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Category Archives: Infringement

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SCOUTING Trademark Infringement: Girl Scouts v. Boy Scouts

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

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA)’s decision last year to end its boys-only policy was met with mixed reactions.  Some lauded it as a progressive victory.  Others, including former Girl Scouts, viewed it as a thinly-veiled corporate strategy and a loss for girls.  As part of an early adopter program, more than 3,000 girls have… Continue Reading

Will “Return Mail” Create an Escape from the Supreme Court’s Holding in “SAS”?

Posted in Articles, Infringement, Law Suits, Patents, Squirrelly Thoughts, USPTO

Readers of this blog may recall that in the past year, I wrote extensively about the U.S. Supreme Court case of Oil States v. Greene’s Energy. But I paid little attention to another important case decided around the same time: SAS Institute v. Iancu. Oil States centered on whether the USPTO’s inter partes review (“IPR”) process (challenging a patent at the USPTO,… Continue Reading

The New England Patriots Are Ready To Battle Off The Field

Posted in Articles, Branding, Idea Protection, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Technology, Trademarks

  An NFL team and an NBA team are duking it out over trademarks with the word “UPRISING” to be used with eSports. What is eSports you may ask? It is professional competitive video gaming. Anyone with a teenager has probably heard of Fortnite. Fortnite is a world-wide phenomenon. Over three nights during TwitchCon (which… Continue Reading

Illegal Brand Clone, or Evolved Inspiration?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Infringement, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

A loyal reader brought to our attention the logo for a rather interesting chiropractic practice: Without too much pain, can we all agree on the likely inspiration for the above name and logo? What’s really interesting is that the name Thorassic Park has been federally-registered since 2004, so there is little doubt that the names… Continue Reading

The Horror! Government Argues No Claim of Infringement for Unregistered Copyrights

Posted in Articles, Copyrights, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights

Happy Halloween from DuetsBlog! I write today regarding a scary subject: unregistered intellectual property. The horror! Ask any IP professional about registration, and you’re likely to hear that registration is one of the most important steps in protecting IP. Whether it is a patent, trademark, or copyright, registering IP often provides the IP owner greater… Continue Reading

Update #2: No Mo MoMaCha (For Now)

Posted in Almost Advice, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

There’s been a major update in the trademark infringement lawsuit brought by the Museum of Modern Art (“MoMA”) against the cafe and art gallery, MoMaCha in New York City. MoMA’s motion for a preliminary injunction was recently granted by Judge Louis Stanton of the Southern District of New York. As we discussed previously, the infringement allegations by MoMA were compelling, and it appears… Continue Reading

Dispute Over Bad Moms Mark

Posted in Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits, Television, Trademarks

Florida start-up entity BAD MOMS, LLC beat the producer of the movie with the same name to the punch! Specifically, the company sued the producer for declaratory judgment and an injunction preventing the movie producer from using the mark in connection with any of the Florida company’s goods and services or those related thereto. Both… Continue Reading

Intellectual Property Law Ruins the Party, Again

Posted in Copyrights, Goodwill, Infringement, Law Suits, Trademarks

Video games offer a melting pot of intellectual property: trademark law, copyright law, and even patent law all come together in a delicious mix of intangible property. However, not all video game franchises are equal. Few can claim the same level of longevity, success, and nostalgia as Nintendo’s Mario Brothers series. Among the most popular… Continue Reading

What Is in a Name? That Which We Call Heisman; by Any Other Name Would Be Ambiguous

Posted in Articles, Domain Names, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Sight, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

It’s fall, and you know what that means: football season! For many, this means a return to the couch each weekend to spectate America’s most-watched sport. But the popularity of doing so appears to be in decline. This shift isn’t only affecting the NFL, but also college football as well, as ticket sales continue to plummet…. Continue Reading

UGG Is Not Synonymous With A Type of Boot

Posted in AlphaWatch, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Fashion, Genericide, Idea Protection, Infringement, International, Law Suits, Marketing, Patents, Trademarks

The popular UGG® branded sheepskin boots are at the heart of a dispute in the Northern District of Illinois. Deckers Outdoor Corp. (“Deckers”) owns 29 federal registrations for the trademark UGG in connection with numerous goods and services, including footwear, clothing, wallets, passport covers, plush toys and retail store services. The company also has four… Continue Reading

The Potential Folly of Pursuing Only a Hashtag Mark

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Credit: Local Solutions I write today regarding a squirrelly thought: are the benefits of registering a hashtag trademark almost always outweighed by the consequences? In light of a recent Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) ruling and the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure’s (“TMEP”) provisions, hashtag marks offer much less protection than traditional character-based marks,… Continue Reading

Wine Spectator v. Weed Spectator – Is Wine Related to Cannabis?

Posted in Dilution, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

M. Shanken Communications, publisher of Wine Spectator — a popular magazine, website and mobile application that offers wine ratings on a 100-point scale — has filed a lawsuit against California-based Modern Wellness, Inc., based on that company’s use of “Weed Spectator” for ratings of cannabis. The federal complaint, filed in New York, alleges claims including trademark infringement,… Continue Reading

New NFL Season, New Trademark Fights

Posted in Branding, Goodwill, Infringement, Social Media, Trademarks, TTAB

As we move into Week 2 of the NFL, the big clash in North Country is Sunday’s Green Bay Packers – Minnesota Vikings game. All the buzz is whether the second-coming-of-Favre Aaron Rodgers will prevail over the vaunted Vikings defense. But here in my trademark bubble, I’m more interested in the Jacksonville Jaguars versus former… Continue Reading

After Battles for Fees, Victory for Comic Con and (partially) Grumpy Cat

Posted in Agreements, Articles, Civil Procedure, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks

The battle for attorneys’ fees after an intense trademark dispute often leaves many prevailing parties empty handed. This is because the Lanham Act only provides for attorneys’ fees in “exceptional cases.” Congress’s (and courts’) reluctance to award attorneys’ fees stems from the “American Rule,” which provides that each party to a lawsuit is responsible for paying… Continue Reading

Cheetos versus Peatos: Infringement or Overreach?

Posted in Branding, Famous Marks, Food, Goodwill, Infringement

PepsiCo recently made waves with its purchase of SodaStream, but the company is now making news in the food business. This time the news is all about Pepsi’s Frito-Lay division, and its mischief making Chester Cheetah and his crunchy, cheesy, Cheetos brand. Pepsi recently sent a cease and desist letter to World Peas, a manufacturer… Continue Reading

Poke Restaurant’s Trademark Enforcement Sparks Protests

Posted in Branding, Food, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media, Trademark Bullying

Trademark enforcement, particularly in an age of social media and internet shaming, is tricky business.  Some brands (I’m looking at you, Louis Vuitton) seem to have enough market share to ignore the social backlash from their heavy-handed demand letters.  But companies that lack that kind of brand power could benefit from a bit more finesse… Continue Reading

Battle Over Trademark in NOLA

Posted in Articles, Civil Procedure, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Food, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

The trademark ST. ROCH MARKET is at the heart of a dispute in New Orleans (aka NOLA).  The City of New Orleans is battling in court with the current lessee of the building associated with the trademark. ROCH MARKET has been associated with a popular market in New Orleans since 1875. Prior to Hurricane Katrina,… Continue Reading

Billy Goats, Trademark Twins, and the Descriptive Limits of Language

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

I’ve been thinking about the nature of language lately, ever since I listened to a podcast about various philosophers who devoted their study to language. For example, Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, is famous for his work on the logic of language. A fundamental premise to his philosophy is that… Continue Reading

Update: MOMACHA Triples Down, Expanding Despite Infringement Claim

Posted in Almost Advice, Infringement, Trademarks

Earlier this year, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, known as “MoMA,” sued a cafe and art gallery, MoMaCha, also located in New York City, asserting claims of trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition. As discussed in my post a couple months ago, although MoMaCha has some well-founded arguments and defenses, the allegations… Continue Reading

Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Highlights USPTO Constraints

Posted in Articles, Infringement, Patents, USPTO

Credit: Federal Circuit (what it looks like to argue there) One week ago, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 18-1638 (Fed. Cir. July 20, 2018)–by all accounts, one of this decade’s most important decisions concerning the America Invents Act and the patent system. The… Continue Reading

Clash of the Cups: NHL Sues Over Stanley Cup Beer Mug

Posted in Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, TTAB

Even in July, with the heat of summer still blazing, you can’t get away from ice hockey in Minnesota. However, now that the Vegas Golden Knights have settled their dispute with the U.S. Army, it was starting to look like we were running out of hockey trademark news. Thankfully, the National Hockey League came through… Continue Reading

This is Not the Statue You’re Looking For: The Post Office’s $3.5 Million Copyright Mistake

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, Infringement, Law Suits

  Earlier this month, the United States Postal Service (USPS) was ordered to pay $3.5 million in damages to a sculptor for copyright infringement. Seeking a unique redesign for its “Forever” stamps, the USPS searched stock photos for images of the Statue of Liberty.  They found a particularly striking photo on Getty Images and paid… Continue Reading

Vacuum Wars: On-Product Comparative Ads?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Marketing, Technology, Trademarks

When can a brand owner lawfully use a competitor’s trademark on the brand owner’s product? Over the years, we’ve lifted away a lot of dust on the hairy subjects of classic trademark fair use, nominative fair use, and comparative advertising, especially in the context of billboard ads. It isn’t every day we see comparative billboard ads actually affixed to… Continue Reading

Brands, Who Could Hang a Name on You?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Food, Infringement, International, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Over the years, we’ve written much about trademark bullying. When the mantle fits, and when it doesn’t. When a brand has a realistic view of its rights, and when the claimed scope is bloated. We’ve never before written about “Ruby Tuesday,” neither the Rolling Stones’ song nor the struggling restaurant chain, until now — and… Continue Reading