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Category Archives: Trademark

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Blurred Lines: Third Circuit’s Lanham Act Attorneys’ Fees Analysis Follows Recent Supreme Court Ruling in Patent Case

Posted in Patent, Trademark
The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently decided that the U.S. Supreme Court’s April decision on attorneys’ fees in a patent case, Octane Fitness, LLC v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc., should also be applied in trademark cases under the Lanham Act. See Fair Wind Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, Nos. 13-3305 & 14-1572 (3d Cir. Sept. 4, 2014). Defendant Dempster had successfully moved to dismiss the action under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and was awarded its attorneys’ fees under § 35(a) of the Lanham Act and the Virgin Islands Code. Plaintiff Fair Wind Sailing appealed the fee award. The Third Circuit ultimately vacated the District Court’s fee award and remanded, instructing the court below to utilize an inquiry consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in Octane Fitness… Continue Reading

Washington Redskins Seek Reversal of TTAB Decision Canceling its Trademark Registrations

Posted in Trademark
On August 14, 2014, Pro-Football, Inc. (“Pro-Football”) appealed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (“TTAB”) June 18, 2014 decision to cancel its registrations for six REDSKIN-formative trademarks. As we previously reported, the TTAB’s 2-1 decision found that those trademarks were not entitled to be registered on the basis that a “substantial composite of Native Americans found the term REDSKINS to be disparaging in connection with [the football team’s] services” during the time period when registration was sought… Continue Reading

New Guidance on How to Calculate Statutory Damages Awards in Counterfeiting Cases

Posted in Trademark
Judge Koeltl of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York recently adopted a recommended statutory damages award of $6.6 million dollars in a case involving trademark counterfeiting. Richemont Int’l S.A. et. al. v. Montesol Ou, et. al., 2014 WL 3732919, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. July 28, 2014). The plaintiff sellers of luxury goods had initially sought $78 million or $2 million per counterfeit mark per type of good counterfeited in connection with 88 domain names operated by the defendants. Richemont Int’l S.A. et. al. v. Montesol Ou, et. al., 2014 WL 3732887, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. May 13, 2014). But Magistrate Judge Pitman recommended instead an award of $6.6 million, including $6.3 million under the Trademark Act and $300,000 under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act… Continue Reading

McDonald’s Triumphs over BioMcDiesel

Posted in Trademark, USPTO
On July 14, 2014, the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) found the trademark “BioMcDiesel” for biodiesel fuel likely to cause confusion with McDonald’s Corporation’s (“McDonald’s”) famous family of MC-formative trademarks. McDonald’s Corporation v. Joel D. Joseph, Opposition No. 91194117 (July 14, 2014) [not precedential]. The applicant, Joel Joseph, appeared pro se to defend his application, which was based on intent to use. McDonald’s challenged the application on three bases under the Lanham Act, namely, likelihood of confusion under Section 2(d), dilution under Sections 13 and 43(c), and on the basis that Mr. Joseph filed the application in bad faith, in that he lacked a bona fide intent to use the mark and solely filed the application for the purpose of selling or licensing the mark to McDonald’s. The TTAB’s decision addressed only the likelihood of confusion claim, and found the “BioMcDiesel” mark was not entitled to registration… Continue Reading

USPTO Cancels Washington Redskins’ Trademark Registrations

Posted in Trademark
Earlier today, six trademark registrations for the Washington Redskins football team were cancelled on the basis that they are disparaging. In the long-awaited decision of Blackhorse v. Pro-Football, Inc., the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) found that the petitioners had shown “by a preponderance of the evidence that a substantial composite of Native Americans found the term REDSKINS to be disparaging in connection with [the football team’s] services” during the time period when registration was sought… Continue Reading

Omaha! Feds Tackle Counterfeiters of NFL® Merchandise in Lead Up to the Big Game

Posted in Customs, Trademark
On Thursday, multiple federal law enforcement agencies announced that they have seized infringing knock off NFL® merchandise and Super Bowl® tickets valued at more than $20 million. Agents from both the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security, in cooperation with NFL® officials, conducted perhaps the largest Super Bowl® counterfeiting sting ever in what has become an annual tradition… Continue Reading

Lontex and Oakley to “Sweat it Out” in Trademark Dispute

Posted in Trademark
Last Friday in Lontex Corp. v. Oakley, Inc., 1:13-cv-05459 (DNJ), Lontex sued Oakley in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey for trademark infringement, counterfeiting and unfair competition relating to Lontex's federally registered mark, SWEAT IT OUT, for sweatbands, headbands and other athletic apparel… Continue Reading

Coach Loses Design Mark Battle Against E&D Trading, Inc.

Posted in Trademark
Coach Services, Inc., of the design house offering handbags, footwear and other luxury goods, recently lost a design mark battle challenging registerability of E&D Trading, Inc.'s ("E&D") mark for DP in stylized format (the "Challenged Mark") on the basis that it is likely to cause confusion with Coach's federally registered "Signature C Design" marks. The parties' marks both cover eyewear, among other goods. Coach's protest was lodged with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ("TTAB"), an administrative body that is part of the Trademark Office and has authority to rule on challenges to registerability of marks, among other issues. TTAB proceedings and procedure are governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as well as the detailed rules set forth in the TTAB's Manual of Procedure ("TBMP")… Continue Reading

NFL Scores Big Win Against Websites Offering Counterfeit Merchandise

Posted in Trademark
On June 28th, U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield of the Southern District of New York entered a default judgment in favor of the National Football League® ("NFL®") against operators of more than 1,997 websites utilizing 1,223 infringing domain names, all of which were offering counterfeit NFL merchandise. In doing so, the District Court awarded the NFL a $273 million judgment against the website operators and injunctive relief… Continue Reading

Free Speech May Allow Disparagement, but the Trademark Office Does Not: TTAB Affirms Refusal to Register STOP THE ISLAMISATION OF AMERICA

Posted in Trademark
On February 7, 2013, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board affirmed the refusal to register the mark, STOP THE ISLAMISATION OF AMERICA, for "providing information regarding understanding and preventing terrorism" on the basis that the mark "may disparage or bring into contempt or disrepute persons, institutions, beliefs or national symbols." The registration of disparaging marks is explicitly prohibited by Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a)… Continue Reading

The Trademark Rush Continues: HARBOWL and KAEPERNICK ….

Posted in Trademark
The upcoming Super Bowl, pitting San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh against his older brother, Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh, has been dubbed "Harbowl" by some. An individual in Rockville, Maryland is attempting to take this name to a new level, by filing a federal trademark application for use of the mark "HarBowl" on athletic apparel… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Finds Covenant Not to Sue Sufficiently Broad

Posted in Trademark
Trademark holders no longer have to worry about not being able to dismiss a case by entering into a properly drafted covenant not to sue. In Already, LLC, dba Yums v. Nike, Inc., the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the Second Circuit's opinion by ruling that Nike's covenant not to sue Yums for trademark infringement was sufficiently broad to render moot Yums' challenge to the validity of Nike's asserted registration. Yums had no reasonable apprehension of litigation and Nike met its burden of showing that Yums could not be sued later. Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion, which required a high standard for parties issuing the covenant, as they bear a "formidable burden" to establish that it is "absolutely clear" that the allegedly wrongful conduct cannot reasonably be expected to reoccur. Remand was not necessary under the circumstances, because the Court found that it "cannot conceive" of any shoe that Yums could make "that would potentially infringe Nike's trademark and yet not fall under the Covenant." Arguably, the Court construed the covenant so broadly as to exclude a claim of infringement based on Yums' sale of the exact shoe covered by Nike's challenged registration… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Already LLC v. Nike, Inc.

Posted in Litigation, Trademark
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Already, LLC d/b/a Yums v. Nike, Inc. As we reported previously, that case arose from an appeal of the Second Circuit's decision affirming the Southern District of New York's holding that a covenant not to sue entered in a trademark dispute ended the case and controversy between the parties. We enclose the full transcript of the oral argument… Continue Reading

Tim Tebow Time in the Trademark Office . . . .

Posted in Trademark
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") recently published for opposition the mark TIM TEBOW. The applicant for the mark in these various goods and services is XV Enterprises LLC of Denver, Colorado, who has indicated that Tim Tebow, the two-time Heisman Trophy winner and New York Jets quarterback (formerly with the Denver Broncos), has consented to the applications… Continue Reading

Declaratory Judgment Suit Over ROHAN Trademark

Posted in Trademark
D'Artagnan Trademarks LLC, ("DT") recently sued the Saul Zaentz Company ("SZ") in the District of New Jersey regarding the trademark ROHAN. In December 2011, DT filed a trademark application for ROHAN in connection with the sale of poultry, namely, duck. The PTO approved the application and SZ opposed its registration when it published for opposition in late March. SZ alleged that it has exclusive rights to certain trademarks (the "Marks") derived from the trilogy of books known as "The Lord of the Rings," by J.R.R. Tolkien. Readers might recall that in the books, "Rohan" is a fictional realm within the fantasy world of the stories. SZ alleges it owns federal trademark registrations for ROHAN, RIDERS OF ROHAN and ROHAN NUTRITION, relating to animal feed and feed supplements for horses, plastic figurines for use with table top hobby battle games, and website services about computer games. SZ has a number of licensees using these marks… Continue Reading

Trademark Parody? Ben & Jerry’s Doesn’t Think It’s So Funny ….

Posted in Trademark
Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc. ("Ben & Jerry's"), the Vermont-based ice cream maker, recently filed a lawsuit in SDNY against adult video company Rodax Distributors, Inc. d/b/a Caballero Video, et al ("Defendants"). The complaint alleged trademark and trade dress dilution and infringement, and related claims arising from Defendants' production and distribution of a series of hardcore pornographic DVDs whose titles and packaging play upon the names and trade dress of some of Ben & Jerry's federally registered and famous marks… Continue Reading

Yums v. Nike Update — Two Amicus Curiae Briefs Filed: One Arguing Vacatur and Remand and the Second in Support of Yums

Posted in Trademark
Last week, in a prior blog, we reported that Petitioner Already, LLC d/b/a Yums ("Yums") filed its opening brief with the Supreme Court, arguing that a trademark registrant's post-suit covenant not to sue does not divest a Federal District Court of standing to review a challenge to the validity of the underlying trademark registration… Continue Reading

Color Trademarks Remain in Fashion: Second Circuit Sides with Louboutin

Posted in Trademark
Earlier today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its long-awaited decision in Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent America Holding, Inc.. The Appellate Court decision reversed the lower court's finding that a single color can never serve as a trademark for fashion. It also found that Louboutin's red, lacquered shoe outsole had acquired distinctiveness and is protectable as a trademark. However, the Court went on to state that the trademark is "limited to uses where the red outsole contrasts with the color of the remainder of the shoe." The case has now been remanded to the District Court for further proceedings… Continue Reading

Already v. Nike: Petitioner’s Brief Asserts that Jurisdiction Remains Despite Covenant Not to Sue

Posted in Patent, Trademark
In a prior blog, we reported that the Supreme Court had granted certiorari in Already, LLC dba Yums v. Nike, Inc., No. 11-982, to an appeal from the Second Circuit's decision affirming the Southern District of New York's holding that a covenant not to sue entered in a trademark dispute ended the case and controversy between the parties… Continue Reading

ICANN Releases Listing of gTLD Applications

Posted in Trademark
Today, ICANN, the Internet's domain name registration watch dog, will publish a listing of nearly 1,900 new generic Top-Level Domains ("gTLDs") that may be approved for use as early as March 2013. We previously wrote about ICANN's expansion program and suggested safeguards that companies could implement to protect themselves… Continue Reading

Newly-Adopted U.S. Customs Rule Provides Brand Owners with Critical Information to Combat the Import of Counterfeit Goods

Posted in Trademark
For brand owners facing the challenges posed by counterfeiting, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol ("CBP") recently adopted a new temporary rule which has the potential to make it much easier to combat the import of counterfeit goods into the United States ("Interim Rule"). The Interim Rule provides that in instances where the CBP has suspicions regarding the authenticity of goods being imported, and the importer fails to provide proof of genuineness, the CBP is permitted to share detailed information about the suspect goods and importer with brand owners. This represents a welcome sea change in CBP policy for brand owners who have long been frustrated by CBP's policy regarding limited information sharing… Continue Reading

CAVEAT EMPTOR! – USPTO Issues Warning on Misleading Third Party Communications

Posted in Trademark, USPTO
The United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") has issued a warning notice advising trademark owners to beware of third party communications that "mimic the look of official government documents" and request payment of fees. That notice was issued after a number of owners reported to the USPTO that they had made payments in response to such requests, believing that they were for official fees and then learned that they were not… Continue Reading

Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy

Posted in Patent, Trademark
The U.S. Commerce Department recently released a comprehensive report, entitled "Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus," which identified 75 industries as IP intensive. The Report found that IP at such industries supported at least 40 million jobs in 2011. As of 2010, IP comprised more than $5 trillion dollars, or 34.8 percent of, U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and accounted for 27.1 million American jobs. Between 2010 and 2011, the U.S. economic recovery resulted in a 1.6% increase in direct employment in IP-intensive industries, faster than the 1.0% growth in non-IP-intensive industries… Continue Reading

Pinterest: Potential IP Pitfalls for New Social Networking Trend

Posted in Copyright, Trademark
Pinterest, a play on words of "pin" and "interest," is a virtual, online "pin board," where user's can organize and share things they find on the web. While Pinterest is attracting a loyal community of social media users, the site is also the source of some concern for those same users and owners of intellectual property… Continue Reading
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