So, tomorrow is the big day, the big game, or whatever else other intimidated advertisers might call it. I just want to find the best deal on a flat screen television today! But, more to Mike Masnick’s point on Techdirt about the NFL’s reputation as a “trademark bully,” and his challenge to advertisers — “It’s the Super Bowl…. Continue Reading
We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink discussing the trademark bullying topic, going all the way back to my original blog post from 2010: “The Mark of a Real Trademark Bully.” Within the last several days, there has been quite a bit of online media coverage about Trademarkia’s new features that tout an ability to “Find… Continue Reading
Yesterday the New York Times ran a story on the “Eat Mor Chikin” v. “Eat More Kale” trademark dispute — the same one we covered a week ago: Eat More Anything? A couple of quotes from the NY Times article caught my eye: “In a statement, Chick-fil-A said, ‘We must legally protect and defend our ‘Eat mor… Continue Reading
There was a time when a certain kind of small business owner — strapped for cash — with a meager promotional budget, easily could be tempted to adopt a “clever” name, as a “short-cut,” to “play off” a well-known, iconic brand, but in the end, he or she probably was convinced by counsel that doing so would be… Continue Reading
A few bits of trademark advice recently passed across my screen from The Marketing Blog: Turning Entrepreneurs Into Marketers — advice that I believe deserves some friendly comment and critique, leaving you to decide whether any of it rises to the level of brilliant trademark advice or sinks to the level of trademark baloney: “Trademark as you go. Don’t wait… Continue Reading
When the “trademark bully” epithet is hurled at a trademark owner “caught in the act” of enforcing or otherwise protecting its intellectual property rights, another common accompaniment is the expressed outrage and indignation that no one could ever possibly be confused. Here are a few points worth noting: The test of infringement is likelihood of confusion, not actual confusion. Likelihood of confusion is… Continue Reading
The New York Times has been following a trademark battle between Christy Prunier’s body and beauty care start-up business apparently geared toward preteen and teenage girls (Willagirl LLC) and industry giant Procter & Gamble, owner of the well-known, if not famous, more than century old WELLA hair care brand, with U.S. trademark rights dating back at least to the early… Continue Reading
When trademark owners are accused of bullying and shamed in public, a common and knee-jerk defensive response to justify the cease and desist letter or enforcement action is: “We have a legal duty and obligation to police and enforce our trademark rights.” And, some might even go on to say: “If we don’t enforce our mark against this use,… Continue Reading
While it is true that not responding to a trademark cease and desist letter is always an available option, I tend to believe it is rarely a good choice. The strategy of silence seldom makes the issue go away, it often ends up costing the recipient more money to resolve the issue, and it is… Continue Reading
–Dan Kelly, Attorney Let’s review: From 1978 through 2007, Apple was in on-again, off-again trademark litigation with Apple Corps, holder of rights in The Beatles’ music and record label, over use of the APPLE trademark in connection with numerous music-related aspects of various Apple products and services, including iTunes. In 2007, Apple introduced its iPhone… Continue Reading
Best Buy was the subject of some intense criticism at the end of last week when Chris Morran of The Consumerist Blog and Mike Masnick of the Techdirt Blog took Best Buy to task and Mike went so far as to label Best Buy a “trademark bully” for sending a cease and desist letter to Newegg for… Continue Reading
In the midst of all our discussion about “trademark bullying,” I couldn’t resist picking up this “No Bull” postcard from Manny’s Steakhouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You may recall Dan previously wrote about Manny’s promoting similar images with the phrase “One Helluva Sac Lunch”. Dan also noted the irony of the best beef coming from steers, not… Continue Reading
Happy Mother’s Day! So, it’s time again to talk a little fishing billboard branding, I guess. We have enjoyed discussing Rapala billboard ads over the last couple of years, the “attracting cats” billboard, the “More hits than Google” billboard, the “Whudjagiddumon” billboard, and now the “Do you believe in monsters?” billboard. Note the upper case “G”… Continue Reading
Eric Goldman over at the Technology & Marketing Law Blog has some harsh words for the recent Report to Congress on Trademark Litigation Tactics. He calls the report “worthless”, a “complete whiff”, “useless”, and a waste of tax dollars. In addition, David Pardue over at the Trade Secrets and IP Today blog calls it a “whitewash“. Now… Continue Reading
Hat tip to Jack Clifford for providing a copy of the USPTO’s April 27, 2011 Report to Congress, pdf is here. I’ll be certain to circle back with you for another good “trademark bullying” discussion after digesting it.
“Trademark law is a complex, specialized area of law,” according to the International Trademark Association (INTA), as set forth in a recent communication to the USPTO. So, I must ask, does substantial experience or the lack of substantial experience in handling trademark matters impact the current trademark bullying debate? And, if so, how? Here are some interesting numbers… Continue Reading
There is another excellent webinar coming next week on April 6, dealing with the very hot topic of trademark bullying. This one is provided by Strafford Publications, and the details are here. Thanks to John Welch for his post on the program too. As before, first two people to post a comment receive free attendance!
It appears the topic of “trademark bullies” has been trending up recently. (For example, Steve Baird posted about an interesting Webinar that he moderated about dealing with “trademark bullies.”) Since I’m a shameless bandwagon jumper and fad follower (just ask my Pet Rock), I figured I’d write my own trademark bullying post in an effort to capitalize… Continue Reading
Last month I mentioned a trademark bullying webinar available through Minnesota Continuing Legal Education (MinnCLE), here. Tuition was $95 for 75 minutes of action-packed discussion on this very hot topic, so, a real bargain. Now, MinnCLE is graciously making it available for viewing free, here, so enjoy. (No CLE credit). By way of preview, yours truly set up the topic… Continue Reading
Any recent graduate of trademark grammar school knows, at least, the following twenty facts (perhaps there is, at least, one opinion among them): A trademark identifies, distinguishes, and indicates the origin of goods; A trademark should be searched and cleared before adoption and first use; A trademark needs a trademark attorney to take a position on availability; A trademark… Continue Reading
Apparently has led to the creation of a new blog entitled Trademark Bully — Kindly Back Off! The TrademarkBully.com domain was registered just days ago, by someone who has shielded their identity (doesn’t real blogging require transparency?) and it resolves to a WordPress Blog, with a couple of initial posts from yesterday. It also reveals the blog’s intended… Continue Reading
INTA has decided to release its January 4, 2011 submission to the USPTO on the “trademark bullying” topic, link to pdf here. It also can be downloaded from INTA’s website here. So, what do you think?
You may be interested to know that the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) did file a timely response on January 7, 2011, to the USPTO’s original request for comments regarding whether “trademark bullying” is a significant problem deserving attention, see here. Hat tip to Jackie. Let’s just say, it is starting to become clear why the USPTO dropped the… Continue Reading
It appears the USPTO, once again, has extended the period for submitting comments on what originally was termed a study regarding “trademark bullying,” but was later characterized as a study on “aggressive trademark litigation tactics” — so, for those of you still interested in submitting comments, the new deadline is February 14, 2011. Apparently, the USPTO plans on delivering the… Continue Reading