• Posts by J. Michael Hurst
    Partner

    Mike Hurst’s practice is concentrated in the area of intellectual property law. He has extensive experience in trademark prosecution, protection and portfolio management, copyright matters, domain names, brand management ...

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In a non-precedential decision, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) recently reversed a refusal to register Heritage Distilling Company’s application for the mark, BSB,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”:

The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy just released its draft dispensary districts. As you’ve probably heard, medical cannabis is roughly a year away from becoming reality in Ohio, and this step provides some initial insight into where a patient might be able to obtain medical cannabis with a physician’s prescription.

This morning, we awoke to the news that the U.K. has voted to exit the European Union. Our first thought was whether this vote, and the expected unwinding of the U.K. from the European legal system, will have any impact on our clients’ European intellectual property rights in the U.K.

So apparently, Netflix is good for something other than just House of Cards.  In an eagerly-awaiting ruling Wednesday, the SEC issued a report confirming that companies are permitted to disseminate material information through their social media channels in compliance with Regulation Fair Disclosure (“Regulation FD”) so long as investors know that companies are going to do so. 

Today in Singapore, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted to allow registrations of brand-specific generic top level domains, or gTLDs as they’re known.  No more will internet addresses be limited to the familiar “.com” and “.net” suffixes. 

I guess we should have seen this coming – or not.  As reported by CNN on Tuesday, Apple has obtained a federal trademark registration for its slogan, THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT.  Well, ok…CNN got it wrong; the PTO has only just accepted Apple’s Statement of Use, which means that a registration is imminent, but we’ll let CNN slide on this one.

This post is an update to our August 27th post where we reported that a District Court in California held that privacy settings on Facebook and MySpace do actually matter.

Interbrand has just released its annual listing of the Top 100 Global Brands.

Another day, another case of a company not bothering to see how its new trademark translates into the native languages of its intended consumers.

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