Tag Archives: Trademark Infringement

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.… More

Celebrity Trademark Watch: What Do Bob Marley and Chicken Fingers Have in Common?


Apparently, the answer is “One Love.”  On December 6, 2013, Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, Ltd. (“Hope Road”), which controls reggae legend Bob Marley’s estate, filed a federal trademark infringement action against the restaurant company Raising Cane’s USA, LLC (“Raising Cane’s”).  Hope Road alleges ownership of the trademark ONE LOVE in connection with a number of goods and services.  It further claims that Raising Cane’s unauthorized use of the same mark in connection with restaurant services is a violation of Hope Road’s rights.… More

Kraft Still the Big Cheese: Seventh Circuit Affirms Injunction in Trademark Dispute over Cracker Barrel


Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores are easy to spot off the highway, but you won’t be noticing the company’s products in grocery store aisles any time soon.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a preliminary injunction barring Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (“CBOCS”), from selling branded food products, particularly packaged hams, in grocery stores.  The appeals court found that the similarities between the CBOCS mark and that of Kraft Foods Group’s Cracker Barrel cheese products line could easily lead to consumer confusion.… More

Summary Judgment Denied in Trademark Dispute over “National Association for the Abortion of Colored People”


Anti-abortion activist Ryan Bomberger of The Radiance Foundation thought  he had an unassailable First Amendment defense.  After all, his use of the phrase “National Association for the Abortion of Colored People,” in order to criticize the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was in the context an on-line political dispute over abortion.  So when the NAACP threatened suit,… More

Can a Website Disclaimer Prevent Declaratory Judgment Actions in IP Cases? Maybe…or Maybe Not

Disclaimer-1-272x300A decision this week from the Federal Circuit, in a patent invalidity action, has been getting a lot of press for its suggestion that patent (and by implication trademark) holders may be able to avoid challenges to the validity of their IP simply by crafting a website disclaimer explaining that they will not sue certain competitors or other potential challengers. The decision has been argued by some to be an extension of the reasoning of the U.S.… More

Copyright Owners Left Legally Jet Lagged? – The Supreme Court Embraces the International Exhaustion Doctrine

A multi-year legal drama over the proper scope of certain sections of the U.S. Copyright Act, as applied to goods made and first sold outside the United States, has finally come to an end.  In a 6-3 decision issued yesterday, with dissents from Justices Ginsburg, Kennedy, and Scalia (strange bedfellows in many regards, judicially speaking), the Supreme Court, in the case of Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons,… More

Superheroes of Copyright: When Do Fictional Characters Enjoy Copyright Protection?

Several recent cases have highlighted the interesting issue of whether and when fictional characters – as distinct from the works they inhabit – are subject to copyright protection.  Over the years, courts have developed two main tests for determining whether characters are worthy of copyright protection.  First, as Judge Hand pointed out in the 1930 case Nichols v. Universal, stock characters are free for anyone to use,… More

WINTER . . . I MEAN PRINTER . . . IS COMING: Game of Thrones Alleges Copyright Infringement by 3D Printer IPhone Dock

The inner twelve-year old boy in me doesn’t know which is cooler: the throne made entirely from swords for HBO’s Game of Thrones series, or the fact that 3D printer technology can now replicate that throne in my home at the touch of a button. It’s an interesting time to be a twelve-year old boy.  It may be an even more interesting time to be an intellectual property lawyer because,… More

The APP STORE Trademark Wars: New Year’s Installment

Amazon has recorded another success in its battle with Apple over use of the term APP STORE.  The U.S. District Court in California has granted Amazon’s motion for summary judgment on Apple’s claim of false advertising arising from Amazon’s use of the term APP STORE (or APPSTORE in practice) in connection with Amazon’s online store selling applications for Android devices and the Kindle Fire.

As is well known,… More

Nike’s Successful Retreat Strategy: Trademark Defendant’s Invalidity Counterclaim Is Moot Following Plaintiff’s Covenant Not to Sue

Nike, having sued competitor Already LLC for infringing its marks, later issued a covenant not to sue to Already and sought to dismiss the case.  Defendant Already, however, had filed a counterclaim seeking a declaration that Nike’s mark was invalid, and argued that that counterclaim should proceed.  The District Court dismissed the counterclaim, and the Second Circuit affirmed that there was no ongoing case or controversy. … More