Category: Popular

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”

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”

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”

Why Hall & Oates Purchased a Trademark Registration for Oatmeal Cereal

Daryl Hall and John Oates make beautiful music together. At least some people say that. Their last names also go together nicely to create an interesting phrase. People have played off the band’s name for decades, but when a cereal company began branding its granola as “Haulin’ Oats”, Hall and Oates decided they needed to put a stop to it and protect their brand name. But even though they have been known as Hall & Oates for years, they were forced to purchase a trademark registration to stop the cereal company. Continue reading “Why Hall & Oates Purchased a Trademark Registration for Oatmeal Cereal”

ACLU Supports the Washington Redskins Trademark

Although the team has decades of history, many people find the name of the Washington professional football team offensive. The Trademark Office sided with this opinion when it cancelled the Washington Redskins’ trademark registration last summer. The Office cited federal trademark law’s prohibition on the registration of disparaging marks. In spite of this latest obstacle however, the Redskins are fighting this ruling tooth and nail, and they now have a new supporter in their corner.

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Did Macy’s Allow Their Trademark to Go Abandoned

A few decades ago there used to be a lot more variety in department stores. Robinson’s-May, Marshall Field’s, and Meier and Frank used to dot the commercial landscape. But when these stores, along with several others, were acquired by Macy’s in 2005 and subsequently rebranded with the Macy’s masthead and brand name, the overall diversity of department stores took a hit. Now, after several years of dormancy, an enterprising individual is attempting to bring back some of these nostalgic brands and commercially exploit them, selling merchandise bearing the names and logos of these brands on his website. Macy’s has responded by suing for trademark infringement, claiming it is still the owner of these brands, but by shelving them for years, has Macy’s abandoned its trademark registration rights?

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Sriracha Sauce Trademark Lessons

Sriracha
Licensed by Creative Commons 2.0.

One of the most popular trends in the food industry over the last decade has been Sriracha. In case you still aren’t sure exactly what it is, Sriracha is a chili sauce made from chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. It originated in Thailand and was brought to the United States by Thai immigrants. One of these immigrants, David Tran, began selling the sauce under his Huy Fong Foods brand, which uses a distinctive rooster as its logo. Tran sought trademark registration on his rooster logo, but never on the name Sriracha itself. Now, as the popularity of the sauce has exploded, major players are bringing their own Sriracha sauce to the market, leaving one to wonder if Tran missed out on a huge commercial opportunity. Continue reading “Sriracha Sauce Trademark Lessons”

“Je Suis Charlie” Trademark Aftermath

Je Suis CharlieFollowing a growing trend of attempts to trademark social rallying cries, two trademark applications have been submitted on “Je Suis Charlie”. Je Suis Charlie was a common slogan of support at the rallies and in social media in reference to the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. It quickly became an international statement of solidarity against violence and terrorism. Like other social movement slogans before it, trademark applications quickly followed its viral spread. But like those other slogans, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is unlikely to grant a trademark registration for Je Suis Charlie.

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Under Armour Sues Salt Armour

240px-Under_armour_logo.svgSporting apparel and equipment manufacturer Under Armour, has rapidly grown into a heavy hitter in the athletic gear market.  Started in 1996 by University of Maryland football player, Kevin Plank, out of the back of his car, the company has grown to challenge the likes of Nike and Adidas.  Part of the company’s explosive growth has been due to marketing and branding.  Before hitting the big time, Plank wisely filed a trademark application on Under Armour in 1996, which received a trademark registration in 1999.  Armed with this trademark registration and a desire to protect the brand, Under Armour recently filed a lawsuit against Salt Armour, Inc. for trademark infringement. Continue reading “Under Armour Sues Salt Armour”