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09 June 2009

TTAB refuses to read limitations into cited registration

In In re Thor Tech Inc, the TTAB has affirmed the USPTO's refusal to register the trademark WAVE for recreational vehicles on the grounds that it was likely to cause confusion with the registered mark THE WAVE for trailers. The TTAB refused to read limitations into the cited registration, as requested by Thor Tech Inc, pointing out that it must look only at the goods or services set forth in a registration.

02 June 2009

Taser's suit against owner of Second Life dismissed

Taser International Inc's suit against Linden Research for use of the TASER mark on Second Life has been voluntarily dismissed. The case illustrates the fact that trademark owners may no longer be able to ignore the extensive unauthorized commercial use of their intellectual property in virtual worlds such as Second Life.

28 May 2009

Patriots' owner fumbles registration of 19-0 THE PERFECT SEASON

In Kraft Group LLC v Harpole, the TTAB has ruled that the owner of the New England Patriots had failed to show that its application for the mark 19-0 THE PERFECT SEASON had priority over William Harpole’s application for the same mark. Among other things, the TTAB rejected the argument that the effective filing date of Harpole’s application should be the date on which it was amended to seek registration on the Principal Register.

22 May 2009

US wineries in trademark battle with EU

Hundreds of US wine makers have urged the US government to take action to prevent the European Union from forcing them to stop using long-established brands on imports into Europe.

22 May 2009

Stitch designs are not “identical or nearly identical”, says court

In Levi Strauss & Co v Abercrombie & Fitch Trading Co, the US District Court for the Northern District of California has held that the use of a design on denim jeans that was not “identical or nearly identical” to another design did not constitute trademark dilution. The decision affirms the Ninth Circuit’s stringent standard in the context of trademark dilution claims under the Trademark Dilution Revision Act.

20 May 2009

Third time is a (partial) charm for Bayer

In Bayer Consumer Care AG v Belmora LLC, the TTAB has partially granted Belmora LLC’s motion to dismiss Bayer Consumer Care AG’s petition to cancel the mark FLANAX for analgesics. Bayer’s third attempt to plead likelihood of confusion with its FLANAX mark for analgesics was rejected for failure to plead use in the United States. However, the TTAB held that Bayer’s claim of misrepresentation of source was sufficiently pled.

18 May 2009

THE MONTECITO DIET is not primarily geographically descriptive, says TTAB

In In re Roy J Mankovitz, the TTAB has re-examined the criteria required to determine whether a mark is primarily geographically descriptive. In particular, the TTAB considered whether residence by the applicant in the geographical area referenced in the proposed mark was sufficient to establish a goods/place relationship in support of a refusal to register.

15 May 2009

Geographic misdescriptiveness standard clarified in MOSKOVSKAYA Case

In In re Spirits International NV, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has vacated a decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in which the latter had found the mark MOSKOVSKAYA to be primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive of vodka. The court clarified the materiality prong of the geographic misdescriptiveness test under 15 USC §1052(e)(3).

13 May 2009

Spirits International loses US rights to RUSSKAYA mark

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has cancelled the RUSSKAYA mark registration owned by Spirits International BV based on abandonment. The board's decision should serve to remind registrants of both the importance of use of the mark in the United States and the need to have and produce documents proving use, or proving intent to resume use, as well as valid justification for non-use.

12 May 2009

Use requirement not met without actual offering of services

In Aycock Engineering Inc v Airflite Inc, a split panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld a decision to cancel a 35-year-old registration for the mark AIRFLITE for “arranging for individual reservations for flights on airplanes”. Among other things, the court held that the applicant had engaged only in preparatory activities towards his plan to operate a flight-arranging service.

08 May 2009

Insurer's hope for broad liability exclusion goes up in smoke

In Capitol Indemnity Corp v Elston Self Service Wholesale Groceries Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has held that Capitol Indemnity Corp, a liability insurer, had a duty to defend Elston Self Service Wholesale Groceries Inc against various trademark claims due to the sale of counterfeit cigarettes.

07 May 2009

Decline in US applications set to continue into 2011, commissioner forecasts

The US Patent and Trademark Office has revealed that it expects trademark applications to start rising again in 2010, but that this will be followed by a decline moving into 2011.

06 May 2009

Chippendales' collar and cuffs mark fails to get an encore

In In Re Chippendales USA Inc, in a divided opinion, the TTAB has affirmed a decision of the USPTO denying Chippendales USA Inc’s application to register its collar, bow tie and cuffs attire as a trademark. Using the multi-factor test established in Seabrook Foods v Bar-Well Foods Inc, the TTAB held that the trade dress did not possess inherent distinctiveness.

05 May 2009

ICANN of worms: why mark owners are against new gTLDs

As the gTLD debate intensifies, WTR investigates why mark owners are so worried by the evolving domain space, whether the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is listening to their concerns and what will be done to protect trademark rights in the new cyberspace.

05 May 2009

La Cafetière can continue selling its coffee makers, says court

In Bodum USA Inc v La Cafetière Inc, the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has granted La Cafetière Inc’s motion for summary judgment, finding that a 1991 stock purchase agreement authorized it to sell products similar to the 'Chambord' French press coffee maker in the United States.