Category: Case Studies

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Still Standing?: The Sometimes Rocky World Of Public Art

What distinguishes public art is the unique association of how it is made, where it is, and what it means.” —The Association for Public Art To many, the names “Rocky Balboa” and the “Italian Stallion” are as universal and front of mind as the names “Chuck Wepner” and the “Bayonne Bleeder” are regional and tucked … Continue Reading

Descendants of Danish well-known scientist could not prevent the use of his name by a large Danish based stated-owned energy company

The descendants of a well-known Danish scientist could not prevent the commercial use of the name ØRSTED as a trademark, domain and company name by the Ørsted Group (former Dong Energy A/S). The parties to the dispute Before going into the details of the dispute, the parties are briefly presented in the following. H.C. Ørsted … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Reminds Us That Extrinsic Considerations Are Narrowly Construed in Trademark Matters

2018 saw a number of important trademark cases decided across the United States.  Two cases illustrated the similarities between genericness analysis and one of the likelihood of confusion factors considered by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”).  Royal Crown Co., Inc. v. The Coca-Cola Co., 892 F.3d 1358 (Fed. Cir. 2018) and Omaha Steaks … Continue Reading

When appealing bears fruit: Pear Technologies v EUIPO – Apple

Are apples different from pears? Or are they both just fruit? Or, as cockney rhyming slang would have it, are they stairs? These are the questions (excepting the last one) that the distinguished judges of the Court of Justice of the European Communities (CJEU) have been gr-apple-ing with in the recent case of Pear Technologies … Continue Reading

“…For me? As what? Tough guy? I don’t need tough guys. I need more lawyers…”: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW IN CRIMINAL MATTERS

There is a popular vintage Harley Davidson t-shirt that says “Tough Guys Finish First.”  That may be true.  But, sometimes, to finish first, one does not need more tough guys; one needs more lawyers, as a crime-related matter involving the Mongols Motor Cycle Club has recently shown.  So today we thought that we would use … Continue Reading

1-800 Contacts Unlawfully Restricted Competitors’ Trademark Use in Search Engine Marketing

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently decided that agreements reached by 1-800 Contacts, Inc. with a number of its competitors to settle claims that the competitors’ online search advertising infringed on 1-800 Contacts’ trademarks unlawfully restricted the competitors’ ability to engage in search engine marketing, to the detriment of both consumers and search engines. The … Continue Reading

“…this is my life”: Corporate Biography, Moral Rights & Being Slow To Berne

I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life Go ahead with your own life leave me alone. —Billy Joel, My Life People often do quite well financially selling their life story.  But stop and think for a minute what that statement means — “selling their life story.”  The complex personal investment each … Continue Reading

Can Trademarks Be Primarily Geographically Descriptive?

Suppose that you want to register a trademark that identifies a source of goods or services for your business.  What if the trademark describes a geographical area such as eastern?  Should you register your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office?  Can you obtain a registration from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office?  The … Continue Reading

When Does “Copying” a Photograph of a Building Constitute Copyright Infringement?

A recent decision from a Pennsylvania federal court underscores that there is generally no copyright protection in an actual building or a skyline of buildings; instead, the protection is in the particular photograph or rendering of the building. Creating an original depiction of a building or skyline that is not substantially similar to the photograph … Continue Reading

IP Court restrained to sell and market a generic drug until the patent expiry

On 24 April 2018 the Intellectual Property Court published its Decision in case A41 85807/2016 between Swiss-based Novartis AG and local generic Nativa LLC. The IP Court’s position in this case may result in an extra defense granted for patent holders against unfair practice of registration of generics drugs until patent expiry. Under the auspices of the … Continue Reading

ARGOS aggro: UK infringement issues arising from US advertising site

The Court of Appeal for England and Wales was asked to consider a case where 2 companies were using the same name in different territories, both legitimately, but one decided to exploit traffic mistakenly hitting its website by using targeted ads[1] The dispute involved two businesses who shared the “Argos” name, but on different sides … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Establishes New Test for Trade-Dress Secondary Meaning

The United States Federal Circuit recently issued a precedential opinion addressing trade dress secondary meaning.  The decision establishes a six-factor test to determine whether trade-dress acquired secondary meaning and clarifies a variety of other, related matters. Converse appealed a final determination of the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) that Converse’s U.S. trademark number 4,398,753 (“the ‘753 … Continue Reading

“Liquor Before Beer, You’re In The Clear… Beer Before Wine, You’ll Be Fine,” and So On: “Confusing” Advice For The Reveling Tippler & Registering Trademarks

The relationship of wine, beer, and spirits has often proved complicated and confusing for the tippler, regardless of country.  There are old saws that many repeat, and report on, that say things like “Beer Before Liquor, Never Sicker; Liquor Before Beer, You’re In The Clear” and “Wine Before Beer Leaves You Queer, But Beer Before … Continue Reading

Sufficiency of Drawings in Design Patent Applications

Suppose that you want to file a design patent application for an article that is three-dimensional.  What views of the article will you need for the design patent application that will be sufficient to support your claim?  The answer is a sufficient number of views to constitute a complete disclosure of the appearance of the … Continue Reading

Street Art, Copyright Infringement, and De Minimis Use

The legal protections afforded to graffiti and “street art” artists have gained increased visibility in recent months. But while street art may be entitled to certain protections under the law, not every use of street art without permission will violate an artist’s rights. A recent decision from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District … Continue Reading

BLOCKING PATENTS CAN MOOT OBJECTIVE INDICIA OF NON-OBVIOUSNESS

In a recent precedential decision, a split Federal Circuit (Judges Dyk and Taranto in the majority, Judge Newman, dissenting) issued a lengthy, 53-page decision, regarding the obviousness doctrine.  Judge Taranto, writing for the majority, engaged in a fact-intensive analysis to determine that a ‘blocking patent’ mooted evidence of objective indicia of non-obviousness and found the … Continue Reading

Russian IP Court compelled domain name registrars to remove illegal content reported by trademark holders

On 4 July 2018, Russian IP Court rendered a landmark judgment in case No. A40-132026/2017. Under the merits of the case, LLC Azbuka Vkusa (trademark holder) sued LLC Registrator R01 (prominent domain registrar) seeking to cease delegation of the disputed domain name. It was apparent that the claimant’s trademark AZBUKA VKUSA was infringed in the domain … Continue Reading

Nothing beats a good TM LWYR – Nike’s questionable LDNR campaign

A July 2018 decision of the UK Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) appears to have put paid to Nike’s recent “Nothing beats a Londoner” ad campaign. The case highlights, with hindsight, a perhaps regrettable commercial/legal decision by the sports giant, whilst also demonstrating the usefulness of the IPEC as a means of speedy and effective … Continue Reading

Clarifications on resolution of non-use disputes against bankrupt trademark holders

On March 21, 2018, the Russian Supreme Court published its Decision in case No. A55 5711/2014, which may have a dramatic impact on resolution of trademark non-use disputes. Under the merits of the case, Heineken filed a non-use claim against Samarskiy Vodochnyi Zavod based on its failure to use the trademark Volzhskaya Okhota for 3 consecutive years. … Continue Reading

IP Court restrained to sell and market a generic drug until the patent expiry

On 24 April 2018 the Intellectual Property Court published its Decision in case A41 85807/2016 between Swiss-based Novartis AG and local generic Nativa LLC. The IP Court’s position in this case may result in an extra defense granted for patent holders against unfair practice of registration of generics drugs until patent expiry.… Continue Reading

Fair is foul, and foul is fair: How TV Eyes May Help Us See Through The Blurred Lines & Fog Around Fair Use

First Witch:     When shall we three meet again/In thunder, lightning, or in rain? Second Witch:  When the hurlyburly’s done,/When the battle’s lost and won. Third Witch:    That will be ere the set of sun. *** ALL:                 Fair is foul, and foul is fair:/Hover through the fog and filthy air. [MacBeth, Act 1, Scene 2] … Continue Reading

Trade Secrets as Part of Your IP Portfolio: The Case of Col. Sanders

Trade secrets, together with patents, trademarks, and copyrights, are one of the four main types of intellectual property.  Unlike the three other types of IP, trade secrets are never made public.  Trademarks and service marks are obtainable only through public use that creates an association between the mark and the origin of specific goods or … Continue Reading

Registration of Mark “THEZARA” for Motel Services Invalidated Based on the Mark “ZARA” for Clothing – A Case Study

Representing our client Inditex S.A. (“Inditex”), owner of the famous fashion brand “ZARA,” Lee International obtained a favorable decision in its invalidation action against the registered mark “THEZARA” for motel and hotel services. Facts Lee International filed an invalidation action against the registered mark “THEZARA” for “motel, hotel,” etc., on behalf of Inditex.  The invalidation … Continue Reading
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