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Category Archives: Agreements

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Uncertain Case of Google Trademark Fair Use

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Infringement, Marketing, Search Engines, Trademarks

Aren’t digital advertising billboards amazing? My iPhone captured this rolling series of images just yesterday, for a health care organization using the Google trademark in the Minneapolis skyway: My questions, permission, co-branding, no permission, but classic or nominative fair use? Is Google flattered? Free advertising? Do they care? Should they care? Discuss, to quote John Welch,… Continue Reading

The Uncertain Case of Deadwood Trademarks

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Articles, Branding, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

Last week, I enjoyed the privilege of returning to Iowa City (where it all began) for Executive Leadership Board Meetings at the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. Great meetings there! During a stroll through downtown, I was reminded of Deadwood, a legendary Iowa City tavern, so I snapped a few photos, having long forgotten the creative tagline — Institute of… Continue Reading

Carvana and Google: Co-Branding Nirvana?

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Fair Use, Marketing, Television, Trademarks

Carvana — online car dealer and operator of “a higher state of car buying” — sports a halo in its non-verbal logo shown above, but is it an angel when using the Google name and logo in t.v. ads? In other words, is the use licensed by Google or could it be defended successfully without permission as trademark nominative fair use?… Continue Reading

When Does My Pillow Become Your Windfall?

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Articles, Branding, Goodwill, Infringement, Keyword Ads, Marketing, Television, Trademarks

Mike Lindell, has built an impressive business around a pretty simple brand name and trademark: We’ve previously written about the MyPillow trademark, noting the apparently narrow scope of rights it enjoys, as a result of the coexistence with some pretty similar marks, including this one: Earlier this year, My Pillow filed a complaint in federal district court in… Continue Reading

Patent IPRs and Allergan’s Sovereign Immunity Defense

Posted in Agreements, Contracts, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Patents

In an age of rising healthcare costs, pharmaceutical companies can be an easy target in calls for patent reform.  Patent protection helps drug manufacturers recoup their investment in developing the new drug,.  It also prevents generic manufacturers from releasing the same drug formulation at lower cost.  The Hatch-Waxman Act provides a pathway for generic manufacturers… Continue Reading

Update: PayPal v. Pandora Settlement

Posted in Agreements, Branding, Famous Marks, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

Last year I posted about the trademark infringement complaint by PayPal against Pandora, based on Pandora’s rebranded “P” logo that was introduced in October 2016.  See a comparison below of PayPal’s blue “PP” design mark (left) with Pandora’s blue “P” design mark (right). Last November, the parties reached a written settlement agreement and stipulated to… Continue Reading

Twitter Flying Too Close to TWIT Mark With Video Content

Posted in Agreements, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media, Social Networking, Technology, Trademarks

Twitter, the social media giant, is being sued by its internet cousin, TWiT.  TWiT, which initially stood for This Week in Tech, is a netcast network providing audio and video tech-related content.  TWiT owns the registered service mark TWIT for visual and audio entertainment performances. According to the Complaint, TWiT founder Leo Laporte and Twitter… Continue Reading

An Update from Mars: “CocoVaa” Dispute Resolved

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

Earlier this year, I posted about a dispute between candy company Mars Inc. and a small business based in Wisconsin, selling handmade fine chocolates under the mark CocoVaa. In March, Mars Inc. filed a federal trademark infringement complaint in the Eastern District of Virginia, asserting that its registered CocoaVia® mark (Reg. No. 4179465), for a dietary supplement powder, was being… Continue Reading

Long Trail Brewing Tells Burton to TAKE A HIKE!

Posted in Agreements, Branding, Fashion, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks

What happens when a clothing manufacturer starts selling graphic t-shirts and sweatshirts, perhaps without doing a proper trademark search?  Sometimes a lawsuit. A trailblazing brewery when it comes to trademark disputes, Long Trail recently sued snowboard manufacturer and fellow Vermonter Burton for using TAKE A HIKE on shirts and sweatshirts.  Here’s an example of one… Continue Reading

Joint IP Ownership Rights

Posted in Agreements, Almost Advice, Contracts, Copyrights, Genericide, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Patents, Trademarks

New ideas, creations, and business ventures are often the product of collaboration.  If lawyers had their way, a written agreement would precede every creative collaboration.  Of course, this is not the case.  Collaborators often do not seek advice of counsel, or see the need for an agreement, until after the new idea, creation, or venture… Continue Reading

All for Saving the Original Minnesota State Fair Curds, Say Aye, Better Yet . . . #s and @s

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Food, Marketing, Social Media, Trademarks

When Aaron Keller of Capsule deeply cares about an issue (in a deeply fried kind of way), it’s hard not to stand up, pay attention, and follow instructions, especially when his picture of golden little nuggetized cheese curds are involved and the Minnesota State Fair is at stake. As you might have discerned over the… Continue Reading

HAVANA CLUB: The Rum’s Back on Ice

Posted in Agreements, Branding, Counterfeits, Famous Marks, Food, Law Suits, TTAB, USPTO

-Wes Anderson, Attorney Last year, I blogged about the decades-long dispute for the HAVANA CLUB trademark in the United States. Nearly ten months later, well, its spirit lives on. To briefly recap: in one corner, Empresa Cubana Exportadora, an arm of the Cuban government, owns a registration for the HAVANA CLUB trademark. In the other corner,… Continue Reading

Pass the…Creative Work

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Copyrights, Famous Marks, Genericide, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits

I laughed when I saw yesterday’s Adweek article about Heinz adopting Don Draper’s “Pass the Heinz” pitch from the hit show “Mad Men.”  Given the lackluster creativity observed from the Super Bowl ads, have we actually reached a point where a creative says “hey remember that Mad Men episode? let’s just do that!” and the… Continue Reading

Stripe Three, Adidas Called a Trademark Bully

Posted in Agreements, Articles, Branding, Infringement, Law Suits, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Trademark bullying allegations are in the news again. Not only is Forever 21 calling Adidas a trademark bully for asserting rights in the three stripe design mark, it is asking a federal court to say it has not done anything wrong and award it fees: “Tired of operating with a cloud over its head with… Continue Reading

Who Will Own New Designs in a Jetsons-like Era?

Posted in Agreements, Copyrights, Idea Protection, Patents, Squirrelly Thoughts, USPTO

While on my flight back from speaking on trademarks & the alcohol industry at this year’s CiderCon, I listened to a fascinating TedTalks podcast on advancements in artificial intelligence that you can find here.  Some of the examples of the progress made in robots included the concept of open-ended, non-linear “generative” thinking by advanced AI… Continue Reading

Houston (College of Law) Has a Problem

Posted in Agreements, Articles, Branding, Civil Procedure, Goodwill, Infringement, International, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

A trademark problem, that is, as reported by the Texas Tribune on Friday of last week. Lest you be fooled by the above reference to Houston College of Law being established in 1923, the name has only been around since June of 2016. In fact, when South Texas College of Law rebranded to Houston College… Continue Reading

Federal Cannabis Laws Don’t Impede Patentability

Posted in Agreements, Patents, Technology, USPTO

While the Lanham Act bars the federal registration of trademarks related to illegal goods and services, there is no such prohibition against patenting illegal products or processes. However, the value of such patents is debatable. State Legalization Leads to Increased Patent Applications Marijuana is now legal, in some form, in 25 states. But under federal… Continue Reading

Worthwhile Uncomfortable Conversations

Posted in Agreements, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Copyrights, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks

Seth Godin wrote this past weekend about joint ownership of creations: “Before you create intellectual property (a book, a song, a patent, the words on a website, a design) with someone else, agree in writing about who owns what, who can exploit it, what happens to the earnings, who can control its destiny.” We couldn’t… Continue Reading

Trans-Pacific Intellectual Property

Posted in Agreements, Copyrights, Fair Use, Idea Protection, Infringement, International, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Trademarks

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—a favored talking point among our presidential hopefuls—is an international trade agreement between twelve nations. The agreement was signed earlier this year, but is not yet ratified in most member countries including the United States. Negotiations took place over seven years and resulted in thirty dense chapters of provisions—some of which are… Continue Reading

Blowing the Whistle on Trade Secrets: Employers Required to Provide Notice of Whistleblower Protections under DTSA

Posted in Agreements, Almost Advice, Law Suits, Loss of Rights

Last month, the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) was signed into law. The DTSA provides remedies for trade secrets misappropriation, including a new federal cause of action, under which private companies can sue for trade secrets misappropriation. The DTSA allows a trade secret owner to seek actual damages, injunctive relief, restitution, and in some… Continue Reading

ELLE Fails to Un-ring Bell, DJ Action Sticks

Posted in Agreements, Articles, Branding, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Dilution, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB

Question for the day, how common is the given name Elle? I’m really not sure, I don’t believe I’ve ever personally known anyone with that name, and Mongabay doesn’t even include Elle in its listing of girl’s first names, but it does rank Ella (210), Elena (412), Ellie (1198), Elly (2802), and Ellamae (3514) among… Continue Reading

Consent or Not, No Trademark Registration for Brewer’s TIME TRAVELER BLONDE Mark

Posted in Agreements, Almost Advice, Branding, Product Packaging, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

When an application has been refused registration in view of another’s prior filed mark, one way to resolve the issue is through a consent agreement wherein the registrant consents to the registration and the parties set out the reasons why the parties believe that there is no likelihood of consumer confusion between the marks.  A… Continue Reading

Dude, It’s Gotten GNARLY for Beer and Wine

Posted in Agreements, Almost Advice, Branding, Infringement, Marketing, Product Packaging, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Trademark issues regarding breweries and wineries are increasingly intertwined as both breweries and wineries grow, flower, and spread out throughout the country.  I have talked before about the issues relating to a perceived likelihood of confusion between marks on beer used by breweries and marks on wine used by wineries (see here, here, and here)…. Continue Reading