At times, corporate stakeholders may consider IP due diligence as slowing down business instead of creating and preserving value. However, pro-active trademark portfolio development and management can often streamline business resources, help jumpstart new brand initiatives, generate added asset valuations, and minimize downtime when expanding into new territories. This article discusses important trademark basics as well as common questions and issues in-house counsel often encounter during due diligence or IP audits.
What is a Trademark?
At a very high level, a ... Read More ›
The Pokémon Company considers legal action against Palworld for intellectual property violations. On January 25, The Pokémon Company issued a statement on its Japanese website where it confirmed it intends to investigate “another company’s game” that was released in January 2024.
For gamers, this is an obvious nod to Palworld which has made headlines since its recent launch as many believe the animated world has strong similarities to Pokémon. With over 8 million downloads in six days, legal action by The Pokémon Co. and its co-owner Nintendo appears imminent. The value ... Read More ›
On January 9, 2024 Relish Labs LLC (Relish) and its parent corporation The Kroger Co. (Kroger) filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking review of the Seventh Circuit’s refusal to issue a preliminary injunction against Grub Hub’s use of the orange fork and knife logo. Grubhub Inc. v. Relish Labs LLC, 80 F.4th 835 (7th Cir. 2023). Relish Labs LLC owns the HOME CHEF logo that also utilizes a fork and knife design. See Petition here.
Kroger’s Petition asks SCOTUS to determine once and for all if the determination of a likelihood of confusion is a factual ... Read More ›
Online sellers whose primary income results from sales on third party marketplaces must be vigilant in making sure they have notice of lawsuits filed against them or their products. A litigation process referred to as “Schedule A” that is becoming more prevalent has provided patent and brand owners with what can be a potent enforcement tool. These “Schedule A” cases may not put a seller on notice that they have been sued for intellectual property infringement. A temporary restraining order (TRO) could issue against an online marketplace, which could result in an immediate ... Read More ›
The summer of 2023 marks the most significant summer for concert goers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a highly anticipated concert line up ranging from Taylor Swift and Beyoncé to Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks, fans are spending hours waiting in ticket queues and arriving hours early to shows to buy merchandise. When purchasing goods within the venue or from a distributor licensed by the artist’s team, consumers assume that the products are made to high quality standards and accurately reflect the artist’s brand. However, despite the quality assurance, many fans ... Read More ›
ChatGPT has exploded in the media recently with news stories ranging from educators’ concerns over students using ChatGPT to cheat on assessments, to ChatGPT becoming an existential threat to Google’s online advertising dominance, as well as ChatGPT potentially replacing professionals such as software coders and writers, and even the threat that an artificial intelligence (AI) could take and pass exams for doctors and lawyers.
For those not yet exposed to it, ChatGPT is an online “chat bot” from OpenAI, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), that can engage in a ... Read More ›
A distinctive trademark in a competitive marketplace can often be one of a company’s most valuable assets. This is because it does not only indicate the source of a good or service, but it also differentiates that good or service(s) from that of other competitors. Separate and apart from its value as a source indicator, trademarks can also be used as collateral to secure loans and can also form the basis of corporate acquisition strategies.
Like the valuable asset they are, trademark rights should and can be protected. Resultingly, common law, state law, and federal law provide a means ... Read More ›
In the latest measure affecting global intellectual property protection, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced a new law allowing “parallel imports.” This action will permit Russian importation of goods without the permission of the rightful trademark owners. The new law was enacted in response to sanctions placed on the Russian economy after recent events. It seeks to satisfy the demand for goods that arose after famous brands like Apple, Nike, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi temporarily suspended sales in the Russia. Practical application of the law could ... Read More ›
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on October 28, 2021 that Facebook changed its corporate name to Meta and its stock ticker from FB to MVRS.
This does not mean that the social media app will be changing its name to Meta. Instead it signals a shift in corporate strategy. It appears that that Meta will be the parent company under which its social media applications (Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp) will become subsidiaries along with potential new business in the fields of augmented and virtual reality. In other words, Facebook’ goodwill, which it claims in its 2020 annual ... Read More ›
Scam solicitations involving intellectual property notices have plagued trademark and patent owners for many years. As technology and scammer sophistication improve, these schemes are becoming more prevalent and confusing, and a growing international problem. Currently the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is tracking over 50 such scams originating in the U.S. and dozen overseas. Staying vigilant is the best protection.
Typically, these fraudulent solicitations target owners of U.S. registrations and patents. They often provide misleading deadline information ... Read More ›
Actress Kristen Bell, alongside her business partner Monica Padman, debuted a limited series podcast this summer, which focused on sharing the stories of exceptional women. They called it Shattered Glass, an homage to the ceiling-smashing work of storied guests like Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Gloria Steinem, and Malala Yousafzai.
By the fifth episode, the podcast had been renamed We Are Supported By and Bell was embroiled in a public skirmish with the creators of a different podcast called Shattered Glass – one that also celebrated the stories of strong women, and that had ... Read More ›
The influencer industry has ballooned in size and importance since the first affiliate marketing network was launched fifteen years ago. With this growth, however, comes increasing legal responsibility for those who profit off it.
Celebrities make headlines for commanding upwards of $1M for sponsored social media posts, but the average influencer is more likely to be a young person, armed with an iPhone and a shoestring budget. In a world where affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, and giveaways trump traditional print advertising, influencers - from nano-influencers to Kim ... Read More ›
In the United States, trademark rights flow from use, not registration. A business may be afforded a certain level of trademark protection in its geographic area simply by being the first to use a mark in commerce in connection with its goods or services. However, any unregistered or “common law” rights may be limited geographically. There are critical differences between common law trademark rights and trademark rights obtained via a federal trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). As discussed in this article, priority battles can ... Read More ›
For an estimated $1.6 million, soccer superstar Cristiano Rinaldo will advertise a product in an Instagram post to his 329 million followers. Other celebrities who command more than $1 million per endorsement include Ariana Grande, a handful of Kardashians/Jenners, and The Rock. This practice, known as “influencer marketing,” has ballooned from a $1.7 billion market size in 2016 to an expected $13.8 billion in 2021, while at the same time upending traditional print and broadcast advertising.
Now, a trademark lawsuit threatens to derail the gravy train. What happens when an ... Read More ›
Under US law, to obtain a trademark registration, an Applicant must demonstrate a bona fide use of the mark in the ordinary course of trade. In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in trademark applications that falsely claim a bona fide use in trade. As a result, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has been issuing and maintaining registrations for trademarks that should never have issued. When such fraudulent registrations remain on the Trademark Register, they block the legitimate efforts of businesses to launch new trademarks into the ... Read More ›
On Earth Day, environmentalists all over the world encourage society to reduce its collective carbon footprint. A popular way of generating less waste is “upcycling,” or the practice of taking something no longer being used and giving it new life. Upcycling often increases the value of the object; take, for example, Stuart Haygarth’s chandeliers made entirely from spectacles found on beaches - one sold at auction in 2008 for £36,500.
Upcycling is also at the heart of a recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In Hamilton International v ... Read More ›
Significant intellectual property law provisions are part of the $2.3 trillion spending bill passed by Congress.
In the copyright area, the Protecting Lawful Streaming Act of 2020 is directed to curbing "commercial, for-profit streaming piracy services" that profit from streaming unlicensed or otherwise illegally copied copyrighted material. Penalties could include significant fines and imprisonment. The law currently has a carve-out for "individuals who access pirated streams or unwittingly stream unauthorized copies of copyrighted works.”
The new laws ... Read More ›
As the political dust kicked up by Brexit very gradually settles, the focus has shifted from “What if?” to “Now, what?” In a post-Brexit world, what can U.S. companies expect, particularly with respect to their European Union (EU) trademark and design rights? And more importantly, what can U.S. companies do about it?
In thinking about Brexit, it’s helpful to keep a few things in mind. First, the breakup is taking place at the same time as an unprecedented global pandemic, which has delivered major shocks to the world’s economic systems and institutions. Brexit would be a ... Read More ›
Trademarks function to identify the source or origin of products or services and distinguish them from the products or services of others. On the other hand, generic terms are used by consumers to refer to a type of product or service that cannot function or be registered as a trademark. For example, one cannot register COMPUTER as a trademark for laptops and personal computers. Likewise, one cannot register “APPLE” to identify a fruit (as opposed to “APPLE” to identify computer technology).
However, what if a generic term is combined with “.com” or another top-level ... Read More ›
On Thursday, April 23, 2020, in the case Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil Group, Inc., the Supreme Court held that the statutory provision governing remedies for violations in the Trademark Act, §1117(a), does not require a showing of willfulness in order for a plaintiff to recover profits in an infringement action arising under Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). This decision could tip the scales in favor of trademark owners.
The case involved a fastener manufacturer, Romag, that originally contracted with Fossil, to allow Fossil to use Romag’s magnetic snap fasteners for ... Read More ›
Businesses rely upon color for a variety of purposes. For example, colors may provide ornamentation, or may serve to allow a product to blend in with its surroundings (camouflage for hunting gear) or indicate a product’s flavor (yellow for lemon). Importantly, colors can serve as trademarks, but only if they function as a source identifier.
While colors are not included within the statutory definition of trademarks, since 1985, singular colors and color combinations can be trademarked as part of a product, package or service, if, like any other trademark, they serve a source ... Read More ›
The popularity of craft breweries and distilleries has grown at exponential rates in the past few years. There are now over 1,800 craft distilleries in the U.S. up from roughly 100 in 2005 and 7,400 craft distillers up from approximately 1400 in 2005. These increases are reflected in Pennsylvania where the number of distilleries has gone from single digits in 2011 to over 80 in 2019. Similar growth is occurring internationally and in related sectors such as craft hard cider and seltzer.
With this growth there has also been a rise in trademark filings with the United States Patent and ... Read More ›
While it is sometimes the case that intellectual property lawsuits involve subject matter that is overly technical or perhaps difficult to relate to, there are times when these lawsuits involve subjects from popular culture that capture the imagination. That is just the case with two recent lawsuits, one involving a beloved figure in Philadelphia sports, and the other focused on the Old Spice commercial jingle.
The subject matter of The Phillies, L.P. v. Harrison/Erickson, Incorporated et al, 1:19-cv-07239 (August 2, 2019), pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern ... Read More ›
Does a generic term in one country render trademark protection unavailable in another? Not in the U.S.!
Under U.S. law, generic trademarks are common terms used to refer to products or services. What you’re using right now to read this blog post – a computer, a phone – no one can claim rights to these terms. Generic trademarks are not qualified for protection and cannot be registered. Conversely, even the strongest of trademarks can, over time, become generic and lose their registration. Products like aspirin, linoleum, and yo-yo were once registered as federal trademarks ... Read More ›
March’s arrival signals the onset of Spring and college basketball bracket battles. The three-week basketball tournament gradually whittles 64 teams down to two for a final showdown. It may come as a surprise to fans to learn that the tournament has not always been known as “March Madness” and the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) is not the first organization to use the term. This is particularly surprising given that “March Madness” is the NCAA’s biggest money maker, reaping 85 percent of the organization’s yearly budget.1 That revenue is made ... Read More ›
With each Olympics, the iconic five interlocking rings and Team USA paraphernalia are inescapable. The high profile and high profit marks are tenaciously protected both on an international and national stage.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) earn billions of dollars worldwide through licensing use of their iconic rings, name, athletes’ images and other trademarks. In fact, being a top sponsor of the Olympics can cost a company hundreds of millions of dollars. Panasonic paid a cool $350 million in 2016 for an eight-year ... Read More ›
Many consumers and companies are familiar in some form or another, but until a recent Federal Circuit ruling, companies and individuals looking to pursue tongue-in-cheek or risqué marks faced an uphill battle in obtaining federal trademark registrations. On December 15, 2017, the Federal Circuit ruled in In re Brunetti1 that the bar on registering immoral or scandalous trademarks under the Lanham Trademark Act, Section 2(a), 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), “is an unconstitutional restriction of free speech.”
Appellant, Erik Brunetti, founded the clothing brand “fuct” in ... Read More ›
- Trademark Basics and How to Spot Potential Issues for In-House Counsel
- My Co-inventor Never Sleeps
- Strategies for Conditional Claiming in Method Claims: Finding the Patentable Weight
- You’re not my Pal, World
- A Court Cannot Balance That Which It Does Not Weigh
- What Online Sellers and Brand Owners Need to Know about “Schedule A” Litigation
- The Syntax of Markush and Superguide Constructions: Strategies for Claiming Elements in Combination
- USPTO’s New Semiconductor Technology Pilot Program
- Practical Considerations for Information Disclosure Statements in Light of Elekta
- Challenge to Prior Art in IPR Petitions – Is It Analogous Art?
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