Sriracha Sauce Trademark Lessons

One of the most popular trends in the food industry over the last decade has been Sriracha. In case you still aren’t sure exactly what it is, Sriracha is a chili sauce made from chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. It originated in Thailand and was brought to the United States by Thai immigrants. One of these immigrants, David Tran, began selling the sauce under his Huy Fong Foods brand, which uses a distinctive rooster as its logo. Tran sought trademark registration on his rooster logo, but never on the name Sriracha itself. Now, as the popularity of the sauce has exploded, major players are bringing their own Sriracha sauce to the market, leaving one to wonder if Tran missed out on a huge commercial opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »

“Je Suis Charlie” Trademark Aftermath

Je Suis CharlieFollowing a growing trend of attempts to trademark social rallying cries, two trademark applications have been submitted on “Je Suis Charlie”. Je Suis Charlie was a common slogan of support at the rallies and in social media in reference to the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. It quickly became an international statement of solidarity against violence and terrorism. Like other social movement slogans before it, trademark applications quickly followed its viral spread. But like those other slogans, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is unlikely to grant a trademark registration for Je Suis Charlie.

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Activision First Amendment Rights Trump Trademark Infringement Claim

Call_of_Duty_GhostsActivision’s Call of Duty video game franchise has been incredibly successful. It is a highly detailed, military style game that attempts to deliver a realistic combat experience by incorporating real weapons and equipment. This realism includes the ability to customize a player’s combat uniform, right down to the patches worn by the combatant. Such extreme realism enhances the player’s experience, but one company claims that Activision’s use of its patch is a little too real and infringes on its trademark registration. But a U.S. District Court in California doesn’t see it this way.

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Under Armour Sues Salt Armour

240px-Under_armour_logo.svgSporting apparel and equipment manufacturer Under Armour, has rapidly grown into a heavy hitter in the athletic gear market.  Started in 1996 by University of Maryland football player, Kevin Plank, out of the back of his car, the company has grown to challenge the likes of Nike and Adidas.  Part of the company’s explosive growth has been due to marketing and branding.  Before hitting the big time, Plank wisely filed a trademark application on Under Armour in 1996, which received a trademark registration in 1999.  Armed with this trademark registration and a desire to protect the brand, Under Armour recently filed a lawsuit against Salt Armour, Inc. for trademark infringement. Read the rest of this entry »