Category: Popular

Harry Potter Trademark Issues

Harry Potter Festival Halted Due to Trademark Issues

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.

Learn More About the World of Magic and Trademarks

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.
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Devils Hand Sign

Rocker Gene Simmons Attempts to Trademark Devil’s Horn Hand Sign

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.
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SCOTUS Rules in Favor of THE SLANTS Trademark

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”

Havana Club Trademark

Florida Lawmakers Hoping Trump Will Help with Havana Club Trademark Dispute

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.
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Wheel of Time Coming to TV

How “rights” lead to a 17 year delay in the Wheel of Time?

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.

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ganjagonia trademark dispute

Patagonia Challenges Trademark Application for Ganjagonia

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”

black mamba trademark fight

Kobe Bryant Asserts Rights Against Black Mamba Trademark Application

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”

ganjagonia trademark dispute

State Marijuana Laws Create New Trademark Issues for Pot Entrepreneurs

 

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.

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X-men

Marvel V Fox A Super Dispute

Every so often a right’s dispute will leave the realm of the courtroom and spill out into our pop-culture. This is the current case with Marvel Movies and Fox Studios. Marvel, who originally created the X-men Story Line, sold the rights to Fox and now they want them back.

In 1996 Marvel was facing financial troubles. They sold the rights to several of their comic characters to different studios. Most notably was the sale of X-Men’s rights to Fox. The sale of the rights made Marvel financially stable, and launched Marvel into the movie- making business. Over the past years, Marvel has capitalized on their movies by creating some of the highest grossing comic book movies. Only DC’s reboot of the Batman franchise is comparable.

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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”