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Category Archives: Trademark Bullying

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Facebook vs. DESIGNBOOK: Is Anybody Watching?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Fair Use, Infringement, Social Networking, Technology, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

One might assume that Facebook, the ubiquitous social media platform that aggregates and analyzes nearly 1 billion users‘ data, would know every nook and cranny of the USPTO trademark database.  Apparently, that’s not quite the case. Various news outlets have reported recently that a Vermont startup named Designbook has received the demand letter nasty-gram from Facebook (no reference to Facebook… Continue Reading

Meet Batman’s New (Trademark) Nemesis: Rihanna

Posted in Dilution, Famous Marks, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB

After making (and remaking (and re-remaking)) movies, sequels, and prequels for nearly every comic book character in its library, it appears that DC Comics has finally found a new foe for its Batman franchise: music and fashion superstar Rihanna. The parties are squaring off at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board over Rihanna’s application to… Continue Reading

Copycat Characters and the Selective Enforcement of IP Rights

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

Spring is here with summer just around the corner. While many are preparing for barbeques and boating, others are finalizing plans and perhaps costumes in preparation for Comic-Con (Comic Book Convention) season. As many know, DC Comics and Marvel Comics are the long-time competitors in comic book publishing. Both companies were started in the 1930s… Continue Reading

Let’s Ignite Inspiration Together: FUSE 2015

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Last year at FUSE 2014, I spoke about “The Intersection of Brands, Design, and the Law,” this year — and a short ten days from now — I’ll be sharing some valuable thoughts about how to gracefully navigate the many legal pitfalls of naming and re-branding projects. FUSE — one of the premier brand and… Continue Reading

On Unintended Consequences: Will the B&B SCOTUS Ruling Encourage Trademark Bullies?

Posted in Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Civil Procedure, Infringement, Law Suits, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Last week, while I was preparing for and had the unique opportunity of arguing a real, live TTAB final hearing on the merits, outside the TTAB’s typical oral hearing location (because it was selected by the TTAB to be part of the ABA’s IPLSpring continuing education conference in Bethesda, Maryland), the Supreme Court issued its… Continue Reading

March Madness For INNOVATION

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Food, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Following a nice evening out chatting with Kevin O’Keefe, it’s time for my favorite weekend of all – the NCAA tournament. Now this post isn’t necessarily about basketball, but rather rivalries. In particular, rivalries between the state of Michigan and the state of North Carolina. Michigan v Duke, Michigan State v. North Carolina…there’s plenty of… Continue Reading

Single-Letter Trademark Battles: Who Gets the W for “W”?

Posted in Advertising, AlphaWatch, Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Infringement, Social Media, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

How much trouble can a double-U make?  If you’ve been following this blog over the years, you know the answer: quite a lot. This blog has written extensively on the trials and tribulations that may accompany single-letter trademark applications, and the letter “W” in particular.  You may then conclude, quite correctly, that a whole lot… Continue Reading

Red Bull Strikes Again, but Is Old Ox Brewery a Matador in Disguise?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Food, Infringement, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

It’s no secret that Red Bull has a strong trademark enforcement strategy. Too strong, according to some. In its defense, IP counsel for Red Bull has stated that With a brand as famous as Red Bull you can certainly imagine the type of coat-tailing that goes on by third parties and we invest a lot… Continue Reading

Would You Feel Friendly Toward Freddy?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Food, Infringement, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, USPTO

As the brand manager or trademark counsel for Friendly’s, would you be friendly toward Freddy’s? I remember the Friendly’s restaurant chain when we lived in Columbia, Maryland, back in the days when I clerked for a Senior Judge on the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., so at my first sighting… 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

Owning the Visual Identity of a Generic Word

Posted in Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Food, Genericide, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Unless you have created a highly stylized, distinctive, graphic representation of a generic designation, perhaps something like the Miller Lite script, don’t bother trying to own or enforce it:   Most likely, you’ll end up regretting the decision to enforce, when the court of public opinion weighs in, after the social media shame-wagon flogs it… 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

An Energized Trademark Monster?

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

Three months ago we discussed a “trademark bullying” allegation against Monster Energy, detailed in a declaratory judgment complaint filed in Montana federal district court by energy-drink competitor Victory Energize. Last week, Law360 reported the case settled on confidential terms, and the claims were dismissed with prejudice, at Victory Energize’s request, so the “trademark bullying” charge… Continue Reading

Bo Knows, How To Beat a Trademark Bully

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Social Media, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

This Bo might not have won the Heisman Trophy, he might not have played in the NFL or MLB, he might not have enjoyed a lucrative Nike endorsement deal, and he might not have been named ESPN’s greatest athlete of all time, but this Bo — the defiant Vermonter, a/k/a Bo Muller-Moore, knows how to… Continue Reading

Reeejected!

Posted in Almost Advice, Trademark Bullying, TTAB

Think an undefended opposition proceeding is a slam dunk, then you better think again.  In Emminence, LLC v. Lisa Kelly, Opposition No. 91205286 (October 8, 2014), the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board dismissed an opposition proceeding even though the defendant did not offer any evidence or even a trial brief in support of her case…. Continue Reading

Will Montana-Based Victory Energize Win Its “Trademark Bully” Charge Against Monster?

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

Last week more allegations of “trademark bullying” appeared in the headlines. This time, Victory Energize, an energy drink company based in Missoula, Montana, is calling out Monster Energy for sending a cease and desist letter to Victory. Monster’s demand letter is said to charge Victory with infringement of Monster’s distinctive trade dress. So, what say you?… Continue Reading

Will Chick-fil-A, uh Chicken Out?

Posted in Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Food, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Social Media, Social Networking, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Just so you know, this is not the post I planned to write today. Hat tip to you, Bo! It has been exactly one year since Bo Muller-Moore — the “Eat More Kale” guy from Vermont — submitted a comprehensive 71-page response to the registration refusal based on “Eat Mor Chikin” issued by the USPTO… Continue Reading

How Many Hours of Energy Do You Need to Protect a Brand?

Posted in Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Guest Bloggers, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

- Draeke Weseman, Weseman Law Office, PLLC The reason Bhargava has won is that he plays tough. Sitting in that cemetery are a dozen or so neon copycats with names like 6-Hour Power and 8-Hour Energy. Each has been sued, bullied or kicked off the market by Living Essentials’ lawyers. In front of each are… 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

Role Reversal: David Bullying Goliath?

Posted in Branding, Famous Marks, Goodwill, Infringement, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB

When claims of trademark infringement make the news, it is often because a billion dollar corporation is suing old man Donaldson’s tavern for trademark infringement (Although, McDonaldson’s might have been a bad choice…).  You’ve got your Ikeas, your Googles, Chick-fil-As, and your NFLs of course (not the National Forensics League, they’re cool).  David can fight back and win, but David… Continue Reading

NONPROFIT BRAND TINTED WITH – NOT TAINTED BY – LEGAL

Posted in Branding, Goodwill, Guest Bloggers, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

- Abby V. Reiner, Brand Director, Wounded Warrior Project Fine (red) Lines Nonprofits walk a fine line between wanting everyone to feel a part of the mission without allowing everyone to use its trademarks resulting in dilution or infringement of the brand. Sometimes the very well intentioned can do more harm than good. When a… Continue Reading

Dethroning a Right to Register a Trademark?

Posted in Agreements, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Dilution, Famous Marks, Infringement, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Last month, you will recall we wrote about the important difference between the right to register a trademark and the right to use a trademark, here and here. Despite the fact that in most cases, a “likelihood of confusion” test governs both determinations, the right to use and the right to register are not necessarily coextensive rights — defeating… Continue Reading