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Category Archives: First Amendment

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What Does the Trademark Registration Say?

Posted in Articles, Branding, First Amendment, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Remember a while back when many were humming to the tune “What Does the Fox Say“? Today, I’m asking, what does the trademark registration say? Not, what does the trademark say — that is a different and more complicated question, depending on the specific mark, but at a minimum, answering that question involves the meaning… Continue Reading

The Juice Runs Out for Yankee Parody Trademarks

Posted in Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Trademarks, TTAB

A good general business practice is to apply to register trademarks early. You’ll find out if there is an issue. You’ll have time to change rather than having to take everything off the shelf under the threat of a lawsuit. Yet a recent decision from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in New York Yankees Partnership… Continue Reading

Trademarks Can Be a Bitch

Posted in First Amendment, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

And I mean that literally. We’ve laid down a lot of digital ink in the past about pejorative marks – lately in reference to the Redskins (at least here, here, and here) and  The Slants (here and here), both of which have been deemed disparaging enough to deny them a federal trademark registration.  We’ve even… Continue Reading

Slanted Perspective?

Posted in First Amendment

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I refer you to “the Slants?”  Is it a non-perpendicular or horizontal line?  Is it the news coverage of MSNBC or Fox News?  Is it a derogatory term for Asians?  Or, perhaps its “the first all-Asian American dance rock band in the world” whose efforts to… Continue Reading

What Do Gripe Sites Have to Do with SCOTUS’s B&B Hardware Decision?

Posted in Domain Names, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Trademarks, TTAB

In December, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in B&B Hardware v. Hargis Industries. The case addresses the level of deference to be given to decisions from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, if any. We’ve discussed the issue a number of times at DuetsBlog. I’d love to provide you with breaking news, but still… Continue Reading

Trademarks That Violate Public Policy

Posted in Articles, Branding, First Amendment, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

As our friend John Welch reported last week, the place to be on March 10, 2015, is Washington, D.C., at the 25th Annual “PTO Day,” sponsored by the Intellectual Property Owners Association: John will be part of the panel update on TTAB practice, and I’ll be providing the overview of Section 2(a) of the Lanham… Continue Reading

The NFL’s Super Bowl Trademark Nonsense

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Marketing, SoapBox, Television, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

It’s that time of year again. Time to tiptoe around and avoid use of or make any reference to the Super Bowl. Whoops. Anyway, we’ve discussed this phenomenon before: Insuring a Great Super Bowl Trademark Fight Fair Use of Super Bowl Trademark? Super (Bowl) Sunday, Ads Coming Soon Advertisers — fearful of NFL legal action… Continue Reading

Unicorns and Beer: A Match Made in Portland

Posted in Branding, Fair Use, First Amendment, Goodwill, Infringement, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Hipsters and Portland go together like…. hipsters and Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR). So naturally, when PBR decided to host a music festival, they chose Portland, Oregon. Unfortunately for PBR, some of their choices along the way have caused the city of Portland to schedule a vote to decide whether to sue them. It turns out,… Continue Reading

Henley Is Not Taking It Easy

Posted in Advertising, Fashion, First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Trademarks

According to music icon Don Henley, intellectual property rights are not a joking matter. Duluth Trading Company found this out when it adopted the advertising slogan: “Don a henley, take it easy” to promote and sell Henley shirts (examples pictured below). Despite my purported (at least in my mind) fashion expertise, I first learned what… Continue Reading

Does the United States Patent and Trademark Office Perpetuate Sexism in Branding?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, First Amendment, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

– Draeke Weseman, Weseman Law Office, PLLC Now the dilemma…what to name the place. Simple. What else brings a gleam to men’s eyes everywhere besides beer, chicken wings and an occasional winning football season? Hence the name Hooters. Supposedly they were into owls. Strange. — Hooters  This NFL season, civil rights advocates continue to make… Continue Reading

(Subway) Eat Flesh, An Effective Parody?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Fashion, First Amendment, Guest Bloggers, Infringement, Law Suits, Trademarks

  This past weekend one of my sons said, “Dad, I have a good blog topic for you.” After he explained, it was clear, yes, son you do! So, he sent me the photo to the left. It is one that he recently snapped at a place that sells Halloween costumes.   As an aside, I love it… Continue Reading

Put it on Ice: ALSA Abandons ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE Trademark Applications

Posted in Branding, Fair Use, First Amendment, Goodwill, Marketing, Social Media, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, USPTO

(Bill Gates putting his own spin on the ice bucket challenge) So there is a thing called the ice bucket challenge. In case you haven’t heard of it, you can read about it here (while you’re at it, you may want to read up on the internet, color television, and greek yogurt). In fact, Matt… Continue Reading

Blue 42. Set. Trademark! I mean, Hike!

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Goodwill, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Sound, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television, Touch, Trademarks, USPTO

Can you feel it? All around the country, fields are being groomed, stenciled, and painted. Tonight, the college football season begins with Georgia State taking on Abilene Christian in what could be a preview of one of hundreds of games that most of us don’t really care about. But like so many fans around the country, I’ll… Continue Reading

Believe what you want, but who will win?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Goodwill, Infringement, Trademarks, USPTO

In case you were unaware, the (Men’s) World Cup happened over the last two months and is now over (the Women’s World Cup is next year, in Canada). I Believe that if you followed Team USA at all, you probably heard the infectious chant of I —— I BELIEVE ——- I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!… Continue Reading

Update: Ikea Voids the Warranty on its Demand Letter

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Goodwill, Infringement, Marketing, Social Media, Trademarks

A few weeks back, we discussed IKEA’s claim of trademark infringement against the popular website, IKEAhackers.net, and the resulting online backlash. In what’s become an increasingly common result, IKEA has reportedly backed off from its demand letter: We want to clarify that we deeply regret the situation at hand with  IKEAhackers. It has of course… Continue Reading

ED Ads: Humor From Across the Pond

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Goodwill, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television

On this last day of the month, we are shedding almost all seriousness to stand at attention while examining some recent London taxi cab humor — from the perspective of Lloyds Pharmacy — about treating the affliction of erectile dysfunction (ED) with six pound pills and a healthy dose of laughs: One of the things I learned… Continue Reading

IKEA översittare: Bully or Baloney?

Posted in Branding, Dilution, Domain Names, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Goodwill, Infringement, Marketing, Social Media, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

I once spent 20 minutes trying to figure out whether I was installing a metal insert for an NYMÖ lamp upside down, or rightside up. I’m still not sure I ever installed it correctly, but it’s still working. So there. But a new IKEA översittare is getting a lot of attention on the internet, and… Continue Reading

Sterling, Silver

Posted in Branding, First Amendment, Marketing

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past week, you likely heard the story of Donald Sterling–vile racist billionaire NBA franchise owner–versus Adam Silver–white knight commish of the NBA working to free the world from the clutches of tyranny and racial oppression.  As usual, the full story is somewhat more complicated.  Sterling was a known quantity in… 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