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Category Archives: Fair Use

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Hours of Energy, But No Trademark Registration

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, Food, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

The energy drink businesses is big, big business. From Red Bull and Monster to that strange 35 ounce purple can that you saw in a gas station once, consumers love energy drinks. Along with Red Bull and Monster, 5-Hour Energy is one of the most successful and recognizable brands. Innovation Ventures, LLC, the owner of the… Continue Reading

Oz The Saying Goes…

Posted in Branding, Copyrights, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Goodwill, Loss of Rights, Television, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

There’s no place like home. Just be careful where and how you say it. It is common knowledge among lawyers that copyright protection does not normally extend to titles, words, or short phrases. Movies, politicians, and our family and friends constantly quote books, movies, and famous politicians, actors, and others. From a trademark perspective, we see famous quotes… Continue Reading

There is only one Lord of the (Olympic) Rings…but then there was Sochi

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, International, Marketing, Social Media, Television, Trademarks

There is only one Lord of the Ring, only one who can bend it to his will.  And he does not share power.  – Gandalf, Lord of the Rings As we have posted about more than a few times on DuetsBlog over the years (like here and here), the OLYMPICS trademark and the Olympic Rings… Continue Reading

Sochi’s First Meme

Posted in Advertising, Fair Use, Marketing, Television

It didn’t take long for the Sochi Olympics to produce its first meme.  On Saturday night, my girlfriend and I were able to block out the ongoing drama that is Bob Costas’ eye for long enough to watch American figure skater Ashley Wagner put on a solid performance during the team competition.  (We, like many others, are… Continue Reading

And the Grammy for Most Likely to Receive a DMCA Notice Goes to…

Posted in Audio, Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Social Media

Last Sunday was “Music’s Biggest Night,” at least according to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). I haven’t watched many Grammy Award shows, but the possibility of seeing Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performing together was enough for me to tune in, at least for a few minutes. I wasn’t paying particularly close… Continue Reading

The Champagne of Trademark Disputes

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Food, Genericide, Goodwill, Infringement, International, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks

Wine connoisseurs have been pairing food with their wines for  centuries (okay, I’m guessing here, but it is probably a long time), paying close attention to all of the subtleties of the flavor, hints of oak, acidity, and other features. With the explosion of craft beers in the United States, we can now do the… Continue Reading

When Intent Matters in Trademark Matters

Posted in Almost Advice, Articles, Counterfeits, Domain Names, Fair Use, Infringement, Law Suits, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

One of the unfortunate aspects of trademark practice is the permission that exists in the law to challenge the motives and intentions of people. Unfortunate, because this permission is frequently abused, especially by less experienced trademark counsel, or perhaps when the strength of a case doesn’t seem like enough without injecting an unhealthy dose of emotion into… Continue Reading

Breaking Bad News for Breaking Bad Fans

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Fair Use, Food, Goodwill, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Television, Trademarks

When I was eight I had a perfect plan to create a multi-million dollar business: a company that sold pet turtle kits that came with miniature nunchucks, swords, and ninja costumes. Back then though it was more difficult to tap into Angel networks and, although great friends, my core group of investors unfortunately turned out to… Continue Reading

The MPAA and the Midwives, and Other Cautionary Tales

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Social Media, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

As we all know, The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has long taken an active role in the debate regarding the advantages and disadvantages of traditional midwifery and modern medical views regarding childbirth. That’s what Rosemary’s Baby was all about, right? Well, the MPAA filed an amicus brief yet again in a lawsuit between… Continue Reading

If You Want to Go Fast, You Don’t Have Time for Trademark Law.

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Food, Infringement, Marketing, Trademarks

If you’re not first, you’re last. Rick’s Cabaret was the first to open a restaurant with the name Ricky Bobby – but will Sony Pictures have the last laugh? Let’s get the background first. In the movie Talladega Nights, Will Ferrell played Ricky Bobby, a successful race car driver who just “wants to go fast.”… 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

One Man’s Trash Is Another Transit Authority’s Trademark

Posted in Fair Use, Infringement, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

A while back, I discussed the New York State Department of Development’s enforcement efforts to prevent others from using the I♥NY logo. It looks like the West Coast may have learned something from the East Coast, as San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit District (affectionately known as BART) has been sending out cease and desist… Continue Reading

Coca-Cola Open for Co-Branding?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, Food, Infringement, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Sight, Trademarks

By now you know how much I love the Coca-Cola brand and advertising, and this beautiful gem of a billboard is no exception: What I’m left wondering is whether consumers might view this as a co-branding campaign between Coca-Cola and Ford, and whether Coca-Cola felt the need to obtain permission from Ford to depict the back… Continue Reading

NY ♥ TM

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Copyrights, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Idea Protection, Infringement, Marketing, SoapBox, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Last week I stopped at a local wine and beer store to pick up a bottle of wine to bring to a friend’s dinner party (but also couldn’t resist purchasing a 4-pack of Surly’s Bitter Brewer. I had never seen it before, but highly recommend it). As I walked back to my car I noticed a pile of… Continue Reading

Another Nominative Fair Use Example?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, Food, Marketing, Social Media, Social Networking, Trademarks

Twitter seems to be going strong, despite early questions about whether it would ever shed the notion of being a waste of time, as evidenced by this currently running billboard ad: To the extent this billboard looks familiar (admittedly a more diminutive glass here), you might recall my questions about it three years ago: Marketing Nirvana… 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

Nutty News: Dear Biggest Fan, Here’s a Cease-and-Desist Letter

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Domain Names, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Food, Social Media, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

You have to be one big fan of a company or product to establish a World {What-You-Cannot-Live-Without} Day.  Well, a sticky situation with the well-known hazelnut spread Nutella may have you rethinking your public affection. Back in 2007, Sarah Rosso (Nutella Fan) established World Nutella Day to celebrate her affection for Nutella.  Within the past… Continue Reading

Prince, the DMCA, and Bullying

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Social Media

Minneapolis’ own hometown hero Prince Rogers Nelson, formerly and currently known simply as “Prince,” has been in the news quite often in 2013. It began with his surprise, limited ticket performances in January, which he followed up with a surprise concert to close out the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. Prince has also made legal… Continue Reading

No Escape

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Infringement

This post is probably a bit dated for the readers that are on the cutting edge of developments in the film industry.  But since that may only be a small subset of our readers, I thought this information was worth sharing. Apparently, a brazen independent film director managed to surreptitiously shoot nearly an entire film on-site… Continue Reading