An appeal to the United States Supreme Court is the latest move in an ongoing battle between the Asian-American band “The Slants” and the USPTO over whether the band’s name is disparaging and should be granted trademark registration or not. After a panel of Federal Appeals Court judges reversed the Trademark Office’s decision rejecting the mark, the Office has now appealed to the highest court in the land in an effort to allow it to retain discretion over whether some marks are too offensive for registration. Time will now tell whether the Supreme Court will accept the case and continue its increasingly active role in intellectual property law.
If you were around in the 1970s when Jaws was first released, you probably thought twice about going into the ocean after seeing the thriller. Even younger generations recognize the iconic shark and have a little fear in the back of their minds. Despite or maybe because of the fear Jaws incited, the movie was a box office hit, becoming the first movie to surpass $100 million in domestic theater ticket sales. With wide viewership and an impact on beach-going behavior, Jaws left its mark on American culture. But that was 40 years ago. Is that culture legacy still relevant? According to the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board, the answer is yes. Continue reading “Jaws Still Too Famous To Share Trademark Space With a Cooking Show”
Delta is one of the largest airlines in the world. That’s what makes it an attractive target for trademark infringement. If you want your business to look legitimate, it helps to be associated with Delta. But if you aren’t legitimate and don’t have Delta’s permission to use its brand, you run the risk of getting sued, which is exactly where a group in Florida finds itself. Continue reading “Delta Airlines Files Lawsuit Against Vacation Scammers”
While a traditional cookie is round, they can come in all kinds of delicious shapes and sizes. A cookie that ventures outside the cookie shape norm is Pepperidge Farms’ Milano cookie. The Milano is a distinctive oval shaped cookie sandwich with chocolate in the middle. It has been a big hit for Pepperidge Farms and they intend to keep it that way. That’s why they recently filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement against Trader Joe’s alleging Trader Joe’s Crispy Cookies infringe the look and package design of Pepperidge Farm’s iconic Milano cookies. Continue reading “Milano Cookie Trademark: Pepperidge Farms versus Trader Joe’s”
Always remember the Alamo – at least when it comes to branding. If you don’t, the state of Texas may come after you for trademark infringement.
That’s what happened after two beer manufacturers took their trademark dispute to federal court. Alamo Beer sued Old 300 Brewing for trademark infringement claiming Old 300’s use of the outline of the Alamo infringed on its federal trademark registration. While these two groups battled it out, they received an unexpected challenge. The state of Texas stepped in and asserted its own trademark rights to the Alamo. A federal judge agreed with Texas and now both beer companies will need a license from the Texas General Land Office to continue use of the image of the Alamo. Continue reading “Don’t Mess with Texas – State Wins Alamo Trademark Dispute”
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”
Adidas has been around for a long time and spent a lot of money promoting its 3 stripe logo. Part of its strategy to protect its brand includes trademark registration. The German company owns numerous U.S. trademark registrations on the various incarnations of its brand. So when fashion designer Marc Jacobs recently released a line of clothing that included 4 stripes down the sleeve, Adidas’ trademark attorneys quickly went into action, filing a trademark infringement lawsuit in Oregon federal court.
Continue reading “4 Stripes you’re out! Adidas Sues Designer Marc Jacobs”
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”
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 canceled 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.
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?