On June 30, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court (the “Court”), in an 8-1 decision, affirmed the Fourth Circuit’s holding that “BOOKING.COM” is a protectable trademark, thereby rejecting a sweeping rule that a protectable trademark cannot be created by adding “.com” to an otherwise generic term.… Continue Reading
On May 14, 2020, the United States Supreme Court held in Lucky Brand Dungarees Inc., et al. v. Marcel Fashion Group Inc., that a party is not precluded from raising new defenses, when a subsequent lawsuit between the same parties challenges different conduct and raises different claims.
The Lanham Act (“Act”) makes it clear that generic terms cannot be registered as trademarks. But can an online business create a protectable trademark by adding a generic top-level domain (e.g., “.com”) to an otherwise generic term? The Supreme Court will answer this question in USPTO v. Booking.com, No. 19-46.
The legal battle between Booking.com and the … Continue Reading
In a recent precedential decision concerning the rarely litigated or cited Section 2(b) of the Lanham Act, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board affirmed a refusal to register the service mark:
On April 23, 2020, the United States Supreme Court held in Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil Group, Inc., FKA Fossil, Inc., et al., that under the Lanham Act, a plaintiff is not required to show that a defendant willfully violated plaintiff’s trademark rights as a precondition to a profits award.
Section 15 of the Lanham Act, subject to certain specified exceptions, provides that the right of an owner “to use [a] registered mark in commerce for the goods or services on or in connection with which such registered mark has been in continuous use for five consecutive years subsequent to the date of such registration and is still in use … Continue Reading
On April 8, 2020, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (the “Federal Circuit”), in In Re Forney Industries Inc reversed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) and held that multicolor designs may be inherently distinctive when used on product packaging. The court further held that multicolor designs need not be used within a well-defined shape or border to … Continue Reading
As cannabis products become legal in more and more states, commercial interest grows in protecting the trademarks associated with those products. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has maintained its refusal to register trademarks for most cannabis-based products on the ground that use of those products is federally unlawful. But what about state or common law rights in trademarks … Continue Reading
The United States is a party to the General Inter-American Convention for Trade Mark and Commercial Protection of Washington, 1929 (“Pan-American Convention”), along with Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay and Peru. The Pan-American Convention governs the treatment of trademarks, trade names, unfair competition, and false indications of geographical origin or source. It basically gives trademark owners in … Continue Reading
The Federal Circuit in In re JC Hospitality LLC recently affirmed the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s refusal to register the service mark THE JOINT for a venue offering entertainment and restaurant services. The Circuit affirmed the Board’s unusually high evidentiary standards for demonstrating that a trademark has acquired distinctiveness.… Continue Reading
This trademark litigation arises out of a contentious real-estate rivalry in a very wealthy residential community called Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida. It presents a comprehensive overview of standards for trademark cancellation and for appeal from a judgment as a matter of law after a jury trial.
Plaintiff Royal Palm Properties, is a real-estate agency … Continue Reading
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) recently held that AT&T Mobility, LLC (“AT&T”) had sufficient interest in its almost completely moribund CINGULAR name to oppose two pending trademark applications filed by an unrelated party. AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Mark Thomann and Dormitus Brands, LLC, Opposition No. 91218108 (TTAB February 10, 2020).… Continue Reading
ABA (as amicus) Asks the Supreme Court to Adopt a Flexible Rule for Recapture of Profits in Trademark Cases
Intellectual Property Owners Association (as amicus) Argues That a Willfulness Requirement Is Consistent with the Statute and Principles of Equity
The American Bar Association (“ABA”) filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the petitioner in … Continue Reading
In a recent decision on remand from the Federal Circuit, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) rejected Petitioner adidas AG’s (“adidas”) claim that Respondent Christian Faith Fellowship Church (“CFFC”) abandoned its ADD A ZERO marks (both in standard character and design form), but agreed that the phrase, as used by CFFC in standard characters, fails to function as a … Continue Reading
In June 2019, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Romag Fasteners Inc. v. Fossil Inc., et al., No. 18-1233. As set forth in our previous blog post, Romag Fasteners Inc. (“Romag”) seeks to have the Court resolve a longstanding circuit split on the issue: “[w]hether, under section 35 of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a), … Continue Reading
In June 2019, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Lucky Brand Dungarees Inc., et al. v. Marcel Fashion Group Inc., No. 18-1086. As set forth in our prior blog posts, Lucky Brand Dungarees Inc. and related companies (collectively, “Lucky”) seek a reversal of the Second Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling that Lucky was precluded by res … Continue Reading
In a precedential decision involving the “doctrine of foreign equivalents,” the Board found no likelihood of confusion between the mark RICHARD MAGAZINE for a website in the field of fashion and lifestyle and the mark RICARDO for goods and services, including publications, in the culinary field. Ricardo Media Inc. v. Inventive Software, LLC, Opposition No. 91235063 (August 21, 2019) [precedential]… Continue Reading
The Federal Circuit upheld a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) decision refusing registration of an athletic apparel company’s trademark, holding that the trademark applicant waived its key arguments by not raising them before the Board. Hylete LLC v. Hybrid Athletics, LLC (Fed. Cir. 2019)… Continue Reading
In a recent decision concerning the scope of protection for collective membership marks, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board sustained The Pierce-Arrow Society’s opposition to registration of PIERCE-ARROW for “automobiles” by Applicant Spintek Filtration, Inc. The Pierce-Arrow Society v. Spintek Filtration, Inc., Opposition No. 91224343 (August 12, 2019) [precedential]
A “collective membership” indicates that the user of the mark is … Continue Reading
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board recently affirmed the refusal to register a trademark application for BIG SIX for wine on the ground that the term is generic or descriptive of wines. In re Plata Wine Partners, LLC, Serial No. 87292254 (August 22, 2019) [not precedential]
Applicant filed an intent to use trademark application for BIG SIX for wine, … Continue Reading
In a case affecting the fast-growing legal cannabis industry, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB” or “Board”) affirmed the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) refusal to register two trademarks for smokeless cannabis vaporizers because the goods were seen as unlawful drug paraphernalia under federal law. In re Canopy Growth Corporation by assignment from JJ206, LLC, Serial … Continue Reading
The Federal Circuit recently sustained the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (“TTAB” or the “Board”) refusal to register Louis Vuitton Malletier’s (“LVM”) trademark APOGÉE for perfumes, a decision that will concern trademark prosecution attorneys who seek to distinguish trademarks in United States Patent & Trademark Office (“USPTO”) likelihood of confusion refusals.… Continue Reading
On Friday, June 28, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider whether, in cases where a plaintiff asserts new claims, federal preclusion principles bar a defendant from raising defenses that were not actually litigated and resolved in any prior case between the parties. Lucky Brand Dungarees Inc., et al. v. Marcel Fashion Group Inc., No. 18-1086. … Continue Reading
On Friday, June 28, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide the circumstances necessary to support an award of a trademark infringer’s profits under section 35 of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a). Romag Fasteners Inc. v. Fossil Inc., et al., No. 18-1233. The ruling hopefully will resolve a long-standing circuit split over whether willfulness is a … Continue Reading