Just 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
Tag Archives: Trademark Infringement
No matter how sophisticated we are on the outside, on the inside everyone has a favorite novelty t-shirt buried deep in the recesses of their juvenile subconscious. Mine is one that says “Welcome to Philadelphia. Now Go Home,” which so perfectly captures both the convivial pride and bewildering hostility of the city that raised me.
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… More
A recent opinion from the Western District of Virginia sets forth a useful framework for analyzing a variety of Lanham Act claims based on false commercial speech uttered in social media.
In October 2012, “Jim Chung” created a LinkedIn profile for himself. Chung identified himself as a 2010 graduate of Tsinghua University, a resident of Xinjiang, China, and a Software Engineer for the U.S. company AvePoint, Inc. Chung used his LinkedIn profile to connect with customers, software professional groups… 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… 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, Bomberger beat them to the punch with a quick-strike declaratory judgment action filed in the Eastern District of Virginia,… More
Hotel Dispute Gets An Extended Stay in Puerto Rico: First Circuit Case Illustrates the Limits of an Incontestable Registration
In the U.S., a senior user of a trademark can block a junior user within the geographic area of prior use, even if the junior user is the party with an incontestable U.S. federal registration. This is perfectly illustrated in a recent First Circuit decision.
Hotel Meliá, Inc. (HMI), the defendant-appellant in the case, has been operating Hotel Meliá in Ponce, Puerto Rico for over a century, but… More
A 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. Supreme Court earlier this year in Already, LLC v. Nike, in which… 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, Inc., has embraced the concept of international exhaustion in relation to the copyright first-sale doctrine. This decision has far-reaching implications for copyright and trademark owners alike.
Under the… More
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, but characters that are sufficiently delineated are protected from imitation: “the less… 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, like the imminent clash in Game of Thrones between… More
Kim, Kourtney, and Khloé , the reality-TV triple threat otherwise known as the Kardashians, are going to have to keep up with the federal court in California. The three sisters (not to be confused with Chekhov’s titular ladies), mostly famous for being famous, have been named in a trademark litigation counter-suit filed by the owner of KROMA makeup. The KROMA line was apparently launched in 2010.
In November 2012, Boldface Licensing and Branding filed an action for declaratory judgment of non-infringement against Kroma’s owner Lee Tillett, Inc. Boldface is the… More
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, Apple sells apps for Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad through… 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. In an opinion issued yesterday, the Supreme Court affirmed this outcome.
Much of… More
In August of this year, Warner Brothers finally announced the release of Age of the Hobbits, Peter Jackson’s long-awaited follow-up to his Lord of the Rings trilogy, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous fantasy novels. Age of the Hobbits tells the tale of a clever group of diminutive Indonesian tribesmen who convince Chinese actress Bai Ling to save them from a hoard of cannibals mounted on flying Komodo dragons.
Wait a second. Does that sound right? Actually, the Warner Brothers film is called