Tag Archives: Trademark

Sexual Harassment Parody Commercial Held Not To Violate Lanham Act

Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act prohibits false or misleading statements in commerce that are likely to cause confusion as to a person’s affiliation, approval or sponsorship of someone else’s commercial activities. Here’s an easy example: You take an iconic photograph of a celebrity and, without the celebrity’s permission, incorporate it into the wrapper of a candy bar you are selling. Consumers are confused into thinking the celebrity has endorsed the candy bar,… 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

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

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

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

Opportunism Knocks: The (Likely) Futility Of “ZIKA” Trademark Applications

zikaAs an intellectual property attorney, I find the phenomenon of trademark opportunism to be a curious, and sometimes amusing, thing. (I don’t get out much.)  As soon as a distinct word, phrase, sound bite, or concept emerges in popular culture, some folks run straight to their computers and file a trademark application, presumably hoping to capitalize by owning some exclusive right in connection with a hot topic.… More

“I’m With the Band”: Boston Guitarist Can Call Himself “Former Original Member” Without Infringing Trademark

bostonLast week, a federal jury in Boston found that Barry Goudreau, a guitarist who played in an early incarnation of the rock band Boston, did not infringe trademark rights in the band’s name by allowing himself to be identified as a “former original member” of Boston.  The verdict in Scholz v. Goudreau, Case No. 1:13-cv-10951-DJC (D. Mass.), which rejected the trademark claims brought by group founder Tom Scholz,… More