The Easter Bunny eats lettuce, right? OK, not a very substantive tie-in for today’s Easter Day post . . . .

Anyway, about five weeks ago the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois rendered a trademark decision in Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises,Inc. v. Leila Sophia AR, LLC, d/b/a Lettuce Mix, granting plaintiff Lettuce Entertain You

–Sharon Armstrong, Attorney

With Independence Day just around the corner, perhaps it is time to reflect on some of the freedoms that we enjoy by residing in the land of purple mountains majesty. Freedom of speech? Check. Freedom of assembly? Check. Freedom to use other people’s trademarks, the very basis from which their brands spring, in descriptive and/or non-source identifying ways? Check.

The doctrine of fair use in trademark law can be a great freedom (or a great bane) depending on which side of the doctrine one falls – user or trademark owner. Although there are two branches of fair use – descriptive and nominative – for all intents and purposes, the non-owner user of a trademark may successfully meet the criteria for fair use of a mark provided that he shows he’s not using the mark to identify his source of goods and services.


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