IP Law Alert

IP Law Alert

Practical Perspectives on Intellectual Property Legal Developments

Tag Archives: Trademark Infringement

Second Circuit Issues Decision in Gucci America, Inc. et. al. v. Li et. al.

Posted in Privacy
On September 17, 2014, the Second Circuit issued its long awaited decision in Gucci America, Inc. et. al. v. Li et. al., 2014 WL 4629049 (Appeal Nos. 11-3934 & 12-4557). In its decision, the Court vacated and remanded an August 2011 order compelling nonparty Bank of China (BOC) to comply with a document subpoena and asset freeze provision in an injunction and a May 2012 order denying the bank’s motion to reconsider. The court also reversed a November 2012 decision holding the bank in contempt for non-compliance with the court’s August 2011 order and imposing civil penalties… Continue Reading

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

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

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

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

2013: The IP Law Year Ahead

Posted in Patent
Like 2012, 2013 promises to be a busy and significant year for intellectual property law. The Supreme Court is slated to decide a number of IP cases, including: Already, LLC d/b/a Yums v. Nike, Inc. (addressing the significance of a limited covenant-not-to-sue on declaratory judgment jurisdiction); Bowman v. Monsanto (determining whether the Federal Circuit erred by not finding patent exhaustion in second generation seeds and created an exception to patent exhaustion for self-replicating technologies); Gunn v. Minton (pertaining to whether federal courts have exclusive "arising under" jurisdiction when legal malpractice claims stem from a patent case); Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (regarding international copyright exhaustion, i.e., how Section 602(a)(1) and Section 109(a) of the Copyright Act apply to a copy that was legally acquired abroad and then imported into the United States); Federal Trade Comm'n v. Watson Pharm., Inc. (involving whether Hatch-Waxman reverse payment settlement agreements are legal); and most recently, Ass'n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, et al. (regarding the patentability of human genes and whether the petitioners have standing to challenge those patents)… 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

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

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

gTLDs Pose New Threats in Cyberspace

Posted in Dilution, E-Commerce, Trademark
On January 12, 2012, ICANN, the Internet's domain name registration watch dog, began accepting applications for new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) to add to those already in existence, including .com, .net, .biz and others. Under the new scheme, any company can apply for a gTLD, thereby expanding the domain name system (DNS). Ultimately, this expansion will change the Internet forever. Each new gTLD poses an incremental risk for trademark owners who are already under heavy assault in cyberspace from cybersquatting (registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark owner), brandjacking (assuming the online identity of another entity for the purposes of trading on another's brand equity), and typosquatting (registering URLs with common misspellings) by those seeking to generate illicit profits. According to the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA), cybersquatting already costs trademark owners more than $1 billion each year due to lost sales, lost goodwill, and increased enforcement costs. However, with a major increase in gTLDs, many corporations fear an expansion in expensive litigation to enforce their brands and trademarks… Continue Reading

Protecting Your Company – Trademark Basics You Need to Know

Posted in Trademark
The Gibbons Women's Initiative is hosting an upcoming program for in-house counsel entitled, "Protecting Your Company - Trademark Basics You Need to Know," on Thursday, March 8 from 8:30 - 10:15 am at Gibbons Newark Office. This program will feature Catherine M. Clayton, a Director in the Gibbons Intellectual Property Department, who leads the firm's trademark practice. Ms. Clayton has a broad range of experience in trademark and copyright law, and her practice encompasses litigation, licensing and prosecution… Continue Reading

The “Linsanity” Continues …..

Posted in Trademark
The New York Knicks' rising superstar point guard, Jeremy Lin, continues to wow fans around the world. Lin's NBA ascent also has prompted a rush to the Trademark Office. Over 20 applications for word marks that bear the letters L-I-N already have been filed. These include LIN-SATIONAL; ALL LIN; LINSPIRATION; I'M A LINNER; LINSOMNIA: LINCREDIBLE; and other derivations using the star's last name. The frenzy began with applications for the seemingly ubiquitous LINSANITY catch phrase, which were filed on February 7 and February 9, as the star's career took off. Most of the applications to date have been filed on an intent to use basis, that is, the applicant has expressed a bona fide intent to use the mark in interstate commerce… Continue Reading

Clock Ticking for Trademark Registrants Seeking to Block Registration of Their Marks on .XXX Domain

Posted in Trademark
As has been widely reported by the mainstream press and most legal publications, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has approved a new ".XXX" top-level domain expected to be utilized by the adult entertainment industry. Given the connotation of the .XXX domain, companies and individuals around the globe are considering how best to protect their trademarks from the potential harms of registry misuse, including cyber squatters targeting this new domain to register well known trademarks. Although the creation of the .XXX domain will be a boon to those in the adult entertainment industry and domain registrars, it raises serious threats of infringement, brand dilution or tarnishing for trademarks uninvolved in those industries. If they have not already, all trademark owners should be considering the potential impact of the .XXX domain to their marks and determining whether to take the necessary steps to "opt-out" of .XXX domain registration by the October 28, 2011 deadline for doing so… Continue Reading

A Challenge to Color Trademarks in the Field of Fashion: Christian Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent America

Posted in Trade Dress, Trademark
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York's August 10, 2011 decision in Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent America, Inc., questions whether a single color may serve as a trademark for fashion. That case arises from an action for trademark infringement brought by luxury shoe designer, Christian Louboutin, against Yves Saint Laurent America ("YSL"). Louboutin is well-known for his collection of high end women's shoes, which have bright red glossy soles. He also owns U.S. Trademark Registration No. 3,361,597 for "a lacquered red sole on footwear."… Continue Reading

Gibbons Director Catherine Clayton to Host Roundtable on Internet Privacy and Emerging Issues Relating to Online and New Media Enforcement

Posted in Copyright, E-Commerce, Privacy, Trademark
Gibbons is pleased to announce that Catherine M. Clayton, a Director in the firm's Intellectual Property Department, will host a roundtable on internet privacy and emerging issues relating to on-line and new media enforcement on September 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm. This program is part of the International Trademark Association's (INTA) roundtable series, and will take place at the firm's Newark office… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Denies Certiorari in Tiffany v. eBay Appeal

Posted in Trademark
Earlier today, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in the Tiffany v. eBay action, permitting a ruling to stand that places the burden on trademark owners to police infringements taking place on on-line auction sites. The Supreme Court's denial of cert was without comment… Continue Reading

Farouk Systems Wins $300 Million Damages Award Against On-Line Chinese Counterfeiting Ring

Posted in E-Commerce, Trademark
On October 14, 2010, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas granted what is reportedly the largest judgment ever awarded in an action involving on-line counterfeiting. In Farouk Systems, Inc. v. Eyou Int'l Trading Co., Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt entered a default judgment and permanent injunction against more than seventy defendants, who were operating an Internet counterfeiting ring out of China. The judgment required that each of the defendants pay Farouk statutory damages of $4 million, resulting in an award of approximately $300 million. In addition to being significant because of the amount of the damages awarded, this decision is noteworthy for the pragmatic approach that the court took to ensure that the relief awarded to the plaintiff would be meaningful… Continue Reading

Second Circuit Holds That Shipping a Single Counterfeit Item to New York May Support Personal Jurisdiction When Combined with Other Business Activity in New York

Posted in Trademark
On August 5, 2010, the Second Circuit issued an important decision affecting a brand owner's ability to establish personal jurisdiction against out-of-state defendants involved in the online sale of counterfeit goods. In Chloe v. Queen Bee of Beverly Hills, LLC, the Second Circuit vacated a Southern District of New York ("SDNY") decision dismissing an anti-counterfeiting case for lack of personal jurisdiction. See Chloe v. Queen Bee of Beverly Hills, LLC, 571 F. Supp. 2d 518 (S.D.N.Y. 2008) (hereafter "District Court op."), vacated and remanded, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 16192 (2d Cir. 2010) (hereafter "Second Circuit op.")… Continue Reading
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