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02 September 2009

Adding '.com' to generic term does not make it registrable, says court

In In re LP, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has held that the TTAB had properly rejected an application for the registration of the trademark HOTELS.COM on the grounds that it was generic. Among other things, the court held that adding '.com' did not make the generic term 'hotels' distinctive.

02 September 2009

Twitter's TWEET registration fails at first hurdle

An application by social networking website Twitter to register a trademark for the term TWEET has been preliminarily refused by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Twitter had applied to register the mark in Classes 38, 41 and 45 of the Nice Classification.

01 September 2009

New USPTO director confirmed

David Kappos has been confirmed as the new director of the US Patent and Trademark Office.

30 July 2009

Use of Jimi Hendrix's signature constitutes trademark infringement, says court

In Experience Hendrix LLC v Ltd, the US District Court for the Western District of Washington has granted, in part, a motion for a preliminary injunction against Ltd’s use of Jimi Hendrix's signature on its products. The court denied the motion in part with regard to the use of the registered marks HENDRIX and JIMI HENDRIX, independent of the signature, as nominative fair use.

29 July 2009

Speaking out: why brand owners must drive IP policy

The US government's appointment of its first IP enforcement coordinator has been severely delayed, but big business is nonetheless preparing to work more closely with government once the post is filled. WTR learns how brand owners need to manoeuvre themselves in the public arena if they are to drive understanding of intellectual property - in both the market and the White House.

29 July 2009

Kappos closing in on USPTO appointment

The man nominated by the US Secretary of Commerce to be the new director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office today faces the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will later officially report David Kappos's nomination to the full senate for approval.

20 July 2009

Second Circuit hears arguments in Tiffany appeal

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has heard Tiffany's appeal against a New York district court's decision to dismiss the jewellery company's trademark infringement claims against eBay.

17 July 2009

Third Circuit throws music promoter under the boardwalk

In the latest instalment of the long-running battle between Faye Treadwell, the former manager of famous 1950s singing group The Drifters, and Larry Marshak, a music promoter, over the rights to use the trademark THE DRIFTERS, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has ruled in favour of Treadwell. The court found Marshak, his family members and business associates to be in contempt.

16 July 2009

SHINNECOCK decision affirmed on appeal

In In re Shinnecock Smoke Shop, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has affirmed a decision of the TTAB in which the latter had refused to register the marks SHINNECOCK BRAND FULL FLAVOR and SHINNECOCK BRAND LIGHTS for cigarettes on the grounds that they falsely suggested a connection with a non-sponsoring entity.

08 July 2009

Removal of UPCs constitutes trademark infringement, says Second Circuit

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has upheld the district court’s grant of a preliminary injunction in a case in which the defendant had in its possession perfume in packaging having the unique production code removed. The decision shows that manipulation and mutilation of packaging can provide grounds for preliminary injunctive relief, even before a determination is reached as to the authenticity of the product.

07 July 2009

Secondary meaning not established by length of use alone, says court

In B & J Enterprises Ltd v Giordano, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has affirmed a grant of summary judgment against the plaintiff’s trademark infringement and cybersquatting claims in a case in which the plaintiff had waited 40 years to register its mark. Among other things, the court held that length of use alone is insufficient to establish secondary meaning.

02 July 2009

Unfixed design not ripe for declaratory judgment, says Fifth Circuit

In Vantage Trailers Inc v Beall Corp, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has affirmed the district court's dismissal of the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the grounds that the declaratory judgment plaintiff did not have a substantially fixed and definite product design when it filed the action.

29 June 2009

Guidance provided to purchasers of marks consisting of a person’s name

In JA Apparel Corp v Abboud, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has provided guidance to purchasers of trademark rights consisting of a person’s name as to the scope of the agreement that would be necessary to preclude entirely any use of the name and purchased mark for a commercial purpose.

26 June 2009

Test for descriptiveness clarified in URBANHOUZING Case

In In re Carlson, in a precedential opinion, the TTAB has affirmed a refusal to register the mark URBANHOUZING for “real estate brokerage, real estate consultation and real estate listing” services under Section 2(e)(1) of the Lanham Act. The decision clarifies the tests for descriptiveness set out by the TTAB in the No Nonsense Fashions Case.

23 June 2009

Ninth Circuit confirms that ORGANIC FOOD BAR is generic

In Premier Nutrition Inc v Organic Food Bar Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has confirmed that the term 'organic food bar' was generic. The court outlined its test for determining whether a term is generic, which focuses on how the term is understood by the consuming public.