Category: Famous Marks

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SECONDS & LEFTOVERS AFTER THANKSGIVING: Cleaning Up & Emptying Out The IP Fridge

The American holiday of Thanksgiving is tradition-laden and is celebrated as much for the leftovers after that November Thursday as it is for the turkey on that day, at least according to the US Department of Agriculture.  Indeed, Americans “idolize Thanksgiving left overs,” and the “[t]he overstuffing of America’s fridges has become something of a … Continue Reading

Why Creators Need to Pay Close Attention to the SCOTUS Andy Warhol Infringement Case

The US Supreme Court in March decided it will revisit a dispute over pop artist Andy Warhol’s images of Prince. In taking up the case, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith, the Court aims to more clearly define the scope of what’s known as “fair use” in US copyright law. The … Continue Reading

Don’t Be Bamboozled by Environmental Benefit Claims

$5.5 Million FTC Settlements for Bamboo Textile and Environmental Benefit Claims Under Penalty Offense Authority The FTC recently announced that it has reached a $2.5 million settlement with Kohl’s and a $3 million settlement with Walmart for allegedly making misleading representations that textile products were made of bamboo fabric and provided environmental benefits because those products were derived from … Continue Reading

Spring Cleaning: Decluttering From Recent Intellectual Property Detritus & Dusting Off Old Posts

Our favorite thing about spring [is] spring cleaning. It’s a way to say, “I’m dusting off the winter blues and coming out of hibernation.”… At the office, spring cleaning can take on a whole new meaning. It is a chance to reorganize and refresh your workspace and your workflow. Plus, organizing will actually improve your overall focus and … Continue Reading

What To Consider When Launching a Cause Marketing Campaign

The war in Ukraine has led to Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II; more than 3 1/2 million civilians have already been displaced, and some observers expect the number to reach five million as the war continues to unfold. There has been an outpouring of concerned citizens the world over who are hoping … Continue Reading

A DAVID AND GOLIATH STYLE UGG BOOT DISPUTE

Just over five years after the California-based retail giant Deckers Outdoor Corp. (Deckers) filed a lawsuit against Sydney-based footwear company, Australian Leather Pty Ltd (Australian Leather) for trademark infringement, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled in favour of Deckers. The Court of Appeals affirmed the previous decision of the district … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Finds Google’s Copying of Oracle’s APIs a Fair Use

A recent Supreme Court decision has finally put an end to the longstanding fight between Oracle and Google concerning Google’s use of Oracle’s copyrighted Java Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). The Supreme Court’s decision held that, contrary to the decision by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals which was discussed in our previous alert, Google’s use … Continue Reading

WHAT, IN THE NAME OF GOD, …?: Intellectual Property Rights In Holy Names, Sacred Words, & Other Aspects of Creation

The title of this piece tracks a common “phrase of exasperation used to emphasize a question or statement.”  If that be the case, and I think it is, then the subtitle implies the question this piece will address.  That question is “how have various countries’ intellectual property laws addressed efforts to copyright, trademark, or patent … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Narrows Definition of Autodialer in Facebook Ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court released its eagerly anticipated decision in Facebook Inc. v. Duguid yesterday, narrowly construing the definition of an automatic telephone dialing system, or autodialer, under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and resolving the uncertainty that had led to a long-standing split in the circuit courts. Autodialer Definition and Interpretations A circuit split regarding … Continue Reading

AUSTRALIAN PATENT LAW UPDATE – THE HIGH COURT HAS OVERTURNED OVER 100 YEARS OF LAW, FAVOURING THE US DOCTRINE OF EXHAUSTION

Late last year, the High Court of Australia overturned more than 100 years of precedent when it handed down its decision in Calidad Pty Ltd v Seiko Epson Corporation [2020] HCA 41 (Calidad v Seiko). Rather than following the existing principle of ‘implied licence’, in its decision, the High Court adopted a US common law … Continue Reading

BANKSY’S “FLOWER THROWER” TRADEMARK: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF THE RECENT DECISION OF EUIPO CANCELLATION DIVISION

The Cancellation Division of EUIPO has recently issued a resounding decision declaring the invalidity of the figurative trademark representing the “Flower thrower”, one of the most iconic Banksy’s mural paintings. The motivations on which the decision is based are questionable since it seems to be willing to take a punitive stance against the British street … Continue Reading

Out Of Character: Jersey Boys, Detective Stories, & The Case Of Space-Traveling Tardigrades

At heart, and still, I am a non-singing Jersey Boy, and one who grew up reading Sherlock Holmes stories and watching Star Trek, the Original Series (before it even needed that modifier), in reruns in the 1970s while also keeping up with the real Rocky.  And, I have been writing for ILN IP Insider for … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Unanimously Rules That Willfulness Is Not Required to Recover Profits

The U.S. Supreme Court resolved a circuit split on April 23, 2020, by unanimously holding in Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil Group, Inc., et al. that a brand owner is not required to prove that a trademark infringer acted willfully in order for the owner to be awarded the infringer’s profits. Background Romag Fasteners, Inc. … Continue Reading

BUSINESSES BEWARE: DEPRECIATION IN GOODWILL CLAIMS NOT BOUND BY INDUSTRY LINES

The Federal Court of Canada (the “FCTD“) recently released Toys “R” Us (Canada) Ltd v Herbs “R” Us Wellness Society, in which it considered whether a cannabis company, Herbs “R” Us Wellness Society (“Herbs R Us“), had breached Sections 20, 7(b) and 22 of Canada’s Trademarks Act (the “Act“) with respect to claims of trademark … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court – Willfulness Is Not a Prerequisite for a Profit Award for Trademark Infringement

In its unanimous April 23, 2020 opinion in Romag Fasteners v. Fossil, Inc., the Supreme Court made clear once and for all that a successful trademark plaintiff is not required to establish that the defendant’s infringement was willful to be entitled to an award of the infringer’s profits. In other words, profits may be disgorged … Continue Reading

In Determination of Trademark Parody Fair Use, Culture Differences and the Products Used Should be Considered

Generally speaking, “trademark parody fair use” is a defense where an unauthorized trademark user claims that the use should be shielded from liability because of public interests such as freedom of speech.  In Taiwan, while there were court judgments that recognized “trademark parody fair use”, there is no clear language for such defense in the … Continue Reading

Stop the Insanity! Sports Trademarks Run Amok

Sports and sports teams have a long history with intellectual property law and, more specifically, trademarks.  Sports teams, colleges, and universities have long trademarked their names and logos, and have routinely and aggressively enforced those rights.  In 1988 Pat Riley, then the head coach of the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers, applied for a … Continue Reading

Was Missguided Misguided? Kim Kardashian West Obtains $2.7 Million Judgment in Right of Publicity and Trademark Suit

A federal district court in California has awarded a $2.7-million default judgment to Kim Kardashian West in her lawsuit against a fast fashion online retailer that allegedly used her persona and likeness to sell its clothing, in part by repeatedly tagging her on Instagram and linking to the retailer’s e-commerce site. Kardashian West’s suit is … Continue Reading

What’s Going On? Another Marvin Gaye Lawsuit Tests the Limits of Copyright Protection

Just when you thought it was over, another copyright infringement lawsuit involving a Marvin Gaye song is set for trial. The dust had barely settled on the infamous “Blurred Lines” case when a second suit, this time targeting world-famous pop star Ed Sheeran, took another step closer to trial. Similar to the prior case, the battleground being … Continue Reading

Simon Cowell picks bone with “The Pets Factor” UK trade mark

When TV format creator Mark Duffy struck upon the tongue-in-cheek name “The Pets Factor” for what was (presumably) a talent competition for domestic animals, he might well have smiled at his own ingenuity. Conversely, when Simon Cowell heard about the name (via Mr Duffy’s application to register it as a UK trade mark in classes … 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

Apple Closed Two of Its Stores in Eastern Texas. The Reasoning May Surprise You – How patent laws can affect key business decisions

Apple, the technology giant which runs successful Apple Stores all over the world, announced that it will close its only two stores in eastern Texas by Friday, April 12. Apple, however, did not announce why it was closing those two stores. This is especially intriguing since Apple likely generates millions of dollars in revenue each … 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
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