DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

Tucker Chambers

View my professional biography

I’ve always been fascinated by brands, logos, slogans, and other creative works. I remember in my first year of middle school, asking my parents for the Adidas “three stripe” shoes to match my friends at school. And I vividly recall various McDonald’s commercials and billboards, with the golden arches and the ubiquitous slogans, such as “We Love to See You Smile” (which, in my teenage years, changed to the allegedly hipper slogan “i’m lovin’ it”). And other endless logos and characters would intrigue me at the grocery store. I remember wondering why the little ® and © symbols were there, and what they meant—and eventually, this all led to an interest in trademarks and copyright law.

I was also drawn to intellectual property law based on my interests in technology, computers, and robotics. In my high school years, a small group of friends started a robotics team and asked me to join. We built a makeshift robot (primarily from plywood and pool noodles) and somehow ended up winning a regional competition. The following year (with a significantly more sophisticated robot), we advanced to the national championship.

My interest in practicing intellectual property law also grew through my law school courses and research work with my intellectual property professor, Ruth Okediji. In particular, one of my courses allowed me to embark on a week of extracurricular traveling to conduct pro bono work for a non-profit organization, including a visit to Tetiaroa in French Polynesia (a two-square-mile atoll, about three hours by boat from Tahiti). I worked diligently on some trademark matters, while sitting by the beach, sipping on fresh coconut water. Needless to say, that beach-side adventure set a high bar for the real-world practice of intellectual property law—but thus far I have not been disappointed.

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my wife and family, trying out new restaurants in the Twin Cities area (especially Italian and Latin American), playing tennis, and catching up on my favorite TV shows (current favorite: Stranger Things) or watching movies—especially spy thrillers, mind-benders, or futuristic sci-fi (all-time favorite: Inception).

Posts by Tucker Chambers

M22/Michigan Road Sign Dispute: The Saga Continues

Posted in Branding, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

My first post on this blog, nearly two years ago, was about a trademark dispute between the State of Michigan, and a Michigan company, M22, LLC.  M22 sells a variety of merchandise bearing an “M22” mark that appears similar to the route marker signs on Michigan Highway M-22, see photos below. M22 was granted several federal trademark registrations, including… Continue Reading

The USPTO Goes to Washington

Posted in Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Last week, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held its oversight hearing regarding the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). New USPTO Director Andrei Iancu testified (see his written statement here), for the first time in his new official capacity. It was an interesting hearing–a video recording of the hearing is available here (starting at minute 16)…. Continue Reading

Update: Stone Brewing v. MillerCoors – Answer and Counterclaims

Posted in Branding, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

A couple months ago, I posted about the contentious trademark battle involving Stone Brewing Co., a craft brewery based in California, who filed a trademark infringement complaint against giant beer conglomerate MillerCoors LLC and Molson Coors Brewing Co. (“MillerCoors”). The complaint is based on the recent rebranding of the MillerCoors “Keystone” beer, which separates and places greater… 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

Stone Brewing v. MillerCoors: A Key(STONE) Trademark Battle

Posted in Branding, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, USPTO

Stone Brewing Co., an independent craft brewery based in California, has filed a trademark infringement complaint against MillerCoors LLC and Molson Coors Brewing Co. (collectively “MillerCoors”). The complaint is based on the recent rebranding of the MillerCoors “Keystone” beer. The rebranded packaging separates “Keystone” into two words, with the smaller word “KEY” on a separate… Continue Reading

Army v. NHL – Another Challenge for Vegas Golden Knights

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Another update on my series of posts following the trademark troubles of the NHL’s newest expansion team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Most recently, I posted about the USPTO’s decision to maintain a refusal to register the team’s marks in connection with clothing, LAS VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS and VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS (Applicant Nos. 87147236, 87147265), based… Continue Reading

Torchy’s “Damn Good” Trademark Bullying…Or Not?

Posted in Branding, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media, Social Networking, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

A few weeks ago, a Mexican restaurant in Fort Collins, Colorado, named “Dam Good Tacos,” agreed to change its name based on a settlement in a trademark dispute with another Mexican restaurant, Torchy’s Tacos. Torchy’s Tacos owns a federal trademark registration for the mark “DAMN GOOD TACOS” (Reg. No. 4835497) for restaurant services. After learning of the Dam… Continue Reading

Call of Duty Trademark Lawsuit: A Humvee Humdinger

Posted in Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

AM General, manufacturer of Humvee military vehicles, has sued Activision Blizzard for trademark infringement, based on the use of the “Humvee” and “HMMWV” marks for the virtual military vehicles displayed in Activision’s Call of Duty video games. See the complaint here, filed last week in the Southern District of New York. For those of you who are not avid… Continue Reading

E-Sports Trademark Updates: MLB, Blizzard, ELEAGUE, and adidas

Posted in Branding, Infringement, Trademarks, TTAB

With the growing popularity of e-sports (multiplayer video-game sports competitions, often played by professional gamers for spectators–also stylized “eSports”), I’ve seen an increasing number of trademark disputes not only between video-game companies, but also between video-game companies and other non-electronics businesses selling physical goods or services.  It is interesting to observe the arguments regarding bridging the… Continue Reading

Is It Five O’Clock (or 1700 Hours) Somewhere?

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, TTAB

You’re probably familiar with the song “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” by Jimmy Buffet and Alan Jackson. It was the number one country single of the year back in 2003. A few years later, Jimmy Buffet submitted several trademark applications based on the song, which are now registered, including for example, IT’S FIVE O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE and IT’S… 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

Cheerios Registration Refused for Yellow Color Mark

Posted in Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, TTAB

For the past couple years, General Mills has battled to register a yellow color mark in connection with its Cheerios® breakfast cereal.  More specifically, back in 2015, General Mills applied to register (Serial No. 86757390) the mark shown below, described as “the color yellow appearing as the predominant uniform background color on product packaging for the… Continue Reading

Kerrygold Update: A Buttery Settlement

Posted in Branding, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging, Trademarks, USPTO

A few months ago I posted about a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Ornua, seller of Kerrygold® Pure Irish Butter, against Defendants Old World Creamery and Eurogold USA, who briefly sold Irish butter under the mark Irishgold. The court granted Ornua’s motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO), concluding that Ornua had a reasonable likelihood of success on its trademark infringement… Continue Reading

Registrations for Golden Knights Still Refused…Partially

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, USPTO

Another update on my series of posts following the newest NHL expansion team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, and the difficult time they’re having prosecuting their trademark applications. The applicant Black Knight Sports and Entertainment LLC (I’ll call applicant “the team”) applied to register LAS VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS and VEGAS GOLDEN NIGHTS in connection with… Continue Reading

MLB to Oppose (maybe) Blizzard’s Overwatch League Logo

Posted in Branding, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Sight, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

If you’re a video game fan like me, you’re probably familiar with Blizzard Entertainment and their assortment of popular games, such as Starcraft, Diablo, and World of Warcraft. One of Blizzard’s newest games is Overwatch, a multi-player, first-person shooter game. One aspect of this game is the Overwatch League, a series of tournaments and live… Continue Reading

PayPal v. Pandora: Is Music Streaming Related to Financial Services?

Posted in Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Technology, Trademarks

PayPal, one of the world’s largest online payment companies, has brought a trademark infringement suit against Pandora Media, Inc., the provider of an online music streaming service and application. PayPal alleges that its blue “PP” design mark (below, left) is infringed by Pandora’s recently re-designed blue “P” design mark (below, right). The complaint alleges federal claims of false designation… Continue Reading

The Covfefe Kerfuffle and the Rush to Register Trending Terms

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, USPTO

While many of us are working our way through the flood of thought-provoking analysis of Matal v. Tam, I’m taking a break with some lighter fare, namely, covfefe. In case you missed it, the viral non-word “covfefe” was born out of a supposedly meaninglessly typo (perhaps a misspelling of “coverage”) in one of President Trump’s early morning tweets (alternatively,… Continue Reading

An Update on the M22 Road Sign Dispute

Posted in Branding, Law Suits, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

A brief update on my post last year regarding the “M22” road sign trademark lawsuit, Michigan v. M22 LLC, No. 1:16-cv-01084 (W.D. Mich.) As a quick refresher, Michigan State Highway M-22 is a popular, scenic route that borders Lake Michigan along the Leelanau Peninsula. Along this route, there are numerous “M22” route marker signs. The Michigan company M22 sells… Continue Reading

“Google” Still Not (Yet) Generic

Posted in Domain Names, Famous Marks, Genericide, Law Suits, Trademarks, USPTO

Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a significant opinion on the topic of genericness, Elliott v. Google, Inc., No. 15-15809. The opinion affirmed a federal district court’s grant of summary judgment that “GOOGLE” trademark registrations (Reg. Nos. 2884502, 2806075) are not subject to cancellation for genericness. Genericness a.k.a. “genericide” occurs when… Continue Reading

Trademark Butter Battle: Kerrygold v. Irishgold

Posted in Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging

You’ve probably heard of and/or eaten Kerrygold® Pure Irish Butter, a deliciously popular (but higher-priced) butter imported from Ireland, made with milk from grass-fed cows. It’s available in most stores across the United States…except for Wisconsin. Sorry to all my Wisconsin friends, you’re missing out. However, the butter is so popular that there have been… Continue Reading

Mars – Helping You Work, Rest & Play (and improve blood circulation?)

Posted in Advertising, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

While browsing my daily trademark news and digesting some recent chocolate-related trademark litigation, to be discussed below, I happened upon some interesting discussions and histories of slogans for candy, including in particular, the MARS® chocolate bar. Back in 1960, Mars Inc. debuted its slogan for the MARS® chocolate bar: “A Mars a Day, Helps You Work,… Continue Reading