Category: Trademark Rights

White Stag Trademark

Portland Trademark Filing Blocked by Local Brewer Registration of Iconic White Stag

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.
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John Deere Trademark

John Deere Wins Trademark Lawsuit over Green and Yellow Color Scheme

Farm equipment and the John Deere Trademark go hand-in-hand. Even among the general, non-farming public, Deere is one of the most recognizable brand names. Not only is the name top of mind for most people, but so is the brand’s color scheme – green and yellow. According to its trademark registrations, this familiar look has been used by Deere as early as 1918. With nearly a century of built up brand equity, Deere is actively enforcing its trademark rights against would-be imitators and recently won a permanent injunction against a South Dakota based agricultural sprayer equipment company. Continue reading “John Deere Wins Trademark Lawsuit over Green and Yellow Color Scheme”

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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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”

Dell EMC’s Confidential Use of Brand Name Not Enough to Secure Trademark Rights

The intricacies of trademark law at the intersection of where trademark rights arise under common law and where trademark rights are secured through federal registration can lead to some interesting water cooler conversations – at least for trademark attorneys. Trademark rights under common law arise primarily through the use of a mark in commerce in connection with goods or services. Trademark rights and legal presumptions secured through trademark registration are generally given a priority date, once secured, as of the date the trademark registration application was filed. However, common law trademark rights arising prior to registration of a mark can prevail over the registration so long as they are also prior to common law rights of the mark secured by the registration. Starting to sound a little complicated? Continue reading “Dell EMC’s Confidential Use of Brand Name Not Enough to Secure Trademark Rights”

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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Hasbro Play Doh Trademark

Hasbro Seeking Trademark Protection on Distinctive Play-Doh Scent

Few smells can transport someone back to childhood like the distinctive scent of opening a can of Play-Doh. The unique fragrance, in use since 1955, is a clear signal that you are about to play with the official Hasbro modeling clay. After more than 60 years of production, Hasbro is now taking steps to make sure that the scent remains a clear indication that you have official Play-Doh and not some other imitator. That’s why Hasbro recently filed for federal trademark protection on the Play-Doh smell.
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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”

Park City Trademark

Locals Protest Park City Trademark Application

After several hundred protestors turned out in Park City, Utah to fight Vail Resorts attempt to register the trademark “Park City”, the business group has decided to abandon its trademark application. This is a change of course for the Colorado based ski resort ownership, which had been pursuing trademark protection on its recently acquired Utah asset, Park City Mountain Resort. Local residents are now relieved to know that the name of the town will not be trademarked and local businesses will have less concern over branding conflicts.
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M&M's outlawed in Sweden

Mars May be too Late to Secure M&M’s Branding Rights in Sweden

M&M’s may be loved the world over, but if Swedish people want them, they may need a new name. This news comes after the Swedish Court of Appeals ruled that the M&M’s mark causes confusion among Swedish consumers due to a traditional Swedish chocolate candy that also comes marked with the letter “M”. Mars, the manufacturer of M&M’s, will now need to change the name of the candies in Sweden, appeal the decision, or face penalties laid out by the Court of Appeals if it continues selling there.

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