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02 February 2010

Trademark bullies to come under scrutiny

The USPTO will examine the extent to which US businesses are harmed by trademark owners’ overly aggressive litigation tactics, if a US senator's proposed study gets the green light.

02 February 2010

Kappos announces USPTO $2.3 billion budget request

David Kappos, the director of the USPTO, has revealed President Obama's $2.322 billion fiscal year 2011 budget request for his agency.

01 February 2010

BINION is primarily merely a surname, says TTAB

In In re Binion, in a precedential decision, the TTAB has affirmed refusals to register the marks BINION and BINION'S for “casino and gaming services” and “hotel and bar services”. The TTAB found that the marks were confusingly similar to the earlier registered mark BINION'S ROADHOUSE for "restaurant services", and that they were primarily merely surnames.

25 January 2010

New fee structures serve IP firms well during recession

US trademark filing data has revealed that boutique firms and those willing to adapt their fee structures are faring well despite the global economic downturn.

18 January 2010

USTR invites brand owners to Special 301 hearings

The US government is, for the first time, seeking input from brand owners at public hearings as part of the annual Special 301 review process.

12 January 2010

CHARBUCKS Case remanded once again

In Starbucks Corporation v Wolfe’s Borough Coffee Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has reversed a decision of the district court in which the latter had held that the trademark CHARBUCKS did not dilute the STARBUCKS mark. Among other things, the Second Circuit found that the absence of “substantial similarity” between the marks did not prevent Starbucks from prevailing on its claim of dilution by blurring.

11 December 2009

Federal Circuit finds another '.com' mark to be generic

In In re 1800Mattress.com IP LLC, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has affirmed the TTAB’s refusal to register the mark MATTRESS.COM for “online retail store services in the field of mattresses, beds and bedding” on the grounds that it was generic. Among other things, the court rejected the applicant's argument that the '.com' portion of the mark evoked the quality of comfort in mattresses and was thus a mnemonic.

09 December 2009

FDA proceeding takes precedence over Lanham Act in drug labelling case

In Schering-Plough Healthcare Products Inc v Schwarz Pharma Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has held that the district court was correct in dismissing a Lanham Act claim for false advertising without prejudice pending the decision of the Food and Drug Administration on whether a generic drug should be pulled from the market or relabelled due to misbranding.

04 December 2009

TTAB's COLD WAR MUSEUM cancellation decision reversed

In The Cold War Museum Inc v Cold War Air Museum Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has reversed the TTAB’s decision to cancel the registration for the mark THE COLD WAR MUSEUM for “museum services”, holding that the evidence made of record during the prosecution of an underlying registration is automatically part of the record in subsequent cancellation proceedings.

03 December 2009

Plaintiff has its cake, but may not eat it too

In One True Vine LLC v The Wine Group LLC, the US District Court for the Northern District of California has granted One True Vine LLC's motion to amend its federal registration for LAYER CAKE to delete certain goods, which it admitted it had never used in connection with the mark. Nevertheless, the court held that the defendant's counterclaim to cancel the registration on the grounds of fraud was not moot.

02 December 2009

Personal names are inherently distinctive, says TTAB

In Brooks v Creative Arts By Calloway LLC, in a precedential decision, the TTAB has upheld an opposition filed by Christopher Brooks, the grandson of the late band leader Cab Calloway, against the registration of the mark CAB CALLOWAY by Creative Arts By Calloway LLC. In doing so, the TTAB ruled that personal names are inherently distinctive.

01 December 2009

Data war: the creep of private sector trademark searches

With the development of the USPTO's website and online trademark database progressing at a slow pace, and the availability of trademark databases around the world by and large inadequate, WTR asks whether trademark managers will instead turn to trademark search websites built by the private sector.

27 November 2009

First Amendment not a defence to infringement by innuendo, says court

In Pfizer Inc v Sachs, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York has granted Pfizer Inc's motion for summary judgment on its trademark infringement and dilution claims against an advertiser who had used the VIVA VIAGRA mark on a decommissioned missile. The court found that the advertiser's use of VIVA VIAGRA was not protected under the First Amendment.

26 November 2009

CAPRI COLLECTIONS for tiles hits brick wall

In In re GBI Tile and Stone Inc, the TTAB has refused to register the mark CAPRI COLLECTIONS for floor tiles on the grounds that there was a likelihood of confusion with the earlier mark CAPRI for roofing tiles. The applicant's evidence showing that there were third-party registrations for floor tiles that did not include roofing tiles was not found persuasive.

24 November 2009

USPTO pledges web search consultation

The US commissioner of trademarks has outlined plans to seek further public comment on the development of the USPTO website and search function.