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20 October 2010

Environmental claims both a liability and a chance to engage with marketing

The Federal Trade Commission has proposed new provisions to the Green Guides, specifically addressing marketers’ use of product certifications and seals of approval, and renewable energy, renewable materials and carbon offset claims. With greenwashing on the rise, trademark counsel need to ensure they are monitoring the marketing spin used alongside trademarks, as well as any suggested claim incorporated into the mark itself.

16 September 2010

Bloodthirsty trademark protection services see dollar signs in social media

Trademark conference exhibition halls have become gladiatorial arenas in which non-legal trademark service providers battle each other with plasma screens and soft furnishings. This situation is the natural result of a pervasive internet, which invites innovative business models around the challenges trademark owners face daily. The new battleground is social network usernames, which could become as burdensome as domain names.

09 September 2010

Ping and Apple strike trademark deal: what other brand owners can learn

Gadget-happy media channels have reported how Apple secured an agreement with golf club maker Ping before launching its new iTunes service, which uses the PING word mark. But the story is not Apple's at all. This is a tale of how an admired brand owner spotted an opportunity to extend its name beyond a finite audience using its famous house mark.

07 September 2010

Ninth Circuit unanimously reverses injunction in dispute over Bratz brand

In Mattel Inc v MGA Entertainment Inc, in the long-running dispute between toy makers Mattel Inc and MGA Entertainment Inc over the Bratz dolls, MGA has won an important legal battle - even though the war is far from over. In a unanimous ruling, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court decision in which the latter had placed the BRATZ marks in a constructive trust.

06 September 2010

Licensing agreement held not to be subject to rejection in bankruptcy

In In re Exide Technologies, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has reversed both the bankruptcy court and the district court, holding that a trademark licensing agreement had been substantially performed and, therefore, was not subject to rejection under §365(a) of the Bankruptcy Code.

29 July 2010

Avoiding Bratz: cross-company understanding of IP necessary

One thing that can be learnt from the dispute between Mattel and MGA Entertainment over the Bratz doll brand is that not every employee of any given company understands IP rights. Knowledge of intellectual property runs through the veins of some companies - WTR recently heard from Siemens about that corporation's IP-aware 400,000 employees (full details will be published this autumn). For others, fostering this sort of understanding is trickier.

02 June 2010

NFL not immune from antitrust laws when licensing IP rights

In American Needle Inc v National Football League Inc, the US Supreme Court has clarified when participants in a joint venture may face antitrust liability for their joint activities. The court ruled that the National Football League and its member teams were not immune from the antitrust laws when licensing the teams’ IP rights jointly through a single entity.

28 April 2010

Chanel's brand may need a polish if it cannot stop No 6

If you thought that Chanel's registration for NO 5 in Class 3 was enough to stop a competitor registering NO 6 in the same class, think again. The USPTO has just rejected Chanel's opposition to the NO 6 mark, in a move that could stop owners of famous brands in their tracks.

28 April 2010

Indirect control over goods quality established in sub-licensing context

In Tucumcari Aero Inc v Cassels Brock & Blackwell, the Federal Court of Canada has held that the owner of the trademark MOTO MIRROR (and design) had established that it had indirect control over the quality of the goods sold under the mark, as required by Section 50(1) of the Trademarks Act.

08 April 2010

Bacardi ducks confusion challenge in latest HAVANA CLUB win

While rum drinkers can tell that if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck then it probably is a duck, brand owners accustomed to arguing that their trademarks function primarily as source identifiers will read the most recent HAVANA CLUB rum judgment with dismay.

22 March 2010

Obama green lights US trademark study

Last week President Obama signed into law a new US trademark act that contains the provision for a study into mark owners' litigation tactics. But the big question is: will the study uncover anything that mark owners don't already know?

19 February 2010

US brand owners reject ‘loser pays’ option

Members of the INTA enforcement committee have told WTR that a ’loser pays’ trademark litigation system would not work in the United States.

16 February 2010

Trademark monsters: tackling Lanham Act bullies

As a US senator proposes a new study to investigate trademark bullies, WTR considers whether the Lanham Act needs updating.

11 February 2010

US Customs calls for more input from brand owners

US Customs has urged brand owners to help improve border protection by becoming more involved in the process.

03 February 2010

Apple and Fujitsu staying quiet over IPAD trademark dispute

Despite widespread speculation, Apple and Fujitsu are remaining silent over the potential dispute concerning the IPAD trademark. However, it has emerged that Apple owns no major web domain containing the name of its new product.