In an interesting precedential decision, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) canceled a registration for FLANAX despite the fact that the petitioner, Bayer Consumer Care AG, did not use FLANAX in the United States, but only in Mexico. The case illustrates that the “misrepresentation as to source” provision of the Lanham Act can be a useful tool in egregious cases,… More
Monthly Archives: May 2014
Communications Decency Act Forecloses Liability For “Amplifying,” “Endorsing” and “Adopting” Defamatory Statements With Hyperlink
Two weeks ago, in Vazquez v. Buhl, the Appeals Court of Connecticut affirmed dismissal of a defamation claim against CNBC for hyperlinking to an online report by journalist Teri Buhl. The Court held that, although CNBC allegedly “amplified,” “endorsed” and “adopted” the offending report, it was not a “content provider” under the Communications Decency Act (CDA).
The Sex and Money Scandal Rocking Hedge Fund Land
In 2012,… More
In Petrella v. MGM, the U.S. Supreme Court was confronted with the question of whether laches is available as a defense to copyright infringement. We have previously written about the case here and here. Yesterday, May 19, 2014, Justice Ginsberg, delivering the opinion of the majority, held that laches was not available as a defense to copyright damages,… More
After a week at the International Trademark Association Annual (INTA) Annual Meeting in Hong Kong, and another spent exploring the city and its surrounds, it’s nice to be heading back to the comparatively quaint major city we call home. But as I fly through Siberian airspace, over the North Pole, and through Canada en route to Beantown, I have a few parting thoughts.
The Gateway to Everything
As the Gateway to Asia,… More
In its recent opinion in Oracle v. Google, the Federal Circuit reversed the Northern District of California and reinstated a jury’s infringement verdict against Google. The opinion is long and complex, and much ink has already been spilled by its critics. As a service to those of you sitting on the sidelines of this particular debate, here is our summary version of the case:
- What’s the case about?…
In its recent decision in Sussman-Automatic v. Spa World, the Eastern District of New York dismissed a plaintiff’s trademark infringement claims, while allowing its claims for false advertising based on the same conduct to survive. The decision explores the boundaries between a false advertising “bait-and-switch” scheme and the “initial interest confusion” theory in Lanham Act cases.
The Mr. Steam Bait-and-Switch
The plaintiff,… More
INTA annual meetings are always interesting, sometimes in ways that you don’t expect. This year’s meeting is in Hong Kong. I thought I would share my top five observations, both good and bad, about my experience so far.
On the good side of the ledger:
1. The Saturday night Gala was fun! I had never attended it before,… More
Milk Dud? False Advertising Lawsuit Against Makers of Muscle Milk Illustrates Interplay Between Lanham Act, FTC and FDA
In a lawsuit recently filed in the Southern District of Florida, Global Beverage Enterprises, Inc. (“Global”), the manufacturer of specialty carbonated beverages like Mr. Q. Cumber Sparkling Cucumber Beverage, brought Lanham Act claims against CytoSport, Inc., alleging false advertising of CytoSport’s popular Muscle Milk line of beverages. The basis of the claim is that the Muscle Milk beverages contain no milk and, therefore, the product name is false and misleading. … More
On April 30, 2014, the plaintiffs in Bezdek v. Vibram, a class action in the District of Massachusetts, filed for court approval of a class wide settlement. The case had been brought against Vibram, the Italian manufacturer of “five finger” minimalist footwear, by consumers who alleged that the company committed false advertising when promoting health benefits of its product for which there was allegedly no scientific support.… More
Privacy or Property? Arizona Court Adopts Post-Mortem Right of Publicity In Intra-Family Online Dispute
The right of publicity, i.e., the right not to have others appropriate your name or image for commercial purposes, is an odd duck. It was described by Professor Prosser in 1960, and later in the Restatement of Torts, as of one of four species of common law privacy rights intended to remedy the emotional injury to one’s “seclusion” caused by breaches of privacy. By contrast, the Third Restatement of Unfair Competition in 1995,… More
Some recent administrative developments may be of interest to copyright and trademark practitioners:
Effective May 1, 2014, the U.S. Copyright Office has amended its registration fee schedule. This includes reduced renewal application fees and increased fees for registering multiple works. A complete list of the new fees is available here.
Updated Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP)
On April 30,… More