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16 April 2009

Fender loses in 3D guitar application

Fender's attempts to register a series of trademarks for its three-dimensional guitar shapes have been rejected by the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

09 April 2009

False designation action dismissed, but fight for JAPONAIS continues

In Geisha LLC v Tuccillo, the owner of the well-known Japonais restaurant has suffered a setback in its long-running battle with Roy Tuccillo over the trademark JAPONAIS. The US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois found that a question of fact existed as to the extent of Geisha’s reputation in the JAPONAIS mark as of the filing date of Tuccillo’s application.

09 April 2009

US government releases hazy ACTA summary

Bowing to pressure from IP owners and civil society groups, the United States Trade Representative has released a summary of the controversial Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

08 April 2009

Laches defence splits Ninth Circuit

In Internet Specialties West Inc v Milon-DiGiorgio Enterprises Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has denied the equitable defence of laches to Milon-DiGiorgio Enterprises Inc against Internet Specialties West Inc’s trademark infringement claim. However, the dissent stated that the majority’s decision 'eviscerated' the defence of laches under trademark law.

07 April 2009

US appeals court rescues keywords case against Google

A US appeals court has dealt a blow to Google's besieged AdWords programme by overturning an earlier dismissal of a trademark infringement lawsuit brought against the search engine by computer breakdown support company Rescuecom Corp.

06 April 2009

Scope of false advertising claims narrowly construed by Federal Circuit

In Baden Sports Inc v Molten USA Inc, a suit involving the marketing of high-end basketballs, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has narrowly construed the scope of false advertising claims allowed under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act. The court reiterated that Section 43(a) does not codify the entirety of unfair competition law.

02 April 2009

Third time’s a charm for Visa

In Visa International Service Association v JSL Corporation, the US District Court for the District of Nevada has, for the third time, found in favour of Visa International Service Association and held that use of the trademark EVISA by JSL Corporation was likely to dilute the strength of the famous VISA mark.

31 March 2009

Sound marks for alarms refused registration

In In re Vertex Group LLC, in a precedential opinion, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has upheld a decision of the US Patent and Trademark Office in which the latter had refused to register two sound marks described as a sound of “descending frequency sound pulse” occurring at intervals of four to five per second.

30 March 2009

Section 38 damages claim barred by statute of limitations in RITZ Case

In a dispute between The Ritz Hotel Ltd and Shen Manufacturing Co Inc over the RITZ mark, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has held that Shen’s counterclaim for damages under Section 38 of the Lanham Act was barred by the Pennsylvania statute of limitations. The ruling demonstrates how courts apply state statutes in trademark disputes since the act does not have a statute of limitations provision.

24 March 2009

Intel rejects Psion's rights in latest NETBOOK clash

Intel has denied that Psion has any rights in the term 'netbook'. The allegations, made in Intel's response to Psion's counterclaims, deal a further blow to the Canadian company whose rights have also come under threat on home soil.

23 March 2009

Spray nozzle design configuration deemed to be functional

In In re UDOR USA Inc, in a precedential opinion, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has upheld a decision of the trademark examining attorney of the US Patent and Trademark Office in which the latter had refused to register a mark consisting of the product configuration of a patented metal spray nozzle.

20 March 2009

Hilton hotels sued for trademark infringement

The Hilton hotel group has been sued for trademark infringement by a rival hotel chain in the United States.

19 March 2009

OBX is not a valid trademark, says Fourth Circuit

In OBX-Stock Inc v Bicast Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has upheld summary judgment against OBX-Stock Inc in its infringement suit against Bicast Inc, ruling that OBX-Stock's OBX mark was not a valid trademark. The Fourth Circuit also ruled that the district court had not abused its discretion in refusing to order the US Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the OBX mark.

17 March 2009

Santiago Convention requirements cannot be satisfied, says TTAB

In Franpovi SA v Wessin, a case of first impression, the TTAB has rejected Franpovi SA’s bid to prevent the registration of the mark POLLOS VICTORINA for “fast-food restaurants” in the United States under the Santiago Convention. Among other things, the TTAB held that a trademark owner cannot satisfy the application requirements set forth in the Santiago Convention.

13 March 2009

Heartbrand beefs with Yahoo!

In Heartbrand Beef Inc v Lobel’s of New York, the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas has granted Yahoo! Inc’s motion to dismiss Heartbrand Beef Inc's claims of false designation of origin and false advertising under the Lanham Act. However, the use of the same five-element test to evaluate both claims appears questionable.