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21 January 2009

US practitioners call for more experienced PTO director

The Section of Intellectual Property Law of the American Bar Association has written to the newly inaugurated President Obama, calling for a more experienced director of the US Patent and Trademark Office.

19 January 2009

Fifth Circuit applies trademark protection to universities’ colour schemes

In Board of Supervisors for Louisiana State University Agriculture and Mechanical College v Smack Apparel Co, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has upheld a district court decision recognizing trademark rights in the colour schemes used by certain major universities. Although it was agreed that the colours were not inherently distinctive, the universities successfully established secondary meaning.

13 January 2009

Strict compliance with rules on service of notices of opposition required

In Schott AG v Scott, the TTAB has granted L’Wren Scott's motion to dismiss two oppositions filed by Schott AG on the grounds that each opposition had been filed without the “proof of service on the applicant, or her attorney or domestic representative of record at the correspondence address of record”, as required under Trademark Rule 2(101)(a).

12 January 2009

Gallup's US action against Pakistani firm allowed

In Gallup Inc v Business Research Bureau (PVT) Ltd, the US District Court for the Northern District of California has held that Gallup Inc had sufficiently alleged that the activities of the defendant (a Pakistani firm doing business as Gallup Pakistan) occurred in the United States in order to establish subject matter jurisdiction.

12 January 2009

US mark owner bows to public opinion in MONSTER dispute

A US brand owner known for filing aggressive trademark infringement suits has agreed on a landmark settlement that ignites a debate on the fine line between policing a valuable mark at the expense of a good reputation.

12 December 2008

‘Flimsy’ Jones Day claims survive dismissal

In a decision that has generated howls of protest among observers, the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has declined to dismiss the service mark infringement and dilution claims brought by law firm Jones Day against real estate website The case has raised concerns about a potential encroachment of trademark law into the field of online news reporting.

12 December 2008

Entrepreneurs use eBay to raise funds for trademark dispute

A small business in the United States is fighting a trademark infringement allegation by inviting supporters to fund the challenge via eBay.

10 December 2008

Gone in 60 seconds? Not so fast, says the Ninth Circuit

In Halicki Films LLC v Sanderson Sales and Marketing, a case involving the action film Gone in 60 Seconds, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has reversed and remanded to the district court. The Ninth Circuit not only gave new life to the plaintiff’s claims, but also clarified the requirements for standing in a trademark infringement lawsuit.

03 December 2008

High praise for USPTO in independent annual report

The Trademark Public Advisory Committee has delivered its annual report into the management of the trademark operations of the USPTO. The report found that "the quality of the work of the Trademark Organization is high and rising".

03 December 2008

Minimal relevance of mark sufficient to excuse use in artistic work

In ESS Entertainment 2000 Inc v Rock Star Videos Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has held that Rock Star Videos Inc’s use of a name similar to ESS Entertainment 2000 Inc’s PLAY PEN trademark within the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was protected by the First Amendment.

02 December 2008

Hershey garners sweet victory against furniture company

In The Hershey Company v Art Van Furniture Inc, a Michigan district court has granted The Hershey Company’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on the grounds that Art Van Furniture Inc’s delivery truck decoration showing a chocolate-brown sofa emerging from a candy bar wrapper was likely to dilute the distinctive quality of Hershey’s famous trade dress.

27 November 2008

Confusion between ButtWiper dog toy and Budweiser beer likely, says court

In Anheuser-Busch Inc v VIP Products LLC, a Missouri district court has preliminarily enjoined VIP Products LLC from selling a squeeze toy for dogs that resembled Anheuser-Busch Inc’s Budweiser beer bottle. The court found Anheuser likely to succeed on its claims for trademark and trade dress infringement and unfair competition, but not on its claim of trademark dilution.

21 November 2008

Metatag use leads to award of profits and attorneys' fees

In Venture Tape Corporation v McGills Glass Warehouse, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has considered whether the unauthorized use of a trademark as a metatag constituted use upon which a finding of trademark infringement liability could be based. Answering in the affirmative, the court held that the defendant was liable for damages and for the payment of the plaintiff’s attorneys' fees.

21 November 2008

Obama’s proposed attorney general good news for IP rights holders

Eric J Holder, a respected lawyer who recognizes the importance of intellectual property, has accepted the role of attorney general in Barack Obama's incoming government, according to US television network NBC.

01 April 2008

No infringement if operating agreement authorizes use of mark

In Segal v Geisha NYC LLC, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has upheld the dismissal of Jonathan Segal's complaint for failure to state a federal infringement claim. Among other things, the court held that an operating agreement authorized two or more founders of the Japonais restaurant to expand the concept to additional locations.