continue Reading

“Buried Treasure” – Securing Reimbursement for Monies Expended in Past Intellectual Property Lawsuits

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Contracts, Copyrights, False Advertising, Guest Bloggers, Infringement, Law Suits, Trademarks

—David A. Gauntlett, Gauntlett & Associates   Companies looking for extra money in these tough economic times may have an answer from the past. The vast majority of insurer denial letters for intellectual property lawsuits lack merit. Therefore, companies who have litigated intellectual property cases and expended significant monies in defense and settlement may be overlooking ready… Continue Reading

Tattoos & Hangovers: The Headache of Competing IP Rights

Posted in Agreements, Branding, Contracts, Copyrights, Goodwill, Infringement, Law Suits, Trademarks

A month ago the hot news was the federal copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Mike Tyson’s facial tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill against Warner Brothers Entertainment, and Whitmill’s attempt to block the Memorial Day release of the highly anticipated blockbuster sequel movie The Hangover Part II, based on the film maker’s unauthorized reproduction and/or derivative of the tattoo… Continue Reading

Aflac Duck Speechless Over Gilbert Gottfried’s Firing

Posted in Advertising, Audio, Branding, Contracts, Goodwill, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sound, Television, Trademarks

–Dan Kelly, Attorney If the Charlie Sheen train wreck has not offered enough fodder for your idle moments, this week Aflac fired Gilbert Gottfried as the voice of the Aflac Duck due to tasteless jokes that Gottfried tweeted in the wake of last week’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  Where Sheen was the face of… Continue Reading

License With Care

Posted in Agreements, Contracts, Copyrights, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights

–Dan Kelly, Attorney The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has recently issued a pair of opinions fleshing out a principle in copyright law known as the “first sale doctrine.”  The principle traces its roots to the 1908 Supreme Court opinion of Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus.  It is currently enshrined in statute and provides in basic part, “the… Continue Reading

Is Universal Regretting Disturbia?

Posted in Contracts, Copyrights, Guest Bloggers, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits

—Joy Newborg, Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. Is the 2007 film Disturbia a modern remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window? Even if it is, how many times have you seen a movie and said afterwards that it reminded you of being exactly like the film… Disturbia is a film about a teenager who, while under house… Continue Reading

When is a Shuffle Not an iPod Shuffle?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Contracts, Counterfeits, Infringement, Marketing, Trademarks

–Dan Kelly, Attorney Here is a brand baiting gem spotted yesterday at a website called Daily Checkout: Unremarkable?  A deal, you say?  Well, the following disclaimer appears twice in the sidebar adjacent to this deal: And here is another feature pulled from the sidebar: Greeaat . . . an MP3 player that won’t work with… Continue Reading

Unlawful Tarnishment of Chevron’s Shining Texaco Star?

Posted in Agreements, Contracts, Dilution, Famous Marks, Goodwill, Law Suits, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks

An interesting trademark case recently was filed in federal district court in Minnesota, Chevron Intellectual Property LLC et al v. MDW Equity Partners, LLC, a pdf copy of the complaint here. As beleaguered BP‘s once valuable goodwill and reputation continues to flounder in the court of public opinion with the tragic gulf oil spill and disaster (by the way, how… Continue Reading

Having Your Head in the Clouds May Not Be Such a Bad Thing After All

Posted in Agreements, Almost Advice, Contracts

Cloud computing is a service that uses the Internet and central remote servers to maintain data and software applications. Cloud computing allows consumers and businesses to use software applications without installation and access to their personal files at any computer with Internet access. Simple examples of cloud computing include Yahoo email or Gmail. It is an option… Continue Reading