Year: 2014

Judge Rules Pizza Flavor Cannot Be Trademarked

Pepperoni_pizzaNew York is well known for many popular pizza restaurants.  One restaurant in particular, New York Pizzeria, Inc. (NYPI), believes that what separates it from all the others is a distinctive taste that customers immediately recognize.  According to NYPI, a unique blend of ingredients sourced from proprietary distributers creates its distinguishing flavor.  And when its former president left to create a rival restaurant, Gina’s Italian Kitchen, NYPI noticed that Gina’s pizza tasted a little too familiar.  That’s why NYPI filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Gina’s violated the Lanham Act by copying NYPI’s pizza flavor.  But can a flavor be protected by a trademark registration? Continue reading “Judge Rules Pizza Flavor Cannot Be Trademarked”

Sak’s Fifth Avenue Threatens Snaks Fifth Avenchew

Carrie Sarabella must have a sense of humor. She is the entrepreneur behind SNAKS FIFTH AVENCHEW, an organic doggie treat manufacturer. The play on the brand Saks Fifth Avenue is pretty clever. The department store doesn’t see it quite the same way however, as it sent cease and desist letters to the New Jersey based Sarabella. This wasn’t enough to make Sarabella roll over though and it appears that Saks is now backing down from its challenge.

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Lucasfilm Opposes “Empire Strikes Bock” Trademark Application

Perhaps more than any other movie or movie series in history, the Star Wars franchise has heavily influenced popular culture. Several generations have grown up with the characters and new generations will continue to do so as new movies are planned for release. That is why it is not too surprising that a brewery in upstate New York named Empire, chose to call one of its beers “Strikes Bock”. Empire Strikes Bock is a clever name for a beer, but after Empire filed a trademark application on the name, it drew the ire of Lucasfilm. The Star Wars Studio recently filed an opposition to the trademark application alleging permitting registration of the mark for ale will create a likelihood of confusion and will dilute Lucasfilm’s trademark rights in it’s THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK mark.

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How a Trademark Dispute Arises Over Word “How”

When you hear the word “how” you typically don’t think of a brand, you think of a question, like “how do you do something?” Or perhaps a statement like “this is how it’s done.” But two companies have taken to using the word as a brand, one company for quite a bit longer than the other, and this overlapping use is causing a trademark dispute over this simple word.

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PODS Awarded $62 Million Judgment against U-Haul in Trademark Infringement Case

Pods trademark dispute with UhaulU-Haul has been in the moving business for a long time, but a recent judgment shows that it wasn’t the first to use the term “pods” to refer to moving containers. That distinction belongs to Florida based PODS Enterprises, which began using the term in commerce in 1998 and received a trademark registration on the term in 2005. U-Haul’s subsequent use of the term is proving very costly, as a jury ordered the company to pay PODS $62 million in profits and damages for infringing the PODS.

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Trademark Application Battle with Twitter Forces Twitpic Shut Down

Twitpic-logoBefore 2006 to tweet was something only birds did. Now tweeting is pretty much ubiquitous. One of the 10 most popular sites on the internet, Twitter has changed culture and the way people experience the world. News outlets are typically no longer the first to break news, with eyewitnesses relaying near real-time updates through Twitter. With such widespread use, Twitter has become a highly recognizable brand. As such, the group is taking measures to protect its name and unfortunately for a former symbiotic partner, it may become a casualty.

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Hungry between Breakfast and Lunch? McDonald’s Files Trademark Application on McBrunch

Slumping sales have McDonald’s searching for something new and its recent trademark application may reveal what it has in store. In July, McDonald’s filed a trademark application on McBrunch. But does this mean we can count on an 11 AM menu? The fast food giant is playing coy. When asked about its plans for the mark, the company stated it routinely files “intent-to-use” trademark applications and sometimes moves forward with them and sometimes it doesn’t. So that leaves us with a resounding maybe.

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Here Comes Johnny Cleveland: Manziel Seeks Trademark Registration on New Nickname

Johnny Manziel has yet to play in a regular season NFL game for his new team, the Cleveland Browns, but judging by his recent trademark application he seems to have long term plans in town. The much hyped quarterback filed a trademark application on the name “Johnny Cleveland” in the class covering athletic apparel. While it remains to be seen whether Manziel will be successful on the field, he is no stranger to protecting his celebrity image. The Johnny Cleveland trademark application is Manziel’s 10th filing.

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ALS Association Files and Withdraws Trademark Application for “Ice Bucket Challenge”

If you have been on any type of social media in the last couple of months, you have undoubtedly seen or been called out for the “ice bucket challenge”. The rules of the challenge require a person challenged to either get doused with ice water and pay $10 to charity or refuse the ice shower and make a $100 charitable donation. Over the summer, the challenge became strongly associated with support for the disease ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). As the popularity of the challenge surged, the ALS Association considered whether a trademark application to protect the challenge was appropriate. After first deciding that the group should protect the mark, it has since reconsidered and withdrawn its trademark application.

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USC Football Coach Sarkisian Seeks Trademark Registration on His Name

504px-2008-0808-USC19-SteveSarkisian
Photo by Bobak Ha’Eri used by permission of a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

The business of college football is big. At a time when the upper level conferences are seeking to break away from the NCAA to consolidate TV revenue and power, the money surrounding college football has never been greater. And unlike professional sports where the elite players are the stars, in college football the most identifiable representative of a particular university is often the coach.

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