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Trademark

In a 2-1 landmark decision, the United States Patent and Trademark Office cancelled six (6) "WASHINGTON REDSKINS" federal trademark registrations finding that the name “Redskins” is “disparaging to Native Americans” at the respective times they were registered, in violation of Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act.

According to statistics released in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s “2013 Performance and Accountability Report” (pages 193-206), 2013 was a banner year for U.S. patent issuances and federal trademark registrations. New patent and trademark filings by Florida-based residents continued to accelerate in number, passing totals of several other states over the last decade and moving into 3rd place for federal trademark applications (FY2013) and 8th place for patent applications (FY2012) among the fifty U.S. states.

Monday, 09 September 2013 16:11

When A Footlong is Just 12 Inches

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The owner of the popular Subway fast-food chain lost an attempt before a trademark appeal board Thursday to secure trademark protection for the term “footlong,” which the chain has used heavily in its sandwich marketing campaigns.

Tuesday, 02 April 2013 14:35

ICANN Opens Trademark Clearinghouse for New GTLDs

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With potentially hundreds of new generic top level domains (“gTLDs,” e.g. .store, .law, .food) just around the corner, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)—the organization response for overseeing Internet domain name allocations--recently opened its Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH), where current brand owners can record their existing trademarks.

Along with the widespread recognition achieved by many professional athletes comes substantial "publicity rights," which can be cultivated for financial benefit. In short, publicity rights protect a person's name or likeness from being used by others for commercial gain, unless that person grants permission. As such, publicity rights are generally regarded as a tangential aspect to traditional intellectual property rights like patents, trademarks, copyrights or trade secrets. Indeed, there can even be a certain overlap of publicity rights with other IP rights, particularly with trademark rights - such as when a person's name is linked to a specific product or service.

In connection with a trade dress infringement action by Nike, Inc. against another shoe company, Already, LLC, involving Nike’s federally registered trade dress for a certain shoe design, the U.S. Supreme Court decided an important issue regarding the scope and ramifications of covenants not to sue. 

Thursday, 03 January 2013 14:31

2012 - A GOOD YEAR FOR MADRID

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In 2012, the Philippines, New Zealand, Colombia, and Mexico acceded to the Madrid system, bringing to 89 the total number of members to join the Madrid Protocol for the International Registration of Marks.  Administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks (“Madrid system”) is designed to provide a cost-effective and efficient way for trademark holders to secure and maintain protection for their marks in multiple countries.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 14:28

IP ISSUES AND THE ELECTION

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Intellectual property issues have becoming increasingly present during presidential elections as candidates frequently use music, phrases and even fictional characters in their campaigns. This presidential election is no different.

The next round in the legal battle between the two famed French fashion houses, Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent,  has both companies claiming victory.  The Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s denial of trademark protection to Louboutin’s use of contrasting red lacquered outsoles and holding that a single color can never serve as a trademark in the fashion industry. "We hold that the lacquered red outsole, as applied to a shoe with an 'upper' of a different color, has come to identify and distinguish the Louboutin brand and is therefore a distinctive symbol that qualifies for trademark protection," the Court found.  
Thursday, 28 June 2012 14:18

CRACKING DOWN ON TRADEMARK REGISTRY SCAMS

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Trademark registry scams, in which private companies send unsolicited correspondence to a trademark registration holder seeking money in exchange for registering the trademark with U.S. Customs or including the trademark in a catalogue, have become increasingly prevalent since 2010. Most troubling about these scams is that the letters are designed to look like official correspondence from the Trademark Office, when in reality they are entirely unrelated. The “benefits” they portend to offer have no value, since trademark registrations are already publicly available through the official U.S. Patent & Trademark Office website. Some of these companies include:
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