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Category Archives: Infringement

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A Kind Demand Letter? Stranger Things Have Happened (Apologies)

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Infringement, Marketing

Chicago pop-up bar “The Upside Down” rode a wave of popularity program all the way to Netflix’s legal department. And that’s where things took an unexpected turn! Okay, that lede could probably be less obviously playful. You might say the same thing about Netflix’s cease-and-desist letter to the operators of “The Upside Down.” Featuring replicas of the Stranger… Continue Reading

An Update from Mars: “CocoVaa” Dispute Resolved

Posted in Agreements, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Earlier this year, I posted about a dispute between candy company Mars Inc. and a small business based in Wisconsin, selling handmade fine chocolates under the mark CocoVaa. In March, Mars Inc. filed a federal trademark infringement complaint in the Eastern District of Virginia, asserting that its registered CocoaVia® mark (Reg. No. 4179465), for a dietary supplement powder, was being… Continue Reading

“Let’s Play:” DMCA Takedown Notices and Game Developer Acquiescence

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Technology

There is an entire gaming sub-culture developed around watching others play video games.  I’m not talking about gathering around the Game Cube in your friend’s basement and passing the only controller.  “Let’s Play” videos are game play videos made by players and posted or streamed online.  The videos usually include the players’ own running commentary,… Continue Reading

The Five-Finger Copyright Discount

Posted in Audio, Copyrights, Fair Use, False Advertising, Guest Bloggers, Infringement, International, Loss of Rights, Social Media

–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications Recently violinists Rhett Price and Shiva Chaitoo got two very different lessons on the downside of posting performances on the Internet. According to an article in The Boston Globe, a fan of Price alerted him to a video of Chaitoo’s playing. Turns out, Chaitoo was pulling a Milli Vanilli, fingering his… Continue Reading

Kerrygold Update: A Buttery Settlement

Posted in Branding, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging, Trademarks, USPTO

A few months ago I posted about a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Ornua, seller of Kerrygold® Pure Irish Butter, against Defendants Old World Creamery and Eurogold USA, who briefly sold Irish butter under the mark Irishgold. The court granted Ornua’s motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO), concluding that Ornua had a reasonable likelihood of success on its trademark infringement… Continue Reading

Joint IP Ownership Rights

Posted in Agreements, Almost Advice, Contracts, Copyrights, Genericide, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Patents, Trademarks

New ideas, creations, and business ventures are often the product of collaboration.  If lawyers had their way, a written agreement would precede every creative collaboration.  Of course, this is not the case.  Collaborators often do not seek advice of counsel, or see the need for an agreement, until after the new idea, creation, or venture… Continue Reading

Did U2’s Bono And The Edge Copy Their Song The Fly From Another Artist?

Posted in Audio, Copyrights, Infringement, Law Suits

This is the question being presented in a lawsuit pending in the Southern District of New York against the iconic band U2 and a majority of its band mates.  Paul David Hewson (more well known as lead singer Bono), David Howell Evans (more well known as guitarist extraordinaire the Edge), drummer Laurence Joseph Mullen Jr.,… Continue Reading

Do You Even Trademark, Bro?

Posted in Dilution, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

Two Bros are competing over their Bro meal delivery services. Jamie Giovinazzo is the owner of Eat Clean Bro, LLC, a meal delivery service providing “a convenient service that is designed to bring chef-prepared meals right to your front door.”  “Whether you are looking to lose weight, live a clean and healthy life, or build… Continue Reading

The Brand With 3 Stripes, Bands, or Stitches?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Fashion, Infringement, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

We’ve written a lot over the years about Adidas’ three-stripe non-verbal, non-traditional trademark. Turns out, Adidas actually owns a federally-registered trademark for the verbal, spelled-out, look-for advertising equivalent too, called: The Brand With The 3 Stripes®. We haven’t until now probed the meaning of “stripe” though: “A long narrow band or strip, typically of the… Continue Reading

PayPal v. Pandora: Is Music Streaming Related to Financial Services?

Posted in Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Technology, Trademarks

PayPal, one of the world’s largest online payment companies, has brought a trademark infringement suit against Pandora Media, Inc., the provider of an online music streaming service and application. PayPal alleges that its blue “PP” design mark (below, left) is infringed by Pandora’s recently re-designed blue “P” design mark (below, right). The complaint alleges federal claims of false designation… Continue Reading

Nominative Fair Use of Ride-Share Logos?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Infringement, Marketing, Social Media, Trademarks

Earlier this year, we contemplated a suitable, accurate, and efficient generic name for the service category created by the highly-disruptive Uber brand: App-Based Ride Service. A visit to Chicago this past weekend, left me thinking that Ride-Share Service or Ride Sharing are suitable alternatives, that appear to be gaining some traction, as seen here: The… Continue Reading

Dubious Patent Trolls and a Crowdfunded Infringement Defense

Posted in Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Patents

We’ve spent time discussing the patent troll phenomenon in the past.  Patent trolls are less pejoratively referred to as non-practicing entities, because they do not make or use the inventions covered by their patents.  Instead, these non-practicing entities operate by purchasing patents on various technologies, accusing companies of infringing those patents, and demanding the companies… Continue Reading

Blizzard v. Bossland: Game Over for Video Game Botting?

Posted in Civil Procedure, Copyrights, Infringement, International, Law Suits

I’m a rules follower. Going back to the days of the Game Genie—a device that allowed gamers to play Super Mario Bros. with infinite lives or the Legend of Zelda with infinite bombs—I have always preferred the satisfaction of beating the game by its own rules.   Like the video games that have progressed since… Continue Reading

Trademark Butter Battle: Kerrygold v. Irishgold

Posted in Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging

You’ve probably heard of and/or eaten Kerrygold® Pure Irish Butter, a deliciously popular (but higher-priced) butter imported from Ireland, made with milk from grass-fed cows. It’s available in most stores across the United States…except for Wisconsin. Sorry to all my Wisconsin friends, you’re missing out. However, the butter is so popular that there have been… Continue Reading

Mars – Helping You Work, Rest & Play (and improve blood circulation?)

Posted in Advertising, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

While browsing my daily trademark news and digesting some recent chocolate-related trademark litigation, to be discussed below, I happened upon some interesting discussions and histories of slogans for candy, including in particular, the MARS® chocolate bar. Back in 1960, Mars Inc. debuted its slogan for the MARS® chocolate bar: “A Mars a Day, Helps You Work,… Continue Reading

Parrotheads Can Rejoice As Jimmy Buffett Prevails In Trademark Dispute

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks

Jimmy Buffett won a trademark dispute and precluded the applications for “Marijuanaville” marks from registering due to a likelihood of confusion with his famous MARGARITAVILLE® mark for clothing (including shirts and caps), nightclub services, and other goods and services. The Parrotheads, Jimmy Buffett fans, can rejoice in the win. The dispute involved pro se applicant… Continue Reading

Amazon’s Latest Trademark Battle: A Race Against “Chime”

Posted in Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Technology, Trademarks

Last month, Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) announced a new application, Amazon Chime, for online meetings, including video and voice conferencing, chat, and screen sharing. Amazon Chime will compete against a crowd of other well-established products with similar services, such as GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx, and Skype. Just two weeks after Amazon Chime was announced, on February 22, AWS was… Continue Reading

Help! Someone Copied My Stuff!

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, Infringement

At some point in this digital age, almost every individual or business in the creative space will discover that somebody has copied them. You may see it yourself, or you may get the stomach-dropping “Doesn’t this look an awful lot like…..” e-mail from a friend. It might be that potential client who said your design… Continue Reading

Don’t Get TRUMPed By a First-Filer

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Infringement, Loss of Rights, Trademarks

Reading over this story on Donald Trump’s decades of headaches (and conveniently-timed successes) with the TRUMP trademark and the Chinese Trademark Office, I was reminded, as I always am, of the importance of filing federal trademark applications. The examination process for Trump’s marks in China, and the Chinese trademark enforcement regime generally, is rather opaque… Continue Reading

Pass the…Creative Work

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Copyrights, Famous Marks, Genericide, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits

I laughed when I saw yesterday’s Adweek article about Heinz adopting Don Draper’s “Pass the Heinz” pitch from the hit show “Mad Men.”  Given the lackluster creativity observed from the Super Bowl ads, have we actually reached a point where a creative says “hey remember that Mad Men episode? let’s just do that!” and the… Continue Reading

April Madness, the NCAA’s One Month Buffer?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks

We write a lot here about the scope and strength of trademark rights and how that determination is often intertwined to making intelligent likelihood of confusion determinations. Does “April Madness” fall within the NCAA’s scope of trademark rights for “March Madness“? Likelihood of confusion? Is “March Madness” a famous mark deserving protection from dilution? How… Continue Reading

Celebrity Trademark Battle: “The Kitchen”

Posted in Genericide, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

World-famous chef Wolfgang Puck recently became embroiled in a trademark battle with Elon Musk’s brother, Kimbal Musk, a venture capitalist and entrepreneur who owns The Kitchen Cafe, a family of restaurants in Boulder, Fort Collins, Denver, Glendale, and Chicago. Puck has opened new restaurants with the names “The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck” and “The Kitchen Counter… Continue Reading