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Category Archives: TTAB

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Coke Walks Tightrope in ZERO Branding

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

As you may recall, last September we wrote about Coca-Cola’s Significant Interest in Zero Marks, discussing Coca-Cola’s defense of a trademark infringement suit brought by an individual named Mirza Baig, who claimed rights in “Naturally Zero” for Canadian natural spring water, and Coca-Cola’s contrasting attempts to own and federally-register various marks containing the term ZERO… Continue Reading

Bringing Down the Bauhaus for Trademarks?

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

We’ve been spilling a lot of digital ink lately on the topic of non-traditional trademark protection and how the functionality doctrine serves as an absolute bar for such protection. As you know, for some time, we’ve been stressing the importance of close collaboration between trademark and marketing types when it comes to forming public communications… 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

Actually Resisting the Temptation to Tout Function and Hopefully Own a Trademark

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Loss of Rights, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Product Configurations, Product Packaging, Sight, Technology, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Continuing our ramp up toward the launch of our Strategies for Owning Your Product Designs webinar next week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Morton-Norwich factors — the common analysis for determining whether a product design or feature can be owned as a trademark or whether it is functional and part of the public… Continue Reading

Fear the Brow, or Fear the Trademark Specimen?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Famous Marks, Fashion, Infringement, Loss of Rights, Social Media, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Celebrity has its advantages in the trademark world. Slogans and taglines are big business for famous athletes, which in turn has led to some entertaining trademark applications: JOHNNY FOOTBALL and LINSANITY, to name a couple. As Martha noted in 2012, Anthony Davis sought to capitalize on his distinctive appearance and “The Brow” nickname with four… Continue Reading

What Do Gripe Sites Have to Do with SCOTUS’s B&B Hardware Decision?

Posted in Domain Names, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Trademarks, TTAB

In December, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in B&B Hardware v. Hargis Industries. The case addresses the level of deference to be given to decisions from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, if any. We’ve discussed the issue a number of times at DuetsBlog. I’d love to provide you with breaking news, but still… 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

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

BLACKHAWK Down: Registration Refused Based on Relatedness of Wine & Beer

Posted in Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

While the Minnesota state legislature ponders whether consumers should be able to purchase liquor on Sundays within the state, the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has once again concluded that consumers are likely to be confused that beer sold under one mark comes from the same source as wine (or another liquor) sold… Continue Reading

As the Trademark Fraud Pendulum Swings

Posted in Articles, Law Suits, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Once upon a time, and for decades thereafter, trademark fraud claims were highly disfavored. They were criticized as unproductive litigation diversions — “often pled,” but “rarely proven.” To succeed — during that lengthy period of time — the alleged fraud had to be “proven to the hilt,” with “clear and convincing evidence,” leaving nothing to… Continue Reading

Topics of Conversation for Your College Football Playoff Party

Posted in Branding, Famous Marks, Goodwill, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

- Draeke Weseman, Weseman Law Office, PLLC On Monday, the University of Oregon and The Ohio State University will play in college football’s first College Football Playoff championship game. DuetsBlog has previously covered the trademark issues surrounding BCS Properties’ attempt to register College Football Playoff as a trademark in connection with college football playoff games… 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

Channeling Justice Ginsburg of U.S. Supreme Court on the Right to Register a Trademark

Posted in Articles, Branding, Civil Procedure, Infringement, Law Suits, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

We sounded the alarm exactly six months ago about a trademark case of great importance to brand owners: B&B Hardware v. Hargis Industries. Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case, and here is a link to the transcript (hat tip to Draeke). As you will recall, our concern in… Continue Reading

Does the United States Patent and Trademark Office Perpetuate Sexism in Branding?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, First Amendment, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

- Draeke Weseman, Weseman Law Office, PLLC Now the dilemma…what to name the place. Simple. What else brings a gleam to men’s eyes everywhere besides beer, chicken wings and an occasional winning football season? Hence the name Hooters. Supposedly they were into owls. Strange. — Hooters  This NFL season, civil rights advocates continue to make… 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

When is a Flavor/Taste Trademark Possible?

Posted in Articles, Food, Infringement, Law Suits, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Taste, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Are your intellectual taste buds craving more discussion of non-traditional trademarks? It’s not every day we have the opportunity to write about a restaurant’s claimed trademark protection for the flavor or taste of certain food dishes and a restaurant’s claimed trade dress in the chef’s unique plating or visual presentation or appearance of certain food… Continue Reading

Gibson Guitar Facing 15 Trademark Opposers

Posted in Articles, Audio, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Sight, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

A brand owner’s non-traditional trademark application will sometimes gain the critical attention of multiple direct competitors. Gibson Guitar’s unlucky number is apparently fifteen. Last Thursday, Gibson’s guitar configuration application shown to the right and below was opposed by far more competitors than it has strings on the above ebony Gibson ES-339 Studio Electric Guitar: U.S…. Continue Reading

Amy, Whatcha Wanna Do (About this TM)?

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

As we start to think about welcoming in the weekend, why don’t we all hum this Pure Prairie League tune, while viewing this image and reading this very brief blog post: As this image (that I snapped this morning) shows, the skyway in downtown Minneapolis is sporting a relatively new snack shop called Amy’s. I’m… Continue Reading

Converse: Stomping Out Counterfeits through Int’l Trade Commission Proceedings

Posted in Articles, Counterfeits, Famous Marks, Fashion, Infringement, Law Suits, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Earlier this week, Converse launched an all-out offensive to combat what it considers counterfeit and knock-off versions of its Chuck Taylor All-Star line of sneakers. Reports peg the number as at least 22 separate lawsuits against more than 30 companies, both in district court and at the International Trade Commission (the “ITC”). The defendants read… Continue Reading

You Can McDo It, But You Might Get McSued.

Posted in Famous Marks, Infringement, Trademarks, TTAB

Shares in McDonald’s jumped surprisingly high earlier this week, causing some to wonder whether any notable investors might be involved, possibly with inside information. Or maybe it was somebody hoping to get an inside track on McDonald’s Monopoly game, which began yesterday (do the stock certificates come with as many peel-off game pieces as a… Continue Reading

Coca-Cola’s Significant Interest in Zero Marks

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

Coca-Cola just announced it is introducing Coke Zero in India, which will make it the sub-brand’s 149th market in the world, a truly remarkable reach. As the popular Coke Zero brand is approaching its tenth anniversary in the U.S., it seems like a good time to explore Coca-Cola’s trademark position in COKE ZERO and COCA-COLA… Continue Reading

Amici Weigh in on “Right to Register v. Right to Use” Trademark Case at Supreme Court

Posted in Articles, Infringement, Law Suits, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

More than three months ago, we sounded the alarm about an important trademark case to consider the interplay between the right to register and the right to use a trademark: “Every so often there is a moment when trademark types, marketing types and brand owners need to pay close attention to where the law could be headed. Today, I’m… Continue Reading