Category: United States

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Trademark License Rights Survive Rejection in Bankruptcy

Settling a circuit split, the U.S. Supreme Court, in an 8-1 decision, has concluded that a trademark licensee’s rights are not automatically terminated when a debtor in bankruptcy rejects the license agreement. The case, Mission Product Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC (Mission Product), arose from a pre-bankruptcy trademark license agreement between Tempnology, LLC, the bankrupt debtor, and … Continue Reading

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

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

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

“…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

Client Wants To Do Business in US, What To Do from an IP Perspective

The Amazon Marketplace, an online sales platform for third-party sellers, has seen a significant increase in popularity. It is not, however, the only third-party sales platform, Walmart.com, e-Bay, and Etsy are other popular marketplaces in the U.S., and all offer great ways for international sellers to enter the U.S. market. There are, however, some IP … 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

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

UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT TO CONSIDER ‘ON-SALE BAR’ DOCTRINE

Recent focus on the United States Supreme Court has surrounded who President Trump will nominate to replace retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.  (The nominee is Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit.)  However, once October is here, the 2018 Term begins and focus will shift back to the cases before the Court.  One of those issues … Continue Reading

The Catch-22 Of Litigating Your Trade Secrets Case Without Revealing The Secrets Themselves

“You mean there’s a catch?” “Sure there’s a catch,” Doc Daneeka replied. “Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn’t really crazy.” There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the … Continue Reading

NCAA Obtains Injunction Over “March Madness” and “Final Four” Trademarks

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana sided with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and awarded a permanent injunction against game developer Kizzang Inc. (Kizzang) over a mobile and online game that infringed the NCAA’s trademarks “March Madness” and “Final Four.” Background The NCAA administers inter-collegiate sports across the United States … 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
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