L’Élixir De L’Amour: How A 19th Century French Widow Turned Her Trademark Champagne Into A Lifestyle Beverage

Valentine’s Day is upon us yet again. Chances are, you and your sweetheart will find yourselves together in a restaurant on February 14th. Roses may be gifted, chocolate confections may be consumed, and to drink – why, champagne of course. Is any other spirituous potable more synonymous with love than a bit of bubbly?  The clinking of flutes or coupe glasses is an unmistakable counterpoint in the soundtrack of virtually every wedding and anniversary celebration.… More

New York Fashion Week: A Lineup of The Most Fashionable Trademark and Copyright Claims

It’s that time of the year again when New York City becomes the most fashionable place on the planet. While I would argue that Manhattan is always fashionable, New York Fashion Week adds a bit of extra excitement, glamour and coolness to the mix.  Fashion Week kicks off this Thursday, February 9 through Thursday, February 16, and as usual, the fashion world is all abuzz over who will be the designer-to-watch. … More

Sue-per Bowl Shuffle III: The Year In NFL-Related Intellectual Property Litigation

Two years ago, I started worrying about what would happen if someone at a Super Bowl party asked me to explain an NFL-related lawsuit, particularly one of those intellectual property lawsuits that sports fans assume IP lawyers know about. This anxiety led me to put together the Sue-per Bowl Shuffle I and Sue-per Bowl Shuffle II: guides to trademark, copyright, patent and other intellectual property disputes concerning the NFL during 2014 and 2015 respectively.… More

Connecting The DOTBLOG: Is Your Trademark Descriptive Or Suggestive?

When you see the name DOTBLOG, what does it mean to you? Is it just a blog about DOTS candy? Or about the painter George Seurat? Maybe it indicates a service that will help you punctuate your blog entries? Ok, probably not, but it must have something to do with blogs, right? Or something online, perhaps?  If these assumptions are correct, does that make the mark merely descriptive for trademark purposes? … More

Aw, Tartar Sauce! Is the Krusty Krab Restaurant Trademark A CopyBob DittoPants?

With some cases, you just shake your head.  In this case, a restaurant purveyor thought it would be okay to open a restaurant by the name of the “Krusty Krab.”  For those of you who have no reason to have been watching cartoons for the past 20 years, this is the name of the restaurant in which SpongeBob SquarePants works, flipping crabby patties as a fry cook. … More

Charles Dickens And Copyright Law: Five Things You Should Know

One hundred and seventy five years ago, on January 22, 1842, Charles Dickens first set foot in America, specifically in Boston, after a twenty day steamship voyage from Liverpool. Dickens, only a few days shy of his thirtieth birthday, was already an acclaimed author, and was greeted with great adulation. However, the trip was soon ruined by, and was to become best-remembered for, Dickens’ ugly spat with the American press over the issue of international copyright.… More

Trademark Red Tape: Comeuppance For Trademark Con-Artists

January 2017

Happy holidays and welcome to the 2017 New Year edition of Trademark Red Tape, our periodic round-up of trademark news and happenings at the United States Patent & Trademark Office.  Here are the highlights:

  • Fraudulent Trademark Solicitations. Trademark attorneys and their clients alike have been plagued by an increasing number of fraudulent trademark solicitations over the past few years. …
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Trademark Year In Review And What Lies Ahead: The Lanham Act’s New Year’s Resolutions For 2017

2016 is now in the rear view mirror. At the beginning of a new year, we often take a moment to reflect on the past year, while setting goals for the present.  It’s a time to say, “Last year had its ups and downs, but this year I’m going to . . .”  There are so many choices; what will 2017 hold? Between this article’s two authors,… More

The Avant-Garde Nun Who Created The World’s Largest Copyrighted Work Of Visual Art

We are approaching the end of holiday travel season and you have likely been a visitor or had visitors over the past several weeks.  If in your travels you’ve had cause to drive along interstate Route 93 just south of Boston, perhaps you noticed a large gas tank out across Dorchester Bay adorned with what seem like enormous paintbrush strokes in purple,… More

Can “Merry Christmas” Be A Trademark For Christmas Wrapping?

In 1905, the owners of Smith & Kaufman, Inc., a ribbon & silk company in New York, hit upon an idea. Wouldn’t it be great, they thought, if we made a red holiday ribbon for wrapping Christmas presents, with the words “Merrie Christmas” woven into the ribbon at intervals of about two inches in Old English script type?  And wouldn’t it be even better, they thought, if we could stop our competitors from doing the same thing,… More

French Justice In A California Court: Copyright, Picasso And The “Astreinte”

boatThe peoples of France and the United States tend to view things very differently — Jerry Lewis, berets and processed cheese food, to name just a few.  Law sometimes transcends this divide – for example, French and American intellectual property lawyers can communicate based on shared fundamental understandings about copyright, trademarks and patents, even as our cultural differences persist. In other instances, however, a shared understanding of legal concepts by lawyers of different jurisdictions is much more difficult. … More

A Trademark Year In Wine And Beer 2016: Our Holiday Buyer’s Guide To Disputed Beverages

trademark-year-in-wine-and-beerJust in time for the holiday season, we present our third annual Trademark Year in Wine and Beer, a wrap-up  of alcohol-related trademark and trademark-ish disputes dating back to December 2015, when we published our last edition. Our scope includes lawsuits brought in U.S. Courts, actions before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”), arbitrations pursuant to the  Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”),… More

A Tale Of Two Hats: Trademark “Use In Commerce” Expanded In A Potentially Game-Changing Decision

hatsOur readers no doubt understand that trademark use is the basis for trademark protection in the U.S.  But all use is not created equal, and sometimes it’s not so easy to tell whether a trademark is actually used in a manner sufficient to qualify for federal trademark registration.  A recent Federal Circuit decision promises to make this determination a little bit easier.

The U.S.… More

Watch: Social Media for the Generalist In-House Counsel

Joshua Jarvis and David Kluft recently presented a webinar offering guidance on social media issue spotting for in-house legal practitioners and executives, with a focus on intellectual property, publicity rights and advertising.

Social media platforms present countless and varied 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,… More

A Difference With A Distinction: The Second Circuit Upholds Preliminary Injunction In Parallel Imports Case

twIn Abbott Laboratories, et al. v. H&H Wholesale Services, Inc., et al., the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a preliminary injunction issued in a trademark case focused on the parallel importation of diabetes test strips.  One defendant had hoped to overturn the injunction order by arguing that its place in the supply chain shielded it from direct liability for consumer confusion. … More