Category Archives: USPTO

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In re Tam Redux Redux: Redskins Petition for Certiorari, Trying to Skip 4th Cir.

In response to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) petition for writ of certiorari in to the U.S. Supreme Court In re Tam (“THE SLANTS” case), the owners of the Washington Redskins filed their own petition for certiorari, asking the justices to hear their trademark case before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals … Continue Reading

In re Tam: Section 2(a) Unconstitutional Under The First Amendment

In a landmark First Amendment decision relating to the Lanham (Trademark) Act, the Federal Circuit, en banc, struck down § 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.  § 1052(a), the statutory provision barring registration of “disparaging” marks.  By a 9-3 vote, the Court held that § 2(a) violates a trademark applicant’s free speech rights.  In … Continue Reading

Caveat Opposer: Preclusion Lurks at the TTAB

Recently, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “TTAB”) held that an unsuccessful opposer was precluded from later pursuing a cancellation against the same trademark owner, even though the opposer assumed a different corporate identity and the marks, goods and services at issue in the opposition proceeding were different from the marks, goods and services … Continue Reading

Heinz Seeks “Smart” De Novo Review In Light Of B&B Hardware

H.J. Heinz Co. (“Heinz”) filed a federal lawsuit recently against Boulder Brands USA (“Boulder”) seeking to vacate and reverse a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board decision finding that Boulder’s SMART BALANCE trademark is not likely to be confused with Heinz’s SMART ONES trademark, and that the SMART ONES trademark is not famous.  H.J. Heinz Co. … Continue Reading

The House That Juice Built: TTAB Denies Registration To Parodies

On May 8, 2015, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) issued a resounding blow to trademark applicants who seek to register others’ trademarks as parodies.  In New York Yankees Partnership v. IET Products and Services, Inc., Opposition No. 91189692 (May 8, 2015), the Board announced that “parody” or “fair use” can never function … Continue Reading

B&B Hardware: Sometimes, Not Always, Not Never

The Supreme Court issued its second trademark ruling of the term on Tuesday, ruling that federal court decisions on “likelihood of confusion” sometimes can be precluded by earlier rulings about trademark registrability issued from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB” or “the Board”). Petitioner B&B Hardware, Inc. (“B&B”) and respondent Hargis Industries, Inc. (“Hargis”) both … Continue Reading

Overclaiming in Trademark Applications: “Full Line of …”

In Ferring B.V. v. Fera Pharmaceuticals, LLC, the Eastern District of New York was called upon to determine the importance of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (“TMEP”) and its guidelines in determining the validity of a federally registered trademark.  The Court declined to afford the TMEP an elevated … Continue Reading

USPTO: Over Half of Applications/Declarations Studied Over-Claim Covered Goods/Services

It has long been the practice of certain brand owners to include more goods in a use-based trademark application or declaration than were actually being used.  That was typically innocent.  However, under Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) precedent such as Medinol v. Neuro Vasx, Inc., 67 USPQ2d 1205, 1209 (T.T.A.B. 2003), over-claiming risked cancellation of … Continue Reading
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