Happy Birthday, National Parks! Would You Like Your Trademarks Back?

Entrance sign at Yosemite National ParkAugust 25, 2016 marks the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, which runs the nation’s 413 national parks.  Although I am not a particularly outdoorsy person, my relatives are, so here we are on summer vacation in Acadia National Park in Maine. I must admit that it is really beautiful here, and the mosquitoes have not devoured me yet. As a trademark lawyer, however, I can’t help but be reminded of what has become one of… More

The London Omnibus And its Impact on U.S. Trademark Law

Omnibus Photo by DaveIf you are traveling to London in August (as I am right now), you don’t have to go far before you start soaking in this great city’s contribution to trademark law. In fact, the very first thing many tourists encounter when they arrive in London – the Paddington Station taxi stand – had a significant impact on U.S. trademark jurisprudence over a hundred years before the Lanham Act. That case, decided in August 1836, was Knott v. Morgan.

In the 1830’s, Mr. Knott and his partners had a… More

Miss Trademark USA: Beauty Pageant Naming Disputes

sdJust this month, two disputes over the trademark rights to beauty pageant names were resolved, pending appeal. In World Pageants LLC v. Miss G-String International LLC, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) dismissed an opposition to the registration of MISS G-STRING INTERNATIONAL because the opposer’s mark (MISS NUDE INTERNATIONAL) just wasn’t similar enough to cause confusion.  Meanwhile, in Organizacion Miss America Latina v. Ramirez, the Southern District of California granted a default judgment to the organizers of the MISS U.S. LATINA… More

Watch: Trademarks for the Generalist In-House Counsel

On July 26, Julia Huston, Josh Jarvis and Nicole Kinsley presented a webinar covering the essentials of what every generalist in‑house legal practitioner should know about trademarks.

Trademarks, the core legal protection for the names of companies and their products and services, are powerful and potentially timeless intellectual property rights, but are also frequently misunderstood by attorneys and laypersons alike. In-house attorneys in particular are likely to encounter trademark issues on a day-to-day basis, and should therefore have a firm grasp of the basics in order to issue-spot and coordinate legal advice for their clients.

Click… More

Potential Legal Implications Arising from “Brexit”

CaptureTrademark and Copyright Law Blog author Catherine Muyl, alongside fellow Foley Hoag attorneys Christina G. Hioureas and Mélida N. Hodgson, have released a new publication discussing the potential legal implications arising from Brexit, including the impact on patents, trademarks and copyrights. You can access a free copy here.

Other Brexit-related posts appearing on this blog include:

Brexit: Potential Consequences For European Union Trademarks A Brexit Primer for Trademark Owners Q&A: Catherine Muyl On Brexit’s Impact On European Patents,… More

“Gossip Cop” Held To Willfully Infringe Copyrighted Photos

Gossip Blog ImageIn BWP Media USA v. Gossip Cop Media, a case sure to bring cheer to paparazzi and tabloid publishers everywhere, a judge in the Southern District of New York has found after a bench trial that a gossip website willfully infringed copyrights in photos showing celebrities Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Robert Pattinson, and Liberty Ross.

The plaintiff in the case, BWP Media, is an entity that purchases “freelance celebrity photographs” and licenses them to The Sun and other tabloids. The… More

Harry Potter And The Cursed Legal Update

Harry Potter IIIt has been about a year since we published Harry Potter Lawsuits and Where to Find Them, my attempt at a comprehensive review of Harry Potter-related litigation. Why update the article now? Two reasons. First: The long-awaited book version of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child hits the shelves on July 31, 2016. Since JK Rowling is supplementing her story, it seems like it’s a good time for us to do the same.

Second: I needed an opportunity to talk… More

MACCOFFEE Found Likely To Ride Coat-Tails Of McDonald’s EU ‘Mc’ Family Of Trademarks

On July 5, 2016, the European General Court rendered an interesting decision illustrating the broad protection enjoyed by those trademarks with “a reputation in the EU.” The full text of the decision is available in English here and in French here.

The case involved a Singapore company called Future Enterprises, which filed an EU trademark for MACCOFFEE on October 13, 2008 for a wide variety of food products and beverages in classes 29, 30 and 32. Future Enterprises used this trademark for a line of instant coffee, which was launched in the 1990s and is mainly distributed… More

The Federal Trademark Statute Assumes Hillary Can’t Win

HiliaryToday’s example of unintentional sexism comes to us from Section 2(c) of the Lanham Act.  On its face, the language of the statute assumes that someone other than Hillary will win the 2016 presidential election – and it won’t be Jill Stein.  It could be Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Gary Johnson, or your dad, but it’ll be someone male.

Section 2 of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052, provides a list of things that can and can’t be registered as trademarks on the… More

The Pleads Of The Many: 50 Years of Star Trek Lawsuits

EnterpriseThis year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the premiere of the original series of Star Trek, which first aired on NBC in September 1966. On July 22, this milestone will be marked in earnest when Paramount Pictures releases the new film, Star Trek Beyond (which sadly includes the final Chekovian performance by the recently-departed Anton Yelchin).

The Trademark and Copyright Law Blog is commemorating this anniversary by recounting the history of Star Trek-related litigation, with… More

Bastille Day Fireworks and Copyright

Bastille Day FireworksBastille Day is a French national holiday that commemorates the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, an important episode in the French Revolution. Each year, Paris celebrates the day with an elaborate military parade down the Champs Elysées. Large and small fire departments across France hold balls with music, wine and dancing; and of course fireworks are set off from the Eiffel Tower.

This year, the theme of the Eiffel Tower fireworks show is “Paris est… More

Trademark Red Tape: Post-Registration Proof Pilot To Go Permanent

USPTO Red TapeRegular readers of the Trademark and Copyright Law Blog and our Trademark Red Tape™ column may recall our previous report on a pilot study by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) about post-registration proof of use.  Under current PTO practice, a specimen demonstrating use of a mark on a single good or service within a class is sufficient to maintain registration for an… More

The Death Of Alexander Hamilton And The Birth Of The American Free Press

Portrait of Alexander HamiltonAlexander Hamilton has more to do with American independence than you might think. His efforts as a Founding Father (the hottest Founding Father on Broadway, it should be noted) helped the United States achieve political independence from Great Britain.  But Hamilton also made a vital contribution towards helping the American justice system declare jurisprudential independence from the English courts, particularly with regard to defamation and free speech. Hamilton made this lesser-known contribution not as a member of the cabinet… More

A Brexit Primer for Trademark Owners

Keep Calm 2On June 23, the citizens of the UK voted Yes to the question “Should the UK leave the European Union?” Here are some answers to questions that we are hearing from trademark owners.

Question 1. Is now a good time to panic?

Uncertainty creates stress but we have at least one certainty: from a strictly legal point of view, there will be no immediate impact. There is therefore absolutely no reason to panic.

This vote came as a surprise to many… More