Topic: Trademark

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Supreme Court Considers the Reach of the Lanham Act Outside of United States

The United States Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, on the international limitations, if any, of the Lanham Act. In Abitron Austria GmbH, et al., v. Hetronic International, Inc. (No. 21-1043), the Court heard arguments not only from counsel for the parties, but also the Biden administration, on whether the Lanham Act … Continue reading

A Later-Filed Unattacked Registration Establishes Priority in Board Proceedings

In a precedential decision, The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) refused to reconsider its decision sustaining an opposition to registration of the mark “LOVETTE” on the basis of likelihood of confusion with the mark “NNENNA LOVETTE.” Nkanginieme v. Appleton, 2023 TTAB LEXIS 64 (TTAB Mar. 7, 2023). In its request for reconsideration Applicant, Lovette … Continue reading

Three Year Battle Ends with Lizzo Securing Registration for 100% THAT BITCH Mark

In a precedential decision, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) reversed two refusals to register Grammy-winning singer Lizzo’s 100% THAT BITCH trademarks. Lizzo’s company, Lizzo LLC, applied for two word trademarks in June 2019 for 100% THAT BITCH for various types of clothing after she popularized the phrase in her 2017 hit single … Continue reading

Do Not Be Fooled (Part 2): USPTO Issues Warning of Spoof Calls from Scammers

We have written previously on this blog warning of misleading solicitations. For years,  scammers have impersonated the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in mailings, seeking payments from trademark owners for nonexistent services, such as trademark renewals. This week, the USPTO warned of a new scheme targeting trademark owners. The USPTO put out an … Continue reading

Transliterations of Chinese Characters Require a Translation Statement

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) refused registration of the mark “ZHIMA” because the applicant, Advanced New Technologies Co., Ltd., did not submit a translation of ZHIMA into English. In re Advanced New Techs. Co., 2023 TTAB LEXIS 2, 2023 WL 181172 (TTAB Jan. 12, 2023). In the original refusal, the Examining Attorney determined … Continue reading

USPTO Adds 75 Climate and Green-Tech Terms to Trademark ID Manual

Earlier this month, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it is adding new climate and green tech-related terms to the Trademark ID Manual. The USPTO has already added 75 terms that include biomethane, research and development in the field of wind energy, and treatment of captured landfill gasses. Practically, the addition … Continue reading

The Battle Continues After TTAB Refuses Registration for #LAW for Failure to Function as a Trademark

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) refused registration of #LAW on the Principal Register finding that #LAW failed to function as a trademark. Pound Law, LLC (“Pound Law” or “Applicant”) was unable to convince the Board that its vanity phone number functions as a trademark for legal services and legal referral services. In re … Continue reading

TTAB Sustains Opposition Based on Applicant’s Failure to Secure the Consent of a Living Individual

Terminal Moraine Inc. (“Applicant” or “Terminal Moraine”) sought registration on the Principal Register of the mark: for the following goods and services: Mystery Ranch, Ltd. (“Mystery Ranch” or “Opposer”) opposed registration of the DANA DESIGN mark based on an alleged false suggestion of a connection with Mystery Ranch and Dana Gleason, Mystery Ranch’s co-owner, under … Continue reading

After Years of Hounding from Jack Daniel’s, Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Bad Spaniels Parody Trademark Case

The dispute between Jack Daniel’s and VIP Products LLC (“VIP”) over a parody dog toy continues and will finally proceed to the Supreme Court. The case centers around a parody dog toy sold by VIP that mimics the label of a Jack Daniel’s whisky bottle. The toy replaces the text “Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7” … Continue reading

No Likelihood of Confusion Between “SMOKES & Design” and “SMOK”

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) found that there was no likelihood of confusion between the “SMOKES & Design” mark owned by Fancy Pants Products, LLC (“Applicant”), generally used in connection with cannabis products, and the “SMOK” mark owned by Shenzhen IVPS Technology Co. Ltd (“Opposer”), generally used in connection with electronic cigarettes. Shenzhen … Continue reading

Supreme Court to Examine the Reach of the Lanham Act to Impose Liability on Conduct Outside of the United States

Sections 32(1)(a) and 43(a)(1)(A) of the Lanham Act impose civil liability on any person who “use[s] in commerce” a trademark in a manner that “is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive.”  15 U.S.C. 1114(1)(a); 15 U.S.C. 1125(a)(1). Notably, the Lanham Act defines commerce broadly as “all commerce which may lawfully … Continue reading

NFTs and IP – Your opportunity to comment

On November 23, 2022, the US Patent and Trademark Office and the US Copyright Office issued a request for public comment on the subject of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and intellectual property rights. Comments are due by Monday, January 9, 2023. In addition, the Offices will offer three public roundtables:  one panel on NFTs and patents … Continue reading

USPTO shortened office action response deadlines to go into effect in December

Starting on December 3, 2022, the timeframe for trademark applicants to respond to office actions at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) will be shortened from six months to three months. This change is the result of the implementation of the Trademark Modernization Act of 2020 (“TMA”). You can find more information on the … Continue reading

TTAB Refuses to Cancel Harwood’s THE HAPPIEST HOUR Registration

In a precedential decision issued in September, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) denied a cancellation filed by JNF LLC (“JNF”) against Harwood International Inc. (“Harwood”). JNF applied for the mark THE HAPPIEST HOUR and Harwood owns a registration for HAPPIEST HOUR. Both marks are for use in connection with bar and restaurant services. … Continue reading

Are we (virtually) there yet? Waiting for the rise of the metaverse from a brand owner’s perspective

We are now almost one year on from Mark Zuckerberg’s much talked-about October 2021 letter announcing, among other things, the change of the name of his company from Facebook to Meta, reflecting the company’s commitment to revolutionising social connection through virtual reality. Zuckerberg’s expansive vision of a metaverse currently remains more of a fantasy than … Continue reading

Vans secures temporary restraining order barring promotion and sale of Wavy Baby Shoes

In Vans, Inc. v. MSCHF Product Studio, Inc., No. 22CV2156WFKRML, 2022 WL 1446681 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 29, 2022), shoe company Vans, Inc. (“Vans”) prevailed in obtaining a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against art collective MSCHF Product Studio, Inc. (“MSCHF”), restraining promotion and sale of its WAVY BABY shoes. Vans asserted that the WAVY BABY … Continue reading

Modern collegiate trademark and licensing regime may face increased enforcement challenges

In The Pennsylvania State University v. Vintage Brand, LLC, 2022 U.S.P.Q.2d 653 (M.D. Pa. 2022 The Pennsylvania State University (“Penn State”) sued Vintage Brand, LLC (“Vintage”), an online retailer of screen-printed goods featuring logos and images, for violations of federal and state trademark and unfair competition laws. Penn State seeks to restrain Vintage from selling … Continue reading

TTAB prohibits the County of Orange from registering unofficial seal and badge designs

In a recent precedential decision, the TTAB refused registration of two trademark applications by the County of Orange holding that the marks constituted insignia even though they were not official seals.[1] In 2017, the County of Orange, a political subdivision in the state of California, applied for trademark registration of a circular and badge design … Continue reading

TTAB rules RANCHERO and EL RANCHERO marks confusingly similar

In a non-precedential decision, the TTAB held that use of the word and stylized mark EL RANCHERO for “food products made of corn, namely, corn chips, tortillas and tostadas” were confusingly similar to the word and design marks RANCHERO for “cream” and “Mexican style sausages, namely chorizo and bolita.”[1] The dispute over the “Ranchero” marks … Continue reading

PepsiCo wins appeal over MTN DEW RISE ENERGY trademark dispute

PepsiCo. Inc. recently convinced the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to throw out a preliminary injunction granted by a New York federal judge last fall that prevented PepsiCo from using MTN DEW RISE ENERGY on its canned energy drinks.[1] In March 2021, PepsiCo launched MTN DEW RISE ENERGY featuring cans with a … Continue reading

Guidance on Metaverse and NFTs trade marks

On June 23rd, 2022, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”) published its recommendations regarding the class to be opted for when applying for a trademark designating virtual goods, non-fungible tokens (“NFT(s)”) and other products displayed in metaverse. Considering the increase in the applications containing terms relating to virtual goods and NFTs, EUIPO’s clarifications simplify applicants burden … Continue reading

Québec French Language Law Reform: Upcoming Changes for Businesses

Following a well-publicized debate, on May 24, 2022, the National Assembly of Québec finally passed the Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec (Bill 96), a major reform of the 1977 Charter of the French Language (the Charter, also known as Bill 101). The Charter sets out language requirements for product packaging, … Continue reading
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