Everyone has seen the tree shaped air freshener dangling from a rear view mirror used to cover up the scent of stale French fries and gym clothes. Air fresheners turn out to be big business. That’s why Car-Freshener Corp of New York is suing Exotica Fresheners of Ohio for trademark infringement, claiming Exotica is knocking off its trademark look right down to the packaging and style of the writing it uses. Car-Freshener wants Exotica to stop imitating its branding and pay Car-Freshener damages for misleading consumers. Continue reading “Air Freshener Trade Dress Fight: Pine Vs Palm”
In David versus Goliath fashion, Christine Palmerton, owner of a small business and the brand Nautigirl, overcame a challenge to her trademark registration by mega brand Nautica. Palmerton had a U.S. trademark registration for her Nautigirl logo, which included the word Nautigirl and an image of a sassy looking sailor woman. Nautica claimed that Palmero’s brand was too similar to its brand and sought cancellation of her mark. After nearly three years of litigation and the support of a law school pro bono clinic, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sided with Palmerton. Continue reading “Cancellation Proceeding: Nautigirl Defeats Nautica”
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”
If you were shopping at Costco for a diamond ring a couple of years ago and believed you were buying a Tiffany diamond, you may have been confused, and a U.S. federal judge agrees. The judge granted victory to Tiffany & Co. over Costco in a trademark infringement suit after Costco used jewelry displays promoting “Tiffany diamonds”. The case will now head to a jury to decide how much Costco owes Tiffany in damages and lost profits for infringing on its trademark.
This situation arose in 2012 when a customer in a Southern California Costco noticed a display advertising “Tiffany Round Diamond Rings”. The customer believed that the diamonds were Tiffany brand diamond rings, but what Costco was actually offering was a “tiffany” ring setting. The customer’s mistake is somewhat understandable as Costco routinely sells other expensive brands throughout its stores, including high-end jewelry brands. Continue reading “Tiffany & Co. has Win against Costco in Trademark Case”
Sporting 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”
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.
The online real estate database Zillow flexed its muscle recently with the announcement that it will acquire its competitor Trulia for $3.5 billion, giving it about 61% of total home listing internet searches. With such power Zillow is established as a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately for Zillow, its might doesn’t hold much influence over the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which recently rejected Zillow’s opposition to LoanZilla’s trademark application. The Office determined that there is no likelihood of confusion between Zillow’s registered trademark and the LoanZilla mark that LoanZilla applied to register.
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.