Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus ended its 150-year run as an operating circus in May 2017. The show garnered worldwide fame as “The Greatest Show on Earth”. This tagline became so synonymous with the Circus that the owners obtained a trademark registration on the phrase and even as the Circus has now ended, the trademark registration lives on. Unfortunately for Kid Rock, the owners of this trademark registration are now suing him for trademark infringement after he branded his upcoming concert tour “Greatest Show on Earth Tour 2018”. Continue reading “The Greatest Show on Earth Files Lawsuit against Kid Rock”
One of Portland, Oregon’s iconic locations is the White Stag sign. This neon sign outlined in the shape of Oregon and headed with a jumping deer has changed its written message over the years, currently reading “Portland, Oregon Old Town”, but the jumping deer has always remained. After decades of rising above the city, this sign and the jumping deer have become strongly associated with Portland and are now at the center of a trademark controversy between a local brewer and Portland City Hall.
Continue reading “Portland Trademark Filing Blocked by Local Brewer Registration of Iconic White Stag”
J.K. Rowling created a magical world for readers of her Harry Potter books. This magic quickly spread to become one of the most valuable intellectual property assets in the world. It has spawned movies and a theme park. From small beginnings writing on napkins to a major entertainment company owning all the IP rights, the value of the Harry Potter Trademark took off at an exponential pace. With an empire now to protect, trademark infringement issues with Warner Bros. Entertainment, have forced a growing Halloween festival in Scottsville, Virginia dedicated to the world of Harry Potter to be scrapped.
For the past three Halloweens, Scottsville has hosted a Harry Potter Festival. It all began after a local shop transformed itself into Honeydukes, the fictional candy shop in the Harry Potter books. Momentum grew from there and the rest of the town joined in. It grew from 800 visitors in year one, to 10,000 visitors visiting last year with over 25 local shops participating. As the event expanded, local shop owners formed the “Ministry of Magic”, a group set up to plan the annual event. Local businesses transformed into several of the shops and locations described in the Harry Potter books, calling themselves after the places in the books. The event began to take on a life of its own.
Continue reading “Harry Potter Festival Halted Due to Trademark Issues”
Even among casual music fans, Gene Simmons and the band KISS are well known and easily recognizable. With their elaborate make-up and costuming, the rock band has iconic status, and although they have been performing for multiple decades, only just recently Simmons decided to file for trademark protection on one of his signature symbols, the devil’s horn hand sign. But even with decades of use and a strong association with the band, the hand gesture may have too many hurdles to overcome for trademark protection.
Continue reading “Rocker Gene Simmons Attempts to Trademark Devil’s Horn Hand Sign”
In a landmark trademark law ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States held in Matal v. Tam that the Lanham Act’s disparagement clause is facially unconstitutional under the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause. This case will have significant implications for other case, such as the series of cases addressing the registrability of the mark REDSKINS for an NFL football team. At issue in Matal v. Tam was application of 15 U. S. C. §1052(a) to Simon Tam’s application for registration of the mark THE SLANTS for “entertainment in the nature of live performances by a musical band.” Section 1052(a), also known as the disparagement clause, provides in relevant part that a trademark may not be registered if it: Continue reading “SCOTUS Rules in Favor of THE SLANTS Trademark”
As President Obama attempted to normalize relations with Cuba toward the end of his presidency, a byproduct was the renewal of a contested trademark registration on Havana Club by Cubaexport, an agency of the Cuban government. Florida lawmakers are now hoping that a more US-centric Trump administration can help them roll this back.
Continue reading “Florida Lawmakers Hoping Trump Will Help with Havana Club Trademark Dispute”
It’s been almost two decades since “The Wheel of Time” adaptation was put into development. It’s been almost three decades since the first novel in the 14-book series was written. During the development time, the rights have switched hands multiple times, from NBC, Universal to Red Eagle Entertainment. The past two years have seen the most improvement now that Sony Entertainment has partnered with Red Eagle to bring “The Wheel of Time” to television sets.
It’s an interesting time for marijuana related businesses. At the state level, several states have given them a green light. On the federal level, however, the light is still very much red. In states where marijuana laws have been eased, entrepreneurs have been actively developing businesses around pot culture. But these entrepreneurs run into problems with federal trademark registration because the US Patent & Trademark Office is federally regulated. Trademark examiners have typically rejected marijuana related marks. However, one Colorado based web producer has passed the federal hurdle for his trademark application on Ganjagonia – a marijuana themed web cartoon, but now faces a more traditional trademark challenge from an actual company, as the outdoor retailer Patagonia is challenging his trademark application. Continue reading “Patagonia Challenges Trademark Application for Ganjagonia”
Kobe Bryant was an outstanding defender on the basketball court. Now, in his post-basketball business career, he’s looking to do some defending of his “Black Mamba” brand after someone else recently filed a trademark application on the name. With only a pending trademark application of his own at the US Patent & Trademark Office, Kobe is relying on common law trademark rights to oppose the new filing. Continue reading “Kobe Bryant Asserts Rights Against Black Mamba Trademark Application”
As additional states choose to ease laws on marijuana use for medicinal and recreational purposes, more and more Marijuana related business owners are cropping up. Marijuana dispensaries, along with brands peddling various marijuana strains, some backed by celebrities including Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson, are going into business in states like California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. But going into the Marijuana business comes with all the challenges faced by traditional businesses, as well as some unique trademark related challenges.