The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that a generic word like “booking” combined with “.com” can achieve trademark registration even if the generic word alone cannot. The opinion, authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, rejected the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s nearly per se argument that “generic.com” terms are ineligible for trademark registration regardless of consumer perception evidence. “Whether any given ‘generic.com’ term is generic, we hold, depends on whether consumers in fact perceive that term as the name of a class or, instead, as a term ...
On 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom officially left the European Union. However, the withdrawal agreement concluded between the EU and the UK provides for a transition period until 31 December 2020, during which time EU law remains in force in the UK. This transition period applies to, among other things, the EU Trademark Regulation as well as its implementing regulations.
As a result, until the end of 2020, existing EU trademark registrations will not be adversely affected. In particular, as of 1 January 2021, holders of valid EU trademark registrations will automatically
You may be tempted this time of year to create advertising featuring The Elf on the Shelf® (“TEOTS”) interacting in humorous ways with your product or service. DON’T! While your audience may engage and enjoy such a campaign, TEOTS products should not be used to promote or endorse your products or brands. TEOTS’s 2015 Specialty Retailer Asset Guidelines state that doing so without express written consent from TEOTS may constitute intellectual property infringement. There’s likely a more updated version of these Guidelines; nevertheless, the twenty-page .PDF makes it ...
Whether you’re an active influencer on social media or just occasionally endorse a friend/family member’s product or service, check out the easy-to-read (and apply!) Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers brochure and video the FTC published last week. One way to stay out of trouble is to sufficiently disclose your relationship. Find the document and three videos here.
Once a company owns a trademark, it must police the mark for unauthorized use, or risk losing its rights. As a result, companies will send “cease and desist” letters to enforce and protect their marks. At times, however, legal rights are only one consideration. Public opinion and consumer perception are also part of the equation, as the Aloha Poke Co. (“Aloha Poke”), a Chicago based restaurant, recently learned firsthand.
The MLB team in Cleveland has finally decided to stop wearing "Chief Wahoo," a caricature of a Native American, on their uniforms. The change will happen in 2019. Interestingly, however, the team told ESPN that it "will still sell merchandise featuring the mascot in Northeast Ohio" because "[t]he team must maintain a retail presence so that MLB and the Indians can keep ownership of the trademark."
In perhaps the least surprising trademark decision of the past 12 months, and one that could have been rendered in under 5 pages (rather than the 50 it actually took), the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit last Friday held that the Lanham Act’s Section 2(a) bar on registration of marks which “consist of or comprises immoral…or scandalous matter” is an unconstitutional, content-based restriction on speech. In re Brunetti, Appeal No. 2015-1109 (Fed. Cir. December 15, 2017). In that case, Erik Brunetti had toiled for more than 6 years attempting to register his mark, FUCT, for clothing. Those efforts were uniformly unsuccessful despite some weakly-creative arguments that the word, “fuct,” was not actually vulgar, and even if it was, Section 2(a) did not bar registration of “vulgar” marks.
In a non-precedential decision, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) recently reversed a refusal to register Heritage Distilling Company’s application for the mark, BSB, for “distilled spirits” based on the following mark owned by Black Shirt Brewing Co. for “brewpub services; taproom services; taproom services featuring beer brewed on the premises”:
In response to a rise in craft beer trademark disputes, research scientist Janelle Shane recently set loose a "neural network" – a type of computer program that can "learn" from data sets that are given to it – to create new craft beer names. The thought was that the computer program could learn from thousands of existing beer names, and come up with a long list of new ones built on detected patterns. Last month, Shane published a list of dozens of names, saying: "It worked . . . I give you: craft beer names, invented by neural network."
If you sell private label products on Amazon, please listen up! Amazon recently released its Brand Registry 2.0. The new and improved Brand Registry is Amazon’s most recent attempt to combat brand violations on its online marketplace.
- Intellectual Property
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- Generic.com Terms Are Not Per Se Generic
- EU Trademarks Post-Brexit: Now What?
- Don’t end up on The Elf on the Shelf’s naughty list!
- Stay Out of Trouble With the Federal Trade Commission
- "Aloha Poke": Social Media and Consumer Perception are Part of the Trademark Enforcement Equation
- Could Any Old Yahoo Nab Chief Wahoo?
- Trademark Registration Practice is Officially…umm…Well, You’ll See
- Booze is Booze, Right? Not so fast...
- Did A Neural Network Just Solve Craft Brewing's Trademark Problems?
- Enroll in Amazon’s Brand Registry 2.0… But Only if You Own a Registered Trademark