Year: 2015

Milano Cookie

Milano Cookie Trademark: Pepperidge Farms versus Trader Joe’s

While a traditional cookie is round, they can come in all kinds of delicious shapes and sizes. A cookie that ventures outside the cookie shape norm is Pepperidge Farms’ Milano cookie. The Milano is a distinctive oval shaped cookie sandwich with chocolate in the middle. It has been a big hit for Pepperidge Farms and they intend to keep it that way. That’s why they recently filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement against Trader Joe’s alleging Trader Joe’s Crispy Cookies infringe the look and package design of Pepperidge Farm’s iconic Milano cookies. Continue reading “Milano Cookie Trademark: Pepperidge Farms versus Trader Joe’s”

Pine Tree Trademark Lawsuit

Air Freshener Trade Dress Fight: Pine Vs Palm

Everyone has seen the tree shaped air freshener dangling from a rear view mirror used to cover up the scent of stale French fries and gym clothes. Air fresheners turn out to be big business. That’s why Car-Freshener Corp of New York is suing Exotica Fresheners of Ohio for trademark infringement, claiming Exotica is knocking off its trademark look right down to the packaging and style of the writing it uses. Car-Freshener wants Exotica to stop imitating its branding and pay Car-Freshener damages for misleading consumers. Continue reading “Air Freshener Trade Dress Fight: Pine Vs Palm”

Cancellation Proceeding: Nautigirl Defeats Nautica

In David versus Goliath fashion, Christine Palmerton, owner of a small business and the brand Nautigirl, overcame a challenge to her trademark registration by mega brand Nautica. Palmerton had a U.S. trademark registration for her Nautigirl logo, which included the word Nautigirl and an image of a sassy looking sailor woman. Nautica claimed that Palmero’s brand was too similar to its brand and sought cancellation of her mark. After nearly three years of litigation and the support of a law school pro bono clinic, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sided with Palmerton. Continue reading “Cancellation Proceeding: Nautigirl Defeats Nautica”

Amazon Wins in Federal Court

Federal Appeals Court Sides With Amazon in Trademark Case

A panel of three federal appeals judges had second thoughts recently, changing its mind on whether Amazon would have to face trial over a trademark dispute with a watchmaker. The change in course was most likely spurred by a desire to avoid re-opening the debate over the internet “initial interest confusion” doctrine. While this decision provides relief to Amazon, watchmaker Multi Time Machine (Multi Time) probably feels a little gypped. Continue reading “Federal Appeals Court Sides With Amazon in Trademark Case”

Donald Trump Trademark

Trump Trademark Registration: “Make America Great Again” Campaign Slogan

Donald Trump may be an outsider when it comes to politics, but he is certainly not an outsider when it comes to business. Unquestionably he understands the importance of creating a brand and protecting it. Obviously, that’s why he filed a trademark application in anticipation of a presidential run on the phrase “Make America Great Again”. The USPTO granted Trump a trademark registration for this mark for political action committees service and political fundraising. With this registration in hand, Trump is looking to expand his trademark protection into other classes as well. Indeed, Trump has filed three additional trademark registration applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Continue reading “Trump Trademark Registration: “Make America Great Again” Campaign Slogan”

Dirty Fight Over Trademarks in Utah

Soda shops where you can order a “dirty” Diet Coke have become quite the rage in Utah as of late. Drinking a “dirty” soda may sound unappealing to the uninformed, but all “dirty” means in the soda context is the addition of flavored syrup shots (typically coconut and sometime also lime). As custom soda shops grow in popularity, one shop claims it coined the term “dirty” and with a federal trademark registration in hand, wants the other shops to stop using it. Continue reading “Dirty Fight Over Trademarks in Utah”

Tiffany & Co. has Win against Costco in Trademark Case

If you were shopping at Costco for a diamond ring a couple of years ago and believed you were buying a Tiffany diamond, you may have been confused, and a U.S. federal judge agrees. The judge granted victory to Tiffany & Co. over Costco in a trademark infringement suit after Costco used jewelry displays promoting “Tiffany diamonds”. The case will now head to a jury to decide how much Costco owes Tiffany in damages and lost profits for infringing on its trademark.

This situation arose in 2012 when a customer in a Southern California Costco noticed a display advertising “Tiffany Round Diamond Rings”. The customer believed that the diamonds were Tiffany brand diamond rings, but what Costco was actually offering was a “tiffany” ring setting. The customer’s mistake is somewhat understandable as Costco routinely sells other expensive brands throughout its stores, including high-end jewelry brands. Continue reading “Tiffany & Co. has Win against Costco in Trademark Case”

Texas State Flag

Don’t Mess with Texas – State Wins Alamo Trademark Dispute

Always remember the Alamo – at least when it comes to branding. If you don’t, the state of Texas may come after you for trademark infringement.

That’s what happened after two beer manufacturers took their trademark dispute to federal court. Alamo Beer sued Old 300 Brewing for trademark infringement claiming Old 300’s use of the outline of the Alamo infringed on its federal trademark registration. While these two groups battled it out, they received an unexpected challenge. The state of Texas stepped in and asserted its own trademark rights to the Alamo. A federal judge agreed with Texas and now both beer companies will need a license from the Texas General Land Office to continue use of the image of the Alamo. Continue reading “Don’t Mess with Texas – State Wins Alamo Trademark Dispute”

Guitarist playing an electric guitar. Shallow depth of field. Grunge filter.

Federal Appeals Court to Review “The Slants” Trademark Application

Portland, Oregon based rock band “The Slants” isn’t planning to change its name anytime soon. It just wants the Trademark Office to recognize its chosen name and grant it a trademark registration. After determining that “The Slants” is a disparaging term and rejecting its application, the Trademark Office has stuck to its guns despite multiple attempts by the band to appeal the decision. The band now rests its hopes in a panel of federal appeals judges, hoping they will overrule the U.S Patent and Trademark Office. The question of whether free speech rights should trump trademark law’s prohibition on immoral, scandalous or disparaging marks will now go before this group. Continue reading “Federal Appeals Court to Review “The Slants” Trademark Application”

4 Stripes you’re out! Adidas Sues Designer Marc Jacobs

Adidas has been around for a long time and spent a lot of money promoting its 3 stripe logo. Part of its strategy to protect its brand includes trademark registration. The German company owns numerous U.S. trademark registrations on the various incarnations of its brand. So when fashion designer Marc Jacobs recently released a line of clothing that included 4 stripes down the sleeve, Adidas’ trademark attorneys quickly went into action, filing a trademark infringement lawsuit in Oregon federal court.
Continue reading “4 Stripes you’re out! Adidas Sues Designer Marc Jacobs”