BIG MAC Trademark Not That Big in the EU: How McDonald’s Failed to Prove Genuine Use of its EU Trademark

On January 11, 2019, the Cancellation Division of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”) rendered a surprising decision that revoked in its entirety the McDonald’s Company’s BIG MAC trademark registration, which had been registered in the EU since December 1998.

This is the latest chapter in a fight between McDonald’s and Supermac’s, a competing chain that operates fast-food restaurants in both parts of Ireland.… More

Cultural and Intellectual Property Appropriation: Disputes Over Culturally-Inspired Fashions

If you haven’t heard already, New York Fashion Week is here! As usual, a lineup of awe-inspiring shows is expected to roll out over the next several days, as it does every September and February, highlighting the latest fashion trends of some of world’s most famous designers.  One of the big stories surrounding New York Fashion Week this year is the amount of cultural diversity expected to appear on the runway. … More

Law Students Seek to “Free Rapunzel from The Trademark Tower” by Opposing RAPUNZEL as a Trademark for Dolls

In an interesting case pending before the TTAB, law students from the Suffolk University IP and Entrepreneurship Clinic have opposed an application filed by United Trademark Holdings, Inc. to register RAPUNZEL as a trademark for dolls and toy figures.  The students, led by clinic director Loletta “Lolita” Darden, represent Professor Rebecca Curtin, a trademark law professor and mother of a young girl who has purchased dolls. … More

Copyright Protection for Creative Product Packaging

If you have ever been tasked with considering what types of intellectual property protection were available for a new packaging design, copyright may not be the first thing that came to mind. After all, it is trademark law that is designed to protect the public’s association with a commercial name or logo, and in some cases the distinctive look (or “trade dress”) of a product and/or its packaging.… More

Watch: Top IP Cases in 2018 In-House Counsel Need to Know

Who said there’s no looking back? It is crucial to consider key takeaways from the most important IP cases from 2018 when planning for 2019. Foley Hoag presents a webinar offering guidance on what we learned this year and what to prepare for in the new year.

Our speakers focus on 2018 developments in copyright, patent and trademark law.

Speakers

Intellectual Property Strategies for Start-Up Companies

We are pleased to announce a new addition to our collection of IP-focused blog posts directed to start-up companies, this one focusing on cybersecurity.  Here is the complete collection:

Trademark Strategies for Start-Up Companies

Copyright Strategies for Start-Up Companies

Patent Strategies For Start-Up Companies

Domain Name Strategies for Start-Up Companies

Privacy and Data Security Strategies for Start-Up Companies

Foley Hoag provides a full range of services to start-up companies,… More

Smiles Like Teen Spirit: “Smiley Face” Copyright and Trademark Litigation

You may think the phrase “million-dollar smile” is just a metaphor, but a smile could cost you millions of dollars in litigation damages if you aren’t careful, at least according to Nirvana LLC, the legal entity that owns the intellectual property rights relating to the 90’s rock band Nirvana.

Nirvana’s Smiley Face Logo

If you thought the image of a yellow smiley face was too common to be owned by anyone,… More

French Court Finds Jeff Koons Guilty of Copyright Infringement Again

At the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015, the Pompidou Museum organized a retrospective of the work of Jeff Koons, which attracted thousands of visitors but gave rise to several lawsuits.

We commented on this blog on a decision rendered by the Paris District Court on March 9, 2017 in which the Court found that for one of his Banality sculptures,… More

Under the Sea: Sneaky Trademark Filings for Cautious Companies

The general rule of thumb for trademarks in the U.S. – and everywhere else, for that matter – is “the earlier, the better.”  It’s almost always the right move to file a trademark application as early as possible, and well in advance of a product or service announcement, both to (a) minimize the possibility of conflicting marks and filings; and (b) mitigate the potential for attempted trademark and domain name “squatting” that inevitably follows a well-publicized product/service announcement. … More

“Let’s Get Ready to Register!” Or not. Supreme Court Entertains Oral Argument Rumble on Copyright Circuit Split

Is copyright registration required before you can bring a copyright infringement suit?  Everyone agrees that the answer is yes.  But not everyone agrees on the definition of “registration.” That’s the question that will be under consideration by the Supreme Court at oral argument on January 8, 2019, in Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporation v. Wall-Street.com, LLC.

Registration is not required for valid copyright ownership,… More

Yes, We Have No More Extensions! Copyrighted Works Age Into Public Domain for First Time in Twenty Years

While scholars and pundits are busy listing the most important copyright rulings of 2018, a development that arguably beats them all is about to occur just as 2018 turns into 2019. On January 1, 2019, copyrighted works will start to age into the public domain for the first time in twenty years, beginning with works published in 1923.

Why did we go twenty years without anything aging into the public domain?… More

Second Circuit: Sales of Pre-Owned Digital Music Infringe Copyright

A copyright owner’s exclusive rights, codified at Section 106 of the Copyright Act, include the right to control both the reproduction and the distribution of a work. The exclusive distribution right is tempered by the “first sale doctrine,” codified at Section 109 which provides that, once you lawfully obtain a copy of something, you usually can resell the physical object (e.g., a used book) containing that copy.… More

Is Your Turkey Wishbone Protected By Copyright?

The use of a bird’s furcula, or “wishbone,” for divination purposes dates back to the ancient Etruscans, and the ritual of two people pulling on the furcula to determine who would get married first has its origins in late medieval Europe. From there, some version of the custom likely was brought to America by the pilgrims, who would have referred to the bone as a “merrythought.” Given all that history,… More

Watch: Social Media Pitfalls and Best Practices

Co-Hosted by Foley Hoag LLP and ACC – Northeast

Social media platforms present countless opportunities for companies looking to connect to consumers and clients in real time. But, like so much else in our connected age, these opportunities come with a host of risks ranging from minor public relations blips to unpleasant regulatory run-ins with government agencies, and from DMCA takedowns to right of publicity lawsuits.

Foley Hoag,… More

The Ultimate Girls Versus Boys Battle Of The Trademarks: Girl Scouts Sue Boy Scouts for Trademark Infringement and Dilution

When I heard that the Girl Scouts of the United States of America filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America last week, I was fascinated.  As a former Girl Scout and troop leader myself, who also happens to practice trademark law, I have a lot of thoughts about this case.  Many people predicted that the Boy Scouts’ decision to admit girls last year would put the organizations on a collision course. … More