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17 November 2009

Vodka and wine are unrelated, says TTAB

In In re White Rock Distilleries Inc, the TTAB has reversed a Section 2(d) refusal to register the mark VOLTA for “energy vodka”, finding that confusion was unlikely with the registered trademark TERZA VOLTA for wine. Among other things, the TTAB found that the examining attorney had failed to establish that energy vodka and wine are related goods.

17 November 2009

Supreme Court throws out REDSKINS dispute

The US Supreme Court has dismissed the hotly contested REDSKINS Case.

17 November 2009

Cuban revolution: post-embargo brand management

The US administration may have its hands full tackling economic and military challenges, but experts predict that it will soon turn its focus to Cuba and may even fulfil Obama's promise to ease the longstanding embargo. WTR investigates the opportunities and threats that this would present for US brand owners.

13 November 2009

Trademarks at the centre of latest US-Cuba spat

A US court is set to hear a case in which the plaintiffs are attempting to seize control of trademarks owned by the Cuban government, WTR has learnt. The news comes as commentators predict better relations between Cuba and the United States under President Obama.

11 November 2009

Pennsylvania's Trademark Counterfeiting Statute held to be unconstitutional

In Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v Omar, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has affirmed a trial court decision in which the latter had held that the Trademark Counterfeiting Statute violated the First Amendment. Among other things, the Supreme Court held that the statute prohibited a substantial amount of protected speech and was thus unconstitutional.

10 November 2009

Summary judgment vacated in reverse confusion case

In The Great American Restaurant Co v Domino’s Pizza LLC, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has vacated a decision of the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in which it was held that the name Brooklyn Style Pizza was generic. Among other things, the Fifth Circuit stated that there was evidence indicating that there is no such thing as a 'Brooklyn-style pizza'.

27 October 2009

Request for multiple statutory damages award denied

In Tu v TAD System Technology Inc, the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York has held that a plaintiff is not entitled to multiple statutory damages awards for violations of the Copyright Act, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Lanham Act. In doing so, the court took a position opposite of that taken by the Ninth Circuit.

23 October 2009

TTAB applies Bose to motion for summary judgment on fraud claim

In Enbridge Inc v Excelerate Energy Limited Partnership, the TTAB has denied a motion for summary judgment on a fraud claim applying, for the first time, the fraud standard set out in the Federal Circuit’s decision in In re Bose Corp. The TTAB found that there were material facts in dispute as to whether the applicant intended to deceive the USPTO when it claimed use of its mark for services that it did not offer.

20 October 2009

Open season: trademark protection in outsourced software development

The multibillion-dollar computer industry may be all-powerful but a high proportion of its products are developed under open source licences by external programmers. As software and web development is increasingly dependent on outside coders, WTR asks: how do big brand owners such as Google manage to retain control over their trademarks?

16 October 2009

USPTO director applauds "positive" fraud U-turn

David Kappos, director of the USPTO, yesterday outlined how his staff had already started applying recently clarified guidance on fraud.

16 October 2009

BEER 1 marks are not descriptive, says TTAB

In Anheuser-Busch Incorporated v Holt, in a precedential opinion, the TTAB has dismissed Anheuser-Busch Incorporated's opposition against the registration of the marks BEER 1, ONE BEER BEER 1 and BEER 1 MMVII for beer. Among other things, the TTAB held that the marks were neither merely descriptive nor deceptively misdescriptive.

12 October 2009

Apple loses right to use MIGHTY MOUSE mark

The USPTO has granted rights in the trademark MIGHTY MOUSE to a specialist supplier of computer hardware called Man & Machine. The decision puts an end to Man & Machine's lengthy dispute with Apple over the latter's use of the name for its mice.

09 October 2009

Bratz dolls maker spoils prior rights holder's infringement claims

In Art Attacks Ink LLC v MGA Entertainment Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld the district court’s judgment as a matter of law in favour of MGA Entertainment Inc, the maker of the Bratz dolls. Among other things, the Ninth Circuit held that the plaintiff, which produces various goods based on its 'spoiled brats' characters, had not met the threshold requirement of showing that its trade dress had acquired secondary meaning.

02 October 2009

Two Guccis enjoined from using their names as trademarks

In Gucci America Inc v Gucci, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York has enjoined members of the Gucci family from using their names in connection with the sale of various products. The court entered a very restrictive injunction, ordered an accounting of profits against all the defendants and punitive damages against one of the defendants. The decision turned heavily on evidence of the defendants’ bad faith.

01 October 2009

Pepsi fails to derail launch of Coca-Cola's reformulated sports drink

In the latest battle between soft-drink giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Pepsi’s Stokely-Van Camp division - which is behind the Gatorade product - has unsuccessfully sought to disrupt the launch of Coca-Cola's Powerade ION4 sports drink. The court ruled that Pepsi had established neither a likelihood of success on the merits, nor a probability that it would be irreparably harmed if Coca-Cola were not preliminarily enjoined.