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Tag Archives: Section 2(a) of Lanham Act

Federal Trademark Registration, the First Amendment, and Freedom of Speech: Part III

Posted in Articles, Branding, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Of course, loyal readers have been eagerly awaiting Part III of the series (see Part I and Part II) focusing on Tam’s intersection of federal trademark registration and the First Amendment. In terms of the certain and practical implications flowing from the decision, it opens the door to a host of new trademark applications containing religious and… Continue Reading

A Special Thank You to Suzan Shown Harjo

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

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the filing of the petition to cancel the R-Word registrations held by Pro-Football, Inc., the NFL franchise playing near the Nation’s capital. Indian Country Today has published an interview with Suzan Shown Harjo, lead petitioner in Harjo et al v. Pro-Football, Inc., and organizer of Blackhorse et al v…. Continue Reading

“Not So Fast,” Mr. THRILLED Daniel Snyder

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

Lee Corso (former coach and ESPN football analyst) frequently utters this famous sports media catchphrase on ESPN’s “College GameDay” program: “Not so fast, my friend!” The first three words of that phrase come to mind upon hearing that THRILLED Daniel Snyder (majority owner of the NFL football franchise nearest the Nation’s Capitol) is celebrating Simon… Continue Reading

Congratulations to Howard University’s 2017 McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Team

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

It’s not every year that participants in the William E. McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition need to understand the various nuances of federal trademark law. Yet, with the Lee v. Tam case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, and Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act hanging in the balance, this was such a… Continue Reading

McCarthy Institute Trademark Seminar 2017

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Copyrights, Dilution, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

One of the current challenges in trademark law addressed in Seattle last week at the Amazon Corporate Conference Center, host of the 2017 McCarthy Institute and Microsoft Corporation Symposium, is an issue we have discussed quite a bit here, namely Trademark Disparagement and the First Amendment. The panel to discuss this weighty topic included the… Continue Reading

Wahoo: Non-Verbal Equivalent of Racial Slur

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

The Cleveland Indian’s loss last evening in the World Series ensures that Chief Wahoo will not end the 2016 MLB season at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, but instead Cleveland’s Progressive Field: I’ve written before about how the Wahoo logo is the non-verbal equivalent of a racial slur and about the severe irony in Wahoo’s grotesque racist… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Benches Dan Snyder’s Team

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

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Mr. Simon Tam’s arguments and review the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s majority decision striking as unconstitutional Lanham Act Section 2(a)’s bar against the federal registration of disparaging matter, so it will decide the following issue, once and for all: “Whether the disparagement provision… Continue Reading

The World’s Healthiest Trademark Puffery

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, False Advertising, Food, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

Above the Law recently published a Techdirt story reporting that the USPTO denied Whole Foods‘ attempt to federally-register the laudatory trademark: “World’s Healthiest Grocery Store“. The Techdirt story incorrectly seems to suggest that the global nature of the phrase is what caused the application to be refused, since Whole Foods has not yet achieved a… Continue Reading

Madonna Not Scandalous for Wine Anymore

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

The headline might be considered old news to some, but since intellectual property attorneys from around the world will be descending upon Minneapolis for the remainder of the week, and since I’ll be speaking tomorrow at the American Intellectual Property Law Association Spring Meeting at the Minneapolis Hilton, on the history and public policy behind… Continue Reading

Will USPTO Director Michelle Lee’s Signature Adorn a SLANTS Certificate of Registration?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Copyrights, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Let’s hope not, for a variety of reasons. In other words, let’s hope the Supreme Court straightens out the unfortunate ruling last week that the federal government is powerless to deny requests to federally register marks on grounds that they consist of or comprise racial slurs or other matter that may disparage persons. The CAFC… Continue Reading

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

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

Trademark Disparagement Kills the R-Word

Posted in Articles, Branding, Law Suits, Marketing, SoapBox, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

My father-daughter time was wonderful in London when the news hit about the USPTO ordering cancellation of the six “Washington Redskins” trademarks as disparaging to Native Americans. Thanks for your patience in waiting for my perspective on the subject — you know I’m thrilled if you know me well, if you know of my involvement in the… Continue Reading

Google’s Latest Trademark Bugaboo?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Infringement, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Search Engines, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

Fame tends to attract attention, and imitation, especially unwanted imitation from, well, even pests. The Google trademark appears to have obtained such a high degree of fame that no third party can include the word “Google” in its mark without having a problem, regardless of what the third party happens to be selling. Ron, can you say, right in gross?… 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

Red Solo Cup Inspiration?

Posted in Audio, Branding, Dilution, Goodwill, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks

Marketing types, it may well be obvious to some, but it is always important to consider the source of inspiration for the branding and marketing of the products and services you promote. At least for those who follow country singer Toby Keith, with a Costco retail end-cap display like this, it’s hard not to assume where the… Continue Reading

Mark Zuckerberg Means What?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, False Advertising, Marketing, Social Networking

This billboard ad has been running in the Twin Cities for a while now, promoting a local car dealership who is very proud of its website: Does anyone seriously believe that Mark Zuckerberg — the twenty-seven year old president, chief executive officer, and co-creator of the Facebook social networking site — is jealous of the morries.com website?… Continue Reading

Primitive & Impolite, But Non-Vulgar Trademark & Naming Technique?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Food, Marketing, Trademarks

On a recent pilgrimage to my home town to visit the University of Iowa and to see the Hawkeyes play football again in hallowed Kinnick Stadium, I discovered that a rather rudimentary and perhaps impolite (or potty mouth), yet passionate (sorry Nancy) branding technique, is alive and kicking in Iowa City. I also learned what now appears to go hand-in-hand (or, perhaps leg-in-hands as… Continue Reading

Tripartite Branding Trouble: The Name is Suk?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Goodwill, Marketing, Trademarks

"The name is Bond, James Bond," said Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Daniel Craig, among others, countless times in film, as part of the famous 007 series. An ideal name for a secret agent. A name and line not easily forgotten, as brands and taglines should be. And then, there are some names you’d like to forget, but can’t, especially if… Continue Reading

Now That’s a Peach . . . of a Trademark Description

Posted in Marketing, Sight, Trademarks

Mark Prus recently highlighted some examples of a do-it-yourself naming faux pas, where he asked "What were they thinking?!" This one probably deserves the same question and, at least to me, clearly falls into the category of a do-it-yourself trademark application faux pas. Just so you know, I innocently stumbled across this recently abandoned trademark application for the above shown design trademark in connection… Continue Reading