Author: Sterling Mark

Can Washington Redskins Keep Their US Trademark?

US Trademark

There’s another sports-related US trademark issue that continues in the news.  This time it revolves around the NFL’s Washington Redskins.  The Redskins have been so named since 1933, but if a group of Native Americans is successful in their legal challenge, the Redskins may have to be the Redskins without the benefit of a United States trademark registration.  (Click here to see related Washington Post article.)

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Submarine Chairs: Protecting a Three Dimensional Trademark

three dimentional trademark registrationTrademarks are typically associated with names, symbols, or phrases. Nike’s name, swoosh logo, and slogan “Just Do It” are familiar examples of these three categories. One less common, but equally important, category of a trademark that may be registered, at least in the U.S., is the three-dimensional trademark. Three-dimensional trademarks often comprise nonfunctional shapes or three-dimensional designs of products or product packaging. It is also sometimes referred to as a form of “trade dress.” If trade dress is inherently distinctive, or if recognition of the design by the consuming public as a source identifier has been established, trademark rights can be acquired. A good example of trade dress is the shape and style of McDonald’s Happy Meal boxes.

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Taser Trademark Registration Rights: Don’t Tase Me Bro!

Almost everyone remembers the video clip of University of Florida student Andrew Meyer yelling the iconic phrase “Don’t tase me bro!” Meyer caused a major disruption at a town hall forum and was caught on video yelling “Don’t tase me bro!” while being subdued by campus police. (Click here to see video here: Of course, Meyer wasn’t thinking about the implications for the stun gun manufacturer Taser International’s trademark registrations. But the ensuing pop culture wave and spread of the phrase has Taser International and its trademark lawyers very concerned about Taser’s trademark registration rights. (Click here to see related Huffington Post article.) see story here:

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This Bud’s for You… and You? Trademark Rights Battle over Budweiser Brand Name

budweiser protecting trademark rightsWith the amount of money spent on marketing, it’s a pretty good bet that nearly every adult in the United States is familiar with the Budweiser trademark for beer.  But it may be a surprise to learn that the beer brewed by Anheuser-Busch is not the only beer marketed under the trademark Budweiser.  A small brewer in the Czech Republic also has trademark rights to the name Budweiser and Anheuser-Busch is not happy about it.  (Click here to see MSN Money Article on this topic.)

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Registering a Trademark for “Johnny Football

Registering A TrademarkTexas A&M’s red-hot freshman quarterback, Johnny Manziel, has lit up college football this year.  He just took home the Heisman Trophy, which recognizes the nation’s most outstanding college football player – the first freshman ever to receive the honor.  During this past season, his running and passing ability helped him shatter all sorts of offensive records on the field.  Now off the field, he’s looking to play a little defense by registering a trademark.

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Hollywood Trademark Registration: Don’t Mess with the Hollywood Sign

Thinking about using the iconic Hollywood sign as a way to promote your business?  Better think again.  The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce not only owns a trademark registration for the landmark sign, but owns about a half a dozen trademark registrations relating to the Hollywood icon.  Recently, a New York ad agency called “The Brooklyn Brotherss” altered a photo of the Hollywood sign to include the letters BB in front of the word Hollywood in an effort to promote their new venture. (Click here to see related The Hollywood Reporter article.)

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Hobbit Producers Commission Study to Establish Trademark Infringement

In a recent blog post, we discussed The Hobbit producers’ trademark dispute with Global Asylum, the makers of the upcoming mockbuster movie “Age of the Hobbits”. The Hobbit producers claim that Asylum’s reference to hobbits in their movie title infringes rights under a trademark registration. Asylum countered claiming that the term hobbits refer to a recently discovered human sub-species and as such, they are entitled to use the term under the legal doctrine of fair use. In an effort to bolster their infringement position, The Hobbit producers have commissioned an interesting study aimed at showing a likelihood of confusion, which is one of the legal requirements to establish trademark infringement. (For more details on the story, see The Hollywood Reporter article by clicking here. story here:

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