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Category Archives: Law Suits

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Anticipation . . . But, Heinz is Not Keeping Melinda’s Habanero Ketchup Waiting

Posted in Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Food, Infringement, Law Suits, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks

Last month Heinz, a brand “synonymous with ketchup throughout the world,” and a seller of “650 million bottles of Heinz ketchup each year,” brought a federal trademark infringement and dilution lawsuit in Texas to enforce exclusive rights in the “famous” Heinz bottle design against Melinda’s Habanero Ketchup brand. Here is the Complaint and Exhibits A, B, C,… Continue Reading

Twilight Trademark Trial Now on Horizon

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

Another father-daughter trip to Bath & Body Works (BBW) this past weekend revealed that his and her Twilight Woods personal body care products are still available for sale: Still, because ten days ago, the federal district court in the Southern District of New York rejected BBW’s attempt to have the trademark infringement and dilution claims –… 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

Packaging that Kills (a Trademark)

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Genericide, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Product Packaging, Trademarks, TTAB

Killer packaging is a good thing. It can increase sales and establish a stronger emotional bond between the consumer and the product brand. The current packaging of Snack Factory’s Pretzel Crisps pretzel crackers might qualify as killer, but a long-anticipated and important trademark decision issued last Friday relied on an earlier version of the product packaging… Continue Reading

Err Jordan?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Law Suits

As some of you may know, I commonly write posts on “personal branding” involving sports figures and other celebrities.  (See here, here, here, here, and here).  Well, last week, a Seventh Circuit decision came down involving perhaps the most significant personal brand owner of all–Michael Jordan.  The Court’s summary was as follows: This trademark and right of publicity dispute… Continue Reading

Single Color Trademark Developments

Posted in Articles, Branding, Law Suits, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Over the past five years, we have spilled a lot of black digital ink discussing trademark ownership of single colors. Color continues to be an important aspect of branding and differentiation in a variety of markets, including many you’d expect, and some you might not. Christian Louboutin’s red color trademark helps to illustrate the importance of single color… Continue Reading

Heirs’ Right of Publicity

Posted in Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts

When I read about one of the recent “right of publicity” cases, I thought back to the Eighties and “Who Shot JR?”  This is because Mary Crosby, as the character Kristin Shepard, was the one who shot JR in 1980 on the widely popular show “DALLAS.” The case Bing Crosby v. HLC Props., Ltd., No…. Continue Reading

Raspberry Berate

Posted in Infringement, Law Suits

About two weeks ago, the artist (known as, then formerly known as, and now again known as) Prince filed a copyright infringement suit against 22 “accused bootleggers” (most likely fans) that had been posting links to unauthorized concert recordings.  (See story here.)  Apparently, due to the backlash from fans and, more importantly, due to the fact that… Continue Reading

Is Tiffany Generic?

Posted in Branding, Counterfeits, Dilution, False Advertising, Famous Marks, Genericide, Law Suits, Sight, Trademarks

Genericide kills trademark rights.  It has been alleged that “Tiffany setting,” encompassing the famous TIFFANY mark owned by Tiffany and Company (“Tiffany”), is merely a generic term for a type of engagement ring. You may recall my DuetsBlog post regarding the lawsuit that Tiffany filed on Valentine’s Day against Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Costco”) to protect… Continue Reading

Gold Digger

Posted in Branding, Infringement, Law Suits, Technology

Since I’m a massive contemporary hip-hop fan (okay, not really), I felt compelled to comment on the entertaining “Coinye” controversy that recently bubbled over.  For those of you not in the know, “Coinye” was apparently intended to be a virtual currency in the same vein as BitCoin. The lawsuit was brought in Federal Court in… Continue Reading

Crisps = Chips = Crackers?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Genericide, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Seeing these on the store shelf this weekend reminded me that we are still anxiously awaiting the USPTO’s decision from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) as to whether the words “pretzel crisps” will be found generic for “pretzel crackers” –basically, a public domain category or class of goods term, in the same way that “footlong”… Continue Reading

Hanging Around Trademark Disputes

Posted in Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Search Engines, Social Media, Social Networking, Technology, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, USPTO

When you hang around trademark disputes long enough you start to see patterns, at least, at the ends of the spectrum (or not). We have spilled much digital ink over allegations of “trademark bullying” — something that does occur, but in the grand scheme of all trademark enforcement matters, the instances of actual bullying and abuse seem… Continue Reading

Had Your Charbucks This Morning?

Posted in Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Food, Infringement, Law Suits, Trademarks

- Anjali Shankar, Attorney – Annie Clark and her husband, Jim, own a mom-and-pop shop called Black Bear Micro Roastery in Tuftonboro, New Hampshire.  Black Bear introduced its Charbucks blend in 1997, which is a dark roast coffee.  In 2001, Black Bear was sued in federal district court in New York by Starbucks. Starbucks argued… 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

Battle Between Harper Lee and her Hometown Museum over Use of “To Kill A Mockingbird”

Posted in Law Suits, Trademarks

Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. —Harper Lee,  To Kill a Mockingbird Time will tell if this quote applies to author Nelle Harper Lee’s (“Ms. Lee’s”) battles with her hometown museum—the  Monroe County Heritage Museum (the “Museum”) over use… Continue Reading

What Does the Suffix Say?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Domain Names, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks

Ylvis, the Norwegian music/comedy duo, recently revealed the secret of the fox to more than a hundred and twenty-three million viewers on YouTube (as of this posting), answering the vexing question: What does the fox say? Not surprisingly, given this wide-spread attention, an individual apparently unconnected to Ylvis already has filed an intent-to-use trademark application for ”What the Fox Say”… Continue Reading

The R-Word, Postponing the Inevitable

Posted in Almost Advice, AlphaWatch, Articles, Branding, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

As many anxiously await the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB) decision in Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc., a trademark cancellation action seeking to revoke six federal service mark registrations containing the R-Word (issued between 1967 and 1990), the pressure is mounting for the NFL team located near our Nation’s Capital to stop postponing the inevitable: A name change. Change… Continue Reading

“Raging Bull” Copyright Case To Be Heard By Supreme Court

Posted in Copyrights, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits

- Anjali Shankar, Attorney – In 1980, Robert De Niro starred in an Oscar-winning boxing movie, “Raging Bull.” A suit has been brought by Paula Petrella, whose father, Frank P. Petrella, wrote the book and screenplay for the movie. Frank Petrella and his collaborator, boxer Jake LaMotta, assigned the rights to their book and screenplay… 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

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

Walking into a Trademark Dispute

Posted in Dilution, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Trademarks

The latest shoe dispute involves AirWair International Ltd. (“AirWair”), who manufactures the Dr. Martens shoe brand, and an alleged knock-off being sold by Cels Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Chinese Laundry (“Chinese Laundry”) under the “Dirtiy Laundry” mark and brand.  You may have read about other trademark disputes involving Louboutin shoes at DuetsBlog here and here. Although… Continue Reading

The Trademark Bullying Dialogue Continues

Posted in Articles, Dilution, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Sophisticated trademark owners recognize that their trademark rights are dynamic — even if their trademarks aren’t famous for purposes of dilution – they can grow or shrink over time, depending on the magnitude of their own use and their response to third party violations. It is no wonder then that trademark owners are prepared to expend significant… Continue Reading

Do We Need Biometrics to Protect Our Personal Brands Online?

Posted in First Amendment, Guest Bloggers, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media, Social Networking

Debbie Laskey, MBA By the time you read this post, hopefully the buzz surrounding Miley Cyrus and the Video Music Awards show will have evaporated into thin air. But there was another related story surrounding the event that generated a ton of buzz on Twitter. On the day after the awards show, an editorial appeared… Continue Reading