When you hear the word “how” you typically don’t think of a brand, you think of a question, like “how do you do something?” Or perhaps a statement like “this is how it’s done.” But two companies have taken to using the word as a brand, one company for quite a bit longer than the other, and this overlapping use is causing a trademark dispute over this simple word.
U-Haul has been in the moving business for a long time, but a recent judgment shows that it wasn’t the first to use the term “pods” to refer to moving containers. That distinction belongs to Florida-based PODS Enterprises, which began using the term in commerce in 1998 and received a trademark registration on the term in 2005. U-Haul’s subsequent use of the term is proving very costly, as a jury ordered the company to pay PODS $62 million in profits and damages for infringing the PODS.
Before 2006 to tweet was something only birds did. Now tweeting is pretty much ubiquitous. One of the 10 most popular sites on the internet, Twitter has changed culture and the way people experience the world. News outlets are typically no longer the first to break news, with eyewitnesses relaying near real-time updates through Twitter. With such widespread use, Twitter has become a highly recognizable brand. As such, the group is taking measures to protect its name and unfortunately for a former symbiotic partner, it may become a casualty.
When you think of Louis Vuitton, you probably think of a trend-setter, a brand that is at the forefront of fashion. In most cases, this is probably true, but recently the fashion behemoth may have been just a little late to the party. The French company is being sued for trademark infringement by an emerging Atlanta-based shoe designer, Antonio Brown’s trademark attorney, who claims that Louis Vuitton has been copying his unique toe plate design and causing consumers to be confused about which design is which.
Duck Dynasty, the popular A&E television program, is big on camouflage. But the Dynasty crew may have overstepped its camo bounds when it proclaimed that “My Favorite Color is Camo.” This proclamation and use of the phrase on branded merchandise has recently led to a lawsuit. The Duck group is facing a trademark infringement challenge from a Florida company claiming Dynasty’s use of the phrase “My Favorite Color is Camo” infringes on its trademark registration.
Comic-Con has become a big deal. Multiple conventions are held annually throughout the country. Thousands of people attend. But the San Diego installment of the event wants to make sure that everyone knows that it is the real, original Comic-Con and is taking action to do so.
The latest installment of the Batman movie franchise was a big hit with fans. It told the story of Batman attempting to thwart Bane’s plot to send Gotham City into chaos. One of the subplots of the movie was Catwoman’s effort to obtain the “Clean Slate” software to help her erase her criminal history. It turns out that this fictional software written into the movie is not so fictional and the company behind the actual Clean Slate software believed that Warner Bros. infringed on their registered trademark by using the name in the movie. This prompted the company to file a trademark infringement lawsuit against Warner Bros. But as most who go up against Batman discover, he usually comes out on top.
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: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/hobbit-trademark-lawsuit-producers-enlist-394685).